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OF GODS AND MEN Chapter 25: Full Circle


        Tarsus ducked, narrowly avoiding the KingsGuard knight’s incoming sword swing and keeping his head intact.  This conflict was quickly turning from the one-upsmanship of wounded pride to something more lethal; or the knight taking swings at him was far more drunk than he had let on.  Either way, Tarsus found himself giving a small, grim smile as he watched Finnian dash by him, turn to face another oncoming knight and offer a vocal raspberry in further insult.        Tarsus turned back to face his own courtly adversary.  The brute gave a good thrust, which Tarsus easily deflected with his own sword.  Following through on the momentum of that deflection, Tarsus raised his blade up over his head in an arc, and then brought it down atop the knight's conical helm, connecting the flat of the blade to gleaming silver.  The knight of the KingsGuard fell backward, tripping over his own feet and landing on his rear as the din of a stroke well stru…
OF GODS AND MEN Chapter 24: To Serve
Cecily stood on the bowsprit of the Defiance, watching the open sea before her.  It was a fairly isolated place on the ship, because it was difficult to get to and only allowed for two people to stand comfortably.  For her, though, it became a refuge from the devotion and dedication of Tarsus.  It was strange to her, but Malthir proved to be much more powerful than even Adulatio.She knew the divinity of the gods; a power that spread from those divine beings and pulsed inside any mortal that was nearby; compelled men and women to worship as more suggestion than slavery.People still had will and wherewithal enough to be themselves.Not so with the sword of the GodKing. Malthir’s power dominated the men and women on the Defiance so completely that they could not even think for themselves.Luckily, operating a large ship was such an all-consuming task; and the crew knew their trades so innately, that they could not spare a moment to approach her with their…
OF GODS AND MEN Chapter 23: Safe Returns
Cassius was on his knees, searching the desperately the still water for any sign of life.  Nothing stirred, and in the cloudy blackness of the ocean there was nothing to see.  It had been only moments since he realized that Tarsus Cole had passed beyond his sight, yet those moments felt like an eternity.  Any time now, he expected Adulatio to say that Tarsus Cole had failed.  Then, he felt it: a surge, in the pit of his own stomach like the rising of the tide.It was a sensation he had never experienced before, but he was struck by the thought that this must have been what mortals felt when in the presence of the gods.An instant after the feeling struck him, he saw it - a light, small and golden, shone deep in the black of the Crystal Sea.Even from where Cassius knelt watching it, on the other side of the ocean, it felt warm and became warmer by the second.The light was growing bigger too, and was moving fast toward the surface of the water. Cassiu…