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The Holy Man's War

The Holy Man's War

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Published by Ted Nottingham
The Roman Empire is in ruins and civilization is sinking back into barbarism. The noble Celtic druids have been decimated by the Emperor's legions, but one remains. His task is to be a catalyst at this juncture of history when darkness threatens to overshadow the world. In the East, the darkness has a name -- Attila the Hun. From the lands of ice, the Vikings wreck havoc on the island peoples. But so do their gods, Odin and the warriors of Valhalla. A Roman centurion is shipwrecked on a mysterious isle and encounters a druid's daughter, shimmering with beauty and mysterious talents. Fate will take them into the depths of the Celtic Otherworld and across the continents to change the course of history.
They join forces with Patrick the Briton, some day to be known as Saint Patrick, who faces the forces of darkness on his mission to the Celtic isles. The humble monk with mystic powers faces his enemies led by Lochru, chief magi of the High King of Eire, and Coroticus, the pirate ruler of Dumbarton.They seek the holy man's death at all cost in an ultimate encounter foretold from ancient days and known as Ragnarok, the Day of Destruction.
The Roman Empire is in ruins and civilization is sinking back into barbarism. The noble Celtic druids have been decimated by the Emperor's legions, but one remains. His task is to be a catalyst at this juncture of history when darkness threatens to overshadow the world. In the East, the darkness has a name -- Attila the Hun. From the lands of ice, the Vikings wreck havoc on the island peoples. But so do their gods, Odin and the warriors of Valhalla. A Roman centurion is shipwrecked on a mysterious isle and encounters a druid's daughter, shimmering with beauty and mysterious talents. Fate will take them into the depths of the Celtic Otherworld and across the continents to change the course of history.
They join forces with Patrick the Briton, some day to be known as Saint Patrick, who faces the forces of darkness on his mission to the Celtic isles. The humble monk with mystic powers faces his enemies led by Lochru, chief magi of the High King of Eire, and Coroticus, the pirate ruler of Dumbarton.They seek the holy man's death at all cost in an ultimate encounter foretold from ancient days and known as Ragnarok, the Day of Destruction.

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Categories:Books, Fantasy, Epic
Publish date: Mar 2000
Added to Scribd: Sep 16, 2009
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/11/2014

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THE HOLY MAN'S WAR 
 Book One of THE MYSTIC ISLE LEGENDS 
 byTheodore J. Nottingham
EXCERPT
They landed in a quiet alcove, disembarked and prepared to journey toward Armagh where theyhad heard the saintly Patrick was toiling. Ethrain was thrilled to be back in the isles of her birth.What she had seen of the world of the East on her journey with Hadrian could not compare withthe sweet blend of ocean and forest unique to this lost corner of the world. It was good to standon the hard earth of Ireland where her ancestors had struggled so valiantly to create a home inthis wilderness. Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks. She wanted to embrace the meadows,vales, and cliffs of her homeland. She wanted to fill herself with the spirits of the land and bask in mystic unity with the elements.They journeyed side by side, astride horses given to them by the Burgundian princes whosefriendship would linger with them to the end of their days, followed by a third animal carryingtheir few earthly goods. With every breath, they absorbed all the scents and sounds of the isle.Soft rain greeted them from the skies, soothing their windburned faces and welcoming themhome. As they neared the first village on their way to Armagh, Hadrian's soldier instincts
 
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suddenly awoke. He caught sight of a cloud of smoke rising over the next hill. He knew instantlythat it was no campfire or cottage chimney releasing this black, acrid sign of death anddestruction."Rein in your horse," he said to Ethrain.She looked at him, aware that danger was at hand."What is it?" she asked anxiously, her hand grasping the dagger in her leather belt."Over there.""It's only smoke, Hadrian. Perhaps a forest fire.""No, there is more than wood burning there. Believe me, I know the sight."Before his mind's eye flashed the grisly scenes of his last battle with the Goths on the banks of the Danube. The legions had massacred an entire tribe -- men, women and children. They haddared to disobey the emperor's edicts. Trotting through a village of corpses, he knew then that hisdays as a centurion were over."We must cross over that hill. There is no other way to get to Armagh," Ethrain stated."Wait here while I see what is ahead.""No!" she cried out. "I am not some lady from the king's court. You know I can fight.""I don't want you to be hurt.""Nor do I want to see you hurt. I will be by your side and protect you as you protect me."Hadrian loved her in that moment more than ever. "Then let us proceed slowly. Keep your horsequiet."As they approached the top of the hill, Hadrian gestured for them to dismount. They tied downtheir animals and walked over the ridge. Sprawled out before them, in a small valley, lay a sceneof unspeakable horror. Even the riverbanks of eastern Gaul were not as drenched in blood as thisgentle vale. Everywhere they looked, there was beastly desecration of life. Ethrain let out a
 
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scream of revulsion and fell to her knees. Hadrian rushed over to her and held her tightly as sheshook uncontrollably. Never had her eyes beheld anything of the sort. Mutilated bodies lay alongthe road, across the field, in doorways. None of the bloody cadavers had weapons, all werehelplessly butchered."Gods of my forefathers! What evil is this?""Don't look anymore," Hadrian ordered gently as he turned her face away. "They are at peacenow. There is no more pain."He hoped she had not seen the dead children and the old women viciously cut down. As hestudied the sight, he became aware of his own reaction to the awful scene. His heart was beatingfast, and the blood had rushed to his face in the heat of outrage."Who could do such atrocities?" he heard himself mutter."Are they all dead?" Ethrain asked, hugging her beloved in an effort to gain control of her grief."Everyone. Even the animals. Whoever did this was very efficient. They know how to kill.""We must be sure, Hadrian. Will you go down there?"The Roman hesitated. But he knew that she was right."Wait for me here."He hurried down the hill and into the village. He went from body to body, quickly determiningthe state of the butchered victim. It had been years since he had seen such gore. He looked intoinnocent faces that stared at him through gashes and blood and caused his rage to rise. It reacheda fever pitch when he turned over a small corpse and looked into the angelic features of a childof the island."I'll bring vengeance down on your murderers!" he cried out, looking up at the clouded heavens.A stream of raindrops mingled with his tears as he shouted out for the gods to hear. He took the

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