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Conquest
Unholy War - Book 3
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-342-3
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 235 Pages
Published: November 2016

From inside the flap

Robert Claybourne breaks with the crusade and and meets with Sultan Beyazid, accepting responsibility for the defense of the holy city of Sion against the crusaders.

In Myrridia, the capital city prepares defenses against an expected papal attack. Edward Fitzroy and Allyson Claybourne make their own preparations: to go on the offensive against the papal triumvirate. With the help of another Magical practitioner, they battle the three popes, each channeling powers much greater than their own, prepared to pay the ultimate price, if needed.

While this battle ensues, Rhennsbury is put under siege and the castle is attacked with a toxic botanical, putting everyone in mortal danger. Magical practitioners remaining in the city work frantically to find a way to remove the invisible barrier erected around the castle before all perish.

In Sion, the crusaders attack, using Magical and mundane methods, and the city responds in kind. Ultimately, the battle for possession of the city rests in a Magical duel, including a fight to the death between two siblings – Jared and Breanna Carpenter.

Conquest (Excerpt)


INTERLUDE

October 1042

Lativium

Pope Honorius returned to the papal palace after the brief Magical battle outside Rhennsbury by using a temporary gate that had been set up at the estate of Bishop Cedric Norris of Belgravia in the Kingdom of Myrridia. He made his way quickly to the papal audience hall, where the thirty or so remaining cardinals and his two fellow popes awaited his return and subsequent report. All heads turned to face him as a papal guard announced his arrival.

He ignored the questions being fired at him, instead striding to his assigned throne, which sat to the right of Benedict's. Benedict was now the senior pope and so used the central, most ornate throne. Benedict and Pius greeted him but asked no questions. They knew he would describe what had occurred. Honorius summarized the battle for them and gave the names of the participants that he knew.

"One of their bishops was slain, right at the outset," he said. "The man sacrificed himself. He made no effort to fight the blast sent at him." He scowled. "Unfortunately, we also lost Cardinal Edgar Svinson, who was swallowed up by the earth when the heretic princess Allyson Claybourne called forth elemental power."

Benedict nodded, displeased but not surprised. "We did not expect an instant, easy victory, though none of us would have complained had such occurred. So, she calls on the elements, with little concern for possible unintended effects? Earth Magic is particularly dangerous, as she ought to know. I believe part of a castle fell during her notorious Duel with Cecelia Falkes' dead spirit many years back, or at least so the rumors say."

Honorius shook his head. "That could explain why they chose to fight us outside the castle and city." He frowned in remembrance. "They were more powerful than I expected, because they were able to tap into the converging energy lines there."

"It also meant the fight was at some distance from the gate," Pius put in. "Could you sense its presence?"

"Nay. I tried as we approached, but it was impossible to focus on it specifically." Honorius rubbed his face, trying to erase his fatigue. "They are no match for us though." He sneered in contempt. "Archbishop Markham's power is of no account. Princess Allyson is the one credible threat. The others can be overpowered with our superior numbers alone."

"Hmm." Benedict was thoughtful. "We will maintain the sieges and Magical blockades of Myrridia's eastern provinces. Rhennsbury may divert some Magical talent in attempts at rescue, talent they can ill afford to spare from the sound of it." He stood and stretched. "The main question for us, then, is when to make a full assault on Rhennsbury. We cannot afford to wait too long, yet I have no wish to harm the majority of Myrridia's population, only its leadership. I propose waiting until after harvest time. Perhaps even after the first snows. That will make physical travel difficult if they try to evacuate. Plus, 'tis possible Clytus will have reached Zyonn by Yuletide, so with a bit of luck we could control both gates by then."