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Author Self Promotion
> Chaz Wood and the Trinity Chronicles
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Jan 19, 2011 10:02AM
"Maranatha" – now out in Kindle format -
- is the first novel in the "The Trinity Chronicles" series by Chaz Wood. “Maranatha” sets the scene with a shrewd attention to detail and offers radical new twists on popular themes - the secret underbelly of the Western Church, occult conspiracies, medieval heresy and the dark side of the human psyche – all seen through the eyes of a group of very human characters.
Two sequels and a prequel are in the pipeline.
The openining chapter follows. Warning: This text contains some mature and explicit content.
The streets of Zvornik lay broken, the black outlines of buildings mere cutouts against a grubby smudge of sky. The bombs, the shooting and the screams had all subsided to the still of the grave. Only the dead remained to see the pale grey morning and all 100,000 acres of this Hell.
The silence was broken by a regular rhythm; steel ringing against stone, the scene given movement by a tall figure striding. His dress was black, from beret to boots. Leather gloves slid an expensive foreign cigarette from a breast pocket filled with trophies and lit it with an American lighter as Captain Gavrilo Silajdzic snaked his way through the remains of the old City of the Bell Tower. The smoke of undying fires merged with mist which crept over the River Drina and veiled the tops of the tallest buildings which huddled together like homeless children. The beauty of the mountains and the river valley was blackened, all nature banished. He saw no evidence of any historic towers now as he turned a corner, nor would he have cared if he had, for ahead of him lay his final destination, the end of his six-day journey from Sarajevo.
The Church of St. George crouched at the end of the road, its half-open doors revealing blackness beyond, but still the most welcoming sight he had seen that past week. As he entered, he brought shafts of cold daylight with him to stimulate sounds of life inside, the first he had heard all day. Patches of blotchy skin shuddered beneath ragged shawls and blankets, mumbling sorrow. Peasants. Unpleasant, pestilent.
Crouched in front of the altar was a tattered vestige of a human being, grey-bearded, muttering prayers into the scabrous remains of his hands.
“Milan?” Silajdzic asked. And again, louder.
The priest looked up from his fingers to the figure which cast its shadow upon him. “Who's asking?”
Silajdzic stepped aside into a pool of light and drew a five-pointed star in the air with his left hand. Milan found his feet and hugged the other man like a brother. “Oh, you've come. Thank God. A terrible time we've had of it but somehow, the Church still stands. I see it as a sign from God. It's the only reason I'm still here.”
“For divine protection?” Silajdzic surmised with a laugh.
“Yes, exactly.” Flustered with excitement now, Milan began rummaging through bags and bundles beside the altar. “I have it here.” He produced an old leather holdall and removed a tight gathering of rags from within, about two feet long and bound up with string. “Men died getting this out of Montenegro. Take it to our people, help them bring victory and peace in God's name.” Silajdzic took the gift and began to pull away the bindings, but Milan’s knotted fingers intruded. “No. Don't show it. Just get it out of here, to our brothers, as fast as you can.”
Silajdzic spared the other man a defiant glance as he continued to pull the object into general view. “Just a brief confirmation. Is that permitted?”
The priest was outraged. “You think I'd deceive you? We're all in this together, aren't we?”
“This is a war, Father. Besides, Father Rattus said no-one can be trusted.”
Milan's voice hardened. “Well, I don't trust that English Rat either. He has knowledge he won't share, and feeds us scraps like the hobo's dog whenever he sees fit.”
“He is a man of God, I understand. Like yourself.” He finished uncovering the prize and held it up. It was a strange item; a metal spearhead over twenty inches long, enveloped in sheaths of gold and bound with wire, with a vertical slot which held an iron nail.
Satisfied, Silajdzic bound it back up and slid it into his backpack. “Thank you. Hope that losing possession of this doesn't bring disaster upon your Church.” The thought carved Milan's face with furrows of concern. “Don't worry, Father. I promise you, the Holy Spear will be in good hands.”
As he went to leave, Silajdzic heard a sharp breath pierce the air behind him.
“Your uniform...you're SDG. Who - why are you - working for them?”
Silajdzic turned, a deep snarl pulling his face into angular chiaroscuro.
“In times of war, one must make hard decisions. If you don't like the idea of that, Brother – Father - then you shouldn't be here.”
“Well I don't like the idea of Zeljko Arkan holding that spear, and his fascists seizing victory.”
“Mors stupebit et natura, cum resurget creatura, Father. These are dark days for us all. And Commander Arkan doesn't hold the spear, I do. Anything else you want to add, or are you finished trashing my leader and my comrades?”
Fear painted Milan's complexion. Silajdzic's quotation from the Dies Irae - the Latin hymn describing the Day of Judgment - had struck a discord within him. The diabolos had entered the musica of Milan's hope, for there was no denying that death had struck, and all nature shaken - mostly thanks to Arkan's SDG.
“Tell me – truthfully, Brother – that you are faithful to us. Tell me I am doing the right thing here.”
“I know what is right, for I know what my people have suffered over the last thousand years. Slaughtered by Turks as they fought for their freedom. Massacred and burned at Montsegur, raped and enslaved by Stefan Nemanja.”
“They were heretics – Cathars, Bogomils –”
“They were my ancestors. And now you, who I do not see leading anyone, or raising a gun in defence, tell me that I am wrong to fight for my country, my beliefs, and to avenge all that blood spilt by Papal decrees and Muslim scimitars?”
“I didn't say you were wrong.” Milan argued.
“Five hundred years ago, we could have ruled Bulgaria without any Roman clerics vomiting lies from their pulpits. For they would have been on their knees, crying to their God and to Satanial.” Spots of spittle, trailing his words of fury, landed across the priest's forehead. “All your kind.”
“What are you saying?” Milan choked on his despair, his realisation wringing glistening grief onto his cheeks.
“I'm saying, the Black Sun is rising, Father. But you're not going to live to see him, and nor are your holy brothers going to stop him.”
The unseen 9mm semiautomatic spat five rounds through the priest's chest, throat, and stomach, five wounds which formed the points of a five-pointed star, a pentagram or pentangle. Silajdzic thought it an amusing gesture, branding the corpse with the symbol of its own order. His satisfaction was disrupted by cries and groans from the pews.
“What are you doing!” the woman howled, a lacerated soprano rising to the rafters. “Stop it, stop the killing!”
For a second Silajdzic contemplated putting her down where she stood. Then he saw her child, a boy of no more than ten or eleven, follow fearfully in her footsteps.
“Please, don't hurt my boy. Don't hurt him,” she begged as her fears washed out her anger. “Do what you will with me, but leave him alone.”
He saw her gaze wander downwards, where Milan's blood flowed in five rivers toward the altar. He drew down the headscarf which covered her matted yellow hair, ran his fingers through long wispy strands of soot and dust. She hadn't lived long but hard, and the toils told on her skin and in her eyes, red-rimmed and weeping. The gold crucifix around her neck made him smile; so much for the power of the Lord. He tested her reaction, grabbing her heavy breasts through her shirt, and she closed her eyes in tired resignation. She had suffered this before, and was numb to it now, a deep-throated groan of surrender her only acknowledgement of his frantic actions as he pulled up her dress and bent her over the back of the nearest seat.
The boy stood confused, wondering what the pair of them were doing. He was very afraid of the man in the black uniform and had no wish to anger him. He looked a lot like the men who had shot his father and watched him die screaming, eaten alive by wolves.
A minute later Silajdzic stepped back, wiped her blood off himself using the hem of her skirt and adjusted his clothing.
“Please, leave us be now.” Her voice held the reedy undertone of agony barely restrained. She had taught herself not to scream, not to cry, and to save her breath to thank God for continued life.
“I'm not going to touch your son.” Silajdzic assured her. “Rather, I want him to grow up knowing how useless his God was at this moment, and force him to ask; where was my saviour, my Christ, when I needed Him? Where was my God? And one day, I hope, he shall learn the truth.”
She raised her head from the shadows to look upon her son again, to steal a grain of love from the hand of pain for one moment. The child had advanced nearer, happy to have heard his mother's voice again when something wet and warm slapped him across the face. He wiped at it with his hands while Silajdzic strode past him to the door, sheathing his hunting knife as he went. Just before he stepped into the dusty white chamber of daylight, he turned back to look at the boy, a muddy Breugel orphan beside the corpse of his mother, whose slashed and ruptured throat spewed crimson puddles around his feet. Silajdzic tossed the woman's bloody crucifix onto the bleeding floorboards and laughed aloud, the sounds breaking the peace of the tomb.
“Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven, eh, Father?”
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