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The Red Cross of Gold
The Knight of Death runs afoul the legendary Queen of the Abyss when he accepts a position as King of the Faeries in the idyllic underworld realm. He enlists the aid of his Brothers of the Order as the Grand Master sends them one and two at a time to bring him back. The Knights continue to disappear into the Abyss until the GM is left with only one remaining Knight of the Council under his command. As King Ramsay wages war on the evil faeries and the dragon under the Queen's control, he loses more and more of himself to her magick. Sister Meredith, in another botched attempt to use her magick to find him, suddenly finds herself drawn into a bizarre situation facing a number of Undead persons from her past. She is swept into the war and finally into the Queen's clutches as she desperately tries to help the King win out. In the end, the King has to give up his crown and come home to face the Grand Master's ire, but not before he loses his beloved twin Brother again after rescuing him from Purgatory.
When the Knight of Death becomes disillusioned and down-hearted, he leaves his life as a poor Knight of Solomon's Temple and exiles himself to the underworld where he becomes king of the elves. Though he has been mortally injured by the evil touch of one of the denizens of the Abyss, the poison is slow and he fights a valiant, but losing fight against the evil faeries and the dragon that seems bent upon destroying the beautiful astral plane.
His forays into the Abyss allow him to rescue certain members of the Order from purgatory to aid him in his efforts and he gains more help as the Grand Master continues to send search and destroy missions against him. When it becomes evident that he is losing the war, he makes a last attempt to enlist the aid of the Order before succombing to the powers of the Abyss.
But even winning the war, does not assure victory in a personal battle. After all is said and done, the Chevalier du Morte must still face punishment for deserting the Order.
Simon puffed on the pipe in fascination. Everything in the room seemed to turn blue in front of his eyes and some of the equipment on the table began to move about, dancing it seemed on long, gangly legs. He blinked rapidly and then drank the down the last of the wine in the glass.
“Dragon’s Blood,” he said again softly. “Dragon’s Blood.”
“What about Dragon’s Blood?” Merry turned to look at him with her pipe still clutched between her perfect teeth.
“Brother Ramsay told me that the Mad Arab was trying to make Dragon’s Blood,” Simon told her and continued to watch as the tripod danced across the counter with a brass bowl following after it. The Erlenmeyer flask began to melt into a puddle. He reached out one finger cautiously to touch the glass. It appeared to cling to his finger in a long stringer of melted glass, but did not burn him. He held his finger up and looked at the crystal filament hanging from it.
“Stop thot!” Paddy laughed and admonished the Healer. He scooted across the counter and took the glass filament from Simon’s finger and laid it on the counter. “Ye’ve ruined th’ gloss now and Andy will be mad as an auld wet hen when ’e comes ’ome and foinds ’is equipment in a shambles.”
Merry turned to look at the melted flask and the dancing tripod.
“How did you do that, Brother?” she asked and took some of the glass up on her own finger.
“Ye’re goin’ t’ cut yerself,” Paddy warned her a bit too late as the thin glass snapped and poked her finger at the same time. A drop of blood emerged, bright red. “I shudna give ye th’ blue,” he said and slapped one hand against his forehead. “I didna realoize thot twud be so powerful in th’ overwarld.”
Merry watched the single drop of blood on her finger as it grew and then dripped slowly onto the table.
Simon focused on it and the blood expanded, forming itself into the shape of a tiny red dragon with black wings. It reared its head and spouted a tiny flash of fire before taking flight about the room.
“Stop it. Stop it.” Paddy reached to take the pipes from them. “Holy mackeral!” he said as he slid from the counter and went chasing after the miniature beast.
Merry giggled and laughed and pressed her hands over her mouth like a little girl.
Simon tried to suppress a laugh, wheezed and coughed and burst out laughing. A bright blue butterfly emerged from his mouth and fluttered about the room.
“Oll right. Thot does it!” Paddy came to take the Healer’s arm. “I’m takin’ ye up t’ yer woife.”
“Oh, noooo.” Simon shook his head. “Thot wudna do atoll.”
“What wouldn’t do at all?”
The two Knights spun around to see Rachel standing in the open door with one hand pressed on her belly. “What are you doing down here, Simon?” The look on her face was not good.
“I was just having a nip and a smoke, my love,” he explained very carefully in Italian, got up too quickly and then sat down on the floor much to his own dismay. He burped, put his hand over his mouth and a long stream of ladybugs crawled through his fingers and took flight.
Rachel’s eyes went wide and then she grimaced and grabbed her tummy with both hands.
“Well, while you are having a nip and a smoke, I am having this baby,” she told him and then made a face as a pain wracked her. “I’ve sent all the boys out looking for you.”
“Oh, noooo,” Simon shook his head again. “It can’t be! Woe is me.” He tried to stand up with Merry’s clumsy help and Paddy went to look up at Rachel.
She looked down at him with wide eyes.
“Paddy Elrood Puffingtowne, of Buttersilk Farm, Kilkenny, Kilkenny County, Ireland, at yer service, lassie.” He made a sweeping bow for her. “It is a real pleasure t’ meet Sir Simon’s lovely woife. May I be of assistance t’ ye? Whair exactly wud ye loike t’ ’ave th’ bairn? Upstairs or down?”