The Crescent and the Cross (Knights Templar Series Book 5) by S.J.A Turney
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | Historical | ePUB| 1.5 MB
An epic battle of the Reconquista; a personal struggle to survive; a fight for glory.
War is brewing, and the Pope has summoned a crusade. The nations of Christendom are rallying to fight the Almohad caliphate, but they are a formidable foe.
Meanwhile, behind Moorish lines, a fortress held by Castile is under siege. As the siege falls, a knight is lost. Arnau leaves on a dangerous, near-suicidal quest to save him, a new squire in tow.
In the heat of the sierras though, things are not as they seem. War is coming to Iberia and all will be tested. Arnau’s sword arm will need practice, as will his mind.
A second wave was coming now, and the men around the tower hurriedly loaded their crossbows once more. Each man, as he readied himself, called out his readiness, and once all were prepared the master paused, watching the assault progress as each man named his next target, and then gave another blast on his whistle. The bows released with a cacophony of cracks once more, and Martin clicked his tongue in irritation as his bolt slammed into the man’s shoulder, spinning him and throwing him aside. Martin knew he was better than that. It should have been a kill. Still, the man would be out of the battle, Martin consoled himself as he watched the Moor climb to his feet, clutching his shoulder, and scurry away the way he had come.
‘Ready…’ the master called. As the pause settled in weird silence, he filled the gap with praise. ‘An exceptional set of volleys, Brothers. The Lord guides your eye this day.’
A chorus of amens echoed around the tower once more. Each man had pulled away from his aperture now. Martin had dropped to one side, crouched by the privy wall, recovering from the constant nausea as the drop disappeared from view. The whole routine had become rote, and realistically every man could have done his duty here without the need for orders from above. Each day: two enemy waves into the breach, and then a party of talented Almohad archers would step out from their hiding places and attempt to sight the sources of the crossbow bolts, trying to pick off the Christian archers, covering the retreat of the footmen. Rarely a day passed without them finding a target now.
Martin crouched for a while, waiting for the tell-tale clatter of arrows against stone and a pained cry from somewhere around the walls and towers as a brother took an enemy missile. Still nothing happened. Not only no agonised shout, but not even the sound of arrows in flight. The format of the attacks had become so routine that any change seemed unthinkable, as though sunset had come and gone but the moon had decided not to rise.
A tense silence reigned, each man looking at his fellows with an expression of concern and uncertainty. Even the master could be heard fretting, from the sound of fingers drumming on leather. Finally, unable to bear it any longer, Martin rose and gingerly poked his head over the privy lip. Far from receiving an arrow in the face, he was baffled to note no sign of the caliph’s archers among the rubble. Something had changed. For a moment a shining hope thrilled through him. Had the king come?