The Angel of Antilia [Gadifriald's Saga #4] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by T. J. Lazier
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Fantasy
eBook Description: The holy crusaders known as the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword are besieging the Northern realms of Stoneshoreland, Antilia, and Freyrland. Convinced their cause is right, the crusaders are determined to bring the true religion to the barbarous, wicked, pagan people of the Northland - even if they have to massacre every last man, woman and child do it! And they have their god's nearly all-powerful winged angels from the heavenly realm to help them in their conquest. Our heroine Cari is trying desperately to gather the three northern realms into an alliance to resist the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword. But now she has been captured and chained by Carisha, a very amorous woman with pronounced Sapphic tendencies and a taste for dominating her slaves. Her companion in this quest, Gadifriald, has decided to aid Rosalia Sertorius, whose homeland of Antilia has been invaded by the Brotherhood and their avenging angels. Getting a three-way alliance to drive the invaders out of Antilia before it can use the nation and its treasury as a base for invading Stoneshoreland and Freyrland is essential. But even when he has an army to fight with, Gadi seems busier - and more successful - at getting into Rosalia's tunic. Meanwhile, dark magic and seemingly unstoppable enemy who seem to have divinely inspired miracles on their side are gathering. Before very long, it seems as if Cari, Gadi, Rosalia, their companions, and countries only choice is whether to perish by the sword, sex, or sorcery. If Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber wrote erotica it would be Gadifriad's Saga.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2010
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CHAPTER I: UPON THE TOWER
Few now live who remember these tales so pen must be set to page...
The island nation of Antilia was a large rectangular island located at the eastern end of a chain of islands larger than it was at the edge of the Antilian Sea. A tropical paradise it had a mountainous interior covered in lush forests and narrow fertile coastal plains where its seven magnificent cities had been built. Antilia was an amazingly wealthy land grown rich off of trade with the gold rich lands to the west, Freyrland and Westgarde to the north and through them Europe and lands beyond. So the seven cities of Antilia were perhaps the richest cities in the known world and some of the grandest.
The grandest, richest port and largest of those cities was the capital city, Aira. Aira was a city built of white limestone on a small rectangular island just off the north coast of Antilia that formed the eastern side of the mouth of the bay called Aira Bay. A narrow stretch of water separated the white walled city from the main island but Aira was connected to the Aira Peninsula that jutted from the mainland of Antilia by two great limestone bridges that were defended by a fortress on the mainland side.
The Bridge Fortress of Aira consisted of two fortified gates a hundred yards apart each flanked by two massive square limestone towers and connected by a long twenty foot high and thirty foot thick defensive wall. Manned by several hundred warriors the fortress was incredibly strong, but in the Christian year 1220 it was under siege. Which it was under siege because Antilia had been invaded and though the invader's fleet and their Jamaka pirate allies had been destroyed by a relief expedition the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword still remained upon the island south of the city.
Late in the afternoon of a hot Antilian summer day a young warrior who had helped lead the ships and warriors of Stoneshoreland and Freyrland to Aira's aid stood atop the Bridge Fortress taking account of the forces attacking it. The Brotherhood of the Holy Sword's forces numbered probably a thousand all told. Of those it was their four hundred or so crossbowmen and engineers that were sieging the Bridge Fortress while the two hundred knights of the force supported the siege and ravished the countryside from a fortified camp to the south.
Before each gate of the fortress a company of crossbowmen was set up behind roes of sharpened wood stakes driven into the ground. Protected by large rectangular shields set up on the ground the cloth armored and steel helmeted men shot at the occasional target upon the walls of the fortress. Mostly though it seemed they were there to keep the gates blocked.
The engineers on the other hand provided the main punch of the siege force. They had set up a pair of catapults protected by a screen of crossbowmen near the eastern most tower of the Bridge Fortress and those engines of war were being used to batter the thick limestone walls of that tower. However the crusaders had no towers or scaling ladders and the way they were set to bottle up the southern approaches to the city and the fact the Jamaka had been blockading the mouth of the bay and the destruction of the surrounding countryside did not speak of a determined effort to take the city but rather to force it into submission.
"I don't think the pirates and crusaders sought to take Aira by force," Gadifriald Lokkasson said as he stood atop one of the gate towers of the Bridge Fortress of Aira gazing out over the siegers' positions.
Gadi as he was more commonly known was a tall young man from Westgarde who stood three inches over six feet with long black hair and lightly dark skin that spoke of his part Skraeling ancestry and piercing blue eyes that came from his Norse blood. The Westgarder was broad of shoulder, long of limb and lean of build and his clean shaven face was handsome despite the ever increasing hardness it portrayed. Not quite twenty years of age Gadi was the bastard son of the famed hero Lokka Longstridesson by the half Skraeling Brynhilde of Stoneshoreland.
Through his mother he was the heir to the Jarldoms of Stoneshoreland and Freyrland and had been raised to rule those lands and to become a hero like his famed father. From childhood he had been trained in the ways of war, ruling, magic and much more by his mother, grandfather, the old wizard Fym and many others and had been pushed by nearly everyone he had known and seemingly by life itself to become a leader and hero. Moody and often brooding by nature Gadifriald was a reluctant hero but was intelligent enough to embrace the heroes path that had been forced upon him.
Together with Fym he had led the rescue of Princess Carine of the Triple Realm from the Sorceress of the Misted Isle, killing the sorceress' chief captain in a great duel before all was said and done. On his own Gadi had led the hunt of the Great Bear of Stoneshoreland, which he had slain and upon returning to Stoneshoreland had had to rescue Carine from his grandfather who had been possessed by the vengeful spirit of the Great Bear. Most recently the young warrior had sailed south from Stoneshoreland to Freyrland with a fleet and force of warriors his grandfather had provided the princess to aid the Triple Realm in its war with the Roman Church.
Upon arrival at his uncle Eldric Eight Fingers' palace in Freyrland he, Carine and Fym had learned Antilia had been invaded by an alliance of a Roman Church militant order known as the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword and Jamaka pirates. Forming an alliance with Freyrland and Antilia they had sailed south with Jarl Eldric and Gadi's betrothed Rosalia Sertorius to relieve the besieged Aira and had destroyed the Jamaka and crusader fleet and the Jamaka pirates in a surprise attack. Earlier that very day the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword had sent a peace delegation to meet with Consul Caltus Sertorius that had in truth been a group of magicians and knights meant to capture the Consul and his wife.
In the brutal fight that had followed the traitorous delegation had been defeated, but many Antilians of the Consul's Guard had been slain and Gadi, his uncle and Rosalia Sertorius had all been wounded. Also the leader of the delegation had carried the sword of Lokka Longstridesson and had told the young warrior the Jarl of Jamaka had claimed to have slain his father. In his ensuing rage Gadi had killed that leader, ordered the entire delegation executed and sworn the destruction of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sword upon Antilia.
The Consul of Antilia, the Jarl of Freyrland and Princess Carine had agreed with him on the destruction of the crusaders. So trying to keep his mind off the fact the father he had barely known was most likely dead Gadi had come to the Bridge Fortress to figure out a plan of battle to finish off the crusader forces. Which the grey doeskin trouser and blue silk tunic clad warrior who wore his father's bronze hilted, double dragonhead pommeled sword at his side was not alone as he stood surveying the enemy and formulating his plans.
"They meant to starve the city then?" asked the deep voice of Cechen of the Long Finger Mikmaq.
Gadi turned to glance at the medium heighted, broad chested and stern faced Mikmaq chief. Cechen wore his black hair cut short and his reddish brown skin was weathered by countless days spent in the wind and sun and his dark eyes were shrewd. He was twice Gadi's age, the father of the Mikmaq girl Mihala who would bear Gadi's first child and had hunted the Great Bear with Gadi and helped him slay the mystical beast.
By Mikmaq tradition the two of them were hunt brothers and Cechen had been rewarded by Gadi's half Mikmaq mother with a tunic made of the hide of the Great Bear that he proudly wore. Otherwise clad in buckskin the man who Gadi had come to consider a great friend wore a shortsword on his silver buckled belt. Gadi had brought Cechen with him to command the Mikmaq contingent of the force he led for Cari and the chief had evolved into his defacto second in command.
"Perhaps," Gadi replied to his friend's question. "Though they did not have enough ships to keep the city from being supplied by boats and they did not try to blockade the mouth of the harbor itself. I think that by cutting off Aira's trade completely and destroying the surrounding countryside they meant to force the consul and archbishop to surrender or pay a great ransom," he told him.
Cechen nodded at that. "Easier to do than take such a strong city," he observed, patting the marlined parapet before them.
"Aye, much easier," the young warrior agreed. "Aira is the strongest city in Antilia and this side of the great ocean. The crusaders and pirates would have been wiser to attack one of Antilia's less defended cities," he said.
"Cut off the head of the snake," the Mikmaq chief stated simply.
Gadi nodded and said, "True, force Antilia's capital and rulers to surrender and the whole land capitulates."
"We do not face fools my brother," Cechen observed with a nod in the direction of the crusaders outside of the fortress. "Though I think we may have come to help fools."
The Westgarder laughed at that and clapped the smaller man on the shoulder. "My brother Antilians are not fools, they just get carried away with celebrating," he told him.
"They celebrated while an enemy sits outside their doors," the Mikmaq pointed out.
Gadi grunted and shrugged his big shoulders. "We all were celebrating before the crusader's treachery earlier today," he reminded the other man, then said, "But we certainly should deal with the crusaders soon."
"You speak wisely," Cechen said and then smiled broadly. "I hope your sons by Mihala will have their father's wisdom," he stated.
"I hope they will have their grandfather's wisdom more than mine," the young warrior declared with a smile of his own.
"Would be better than inheriting their mother's," Cechen observed and both men shared a fond laugh over the sweet but rather silly Mihala of the Long Finger Mikmaq before returning to their military discussion.
The citizens of Aira and the warriors of the relief force were still celebrating the recent victory over the Jamaka pirates and crusader fleet despite the attack on the consul by the treacherous Brotherhood of the Holy Sword delegation as Carine Ariansdaughter searched for Gadifriald Lokkasson. The Princess of the Triple Realm had been personally involved in that deadly encounter, first having used her magic to reveal the true nature of the delegation and then using it to help defeat the crusaders in the consul's throne room. After the fight had been over the princess had helped the wizard Fym heal those who had been wounded fighting the crusaders and after some rest had gone in search of Gadi.
The young man had not been in the massive consul's palace at the center of the city. However the girl had felt such a need to talk to him she had headed for the Bridge Fortress when she had learned Gadi had gone there. Gadi had rescued her from slavery, saved her life and taught her the meaning of love and Cari loved him too much to let the falling out the two of them had had over him being betrothed to Rosalia Sertorius stand.
Clad in a short white tunic of transparent silk the princess drew plenty of attention as she made her way through Aira that afternoon. Cari was a tall, ethereally beautiful girl who stood just two inches bellow six feet with rump length golden hair that tumbled in waves down her back, skin turned a golden brown by the tropical sun and lovely dark lash framed green eyes set in the face of a goddess. Her body was slender with youth but rounded nicely into womanhood and her gossamer tunic that clung to her in the Antilian heat showed off her long slender legs, hairless sex, round hips and buttocks, tiny waist and just full and very firm pink nippled breasts for all to see.
Carine Ariansdaughter was far more than a beauty however. She was very intelligent for one so young, had a great ability with magic, was trained in statecraft and magic and was as willful as a princess could get. Raised to one day rule the Triple Realm Cari had had her innocence stripped away by slavery and had her wild willful nature forged into a steel will. Being half otherfolk her slavery had also unleashed her immortal mother's wild carnal nature in her and the girl's other recent erotic experiences had further brought out that side of her.
Because of that wild otherfolk half of her Cari luxuriated under the lustful and admiring gazes of those she passed. Antilians were a people noted for their beautiful women but even in the beauty packed streets of Aira the blonde stood out like a rose amongst thorns. Besides the tunic the only thing the princess wore was a slim, enchanted and unremoveable silver collar about her slender neck and she delighted in being practically nude under the admiring eyes of those around her.
Which there were plenty around her. Aira boasted a population of a score thousand and over two thousand sailors and warriors from the Stoneshoreland and Freyrland relief force also helped fill the city. So the limestone flagstone paved streets of the grand city that Cari padded through on bare feet that hot and muggy afternoon teemed with jubilant, boisterous and wildly happy men, women and children who all seemed to want to touch the golden haired beauty out of reverence, wonder and lust.
Largely dark haired, eyed and skinned Antilians trailed reverent hands over the hair, arms and legs of the princess who they considered one of their saviors. However the warriors in the crowds were not so reverent and Cari soon lost count of the number of times she was accosted by lustful drunken warriors of the army she had brought to Antilia. At first she made haughty, regal refusals to their heated requests but those soon turned to angry reprimands as warriors slipped hands under her tunic to caress her bare rump, sex and thighs or squeezed a breast as she passed.
The warriors of the relief force had gotten used to being savior heroes who every Antilian woman, girl and boy they wanted submitted to eagerly and they seemed to think Cari should do the same. A warrior she recognized as a former Misted Isle pirate took that notion so far that he pushed her back against a wall, lifted the hem of her tunic and grasped her sex roughly. The girl glared at him darkly and commanded him to release her but he laughed drunkenly in reply and covered Cari's protesting mouth with his, kissing her heatedly. Which increased the princess' fury greatly, so she bit his tongue and when he pulled back shouting in pain she struck him blind with a spell.
After that all the warriors gave the blonde girl a wide berth as she made her way to the Bridge Fortress. However the damage to her mood had been done and Cari was haughtily angry when she finally found Gadi on top of one of the towers of the fortress. Which after she had made her way up the long flights of stairs and come out onto the tower top she stopped to regard the young man she loved as he stood looking out at the crusader positions and camps with Cechen at his side.
Looking at Gadi did not exactly mollify her anger. It did however make her think about how much she loved the tall, dark haired warrior who had conquered her heart with kindness even while she had been a slave. The fact that the two of them had hardly spoken the last few weeks troubled Cari greatly and she realized how foolish she had been to nearly destroy the love they shared out of jealousy over Rosalia Sertorius.
Yet at the same time she was not sure how to approach Gadi to heal the rift between them and in her frustration decided to just give voice to her anger.
"I am going to pass a new rule for my army!" the Princess of the Triple Realm declared loudly as she gracefully stormed her way across the tower roof toward Gadi. "Any man who dares to touch me dies!"
The young warrior turned to give her a both surprised and curious look. "What brings you all the way out here?" he wanted to know, then asked, "And why would you pass such a decree?"
Cari gave an almost regal huff as she turned and sat down in the gap of a marlin with her elbows resting on the raised limestone blocks to either side. "I came out to the Bridge Fortress because I need to speak with you," she replied with narrowed eyes and frowning lips. "And the sudden decree is because I had to teach one of our warriors a lesson on my way here as he seemed to think any woman walking the streets of Aira was his for the taking."
"I'll have his head for daring to touch you," Gadi growled with his own eyes narrowing dangerously and the girl felt a thrill that he still cared enough to be angry over a man laying unwanted hands on her.
Smiling softly the princess waved a dismissive hand. "I already dealt with him," she told him, then added, "I think I just need to point out the fact I am their leader and not their whore."
"You bed too many men for your warriors to respect you," Cechen said from where he stood on the other side of Gadi.
Cari shot the Mikmaq a dark look. "If I want your opinion on the matters of who I bed I will ask it," she informed him with all the willful haughtier of a princess with her anger burning full flame once again.
Cechen grunted at those words and then Gadi said something to him in the Mikmaq tongue and the chief nodded and left.
"That man is entirely too free with opinions," Cari commented as she watched Cechen leave.
"That is one of the things I prize in him," Gadi told her.
The blonde girl turned a curious gaze upon the man she loved. "Do you think I bed too many men?" she demanded with an edge in her voice.
The young man shrugged his big shoulders. "It's not my place to say."
"Answer the question Gadi!" Cari insisted, anger plain into her regal voice.
"No, I don't," Gadi replied after a moment, turning his gaze out over the parapet. "I won't say that I'm not jealous but you bed the men you should," he said.
Cari smiled softly at that, asking, "You get jealous of me and other men?"
Gadi grunted and with a nod said, "Of course I do."
The girl gave him a warm look. "I like the idea that you get jealous over me," she told him.
The young warrior laughed at that. "That you've been my uncle's mistress for the past weeks has had me more jealous than I ever thought I could be," he admitted.
"How do you think I've felt with Rosa being your betrothed?" Cari demanded.
"Still haven't forgiven me for not telling you about that before you found out in Antilia?" Gadi asked rather than answered.
Cari sighed and looked away from him, saying, "I have forgiven you Gadi and I've realized how much my jealousy has hurt the love we shared."
"A love I hope we still share," the Westgarder murmured almost to himself.
The princess bit her lip and gazed at him with wide, misty eyes. "Do you still love me as much as you used to Gadi?" she wanted to know.
Gadi looked at her with a warm love in his piercing blue eyes and a small lopsided smile on his face that he only smiled for her. "Balder's blood I love you more than life itself and nothing could ever change that," was his adamant reply.
"Not even the foolish behavior of a silly slavegirl who pretends she's a princess?" Cari asked, her eyes vulnerable and her heart ready to break or soar.
"Not anything," Gadi told her, his hands finding her waist to lift her up to kiss her long, hard and deep.
Cari's heart soared at those words and hammered from her lover's kiss as her head spun. The princess melted under Gadi's kiss and against him, her arms slipping about his neck as she kissed him back with all her heart as the anger, resentment and jealousy disappeared in the heat of their passion. In that moment Carine Ariansdaughter realized that she loved Gadifriald Lokkasson too much to let something as small as him being betrothed to another woman ever come between them again.
"Odin's eye I missed you so much Gadi," Cari sighed breathlessly when they broke for air.
"Probably as much as I missed you," the young man breathed and then he was kissing her again, taking away what little breath she had managed to regain. "You know I would love to have you all to myself, but you are a woman of high station and high passion and not meant for one man," he told her after he had kissed her.
"You mean I'm a wanton whore," Cari said with a giggle, her arms around his neck and her bosom pressed to his chest.
"You are not a whore," Gadi insisted.
Cari laughed softly at that. "Oh Gadi, I am a whore," she declared. "I am a whore and a slut and a slave. But I'm only your slave," the princess informed him with a wicked smile.
Her lover's eyes narrowed with lust at those last words and in a tight voice he growled, "Since you are my slave I want you naked and on your knees girl!"
Cari felt a rush of arousal at those words and also the overwhelming need to obey. The spell that Mengia of the Misted Isle had set upon the princess and the silver, rune worked collar she wore gave Gadi total power over her when he wanted because Cari had seduced him into speaking the runes of power upon it. The princess delighted in the fact he had that power and the fact that she was his slave. So with her green eyes glowing with desire and her body tingling Cari obediently stripped off her tunic before kneeling naked at her master's feet.