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.This is a book of fiction.All the names, characters and events portrayed in this book are Fictional and any resemblance to real people and incidents are purely coincidental.CASCA: #31 The ConquerorCasca Ebooks are published by arrangement with the copyright holderCopyright © 2009 by Tony RobertsCover design by Greg BrantleyAll Rights ReservedCasca eBooks are for personal use of the original buyer only.All Casca eBooks are exclusive property of the publisher and/or the authors and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws.You may not modify, transmit, publish, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, display, or in any way exploit, any of the content of our eBooks, in whole or in part.eBooks are NOT returnable.Table of ContentsPROLOGUECHAPTER ONECHAPTER TWOCHAPTER THREECHAPTER FOURCHAPTER FIVECHAPTER SIXCHAPTER SEVENCHAPTER EIGHTCHAPTER NINECHAPTER TENCHAPTER ELEVENCHAPTER TWELVECHAPTER THIRTEENCHAPTER FOURTEENCHAPTER FIFTEENCHAPTER SIXTEENCHAPTER SEVENTEENCHAPTER EIGHTEENCHAPTER NINETEENCHAPTER TWENTYCHAPTER TWENTY-ONECHAPTER TWENTY-TWOCHAPTER TWENTY-THREECHAPTER TWENTY-FOURCHAPTER TWENTY-FIVECHAPTER TWENTY-SIXCHAPTER TWENTY-SEVENCHAPTER TWENTY- EIGHTCHAPTER TWENTY-NINECHAPTER THIRTYCHAPTER THIRTY-ONECHAPTER THIRTY-TWOEPILOGUEContinuing Casca’s adventures, book 32 The AnzacPROLOGUEThe smell of burning filled the air, and the crackling of flames was the only thing to be heard.The farmhouse was a mass of fire, and nothing could possibly live within what was left of the once immaculate building.Lying scattered on the ground outside were a few bodies, twisted in the final state of death, all having met a violent end.As the flames ate away the last of the supports, the building crashed in on itself with a hearty roar, and sparks shot up high into the sky.The flames grew for a moment before settling back, smaller than before as the combustible materials were steadily consumed.It would continue to burn for a long time until only embers remained, but to those watching it was now safe to approach, and they did, calming their nervous mounts.“Nice work,” the largest of the men grunted in satisfaction to the others.“It was easy; these farmers are no contest,” a second growled in response, spitting onto the ground in disgust.“No matter, the Lord of this land must be persuaded he cannot oppose Lesalles; he will learn in time to bow to his strength.Did the bodies contain anything of value?”The subordinates shook their heads and looked at the dead scattered about.Even the dog had been killed, for it had tried to protect its master; only to be cut down cruelly for its bravery.The leader took one last look at the dead before turning his horse round and walked off into the darkness, his chain armor glittering in the light of the flames.The others followed him, leaving behind a scene of total devastation, already putting out of their minds the bodies lying there.One of the bodies, the man whom the dog had tried to protect, lay like the others as one dead, but something was happening inside the broken body.Cells were re-knitting, bones were reforming and healing, blood flow was rerouted away from the gaping wounds the raiders’ swords had made so that life remained within.The wounds themselves were closing and the skin rejoining, leaving red scars that would fade with time.They would then merely be just scars like the rest that covered the body of the man.A hand trembled, the fingers clawing into the moist earth.The heart beat faster, urging the blood to speed up the healing process.White cells congregated around the wounds, attacking the tetanus germs and other infections that tried to invade the body, and were slaughtered.The arm shook and moved, and the eyes of the man opened slowly.They were gray-blue and looked about blankly, not understanding what was going on.The brain hadn’t kicked in properly yet.A groan escaped lips that were smeared with dirt.Pain filled the body and he rolled over onto his back.He looked up into the sky, dark with night but glowing with the flames of the dying fire.One hand brushed soft fur and it jerked back for a moment, then came back to stroke the dark matted hair.A sound escaped the cracked lips of the man.“Pepin.” With the name memory came back and he looked sideways at the motionless animal, eyes closed, tongue hanging out of the side of the jaw and resting against the ground.The man sighed and closed his eyes before stroking the body in fondness.Pepin had been a faithful dog.The man, Casca Rufio Longinus, groaned and rolled onto his side and heaved himself up.Weakness swam through him and he grunted, hanging his head but keeping his arms locked so he didn’t fall back to the ground once more.He slowly dragged his knees under his chest and pushed his torso upright.“Once again I rise from the dead,” he muttered bitterly.His gaze took in the broken figures lying scattered about and the ruined and still burning buildings that only a short while ago had been a farm.A home.The others who’d shared the farm.Dead, just like Pepin.He got to his feet and swayed, staring at the burning house.Everything he’d owned was in there, and so now he had nothing.No home, no friends, no possessions, save the clothes he wore.And even these were unfit; the tunic was stained with blood and had a long slash down the back.He’d been cut down from behind while his attention had been distracted by one of the men in front of him.Casca had been reaching for him, to pull him off his mount in fury, when he’d suddenly become aware of someone behind him and the sharp pain had cut through him and then the next thing he’d remembered was coming round just now.He flexed his aching back.The wound would be closing but it would remain a raw and painful jagged scar for a few days.Best he not touch it yet.Another day and it would be just another of the many scars he possessed, the only reminder of his many brushes with death over the past 1030 or so years since his spear thrust into the side of the crucified Jew had led to the Curse of immortality.“Shit.” Just a word, but one that carried all the pain, anger and regret he felt at that moment.He walked forward and began dragging the maid and the two farm hands who had also been slaughtered away from the fire and in a neat row.Pepin he then carried gently and laid him at the feet of the woman.He had no tools, no spade.All had been burned.He’d walk to the nearest farm and ask for help to get the bodies buried.Then he’d find out the identities of the five men who’d attacked them and killed the others and left him for dead.All he’d heard before being cut down were two things; a name and a place.Lesalles and Hrodbehrt’s Tavern.And when he’d find them he’d kill them.All of them.CHAPTER ONECaen.The biggest town in central Normandy.A bustling, busy place where merchants jostled to sell their wares.Wagons and carts rumbled or squelched through the streets bringing in food, wool and iron, amongst other things, and men marched in squads, armed to the teeth.Casca hopped off the wagon of oats he’d hitched a lift on and waved his thanks to the driver, a distant neighbor who’d been kind enough to help bury the dead.Casca had explained he had to go to Caen to catch a ship to Flanders where he had family.That would be the story passed round the farmlands near where his burned down property had been.That part of his life was over [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]