In the Shadow of Your Wings (Northshire Heritage Book 1)(4)

By: J.P. Robinson

“My son!” He threw himself toward the child, mind spinning. He would do anything, give anything to undo the sin of his betrayal.

His fingers touched the boy’s saddle and he grunted in satisfaction as his hand brushed Jacques’s leg. Why is he not jumping into my arms?

“This is not your son, you fool!” A coarse voice shouted from above. “Let go!”

“Give me back my son!” Cyrano rushed forward again, fingers outstretched. The horse stumbled beneath his unexpected weight and a rough hand from behind jerked him away. The unforgiving, wet cobblestones punched into Cyrano’s side as he fell, and he cried out. But the thought of losing his son a second time drove him back to his feet.

“Jacques. Jacques Durand!” He flung his wet hair out of his face. “Come to me boy. Jump!” But there was no response. The distance between himself and the horses grew, but Cyrano staggered forward. He would fix this. He would!

He gritted his teeth as pain flared in his side and ran with all his might. His breath came in ragged gasps, but he felt his hands connect with the boy’s slick saddle. So close!

“Jump boy!” He pulled at his son’s leg. “Jump into my arms!” The young rider swayed in the saddle and hope flared in Cyrano’s chest.

At that moment, a thunderous roar filled the courtyard. Pain erupted in his shoulder.

The soldier! Cyrano fell to his knees, his mouth moving wordlessly as the realization that he had been shot broke upon his mind. Distant shouts sounded along the walls. More soldiers!

He writhed upon the ground, screaming. The clatter of an approaching horse’s hooves on stone filled his ears. The horse moved past him. He dimly heard the scrape of an unsheathed dagger, a startled grunt and the unmistakable chut of a blade piercing human flesh.

A hand jerked his head upright and he realized that he was staring in the face of the man who had persuaded him to sell his son. Luc.

“You made such a scene I had to kill the guard who saw too much.” Luc waved a bloody dagger under Cyrano’s nose.

“M-my son?” Cyrano glared up at him.

“That boy was not your son, Old Man.” Luc gestured toward the Temple’s walls. “Your son is in there, saving France by taking the real prince’s place.”

“No!” Cyrano clutched at Luc’s sleeve. “D-don’t do this!”

“Cyrano Durand.” Luc shook his head. “I could kill you. I should kill you, but I don’t want another unnecessary death on my hands. Not when I’m about to meet my Maker.”

The shouts of the watch alerted by the gunfire and horses grew closer.

“You will live.” He grabbed Cyrano’s head and viciously forced his mouth open with the flat of his dagger.

“Alive.” He slipped his blade between the struggling man’s teeth. “But unable to tell what you have seen!” Cyrano’s screams merged with the tramping of boots as soldiers spilled into the courtyard.

Luc cast aside the warm, slippery tongue of his victim who bawled in agony upon the ground. His eyes roamed over the swarm of soldiers who rushed toward them as he drew a pair of pistols from his belt.

“Stand down!”

Luc disobeyed the order, pulling the trigger and sending one attacking soldier spinning backward. The advancing guards aimed their rifles at him.

“Drop the weapon! Now!”

Luc pulled the trigger on the second gun then drew his sword and dagger. Sucking in a deep breath, he charged the ready troops, his black cloak billowing around him.

“Vive le Roi! His shout echoed off the Temple’s stone walls. Bullets smacked into his arms and chest as he rushed forward. “Vive le Roi. Long live the King!”

Part 1

“And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9 NKJV

Chapter 1

Northshire Village, Great Britain. January 1, 1915

The dark skies above Sussex County belied the fact that the New Year had come. No fireworks illuminated the darkness for fear that the German zeppelins would drop their own firepower on those who watched from the ground. Instead of joyfully proclaiming the hope of a new beginning, church bells tolled an incessant dirge for the dead.