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The Dark Age: Survivors of the Pulse

The Dark Age: Survivors of the Pulse

ASIN: 193708504X
ISBN-13: 978-1937085049
Genre: Post Apocalyptic/Fantasy/Christian Fiction
Now Available

Suppose you learned that an ancient prophecy about an artifact, said to be powerful enough to dramatically change the world, was true. Would you risk everything to find it? It has been five-hundred years since the Pulse caused the Great Collapse, ending the Golden Age, and civilization on planet Earth. Humanity has waited ever since for a long-anticipated sign from God, which has finally appeared in the night sky. The time has come for Ferrell Young, the Warrior Clan, and the Church to risk everything in an effort to restore civilization, and bring hope to a world full of despair. Alex Montgomery is an archaeologist who has spent many years looking for a mysterious book on behalf of the Holy Christian Church. The book is said to contain the location of the Great Oracle which, according to legend, can endow the one who finds it with great power and wealth. Of much greater importance to the Clan and the Church however, is the fact that it may also enable the world to emerge from five centuries of darkness and suffering. When a powerful, intelligent, but sadistic barbarian leader named Kraken learns of the Oracle, he plans to destroy the Warrior Clan and the Church, take the Oracle for himself, and enslave the rest of humanity. Join Ferrell and his companions as they set out on a desperate journey to find the Great Oracle, and rescue humanity from The Dark Age.

Trailer for The Great Dark Age

Excerpt-The Great Dark Age

Chapter 19-The First Map

Valde Era Lux Lucis Via (Where the Great Lady Lights the Way)

Julius looked over at Brother Francis. The priest had obviously never done much horseback riding before, and he was now paying a price for it on the journey to the mero. He had been told that the mero they were travelling to was one of the largest meros in the known lands; there were certain to be dangers at every turn. If they acted with great stealth as they approached the mero, and with haste, perhaps their presence would be undetected by the inhabitants of the mero. In addition to their safety, the clansman was also concerned about their ability to locate the monastery in the midst of such a large mero; it could take days, perhaps even weeks to find it. It was not the danger to his own life that bothered Julius. As a clansman, he was well trained and prepared to die. He wondered how he was supposed to keep the priest alive against
such difficult odds. 

Julius estimated that the trip would take them at least several more days. Though not as aged as Lord Sarkoth or even Brother Sebastian, Julius determine that Brother Francis was easily old enough to be his father. He would therefore show an even greater respect to Brother Francis than he would have otherwise, not only because he was associated with the Church, an entity that Lord Sarkoth had deemed a friend to the Clan, and not just because he was a priest, but because he was his elder. Julius was a proud, traditional man, and a proud warrior. He respected the code, he breathed the code, and he lived by it.

“Brother Francis, we have made excellent progress today. Perhaps we should stop here for the night to camp.” He almost laughed aloud when he saw the expression of relief on the face of Brother Francis.
“Very good my son, if you feel that is best, of course.” Brother Francis got off the horse. “I am grateful, my young friend, and I thank you for your kind mercies,” he said to Julius while rubbing his posterior. “We are both grateful to you my son,” he added. Both of them burst out laughing.

After they had rested for a short while, Brother Francis noticed the faces of the warriors that had accompanied them on the journey. They appeared to be a solemn lot, a very serious group of men. He turned to face his companion.
“Clansman Julius, may we talk for a few moments?”
The warrior turned to Brother Francis, and sat down on the ground next to him at the fire.
“Yes, Brother Francis, what can I do for you?”
“I am curious about something, about the Warrior Clan. I know that the Holy Father has a relationship with Lord Sarkoth, but other than the short time I was at the Enclave, and our time together on this trip, I have spent little time with clansmen, so I know next to nothing about you. Don’t get me wrong, you are an impressive group of people; fiercely loyal, dedicated, and as committed to rebuilding civilization as we are.
What I am curious about is your religious beliefs. Do you believe in God? Do you have any religion at all?”
“I suppose we are like any group of people… no two members believe exactly the same thing. There are a number of clansmen that worship the Christian God, and certainly Lord Sarkoth does nothing to discourage this practice. Some clansmen find peace in the creative arts, learning the ancient art of calligraphy, or writing poetry, while others prefer to simply meditate. Since the time of The Great Collapse and the founding of the Clan, we have all been focused on perfecting our fighting skills in order to survive, and to help teach others how to survive. As you know, we also value and understand the need for civilization to once again flourish and thrive in our world. Throughout this Dark Age, we have done what we could to preserve knowledge of the ancient ways.”
“That is incredible. Do you maintain libraries? Are warriors taught to read and write as well?” asked Francis.
“We have books Brother, and everyone learns the basics of how to read and write. Extensive reading however, is a luxury that we can ill-afford during these difficult and trying days. We have collected books when possible and practical to do so, but most were burned during the Great Collapse or since by urbas, who care nothing whatsoever for learning or knowledge. They seek only to prey on others, to take what they want from whomever they want. They are a vicious, unprincipled lot.”
“But they are human beings, Julius. You talk about them as if they are animals, not men.”
“They may have been men once, long ago, Brother, but now, they are nothing but murderers, thieves, and worse. They hold no value for life, no morals.”
“Perhaps that is only because they do not know God, and his great love for them.”
Julius was starting to get agitated with the priest. “Well, I can tell you what would happen to you Brother, if you decided to go and tell them about your God. They would take you, strip your clothes off of you, and kill you for fun!”
“If that is God’s will for me Julius, then so be it. It is one of our primary callings.”
“Then it is my hope that you are not called to do so during this trip Brother, for it is my duty to keep you alive, even at the cost of my life, and the lives of those that travel with us.”
The priest frowned. To put his own life at risk was one thing; to put the lives of the young warriors that traveled with him at risk was something altogether different. 
“Don’t fret my young friend. Unless God directs me otherwise, it is fully my intent
to complete our objective and find the map.”
“Good, I'm glad to hear it, Brother,” answered Julius. He had been a bit harsh with the priest, and despite Francis' naïveté, he liked the priest. “Forgive me Brother, I did not mean to snap at you, but you do not know these urba the way I do. I have seen them murder innocent men, women, and children, with no hesitation whatsoever. They may indeed be human beings, and perhaps one day they will learn of this God of yours, and become better people for it. Until then however, I will kill any urba who crosses paths with me.” He then turned without saying another word and lay down to sleep. He dreamed of battle that night.

Early the next morning, several of the clansmen woke up and immediately set off in search of firewood while others went looking for game. A short time later, there was a blazing fire started, with several hares cooking over it. Brother Francis awoke to the tantalizing aroma of breakfast. He stood up and walked toward the fire, where Julius stood cooking a hare.
“Good Morning, Brother Francis.”
“Good Morning, Clansman Julius.”
“Would you care for some breakfast?”
“Yes, thank you my dear friend, you are a saint”
Julius handed him some rabbit meat, for which Francis bowed his head, gave thanks, and then quickly consumed. They had not eaten since the morning of the day before, and he was famished.
“So how much further do we have to go, Brother?” asked Julius.
“I would say we have another two days journey. We should begin to see the mero late tomorrow.”
“But how is that possible,” asked Julius, “if we are still another day out?”
“This mero has many very tall buildings in it that were built during the Golden
Age. Some of them are so tall they touch the sky. They should be visible from some distance out.”
“Truly, the Ancients were a remarkable people,” remarked the warrior.
“Yes, they were,” the priest replied, “but keep in mind they had their faults. Just look around you and you will see their legacy.”
“Tell me something, Brother, what else do you know about this Oracle, and why is it so important that we find it?”
“I tell you what,” Brother Francis replied, “how about we get started, and then I will tell you what I know on the way,” he said, as he worked to finish his breakfast before collecting his things.
“Very good, I will tell the rest to get packed up and ready to go.”

Julius went around to the other men, informing them that it was time to break camp. Brother Francis watched Julius as he spoke to the men, each of whom seemed to have great respect for him. The clansman seemed to consider each man his equal, though he outranked them all. Francis had been told that Julius was almost an elder himself, and that he had long been one of the most dependable and trustworthy of all the clansmen, among a group who were themselves, dependable and trustworthy. Brother Francis decided that he liked this man, Julius, and his respect for the Clan as a whole grew daily. He began praying that all of the Clan would convert to Christianity one day. Perhaps once they had found the Oracle, he would make it his mission to serve among the Clan as a missionary, if the Church permitted him to do so. He was pondering this when he noticed a tense expression on the face of his traveling companion.

“What's wrong, Julius?” he asked.
 “One of our men is missing, Brother. He was on watch early this morning. One of our men thinks he saw the missing clansman, Chung, leave camp to investigate something earlier, but he's not certain. We are forming a search party now to look for him.”
“What can I do to help?” asked Brother Francis.
“I appreciate the offer, Brother, but you would be the most help to us by remaining here with several of my men while we search. We could move more quickly and cover more ground without you. If you came with us I would be concerned for your safety, which would hamper my search effort.”
“Very well, replied Brother Francis. I will stay here as you request. If you need more help in the search, please do not hesitate to ask.” Julius nodded as he and the others left the camp and spread out, looking for their missing brother. 

They had been gone for no more than an hour when Brother Francis saw them returning to camp. Each man wore a sad, angry look as they drew closer. When they arrived back at the camp, he saw the reason why. One of the larger men was carrying a man's body slung over his shoulder.
“Is he…” Francis started to ask.
One of the men replied. “Yes, Brother, he is dead. He was murdered no more than six hours ago. It looks like he took at least four of the attackers with him before he was killed however. They overwhelmed him with sheer numbers.”
“But who?” Francis started to ask. Julius came over to tell him the rest. 
“The dead attackers looked like uras, Brother, but there was something different about them. They were wearing some strange markings on their clothing. We took this from one of the dead attackers before we left to bring Chung's body back to camp. Each of them was wearing this same design on their clothing. Have you ever seen anything like this?” he asked, holding out the patch of cloth for the priest to examine.
Francis looked over the insignia and shook his head. “No, I haven’t. Any idea who they were and what they were doing here? We are not even close to the mero yet.”
Julius shook his head and grimaced.
“No Brother, I don’t know for sure, but I have my suspicions. If they bear out, we must be extremely cautious on our way to the mero, and doubly so as we return, if we return, from the mero.”
Francis gave Julius a perplexed look. “What do you mean Julius, what are you thinking?”
Julius thought for a few moments whether he should give Brother Francis a straight answer, before deciding he had to trust the priest. 
“We have had a spy among the urbas that follow Kraken for some time. Not too long ago, we learned that Kraken's army is becoming better organized. There are rumors among Kraken’s men that he recently formed an elite personal guard that  reports directly to Kraken and are not part of his regular army.”

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