Knights of Dark Renown
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Once the legendary knights of the Gabala defended the nine duchies. Their hearts were beautiful; their armor was beyond compare. They were greater than princes, more than men.
But they were gone, disappeared through a demon-haunted gateway between worlds. Only one held back -- Manannan, whose every instinct told him to stay. Now he was the coward knight, and in torment.
Murder and black magic beset the land. Rumors circulated that the king was enchanted, changed, that his soul was dead . . . and that a reign of terror was about to begin.
Now Manannan realized he would have to face his darkest fears: he had no choice but to ride through that dreaded gate and seek out his vanished companions.
And the secret he would learn there would tear his soul apart . . . .
"A sharp, distinctive medieval fantasy. Dramatic, colorful, taut." -- Locus
the attack. Bavis kicked his horse into a run and swerved from the trail; an archer loomed up before him, but he lashed his sword across the man’s face. Now he was clear and racing for the safety of the open ground beyond. He glanced back to see a single knight following him. His horse stumbled, righted itself, and ran on. The beast was sweating heavily, and foam showed on its neck; the charge uphill had drained its strength. Bavis looked back once more. The knight was gaining. ‘Dear Gods of
remarked, his dark eyes staring challengingly at Llaw. ‘So do I. I think the blizzard has passed—the worst should be over for now.’ Groundsel gazed at the sky. ‘No clouds. It will get colder yet.’ ‘What will you do with them all?’ asked Llaw. ‘How will you feed them, take care of them? And how did Nuada talk you into it?’ Groundsel shrugged. ‘I have a full granary, and they can work for their food. They can fell trees, gather wood. The younger women can whore for my men; we’ve not enough
the Armorer; he will advise.’ ‘Where shall I find him? And how many knights are there in this forest?’ ‘There is one lord here—you gave him the title yourself.’ ‘Groundsel? You think Groundsel would become a knight of the Gabala?’ ‘He can be the first, Nuada. The first of your knights of dark renown.’ Ruad was walking alone in the high meadows when Lámfhada came up to him. The youth stood back for a while, waiting for Ruad to acknowledge him. The Craftsman cleared snow from a boulder and
come to hate them. But I cannot answer for him.’ ‘They believe Llaw Gyffes has an army, and they are coming here in the spring. I think it will be terrible when they arrive.’ Elodan nodded and gazed down at the stump at his wrist. ‘Even were I not crippled, I could not stand against the Gabala knights. Cairbre took me as simply as I took the husband. Damn Llaw Gyffes!’ Elodan pushed himself to his feet. ‘I need to return to my work. I will see you later.’ Lámfhada watched him go, then cleared
before the horse, and Manannan reached up and grasped the reins, hauling himself to his feet. He gathered his sword. Morrigan eased herself from behind the enormous carcass of the bear beast and advanced to stand beside him. At first the pack had been dismayed by the stallion’s sudden attack, but now they were gathering themselves for another charge. Manannan patted Kuan’s neck. ‘Welcome home, Greatheart,’ he said. As the pack swept forward, the stallion hurled himself into their midst.