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The Druid's Curse

The Druid's Curse by Heppner Vaughn
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Book III of the Knights Trilogy: To survive, Sir Cord will need all his stubborn valor and the wit of his lady wife.
Awe-Struck Publishing; May 2003
151 pages; ISBN 9781587493799
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Title: The Druid's Curse
Author: Heppner Vaughn
As the sun sank toward the horizon the village church bell rang, calling the townsfolk out. Soon the farmers, their wives and children and all the town hounds milled about the wagon in front of Tom the Reeve's house.

Sir Cord in armor, with the huge greatsword Tom had given him strapped to his side, climbed aboard the wagon bed. Sir Cord eyed the throng. He smiled, nodded and saluted them. "People of Gareth Town, the Welsh stormed my castle. I drove them off and captured their heroes. Now I want to know if you are truly with me?"

The folk of Gareth Town peered uncertainly at one another.

"Heed well what I'm about to say," said Cord. "Few of you have had an easy life. Many of you have been treated badly by harsh Norman knights. Aye, Tom the Reeve told me that many of you chose the ruggedness of living near the Welsh border instead of lives as stout English outlaws. I too chose the hard path of an honest life instead of that of an outlaw. But I too have Norman knights who loathe the fact that I'm of Saxon birth. They hound me because of it. They say I dare too high."

Cord laughed. "Aye, I dare. I dare to spit in their face. I dared to snatch the treasure they thought to steal from under my nose." Cord kicked at a sack in the wagon bed, tearing a hole in it. From the hole he drew a heavy silver chain.

At the sight of it oohs and aahs filled the crowd.

Then he showed them jeweled daggers made of gold.

"Earl Mortimer sent a Frenchmen and a band of ruffians to take my treasure," said Cord. "I stopped them. Tom then suggested something profound. He said those of Gareth Town deserved part of the treasure, for their many years of struggle and pain and because the treasure site lay in Gareth Fief. At first I thought not. Then, as the Welsh raided today, I realized that you have indeed fought and lived hard lives near the border. And that perhaps with half the treasure Gareth Town could be made impregnable to such attacks. Yes. You heard correctly. Half of this wealth I will give to Gareth Town and those in it. But first we must survive Earl Mortimer as he raids for vengeance.

"Lest you think I merely promise now and forget later like any Norman lord, let me give you a token of my word. Any tonight, who lays at my feet his dagger or spear or sword and swears to serve me faithfully will receive two silver pennies. I am free and I am Saxon. You are free and you are Saxon. Let us then join hands and be free Saxons beholden to none but ourselves, the King and God Almighty."

Sir Cord scanned the crowd. He desperately needed these townsmen. He drew his greatsword. "Who serves me?" he shouted. "Who dares to fight for freedom?"

"I do!" cried a man, drawing a dagger and waving it aloft.

"And me!" shouted another man.

"I as well!" said a third.

Then the crowd took up the cry, shouting and cheering Sir Cord Boar-Slayer, their lord and fellow Saxon sufferer.

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