Ranger s Apprentice Book 8 The Kings of Clonmel Book 8

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Copyright 2010 by John Flanagan, All rights reserved This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without. permission, in writing from the publisher Philomel Books a division of Penguin Young Readers. 345 Hudson Street New York NY 10014 Philomel Books Reg U S Pat Tm Off. The scanning uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other. means without, the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law Please purchase only. authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author s rights is appreciated. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility. for author or third party websites or their content. Published simultaneously in Canada, Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data.
Flanagan John John Anthony, The kings of Clonmel John Flanagan 1st American ed. p cm Ranger s apprentice bk 8, Summary Halt Will and Horace set out for Hibernia where a quasi religious group the. is sowing confusion and sedition and they find that secrets from Halt s past may hold. the key to restoring order before the last kingdom is undermined. 1 Insurgency Fiction 2 Kings queens rulers etc Fiction 3 Cults Fiction 4 War. 5 Fantasy I Title,PZ7 F598284Kin 2010,Fic dc22 2009041644. ISBN 9781101187722,penguinrandomhouse com,To Catherine and Tyler. thanks for everything,Table of Contents,Title Page.
Copyright Page,Dedication,Chapter 10,Chapter 11,Chapter 12. Chapter 13,Chapter 14,Chapter 15,Chapter 16,Chapter 17. Chapter 18,Chapter 19,Chapter 20,Chapter 21,Chapter 22. Chapter 23,Chapter 24,Chapter 25,Chapter 26,Chapter 27. Chapter 28,Chapter 29,Chapter 30,Chapter 31,Chapter 32.
Chapter 33,Chapter 34,Chapter 35,Chapter 36,Chapter 37. Chapter 38,Chapter 39,Chapter 40,Chapter 41,Chapter 42. Chapter 43,Chapter 44,Chapter 45,Chapter 46,SOUTHERN CLONMEL THE ISLAND OF HIBERNIA. The farmers had risen at first light bringing in their cattle for milking and. releasing the sheep and chickens that had been kept overnight in the barn to. protect them from nocturnal marauders, The leader of the bandits crouched among the trees and smiled grimly to. himself Today the inhabitants of this little group of farms would have more. to worry about than animal predators Today real danger lurked inside the. tree line concealed from the eyes of the farmers as they went about their. routine tasks, His men had been in position since long before first light A less.
experienced leader might have chosen to attack at dawn Most people thought. that was the best time for a surprise attack But the bandit knew his business. Farmers rose early They were wide awake at dawn They were prepared for. unexpected danger even if it were only a fox or a marauding wolf And they. often had tools ready at hand axes and spades and scythes that would. serve as makeshift weapons in the event of an attack. It was better he knew to wait until they had finished their early morning. tasks and were heading in to breakfast The sun would be up by then and. warm on their backs They d be relaxed and a little weary from their labor. and looking forward to the hot meal their wives had waiting for them Their. defenses would be down and that was the best time to attack them. He saw the nearest pair who had been repairing a fallen fence rail stop. now and lay their tools down One called to a group of three a little farther. away He stretched his hands rubbing his back where the muscles were stiff. The bandit couldn t make out the reply but the tone was clear It was good. humored amused Just a typical morning out in the fields. The bandit leader gave a satisfied nod as he saw the men begin walking to. the largest building The little hamlet was probably a family settlement. mother and father in the big house their offspring with their families in the. smaller houses that had been built nearby The one big barn served all of the. families He d heard the high pitched voices of several children chattering. earlier on A welcoming curl of wood smoke rose from the chimney and he. knew that the wives would all be gathered in there preparing a communal. breakfast He picked up the mouthwatering aroma of bacon frying. At that moment the door to the farmhouse opened and the oldest woman. emerged She moved to an iron barrel hoop hanging from a post and beat a. rapid tattoo on it with a hardwood stick The message was clear Breakfast is. ready Not that the farmers needed telling They were all on their way by this. The bandit reached into his pocket and found a bone whistle He raised it. to his lips sensing the men closest to him stirring as they saw the movement. Then he blew a loud piercing blast and rose from concealment drawing his. sword and yelling as he ran forward, His men followed charging into the open from three sides around the. settlement They were fierce terrifying figures wearing half armor and. carrying weapons Bloodcurdling war cries rose into the morning air as they. ran forward, The farmers were frozen in surprise for a moment Then one of the. younger ones was first to react He reached for the ax he had just leaned. against a water trough Before he could raise it an arrow flashed across the. clearing and buried itself in his throat He gave a choking cry and staggered. falling half into the trough The water rapidly began to turn red with his. Inside the house Quickly Maeve get the the father called But it was. already too late The first of the raiders was upon him and a sword thrust cut. off his words His face showed surprise then pain as he sank to the ground. and lay unmoving, His killer leaped over the body and shouldered the door of the farmhouse. open It was a mistake The woman who had rung the breakfast gong was. waiting with a pot of freshly boiled water which she flung in his face. He screamed in agony and lurched to one side dropping the bloody sword. and throwing his hands up to his face But the woman didn t have long to. savor her momentary triumph The raider following him struck swiftly with. his sword and cut her down her body falling across the threshold and. preventing those inside from closing the door, The remaining men outside tried in vain to stave off the attack But they. were fighting with their bare hands and didn t stand a chance In rapid order. they were surrounded and cut down by the raiders without pity or. compassion They were badly outnumbered and their attempts to protect their. women and children were to no avail, The bandit leader stood back a little from the group who surrounded the.
fallen bodies He d seen one of the farmers dart aside and into the barn. Now he reappeared his gaze intent on the men surrounding the dead and. dying members of his family He had a long pitchfork in his hands and he. raised it as he ran forward, He never saw the bandit leader He only felt the searing agony of the sword. thrust into his side underneath his raised arm He tried to cry out but was. unable He fell facedown, You should have run when you had the chance the leader said. Inside the house three women cowered in the large kitchen as half a dozen. men forced their way in, The women saw the bloodied swords and knew their menfolk were gone. One of them raised her hands in entreaty,Mercy she pleaded But there was no mercy that day. The raiders oblivious to the splashed blood and sprawled bodies around. them helped themselves hungrily to the platters of hot sizzling bacon and. fresh baked bread that had been laid out for the men s breakfast. They won t be needing it one said He added And it s a sin to waste. The others laughed as they crammed the food into their mouths But one. stood aside his head cocked listening From the adjoining room he could. hear a furtive hacking scraping sound He crossed the kitchen and pushed the. inner door open with the blade of his sword, It was dimmer in the bedroom with no window in the far wall and his.
eyes took a second or two to adjust Then he made out three forms kneeling. by the back wall A woman a boy and a girl the children about ten years. old The woman was frantically hacking at the wall with a heavy kitchen. knife Now she stopped looking up in horror at the silhouette that filled the. doorway Strangely the raider paused and waited as she attacked the wall. with new vigor creating a hole large enough for the children to squeeze. through He watched impassively as she shoved the two wriggling young. ones through the exit she d created,Run Seamus Run Molly she said. Then she heard the sound of a footstep and looked up to see the tall figure. approaching her She wondered vaguely why he d given her time to let the. young ones escape Then she stood and looked the stranger in the eye facing. him calmly, The Holy Man warned us you would come she said bitterly We should. have listened, He drew his sword back and smiled an ugly grimace of a smile that was. without any vestige of pity, Yes You should have he said and brought the sword down. In the trees a figure stood watching the attack He was tall with shoulder. length white gray hair His eyes were a piercing blue and he wore a dull gray. woolen cloak over a white full length robe He watched as two children. appeared at the end of the largest house a boy and a girl They paused. uncertainly but the men grouped around their dead kinsmen were facing. away from them and they remained unseen The tall man smiled as the boy. took the little girl s hand and led her stooping and running to the tree line at. the far side of the clearing, Good he said nodding his approval Leave a few survivors to spread.
IT WAS TUG OF COURSE WHO FIRST SENSED THE PRESENCE OF. the other horse and rider, His ears twitched upward and Will felt rather than heard the low rumble. that vibrated through the little horse s barrel like body It was not an alarm. signal so Will knew that whoever Tug had sensed it was someone familiar. to him He leaned forward and patted the shaggy mane. Good boy he said softly Now where are they, He already had a fair idea who it would be And even as he spoke his. guess was confirmed as a bay horse and a tall rider trotted out of the trees. some hundred meters ahead of him to wait at the crossroads there Tug. snorted again tossing his head,All right I can see them. He touched Tug lightly with his heels and the horse responded instantly. moving to a canter to close the distance The bay whinnied a greeting to. which Tug responded, Gilan Will shouted cheerfully as they came within easy earshot The tall. Ranger waved a hand in reply grinning as Will and Tug clattered to a stop. beside him, The two Rangers leaned over in their saddles to clasp right hands.
It s good to see you Gilan said, You too I thought it would be you Tug let me know there were friends. Not much gets by that shaggy little beast of yours does it Gilan said. easily I suppose that s what s kept you alive these past years. Little Will replied I ve noticed that Blaze isn t exactly a battlehorse. In truth Blaze was a little longer in the leg than the average Ranger horse. and had slightly finer lines But like all of the breed Gilan s bay mare was. still considerably smaller than the massive battlehorses that carried the. kingdom s knights into battle, While the two young Rangers chaffed each other the horses seemed to be. carrying on a similar conversation with a lot of snorting and head tossing to. punctuate the good natured horsey insults they were undoubtedly swapping. Ranger horses definitely seemed to communicate with each other and Gilan. regarded the two of them curiously,Wonder what the devil they re saying he mused. I think Tug just commented on how uncomfortable Blaze must be. carrying a spindle shanked bag of bones like yourself Will told him Gilan. opened his mouth to reply in kind but oddly at that very moment Tug. nodded his head violently several times and both horses turned their heads to. study Gilan It was a coincidence the tall Ranger told himself And yet it was. uncanny how they chose that very moment to do it, You know he said I have a strange feeling that you might be right. Will looked back along the road he had just traveled then down the. crossroad in the opposite direction to the one from which Gilan had. Any sign of Halt so far, Gilan shook his head I ve been waiting for the best part of two hours and.
I haven t seen him yet Odd because he has the shortest distance to travel. It was the time of the annual Ranger Gathering and it had become the. custom for the three friends to meet at these crossroads a few kilometers. short of the Gathering Ground and ride the remaining distance together. When Will had been apprenticed to Halt he had grown used to meeting Gilan. here That was after Will s first Gathering when Gilan had attempted to. ambush his old teacher and Will had spoiled the attempt Since Will had. taken over Seacliff Fief and Gilan had been posted to Norgate they had. continued the practice whenever possible,Should we wait Will said. Gilan shrugged If he s not here yet something must have held him up. We might as well ride in and set up camp He urged his horse forward with. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher Philomel Books a division of Penguin Young Readers Group 345 Hudson Street New York NY 10014 Philomel Books Reg U S Pat amp Tm Off The scanning uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other

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