Jerusalem Man 03 - Bloodstone

Free Jerusalem Man 03 - Bloodstone by David Gemmell

Book: Jerusalem Man 03 - Bloodstone by David Gemmell Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Gemmell
hounding people from their homes, by killing Wolvers and anyone who doesn't agree with us?'
    'Not the Deacon, nor any of his Apostles take any joy in killing, Mr Cade. But you know your Bible. The Lord God does not tolerate evil in the midst of his people.'
    Cade reached for his sticks and slowly, painfully, pushed himself to his feet. 'And the next war, Saul?
    Who is that going to be with?'

    The ungodly wherever we find them,' answered Saul.
    'It's late, and I'm tired,' said Cade. ‘I’ll bid you good night.'
    'May God be with you,' said Saul, rising.
    Cade did not reply as, leaning heavily on his sticks, he made his way to the door. Nestor stifled a yawn and was about to ask if he could be excused from his duties when Saul spoke to Captain Evans.
    'A dangerous man, Captain. I fear we may have to deal with him.'
    Nestor blinked in surprise. At that moment Leon Evans looked up and saw him and the captain grinned.
    'Go on home, Nestor,' he said, 'otherwise you're going to keel over like a felled tree.'
    Nestor thanked him, bowed to the Apostle and walked out into the night where the old prophet was leaning against his buggy, unable to mount the steps. Nestor moved alongside him and took his arm. With an effort, he half-lifted Cade to the seat. 'Thank you, boy,' grunted Cade, his face red from the exertion.
    'It was a pleasure, sir.'
    'Beware the words of brass and iron, boy,' whispered the prophet. He flicked the reins and Nestor watched as the buggy trundled off into the night.

*
    Alone now, Shannow waited among the rocks, his horse tethered some fifty paces to the north in a small stand of trees. Glancing to the east, he could make out the last of the wagons as they travelled further into the mountains. The sky was lightening. Dawn was close.
    Shannow settled down with his back against a rock and stared to the west. Maybe he had been wrong.
    Maybe the white-haired Oath Taker had decided against a punitive raid. He hoped so. The night was cool and he breathed deeply of the crisp mountain air. Glad to be alone, he let his mind wander.
    Twenty years had passed since his name was feared among the ungodly. Twenty years! Where have I been, he wondered. How did I live? Idly he began to review what he remembered of his life, the gunfights and the battles, the towns and settlements.
    Yes, I remember Allion, he thought, and saw again the day Daniel Cade led his brigands into the town. In the blaze of gunfire that had followed several of Cade's men had been shot from their saddles, while Cade himself took a bullet in the knee. Daniel Cade. Brother Daniel. For some reason that Shannow could never fathom, God had chosen Daniel to lead the war against the Hellborn.
    But what then? Hazy pictures drifted into his mind, then vanished like mist in the breeze. A blonde woman, tall and strong, and a young fighter, lightning-fast with a pistol . . . Cram? Glen?
    'No,' said Shannow aloud. 'Clem. Clem Steiner.'
    It will all come back, he promised himself. Just give it time.
    Then came the sound of horses moving slowly through the darkness, the creak of leather saddles, the soft clopping of hooves on the dry plain. Shannow drew his pistols and eased himself further down into the rocks as the horses came closer. Removing his wide-brimmed hat, he risked a glance to the west; he could see them now, but not well enough to count them.
    I don't want to kill again.
    Aiming high, he loosed a shot. Some of the horses reared in fright, several others stampeded. Shannow saw one man thrown from the saddle, and another jumped clear of his bucking mount. Several shots were fired in his direction, but the bullets struck the rocks and screamed off into the night.
    Dropping to his belly, Shannow peered round the rocks. The riders had dismounted and were now advancing on his position. From the east he heard the distant sound of gunfire.

    The wagons! In that instant he knew there were two groups, and the blood-letting had already begun.
    Anger surged within

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