Book Title: Clement: The Templar’sTreasure
Series: Clement (Book 3)
Author: Craig R. Hipkins
Publication Date: 4th May 2022
Page Length: 233 Pages
Clement & Dagena return for another action packed adventure. From the cold and dreary shores of Greenland to the fabled land of Vinland. The legendary treasure of the Knights Templar awaits.
Everyone broke out into laughter. It was not long before they had had their fill of food and drink. Darkness soon followed. Alice and Dagena retired to the castle on the bow. Since there were only four sleeping compartments in the sterncastle, Clement and Tristan had to double up. Adalbert gave his berth to Osment, who was in dire need of a good night’s rest. The wind had abated somewhat. It was a rather peaceful night until dawn, when a sound like a piercing cry was heard from the deck. Clement awoke with a start and glanced at Tristan, whose eyes were as wide as saucers.
“Wh…what was that, Clement?” the boy asked fearfully.
“I…I do not know. Stay here, Tristan.”
Clement swung his legs over the side of the bunk and had his boots on in a matter of seconds, leaving the younger boy sitting alone, yawning and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He emerged from his berth at the same time as Adalbert and Olaf. Gregory was already outside. They found a dozen men staring up at the sky. It only took a second to see what they were looking at. On top of the mast, a spiral bluish- white glow illuminated the dark morning sky. It was pulsating with an irregular flicker and seemed to be on the verge of either exploding or being extinguished. The man in the crow’s nest, one of the hired sailors, was staring helplessly down at the people gathered on the deck looking up at him.
“Tis the corposant!” someone screamed. “This bodes well for us! It is the fire of St. Elmo!”
“Nay!” exclaimed Artemus. “Tis an ill-omen. We will run into trouble.”
Adalbert looked worried. He casually walked up to the mast and was about to touch the wood when a loud voice arrested him. It was Artemus.
“No, sire! Do not touch that! Thou shall be burnt! It will travel down the mast. We must find a way to extinguish it or the ship may go up in flames!”
Adalbert hesitated before deciding to heed the advice. He glanced at Clement. He was joined by Dagena and Alice, who had come out of their berth wrapped in warm wool blankets.
“What do you make of this?”
Clement was biting his lower lip, staring up in awe at the phenomenon. He shook his head.
“Fear not. Tis nothing to be afraid of.”
“Nothing to be afraid of?” Artemus questioned. “Are ye mad, lad? Do ye know what a fire on board this ship would do?”
Clement rolled his eyes. “It is not fire, Artemus. It is but the discharge of ether in the air. I cannot explain it without intensive study of the subject, but I can assure you it is quite harmless. Pliny mentions it in his History.”
“Aye, Pliny. He was a Roman who lived in the first century. The corposant is quite harmless. I shall prove it to you.”
Before anyone could stop him, Clement leaped onto the rope ladder and began scrambling up to the crow’s nest. Adalbert was shaking his head.
“The lad is fearless and reckless,” he said to Gregory, who was watching the scene unfold with interest.
Clement reached the crow’s nest within a matter of seconds and joined the burly sailor who was trembling nervously and afraid to move. There was barely enough room for the two of them in the basket, which was only about two feet from the top of the mast where the fire of St. Elmo glowed like a beacon in the night.
“Do not be afraid,” Clement said simply. “Do me a kind favor and lift me onto your shoulders so I can show them there is nothing to be afraid of. Will you now?”
For a few seconds, the frightened man merely stared at the boy, unable to comprehend how he could remain so cool and collective. Finally, he nodded in acquiescence. Clement was soon lifted onto the big man’s shoulders. Those on deck below watched quietly. Dagena was fretting nervously but had faith in Clement’s judgement. The boy lifted his hand toward the bluish flame, which was making a quiet hissing sound as tiny sparks shot from it. He gently touched it and felt a ripple of energy move up his arm. The flickering light moved up his sleeve and created a sparkling white halo over his head. There was an audible gasp from below. Some of the Templars and sailors fell to their knees in prayer and reverence. Clement smiled and lifted his hands in front of him, watching the radiant light glow from the tips of his fingers. He looked down at Dagena, who was staring up at him in awe. It was a surreal moment. He lowered his hands and symbolically threw the light toward her. She made a motion to catch it.
“God has chosen him!” one of the Templars bellowed into the cold morning darkness.
Clement closed his eyes and held his arms out toward the rising sun. He could feel the cool wind on his cheeks but he knew now that he had been given a sign. God was talking to him.
Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018) He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Craig-R.-Hipkins/e/B004RDJMNC