“What about now?” Michel whispered from the other side of the opening. “What do we do?”

I leaned out past Stephan to sneak a peak down the passageway. It was dark, but not more than twenty feet long. At the far end someone had been peeking our way; a face disappeared behind the corner.

“Do you hear that?” I said. The sounds were coming from down that way: rhythmic chanting of some sort. It was still indistinct, but it now seemed to have a hurried feel. The acrid smoky smell was stronger too. “They’re still holding their mass.”

“The hierophant,” Stephan said. “He’s sent the congregation out to protect himself.”

“Not just to protect himself,” I answered. “To finish whatever it is he’s doing. To finish his ceremony!”

Stephan furrowed his brow. “Ma Dame said to stop the hierophant. But he’s sending the whole congregation out first. We have to get past them.”

That wasn’t going to happen. There was just this passageway; us here, them at the far end. One side was going to have to hack its way through the other. And meanwhile the bad guys had gone no-huddle. Celestine’s time had to be running short.

Here it is, in all its glory: The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Chapter duh-duh-duuuuuuuh Eight!

The Mason of New Orleans, Chapter 8

Click through for a PDF.

All action all the time! But of course with every bit of the subtle nuance and gentle insight into the human condition you’ve come to expect from Martin’s 12th-Century exploits.

(If you haven’t read any of this, there’s no time like the present! Get Chapters 1-6 here, and Chapter 7 here.)

This may be one of my favorite chapters in the entire book so far (and by “so far,” I mean up through Chapter 21, on which I currently labor). Is it working for you? You let me know what you think, and I’ll keep those chapters coming. Maybe even on Mondays, once in a while. . . .

Comment below; you know you wanna! And receive an email notification of every update to this site by subscribing (see the link to the right). Converse with me on Twitter at @charlesmryan, or follow my writing diary on Facebook at Charles M Ryan.

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