The third volume in this series covers Erik’s young adulthood. He continues to travel alone, determined he will never let anyone into his lonely and damaged heart, not only for his sake, but, more importantly, for the sake of others. Regardless of his efforts though, a man will unexpectedly appear whose destiny is marked to befriend Erik. Again, in the prologue and epilogue of the third volume, Erik’s love for Christine grows while he tutors her and tries to instill courage in her young heart.
By the year 1856, Erik is an adult and gaining wealth by singing and playing his violin at Gypsy carnivals. When winter approaches, he prepares to leave the cold of Russia for the warmer climate of southern Italy. However, his curiosity is piqued by a conversation he overhears between a Persian man and a Gypsy leader. As a result, he journeys toward Persia. There, the mighty Shah commissions him to build a magnificent palace filled with deadly yet life-saving secrets.
Using his political prowess and breathtaking music, he gains the Shah’s admiration. Then, because of that admiration and Erik’s refusal to bow down to any man, he also gains many enemies. Outmaneuvering them with the use of his brilliant mind, he stays several steps ahead of them, which makes many believe he has mystic powers.
During those years in Persia, one man sees something extraordinary in Erik. Then, despite his refusal to let anyone into his battered heart, Erik can finally call someone Mon Ami. Ultimately, that friendship becomes the link that allows them to survive a life-and-death battle against two powerful nations, crying out for their blood. From then on, that friendship alters both men’s paths dramatically—and forever.
At Age Twenty ~~ The Shah Of Persia Confronted
As my hand landed on Oded's shoulder, he jumped, and then his jade eyes showed pure shock when he saw who was standing beside him. Whispering, I told him not to worry and that I would rescue him from the predicament I’d placed him in. Then I turned toward the Shah. I chose my words carefully so no fault could be found with these two men who had honestly tried their best to bring me in. But, as I spoke to the Shah, I made sure my tone was one that left no room for doubt about my true meaning. I took a deep breath and stood tall as I answered in place of Oded.
“He’s been trying to teach me your protocol before I spoke with you. Honoring you the way he does, he didn’t want me to say or do anything that would offend you. But, if you wish to have an audience with me at this moment, then I ask you in advance to excuse any improprieties that might come forth and lay the blame on me and not your faithful servant Oded or his servant Darius.”
The Shah, extended his haughty nose even higher into the air, and my displeasure rose even higher in my chest. I could sense the tension in Oded next to me, and, even though we were the same height, he appeared to shrink with fear.
“I’ve been told many stories about you and your abilities, Erik--are they true?” the Shah questioned.
Keeping my eyes on his, I responded, “I would advise you from the start not to believe anything you hear about me unless it comes from my lips--for I am always undersold.”
At age Twenty-Four -- A life-threatening standoff
Haman stepped back and struck me across the face with his fist.
Once my head was righted, I continued softly, “Are you watching this, my Shah? His temper is gaining over his cunning, and he dares to hit a confined man. He is so brave.”
He grabbed the front of my shirt and jerked me forward. But I only looked down into his fuming eyes, a few centimeters from mine.
Then I snarled, “I see you’ve found your courage somewhere within my restraints.”
He hissed, “I’ll cut out your insolent tongue out before I remove your head.”
“I will hold my tongue out willingly for you to remove, if you will show me that you can hold onto your courage once my wrists are free from their bonds. Tell these guards to release me, and then try that again.”
He growled as he raised his fist and prepared to strike me again. I automatically closed my eyes and turned my face away, waiting for the blow. But it didn’t come. When I opened my eyes, I saw Oded's fingers firmly wrapped around Haman’s wrist—still in the air.
At Age Twenty-Four ~~ Resurrected Demons
I managed to shove my way to the door and out into the hall, but they were right behind me telling me to wait. I bounced back and forth between the walls, and then I felt a hand on my arm. Turning, I swung with doubled fists and landed a blow to the side of Oded’s neck, sending him to the floor. The physician knelt beside him and looked up at me with great concern, while I again cursed both of them and told them to leave me alone.
After stumbling down the stairs, tripping and falling several times, I managed to get outside. Protecting my eyes from the bright sunlight with my arm, I searched for Dechaine until I found him still saddled and grazing beneath the trees. Unsuccessfully, I attempted to get my foot in the stirrup, and then I heard Oded behind me.
“Erik, you can’t leave in this condition. Please wait and let us talk this over.”
“Talk? Talking is what has brought me to this place, you babbling fool,” I slurred and spread my shaking hands to my sides. “What more do you want from me, Oded? How much more do you expect me to handle? I told you that you didn’t know what you were asking of me. I told you I wouldn't take sides in the selfish affairs of the ruling classes. But no, you had to have it your way. You wanted me to perform my miracles for this land you love. I told you I couldn’t do it! I told you it was too dangerous for me to return to that place in my life and take a chance in releasing my demons. Well, look at me, Oded! Look at what you caused! Do you like what you see? Now, because of you, I’ve destroyed many years of work, hard work, to clear my mind and heart of what you see now before you. This thing; this monster that is capable of such atrocities as."
I turned from him and then turned back and stormed up to him until our faces were nearly touching. “I hate you, Oded,” I growled while I wrapped my fingers around his throat. “I hate you and what you've done to me. You once told me you were sorry you ever met me. Well, I have you checkmated. I curse the day you walked into that gypsy’s camp. I curse that day, and I curse you, Oded.” Then I growled low, “May you burn in hell.”
I continued to glare into his eyes and was only waiting for him to speak and give me a reason to tighten my fingers around his neck. But before he could respond, the air was splintered with the harsh sound of a gun blast.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED?
What was it that happened in Persia that made Erik such a recluse in the following years? What was the tragedy that sent Erik fleeing Persia? How could he live for so long in a country where he was viciously hated? What was it about Erik that the Persian saw and that made him want Erik as a friend? What were the beginnings of his labyrinth beneath the Paris Opera House?
Continue to unravel the answers to these questions and more in the third volume of this in-depth account of Erik’s early adulthood in Persia. Embrace his mind, heart, and soul, and then travel with him as he struggles to find balance between his genius mind, lonely heart, and tortured soul.