Authors: Stephanie Hudson
Sacrifice of the Septimus
This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the author, as allowed under terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
Copyright © 2016 Stephanie Hudson
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book contains explicit sexual content, some graphic language and a highly addictive Alpha Males.
Cover design by: © Blake Hudson Designs
I dedicate this book to my wonderful husband Blake Hudson. When we met it was a journey I faced like no other but it just proves that sometimes love is worth the sacrifice and following your heart is what truly matters, for it will guide you through the storms that life sometimes puts your way…
“You are my Anchor’
Time is a path we weave ourselves through,
Pushing against the waves as stormy winds blew,
The haters, the sinners and all bitterness in between,
Is never enough to crush us, from all there is to be seen.
The love that we can reach with fingers entwined,
Across the waters of life, like ships travelling blind,
But discovery is vast and never far away,
For those who are brave enough to sail into the fray.
So hold out for hope or hold out for the day,
That your love comes looking for you, waiting at the bay,
You stand there alone, waiting with baited breath,
For something to take with you into life and into death.
A memory of one heart, so connected with your soul,
Fusing together two lives and making you whole,
For a life lived without love, is no life lived at all,
And waiting for you on the other side is nothing but the fall.
Cast into darkness with no light to guide,
You through the empty abyss, love lets you decide,
If you travel alone or with a hand held to your heart,
Knowing one day that the two of you must part.
But hoping that through time, you will soon find,
That sweet voice calling to you in the depths of your mind,
For he has found you again, in this life and the next,
Burning his promise against the sands of time and ancient text.
For love conquers all and will stand tall through the test,
It doesn’t lie down for others or ever needs the rest,
For love is power and power is gained,
Through the invisible connection, with souls forever chained.
‘I will always love you’
Other books by Stephanie Hudson
Book 1 Afterlife
Book 2 The Two Kings
Book 3 The Triple Goddess
Book 4 The Quarter Moon
Book 5 The Pentagram Child /Part 1
The Pentagram Child /Part 2
Book 6 The Cult of the Hexad
Book 7 Sacrifice of the Septimus /Part 1
About the Author
Stephanie Hudson has dreamed of being a writer ever since her obsession with reading books at an early age. What first became a quest to overcome the boundaries set against her in the form of dyslexia has turned into a life's dream. She first started writing in the form of poetry and soon found a taste for horror and romance. Afterlife is the first book in the series of seven, with the story of Keira and Draven becoming ever more complicated in a world that sets them miles apart.
When not writing, Stephanie enjoys chatting with her fans and spending time with her friends. Being with her loving family as much as she can including her wonderful daughter Ava and supportive husband and personal muse Blake, who is there for her no matter what.
"My Love and devotion is to all of my wonderful fans that keep me going into the wee hours of the night, but foremost to my wonderful daughter Ava...who yes, is named after a Demonic bird."
Afterlife Saga is going to be 8 books in total plus spin offs, as some stories are just too big for one book, and at the moment she is working on Book 8
This book has been written by a UK Author with a mad sense of humour. Which means the following story contains a mixture of Northern English slang, dialect, regional colloquialisms and other quirky spellings that have been intentionally included to make the story and dialogue more realistic for modern day characters.
Thanks for reading x
Previously in Persia…
Behind the Blade
Once more I found myself awakening but at least this time I had exchanged sand for silk. I opened my eyes feeling the sudden pain at the side of my head as soon as I tried to move it too quickly. I would like to believe all this had been a dream and as before I would find Draven by my side. But from the new smell of a distant land and the pain I was now suffering, I knew that no amount of wishing would make it so. This was when I needed to get my thoughts in order of what had just happened. I thought back and remembered waking in the sand, getting up and then searching for…
“Sophia, Pip and Ari?” I asked in a raspy voice that spoke of my time without water. This was when I moved despite the pain, sitting up and holding myself steady when I rocked to the side.
“I need to find them,” I said realising this was the next mission that lay ahead of me, and finding three people, who might have been separated, in an ancient city I didn’t know was going to be like finding a four leaf clover growing in the desert.
I looked around the room, trying to get my bearings on where I was this time. The main thing I noticed was that the room I had been put in wasn’t one I recognised from my dreams, so at least could I breathe easier knowing that it didn’t belong to a king. It wasn’t a large room but it was still decorated comfortably and I had to wonder if this was Ranka’s room.
“Ranka.” I remembered everything now, the attack and the pain of being struck down. Putting a hand to my ribs, I hissed in pain as I could feel the tender tissue that was no doubt bruised and I had to wonder why I hadn’t healed yet? I still held Draven’s essence inside of me, knowing from experience that it lasted quite some time even after we had parted. But then again I had travelled back in time, so maybe that’s why it hadn’t worked…could this also be why I no longer had my powers?
One by one it felt like every advantage I once held had been stripped away leaving me more vulnerable than ever before. I didn’t know what I was going to do but I knew waiting here wasn’t going to help my situation right now and even if it could, what about the others?
At this point I didn’t even know if they had made it through and if they had, what if they had been attacked like me. The thought made me fist the silk cushions underneath me as that worrying thought gripped my heart and wouldn’t let go. Well at least I wasn’t as alone as I first thought, now having Ranka who was obviously helping me in all this. And speaking of Ranka, I decided it was time I made an attempt to find her.
I looked around the room for any obvious exits and found the only door across one corner. The rest of the room consisted of little more than a cushioned bed, a large wooden chest and numerous bows hung on the walls. I had to say that her weapon choice certainly suited the attire I had last seen her in, and if she hadn’t seemed like a bit of a loner, I could have quite easily pictured her with a band of merry men, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
Getting up was a challenge and one I attempted a few times before getting it right. I must have taken quite a blow for it to still be causing me problems. I wasn’t one for normally getting headaches and if I’d have known none of Draven’s essence would have followed me this far then I would have at least slipped a packet of aspirin in my jean’s pocket. Actually scrap that because knowing me I would need a whole first aid kit and a course of antibiotics to get me through even two weeks of being here. I mean I had only been in the past for a few hours and already I had lost my friends, been brutally attacked and witnessed six people killed by someone who was undoubtedly in love with my husband. At this point I was afraid to ask if it could get much worse.
I looked down at myself and shook my head.
“We didn’t plan this very well,” I said to myself and lucky for me no one else was listening. I referred to the fact that I had thought it a great idea to drop into the past nearly two thousand years before my own life and about one thousand and eight hundred and sixty years or so before jeans were even invented. This wasn’t one of my finer ideas that was for sure. This had me thinking that if Pip had made it through at least she would be easy to spot considering she had green hair. Saying that, even in my own time, she was easy to spot if not for her hair then certainly for her crazy outfits.
I looked around to see if there was anything useful I could use to conceal the obvious ‘time traveller’ style I was wearing and thankfully found a cloak of some sorts. It was a rich green colour, which wasn’t surprising given this must have been a favourite of Ranka’s.
“I hope you don’t mind.” I said out loud as I spread it out over my shoulders, happy that it hid most of my twenty first century get up. I raised the hood and knew I couldn’t put it off any longer…I had to venture into this new world.
I lifted the iron latch and opened the door slowly praying there was no one on the other side keeping guard. Thankfully the hallway was empty and I slipped out of the door, shutting it quietly behind me. I lifted up the hood to hide my face and walked slowly along the hall, hoping not to bump into someone.
For a start I wasn’t sure that I would be able to understand them, not knowing if the drink Ranka had given me would only work when speaking to her. If this was the case then that would make chatting Draven up incredibly difficult, especially considering I wasn’t exactly a seductress when it came to acting cool or luring people in with my sexy body language. Now if there had been a prize for face planting, snorting and tripping over when trying to get dressed, then I would have nailed it.
The sandstone arches I walked past showed me a view of another world and I could easily believe I was in Egypt, half expecting to see the pyramids through the next arch along. I still hadn’t passed a soul and was more than grateful for that but I knew it couldn’t last, not when I heard what could have been the cause for such isolation. The sound of exotic singing combined with drums, lured me closer and led me through the passageways as if I was transfixed on the authentic sounds of ancient Persia.
It led me through an elaborate scalloped arch that was painted gold with tiny red flowers. I walked through, pulling my hood down concealing me further from the many people I now saw. I must have walked into some kind of banquet or celebration of sorts because the room below the balcony I now stood on was full of people. It was a sea of vibrant colours of embroidered silks, gold threads and jewels from distant lands that reached the far corners of the globe.
The hall itself was lined with pearl white pillars that were cut from the finest marble, carved into giant vase shapes. The balcony I stood on surrounded three sides of the room and was highly decorated with the same arched scalloped design underneath as it was above where I stood. Lush Persian carpets covered the stone floors on different levels and mosaic patterned walls matched the fountain in the centre of the room where half-naked dancers shook their hips. There looked to be hundreds of people all sat around the edges of the room, drinking from decorate
chalices and eating fruits from large serving dishes made of gold.
The music continued to play and there were plenty of exotic beauties to entertain the people. I also took note of all the guards that stood along the walls, all dressed in white and heavily armed. It was as incredible to witness as it was terrifying. I felt like an intruder and I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking because of it.
“You can do this Keira, just keep your eyes on that exit.”
I whispered to myself as I spotted my goal and that was getting out of here as quickly as possible before I got myself into trouble yet again. At the end of the room were two castle sized doors which thankfully were open and if I could just make it through the mass of people then I knew I would be safer out there than in here. I couldn’t see what lay beneath me as the part I stood on jutted out further than the rest but if it was who I thought it was, then I wasn’t ready for him to see me yet. No, first I needed Sophia, Pip and Ari to help me then if that failed and it turned out they weren’t here then I would come back to the palace I was obviously in and find Ranka.
So with this in mind I followed the balcony round and through another arch before coming across a staircase down to the main floor. I quickly found myself with my back against the wall as a man and woman ran laughing up the stairs, obviously lovers in haste to be reunited once more. They paid no attention to me and just as I stepped down into the lower level some kind of flute and a tambourine started to play, giving the next song a quicker pace so the dancers could shake their hips to a faster rhythm. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make my escape as all eyes were on them, so I walked quickly, stepping around all the servants and guests scattered everywhere. Some were sat and others stood around in groups chatting and laughing. Some smoked great long pipes and passed these along to their fellow men…and this was when the next lot of trouble began.
I was trying not to look at the front, I really was but because I knew he would be there I lost the battle with my mind to my heart. Just one look would be enough and it was just this one look where it all went wrong. For there he now sat, as magnificent and glorious as I knew he would be and just as terrifying as I knew he could be.
The uttered whisper escaped before I could control it. And for that small second in time he looked up and found me, frozen in the mass of people all moving around me. He sat upon a mighty throne of gold and there above his head was a cruder symbol of my birthmark, carved from stone. But these were the only details I could absorb as the man himself was a stronger harsher version of Draven, who held a raw beauty I was scared to look at for too long. So I tore my hooded face from his and turned so quickly that I ended up pushing into someone by accident.
“I am sorry it was an…”
“Little fool, you dare to push a Royal Satrap!” The man said, enraged that I had spilt his drink, grabbing me by the throat and squeezing hard. I struggled to breathe for a second and just before I passed out he let go. I gasped for air and if I’d hoped not to draw attention to myself then I had certainly failed. The music had stopped and a small crowd had gathered to watch the unfolding drama.
Meanwhile my anger was getting the better of me and when he slapped my face and said,
“Now be gone with you, you ugly little whore!” I officially lost it.
“Hey dickhead, you forgot something.” I said patting him on the shoulder and when he turned back around to face me and said,
“What!” I let my fist fly the way Draven had taught me and punched him square in the nose. The gasps of horror around me and the silence that followed could have cut the room in half. Everyone took quick steps away from me and it took me a moment too late to realise it wasn’t from me, it was from their King. I spun round and everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Draven was no longer seated at his throne but instead was walking straight towards me as his subjects parted for him, falling to their knees and lowering their bodies to the ground.
I didn’t know what to do, whether to run or to follow them to the ground and join in worshipping him. The look on his face told me to run but the speed in which he reached me gave me no time to do either and in that moment I knew this had all been a mistake. This man didn’t love me. This man didn’t adore me or be willing to risk his life for me. For this man, this Draven…
Didn’t know me.
So if you could choose how you would die which would it be? Would it be a quiet and peaceful death surrounded by those who love you, whereby you simply slipped into an everlasting slumber? Or would you go out basking in a blaze of glory and forging your name in history for all of those who love you to remember?
Would it be by the hand of the man you loved. Would it be by the blade he quickly held against your throat. Because this was no longer a fairy tale of love and honour.
That story had come to an end.
And what if you
change that ending? What if it was the person you never thought possible who held control of it all in the palm of his hand? The one you would have risked everything you ever cared about to prove time wrong. What if the knife that was threatened against your throat was being held by a hand you knew…by a hand belonging to a man you loved?
No, when I thought about my own death I never saw what faced me now. If I could have been ruler of my own fate then my death would have been in sacrifice to save the other half of my soul. It would have been so that the man I loved would live because of my death. So many times before I felt myself die without actually leaving this earth and every time I spoke the name of who I lived for the most.
But now… well now I spoke his name to save my life. Because he held my life in his hands and as the blade dug deeper into my fragile flesh, one already bruised and beaten, I knew the horrifying truth…
Love couldn’t save me now. It was all for nothing. My sacrifice wasn’t my happy ending it was my lost beginning. I could see that now as clearly as I could see my fear reflected in the cold metal that collected my tears. So did I see myself dying of a broken heart and soul along with a broken body…no, that was never supposed to be my sacrifice. That wasn’t written in the fates or seen by any God, which could only mean one thing…