Authors: Aiden James
Tags: #contemporary fantasy, #supernatural suspense, #Judas Iscariot, #Forgiveness, #redemption, #Thirty Pieces of Silver, #Immortals, #International thriller, #Dark Fantasy, #Men's Adventure, #Romance, #Jesus Christ, #Murder, #Istanbul, #Ethiopia, #Stigmata, #Stigmatic, #Constantinople, #Castle, #Metaphysical, #supernatural, #mystery, #Civil War history, #Shiloh, #Corinth Mississippi, #Silver shekels
Victory of Coins
The Judas Chronicles
iden James has written a deeply psychological, gripping tale that keeps the readers hooked from page one.”
Bookfinds review for “The Forgotten Eden”
“A variety of twists, surprises, and subplots keep the story moving forward at a good pace. My interest was piqued almost immediately and my attention never wavered as I forced my eyes to stay open well into the night. (Sleep is overrated.) Aiden James is a Master Storyteller, whose career is on the rise! Out-freaking-standing-excellent!”
Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews, for “Plague of Coins”
“The hook to this excellent suspense thriller is the twists that will keep readers wondering what is going on as nothing is quite what it seems. Adding to the excitement is that the audience will wonder whether the terror is an evil supernatural creature or an amoral human...Aiden James provides a dark thriller that grips fans from the opening.”
Harriet KLausner, for “The Forgotten Eden”
“Aiden James’ writing style flows very easily and I found that Cades Cove snowballed into a very gripping tale. Clearly the strengths in the piece were as the spirit's interaction became prevalent with the family.... The Indian lore and ceremonies and the flashbacks to Allie Mae's (earthly) demise were very powerful. I think those aspects separated the work from what we've seen before in horror and ghost tales.”
Evelyn Klebert, Author of “A Ghost of a Chance”, “Dragonflies”, and “An Uneasy Traveler” for “Cades Cove”
“The intense writing style of Aiden James kept my eyes glued to the story and the pages seemed to fly by at warp speed.... Twists, turns, and surprises pop up at random times to keep the reader off balance. It all blends together to create one of the best stories I have read all year.”
Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews, for “The Devil’s Paradise”
“Aiden James is insanely talented! We are watching a master at work....Ghost stories don’t get any better than this.”
J.R. Rain, Author of “Moon Dance’ and “Vampire Moon” for “The Raven Mocker”
CADES COVE SERIES
The Raven Mocker
THE TALISMAN CHRONICLES
The Forgotten Eden
The Devil’s Paradise
Hurakan’s Chalice (with Mike Robinson)
THE DYING OF THE DARK SERIES
With Patrick Burdine
The Vampires’ Last Lover
The Vampires’ Birthright
(New version coming in 2015)
Blood Princesses of the Vampires
(New version coming in 2016)
Scarlet Legacy of the Vampires
(Coming in 2017)
THE JUDAS CHRONICLES
Plague of Coins
Reign of Coins
Destiny of Coins
The Dragon Coin
Tyranny of Coins
Pyramid of Coins
Victory of Coins
NICK CAINE ADVENTURES
With J.R. Rain
Temple of the Jaguar
Treasure of the Deep
Pyramid of the Gods
Aiden James (solo)
Curse of the Druids
Secret of the Loch
River of the Damned
WITH MICHELLE WRIGHT
The Judas Reflections
Murder in Whitechapel
Curse of Stigmata
Maid of Heaven
WITH LISA COLLICUTT
The Serendipitous Curse
(Coming in 2015)
WITH JAMES WYMORE
The Actuator: Fractured Earth
The Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur
(Coming in 2015)
Pyramid of Coins by Aiden James
Published by Aiden James
Copyright © 2014 by Aiden James
Cover design by Michelle Johnson
Ebook Edition, License Notes
his ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to your favorite ebook store and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Victory of Coins
ankind’s inhumanity to one another has always troubled me. Yes, I realize there are those out there who assume that after witnessing thousands of people bicker to the point of killing one another for nearly two millennia, none of it could surprise me, or that it would no longer stir tender emotions deep within my heart. But it does on both counts.... Even battles fought more than one hundred and fifty years ago hold sway over my soul’s compassion in the present day.
Violent conflicts are never simply waged by soldiers, who are mere pawns taking care of spats inflamed by rhetoric from the rich and powerful. It has been that way since time immemorial, I assure you. From pompous Romans to the Gauls who eventually overthrew them, to Crusaders killing Moors in the name of a merciful Jesus Christ, to England versus France and the rest of Europe, to.... Well you get the point, I’m sure.
We could revisit nearly every war in the modern ages, and never get to what I really want to talk about. So, I will say this: The only difference between most viewpoints and my own is
, since I have lived to see each one of the conflicts mentioned above.
For those unaware of my previous discourses, my name is William Barrow. I’ve enjoyed this name for the better part of the past one hundred and twenty years. Before that, Emmanuel Ortiz was the favorite for, oh... I suppose almost eighteen hundred years, give or take a century. All the while, though, I was and am Judas Iscariot. Yes,
“Are you reminiscing again, old friend?”
Roderick Cooley, my dearest companion aside from my beloved Beatrice, grinned while nodding accusingly. We stood upon a low ridge near Pickett’s Mill Battlefield, just northwest of Atlanta, Georgia.
“A little,” I confessed. “I should’ve avoided the video presentation this time. The soldiers looked so young.”
“As it has always been,” he said. “Youth are the easiest to mold and coerce into battle. Bravado conquers fear, and only when it’s too late to turn back does the terror of one’s fragile mortality come to the forefront of an adolescent’s awareness.”
Roderick pulled down his sunglasses to reveal lavender eyes that studied me intently, the tiny gold specs around the edges of his irises quickening their orbit. I should’ve known he didn’t care for the latest monument to the American Civil War’s bloodletting anymore than he had the previous dozen sites we had visited in the past week. The surrounding echo of his voice was the clearest giveaway for that observation. He was being a good sport for me, and mostly for Beatrice and Amy, who had wanted to tour the Civil War battlegrounds, museums, and local ‘bed and breakfast’ inns throughout the southern and northern states affected by the war.
“It all seems so pointless, doesn’t it?” I said, relieved when he pushed his shades back over his eyes.
“My, you have changed,” he replied, laughing. “It doesn’t seem that long ago when you were just as pleased to profit off the blood of such innocence. ‘It’s not my concern how the king spends his money, just so long as I am there to claim the gold and satisfy his Grace’s wishes.’... Do you not remember?”
“Yes, I remember!” I shot back. “I am truly ashamed for saying it, and although I know you’re merely jesting, I wish you would find another target for your current displeasure.”
True, the statement he referred to happened roughly two hundred and forty years ago, when Roderick and I almost had a fatal falling out over my support of King George and his of the fledgling Continental Army under George Washington. Luckily, he lured me from the ‘dark side’ soon enough, and my patriotism to this great land could never be questioned. Even when I returned to England several times during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, America had forever stolen my heart.
The heat was getting to him, and with each irritating insect he swatted at, the MAC makeup that allows this near-seven-foot giant to look somewhat normal melted away. Roderick’s ashen-porcelain complexion was showing through, and the embarrassment of being the focus of gawking tourists we were likely to encounter kindled his annoyance all the more.
It was time to leave, even though it would take a moment for Beatrice, Amy, and her brother Jeremy to join us. Jeremy struggled to carry a large cooler while assisting Amy and my wife up the small hill where Roderick and I waited.
“Here, I’ll take that, Jeremy.” I moved to help relieve his burden, while Beatrice grabbed at her lower back. A surge of guilt seized my heart as I realized I had been neglecting her needs by letting the sense of overwhelming sadness emanating from the nearby battlefield distract me to rudeness. I gently put my arm around her waist to help her navigate the last few steps. “I apologize, my love.”
“It’s okay,” she assured me, pausing to sit on the cooler while Amy gently massaged my wife’s shoulders. “I think we should move on soon... sooner than I had hoped.”
I believe it was the first time she regretted the plan she and Amy came up with, to try and visit every notable Civil War landmark, with an emphasis on the Old South. Oddly, the scheme was hatched after watching
Gone With The Wind
together last Christmas—a favorite flick from Beatrice’s teenage years, at the outset of World War II. Seeing it on the theater-sized screen inside Roderick’s palatial fortress surely added to the film’s romantic allure. But if either Amy or Beatrice had foreseen that my wife would soon be pregnant for the first time in nearly seventy years, they might’ve picked something less ambitious to do until after the baby was born....
“To Vicksburg?” asked Roderick, unable to mask the joy in his voice of leaving the ninety-degree Georgia mugginess for our SUV’s artificial coolness.
I could tell that the Golden Eagles, Amy and Jeremy, held out hope we might hit a few more sites in Alabama on the way to Mississippi. Their matching green eyes were narrowed as chipped emerald lasers aimed at Roderick, despite his indifference to them. For those just now joining my saga, I should mention here that Amy was my son’s fiancée until he was murdered early last year. Before that, the Golden Eagles entered our lives during a dubious and pivotal trip to Iran, where after surviving the deadly designs of Petr Stanislavsky they inherited the same eternal youth that Alistair and Beatrice benefited from. The Tree of Life’s crystals not only vanquished the aging process forever, but they also gave birth to my most feared immortal nemesis, Viktor Kaslow.
“Yes... I’m wilting from the heat like you are, Rod,” said Beatrice. “And, my back.... Well, I think having it supported would be best for the baby.”
She looked helpless, and I wanted to enwrap her in my arms and absorb her discomfort, if such a thing were possible. When Beatrice searched my face with an imploring gaze peering through dampened strawberry blonde locks that had slipped through a ponytail tie, her emerald eyes matched Amy and Jeremy’s intensity from a moment earlier.
“I think we need to do the smart thing and avoid the heat,” I said. “Besides... this place depresses the hell out of me.”
It was much more than that, but by then they all knew I was having a hard time with the more oppressive sites we had visited. Places like Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and Stones River had all been tough. Ever since my dealings with Krontos Lazarevic in Hungary, I hadn’t been quite the same as before, although the attendant psychic abilities I was originally cursed with from that fateful encounter had waned to the point they were no longer noticeable. Yet, I now carried a greater empathy for certain places than I had ever experienced in my earlier life. Largely ignored following the death of my beloved Alistair, it wasn’t until Ratibor’s demise that I realized this latent ‘gift’, which was first triggered by holding two of my blood coins during my face-to-face battle with Krontos the previous autumn, hadn’t left me as I previously assumed.
Much had changed since we avenged my son’s murder. We fully expected our return to Roderick’s farm in Abingdon, Virginia to be temporary, and perhaps it will be short-lived in the bigger picture. However, Krontos Lazarevic and Viktor Kaslow have been silent. We haven’t heard from either one, and I’ve been content to lay low in regard to my coin search. After all, Kaslow still has one of the coins in his possession, and the other coin has seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth.