Read Heart of the Gods Online

Authors: Valerie Douglas

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Paranormal

Heart of the Gods

It was a shaken, terrified and desperate man who stumbled into the little temple to the shock of the priests and priestesses who served there. His face and hands were scoured and bloodied by the desert.

Abdul ignored them, prostrating himself before the figure of the Goddess. The priests and priestesses couldn’t help him, only a Goddess could.

They’d lost Mustafa in the desert that first night.

At first Abdul thought it safe to rest and so they’d stopped to set up what camp they could.

The wind had come up. All of them had looked up, knowing the signs in the clouds, in the haze in the sky behind them.

A sandstorm.

They found what shelter they could and hunkered down to weather it out.

Still something sent a shiver down Abdul’s back. He weighed his chances.

Something told him his chances were better in the sandstorm.

As the first rush of blowing sand reached them, he leaped for his camel.

Seeing him, Najib followed.

Mustafa had not.

Even over the sound of the storm they heard him scream in abject terror and then in delirious bliss, a dying gurgle of immense pleasure.

And yes, there was something about the sound of that ecstasy that drew their manhood tight and sent a chill through them. Even as it called to them.

Najib’s eyes had turned white at that cry.

It had been a race then, to see which camel could run or be goaded faster against the fury of the storm.

Once again, Abdul won, his fingers clenched around the figurine of the little priestess as he heard the cry out of the darkness.

Still he couldn’t shake the idea he was still hunted. He could feel it.

Desperate, he raced into the first temple he found and threw himself on mercy of she who ruled there.

All he had to offer was the golden figurine of the priestess.


Take it,” he said to one of the priests, thrusting it into his hands. “Take it as my offering to her, to Sekhmet.”

The Goddess of War.

Instead the priest looked toward the open door of the temple and his face grew grim and set. As one, he and the others backed away, disappeared into the shadowed depths of the temple.

Nearly weeping with terror, Abdul slowly turned.

Sand swirled through the entrance. Something stepped out of it.

He looked from the figure in his hand to the terrible one who stood in the doorway.

The Guardian of the Tomb.

They were the same.

His cry was first of sheer terror and then of a deep and horrifying ecstasy.

When silence came once again to Sekhmet’s temple, the priests and priestesses emerged.

All that remained of the old thief was a dry and empty husk.

The wind gusted and swept the temple clean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart of the Gods

 

 

By

 

 

Valerie Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by the author as a member of the

Alexandria Publishing Group

 

Heart of the Gods Copyright © 2010 Valerie Douglas

Cover art by V. J. Douglas

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from author.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

 

 

 

License Notes

This 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 recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover other titles by Valerie Douglas

 

 

Fantasy

 

 

The Coming Storm

A Convocation of Kings

Not Magic Enough

Setting Boundaries

 

 

Servant of the Gods

 

 

Romance

 

 

Dirty Politics

Directors Cut

Irish Fling

Lucky Charm

Picture Perfect

 

 

Nike’s Wings

The Last Resort

Chapter One

 

 

Egypt, 17th Year of King Narmer’s Reign, Early Dynasty

 

 

Torchlight flickered over the stone walls of the immense cavern, bathing them in a soft golden glow. It danced over the massive figures of the Gods, giving the faces of the statues the appearance of expression. It illuminated as well the faces of the priests and priestesses gathered around the stone plinth that served as an altar. The air was pungent with the scent of burning incense. Chanting echoed throughout the chambers from the barely seen figures of the priests and priestesses standing in the shadows, a sound that rose and fell, a low atonal hum that resonated in the bones.

Mummification had never been intended for use on the living but it was as it must be and none of them could gainsay what was about to happen, not General Khai, nor any of the priests and priestesses of the Gods, nor High Priestess Irisi herself. Who were they to second-guess the will of the Gods?

Irisi could not and would not.

It was as the prophecy had decreed however much they wished to deny it. There was no other way and there was no other to do it, only she, warrior and priestess, could do this, however terrible it was.

Kahotep’s prophecy. He who was Priest of Horus, the falcon-God, whose Eye saw everything.

“A darkness rises, oh Pharaoh, to be unleashed across the world. It comes as a shadow rising from the desert laying waste to all of Egypt, scouring the earth as it passes. Death and destruction follow in its wake, and the cries of the people of the world are terrible. From the north comes a warrior, a crowned and golden servant of the Gods with eyes like the sky, bearing swords in hand to rise up and drive the terrible darkness out of the world, and to stand against it for all time.”

That shadow had risen and the battles had been terrible. Now they had a chance, one chance, to end it. Here.

Servant of the Gods. Irisi was that, she was priestess to both Isis and Sekhmet. To stand against it for all time? What was prisoned in the chamber below would live forever. And so, therefore, must she.

And so, this.

For it to have any chance at success she knew she must accept it without protest, she must give it both her Ba and Ka, her heart and soul, willingly, and so she steeled herself to face it.

Even as that other below, Kamenwati, did not. He screamed in protest, in outrage. He chanted spells against them as Kahotep, together with Awan, High Priest of Osiris and Djeserit, High Priestess of Sekhmet struggled to contain him and his terrible magic.

 

 

In the back of Irisi’s mind she chanted the words of the two Books she knew so well, the Book of Life, known only to the priests and priestesses of the temples…and the Book of Emerging in Daytime―what some wrongly named, the Book of the Dead.

Of the priests and priestesses only Rensi, High Priest of Anubis and gentle Nafre, priestess of Hathor, stood with her in the upper chamber. Representatives of their Gods, each had their task. Rensi made certain the rites done here this day were done as they must be to keep Irisi’s soul alive against all the odds and to preserve her body in the hope that someday she might reach the afterlife. Nafre gave comfort to help ease her passage.

And there was Khai, her beloved.

Irisi looked up at him from where she lay on the cold stone of the pedestal where once her sarcophagus would have lain.

Her breath caught as it always did to look at him. He was so beautiful and she loved him so much.

Gleaming black hair streamed in shining waves to his shoulders and framed his strong handsome face, high cheekbones and beautiful long-lashed dark eyes. Deep within those dark brown eyes was the hint of warm gold she knew so well. There was grief in his eyes, the sure knowledge of what they were about to do. She knew what it cost him to stand aside and watch, how little he loved to feel helpless, but for once his strength and courage could avail him nothing. This was for her to do, and her alone.

She longed to touch him once again, ached at the memory of his hands on her, his body against and a part of hers. The thought was bittersweet. In that Kamenwati had succeeded, he’d kept them apart. Surely the Gods wouldn’t deny her this much now? In her heart, in her soul, she felt the sweet benediction that was the blessing of her Goddess, Isis, who, having lost her own beloved Osiris for a time, understood her fear and her sorrow at having to give up her own beloved.

Here, finally for this one time and with these trusted few around them, they could do as they’d wished for so long to do openly.

Kiss.

While Irisi had been Kamenwati’s slave that hadn’t been possible. Or while under his threat. Only that had kept Irisi away, the sure knowledge that Kamenwati would kill Khai had he but known of their love.

Now, at long last, they could.

Khai’s lips touched hers, so warm, the feel of them firm but gentle, a soft caress.

Reaching up, Irisi touched his stern handsome face for one last time even as the sharp pain of the reeds lanced through her wrist, her ankles. She wouldn’t cry out, it wasn’t in her to make him suffer. It was her duty, for Egypt and its people, and the people of all the lands she’d known, that would leave him. She loved the Gods, she loved Egypt, but above all else she loved Khai. The Gods would understand, as did he.

“You are Nife-an-Ankh to me,” she whispered, “and Nomti…I love you, I will always love you. Forever.”

Breath of life and strength he was to her. Her heart.

“Irisi,” he said and lowered his proud head to hers.

Breath of life and strength as she was to him as well.

 

 

Khai looked down at his beloved Irisi laid out upon the altar. He wanted to cry out his denial of what was to come but he could not. Leaning over her with one arm braced on the stone he touched her face, looked into her lovely eyes, at the glorious length of her hair as it spilled over the sides. So beautiful, so alive…his life…his breath.

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