WOMEN OF WAR
BOOK #5 IN THE OF WAR SERIES
Venture on a Mystical Journey through Time and Secrets Past
Book #5 in the OF WAR Series spans four generations of women in Alena's family from her great-grandmother, Shar Draiocht the last known Queen of the Dark Kingdom to her tortured daughter Morrowind, to Maven Alena's free-spirited mother and through the lonely life of Alena MacLeod ending where "The Heart of War" begins with the night Alena washes up on Ares' shore. With intensity, lust, fear, and strength these Women of War make their way in the world revealing the hidden truths of the past and Ares true connection to his beloved Wife, Alena.
Marteen didn't suspect the heavy dose of Hemlock she grated into his tea and then let steep a good long time before bringing it to him. When he began puking on himself and sweating like a pig a few moments later, he called out for her. Being the dutiful Wife of a God, Maggie came to him, she sympathized with him, helped him into his bed, and sat with him until he slipped into a coma. Certain he would not wake and that most of the other Druids were in their beds, Maggie grabbed her father's ring and a cloth sack. She filled it with food, and ran for her life with no thought as to where she was going or how she would get there. Maggie only knew that, as much as her heart cried out for it, she couldn't go home to the Golden Lands and put the entire village in danger. Surely when Cernunnos found her gone, the Golden Lands would be the first place he would search. If he didn't find her, if they honestly didn't know anything about her escape, then he would have no choice but to leave them in peace.
Or she hoped.
Emerging from the tunnel five hundred yards past the keep and just at the tree line to the woods, she looked up at the night sky where a bright red star caught her eye. She recognized it as Mars, the planet named for the Roman God of War. Maggie focused on it, drawing strength and determination from it, hoping that the old God would lend his favor to her for one night. Faster than the wind, she ran toward it, pretending she was climbing some magickal staircase to the stars. The Mars twinkled, as though it was winking at her, acknowledging her, making her run faster. The faster she ran the brighter it glowed. She didn't stop running nor did she take her eyes off the twinkling red glow until well past dawn when its light was visible to her even the growing light of day.
By the time she fell to the ground from hunger and exhaustion the golden belt sliced deep into the soft flesh of her inner thighs and hips. The wounds were gaping and jagged as flaps of skin stuck to the gold while her blood drying upon it stained it a dark crimson. Finding shelter beneath a large willow tree she dared to eat a large hunk of soda bread she'd stolen from Marteen's kitchen. The nourishment slowly brought her heart rate to a normal pace as she looked around, noticing a small village some distance below her. The village was a harbor and there was a three-masted sailboat tied to the dock. Maggie didn't know where it was going and she didn't care. All she knew was that she was going to be on it. Once she was, when the boat left the dock and it was out on the big blue sea, she'd be safe from Cernunnos. She'd sail off to some place where they never heard of Feys and she would start a new life.
Women of War book trailer
An overview of the OF WAR SERIES
My name is Maggie, I'm fifteen years-old, named for my grandmother Magdalena MacLeod who was the Lost Queen of the Fey Kingdom. If you'll give me a few minutes I'd like to tell you about my family.
My Grandfather, Magdalena's Husband, is Ares the God of War. He didn't like her name and so he took it upon himself to rename her; Alena. Much to the displeasure of his Family, the Olympians, Ares fell head over heels for my grandmother who washed up on the shore of his island while Ares was sat in a wrongly imposed exile. He caused quite a stir when he refused to give her over to them in exchange for having his exile lifted and being welcomed home. Yet, as he once said, he would rather have one night with Alena than to have 10,000 nights on Olympus. So in love with her was he that when Aphrodite snatched her away from him and returned my grandmother to Cernunnos whom she'd managed to evade for two hundred years, Ares tracked him down to his forest Keep. There, after being held prisoner a short while, he cut down Cernunnos and turned his ancient fortress to ash.
Ares and Alena were married on the very beach, in the very spot, where she washed up on his shore. They were happy. So happy together but for such a short time. Alena became pregnant with my father, Raven and the Olympians, especially my Great-Grandfather, were very upset. They didn't want some half-breed running around Olympus. Knowing his Father's cunning and cruelty when Zeus presented Ares with a deal to keep Alena and Raven safe from harm he took it. The deal was that Ares would have to break his vow to Alena and sleep with Aphrodite bringing Zeus a full-blooded Olympian. Ares kept his part of the bargain and went to Aphrodite's bed but while in the throes of vengeful passion Alena went into labor alone. She cried out for her Husband but he wasn't there by the time he arrived with my Great-Grandmother, Hera, he'd nearly lost his Wife and his Son.
Raven was born he was loved by his mother and his Father but hated by Zeus in spite of the bargain he struck with Ares. From the union of Ares and Aphrodite, Trinity was born. She was a sweet girl, a full-blooded Olympian but showed no sign of having special powers. Not like Raven who could shoot balls of ice from his palms.
Not a being a full-blooded Olympian, it was up to Zeus whether or not to Accept my Father as one of them. Although my Grandmother had many mis-givings she was willing to allow it until Zeus, during the Ritual of Acceptance, tried to lay upon my infant Father the title of God of the Damned. She snatched her Son from the altar before Zeus could touch him with his staff and complete the ritual.
Much against the wishes of Ares and Alena, Apollo, Ares' nemesis was made Raven's guardian should anything happen to his Brother. Apollo gladly accepted the honored position as feeling of ill will was mutual. Apollo would do anything to hurt Ares but what he wanted above all else was my Grandmother. Working in concert with Zeus to bring down Ares and his new happy family, Apollo befriended Raven and planted wicked thoughts in my Father's head when he was only a child. In the end the goal of Zeus and Apollo was simple; they wanted Raven to grow so enraged that he would kill his Mother which would force to kill Raven and then, in a fit of depression, kill himself. Zeus would be rid of his least favored Son and the bastards Ares brought to Olympus.
Raven grew tall, strong, and angry until a deep hatred for his mother burned in his heart and spilled over to his Sister. Until one day, Trinity suffered a horrible accident; she fell from the very heights of Olympus all the way to the bottom of the mountain. Aphrodite was heartbroken at the loss of her Daughter. Ares was angry. Alena was suspicious of her Son and her Husband. Ares and Alena grew apart. Ares returned to Aphrodite's bed leaving his Wife pregnant alone with their Son. That night, Ares and Aphrodite created my Uncle, Hunter. When my Grandfather returned home to his fortress at the break of dawn, he found Alena broken and bloody at the bottom of a mighty marble staircase. He always suspected that Raven pushed her down the stairs although my father kept quiet and the assertion that he'd never touched his mother.
That day, Alena gave birth to my Aunt, Rose. The baby was small, too small. She was weak, frail, and malformed. Although Ares tried to do what he felt was the right thing and end her suffering he couldn't do it. Rose struggled, her life was not easy, but she was full of joy and determination. As her mother fell into a four year sleep, Raven grew and Rose grew and Ares fell into depression with his little Rose his only ray of light.
In secret, my Father and Apollo hatched a plan to bring anarchy to reign on the Mortal World. Apollo even convinced my Father that Ares would approve of the chaos and turmoil in the world below, that as the God of War, he would be proud. So Raven did all that could to bring about the destruction of the status quo in the world below. As riots broke out all over the planet, and the financial system crumbled, on Olympus my Father began fighting for acceptance among the Olympians began his Trials while Alena slept. Each God was to lay before him a Herculean task, the first of which was set by Hades. Raven went to the Underworld to rescue an innocent soul trapped in Tartarus. He faced many dangers and had to be quick on his feet and in his mind to pass all the way through Tartarus to the very center and the City of Dis where he faced the Furies and passed all of their tests. But Tisiphone presented him with a challenge of her own; if he made it back to Olympus in victory, he was to rescue my Grandmother from her deep sleep. She told him that Alena was not in coma but being held prisoner by Morpheus. If he were to rescue he would erase all his past misdeeds and be given a clean start. He would not face eternity behind the walls of Dis as a prisoner but, instead, when the time came, he would rule over it as the God of the Damned Zeus intended him to be.
On the last leg of his task he found the soul he was to rescue; Trinity. It wasn't easy but he gained her trust and in doing so came to feel the weight of the guilt of killing her. I think it was that moment my Father started to change and realize that, Olympian or not, there were things bigger than himself in this world. If he hadn't come to that understanding, I don't think my Father would have been able to face Ares, to tell him that all that time his beloved Wife was held captive in the Dream World and then to go and get her.
But they did, together Father and Son entered the Dream World, with little Rose tagging along unexpectedly. They found my Grandmother caught in the grip of a wicked nightmare as Morpheus held her, naked and cold, at the top of a very high tower. My Father morphed into a raven while Ares fought Morpheus, he flew to the top of the tower to rescue my Grandmother. Yet, when he reached out, when he touched her, the nightmare in her head jumped into him. He saw all manner of unspeakable things his Mother suffered and lived through and kept secret from him. They flooded into his mind until they made him scream and curled up in a ball, shaking and breathless for a long moment before he dared touch her again. In the end, Ares, Rose and my Father were victorious. They brought my Grandmother home after so long.
When they emerged from the Dream World, they woke to discover the Olympians knew what was happening in the Mortal World. Raven and Ares were accused of High Crimes Against Humanity and charged with the deaths of millions upon millions of Mortals caused not just by the rioting and upheaval but by a horrible disease called Major Falls, a weaponized version of rabies. Raven knew his friend Apollo had tricked him, lied to him all of those years. Held in Zeus' Dungeon, it was up to my Grandmother and Rose to prove their innocence. Temporarily cast out from Olympus they wandered the Mortal World and through the utter destruction and stench of death until they arrived at a place called Area 51. There Alena found the proof she needed but not before she was attacked and bitten by a dog riddled with Major Falls. Back on Olympus, with proof in her hands, Ares was proven completely innocent of all crimes. Raven swallowed his pride and admitted his part in helping the Mortals along as they barrel toward self-destruction but maintained his innocence in the spread of the disease. He too, was found innocent in the spread of the disease that would claim over two billion lives before it was done. More than innocence, Alena proved Apollo's guilt to the Olympians. She showed them irrefutable proof that it was Apollo who went to the Mortal World in Raven's form and purposefully set the disease free.
Zeus was furious with Apollo for having something so dastardly behind his back but he could do nothing to punish Apollo without revealing his own dirty deeds.
Vowing to do all that they could to put the Mortal World back together, my Family left Olympus, but as the Great Gate opened, Zeus suddenly Accepted my Father as one of them, giving Raven all of the power he would have and Lordship over the Damned just as he'd promised when Raven was only an infant. Apollo railed and the others were shocked by the gesture bestowed on the young man the God of Gods detested for so long.
When all of them returned to Ares' island, the God of War was ill. Unknown to any of them he'd contracted Major Falls and that turned out to be a very dangerous thing. In order to save Ares from a horrible death either at the hands of the disease or of his own Son, my Grandmother struck the deal with Apollo that he'd been waiting for; she would go to his bed if he would give Ares the cure he'd stolen from Area 51. Apollo jumped on it, and her, knowing he would hold this over her head and force her to his bed for many years to come.
It was on that first trip back to the Mortal World, while traveling across the remains of the United States that my Father met my Mother, Lenora an Outcast Fey who had long searched for Alena with the desire of bringing her home. At first, they didn't trust each other, in fact they hated each other and my Father almost killed my Mother. Yet, they soon realized they shared common goals and were stronger together than apart.
I don't want to spoil anything from here on out, some things should remain as a surprise. So, if you'd like to know more about me, how I came to be, or about the lives and stories of my Family, our friend Lisa Beth Darling has written a wonderful series, OF WAR, I suggest you read it. Start with "The Heart of War" and immerse yourself in the beginning of this sweeping saga with the story of how my Grandfather, Ares, met and fell in love with my Grandmother, Magdalena MacLeod the Lost Queen of the Fey Kingdom.
MAKE SURE YOU ADD THIS SERIES TO YOU TBR LIST!