General Excerpt from Women of WarAdult Fiction by Lisa Beth Darling
The Dark Kingdom erupted after Ares escaped. It wasn't long before open accusations were made that someone, one of them, helped the God of War escape. If he'd made his way from the cell back through the village to the front door, guards would have seen him. They would have sounded the alarm. At the very least there would be a few dead guards lying in Ares' path but there were none. This left the Fae to conclude that Ares discovered a secret way out of the Dark Kingdom. Most likely he used the exit nearest his cell so that he wouldn't have to risk crossing through the village and alerting them to his escape. How would he have known about it if no one told him or showed him? How did he manage to get through the door if a Fae didn't open it for him?
The aging women of the Dark Kingdom looked at each other with open suspicion wondering which of them had fallen for the Olympian's charms and then betrayed them. Whoever it was, they wanted her found. They wanted her dead. Not only had she betrayed them, committed the highest form of treason, she'd left them vulnerable to an Olympian attack.
Shar did her best to quell their fears, she posted more guards at every entrance and put sentries on the other side of the heavy thicket dressed in mortal clothing to deter and, if necessary, kill anyone who might wander too close to their first line of defense. Weeks and then months passed, all remained quiet and Shar knew Ares intended to keep his word. The mirror had not lied to her; Shar held to that belief like a lifeline for the small remainder of her regal life.
Just as tempers began dying down, the Queen's pregnancy could no longer be hidden. When she announced the news in the Great Hall there was a thunderous cheer bursting with hope that new life would bring them. Then they began remembering the Queen's previous two pregnancies and started praying to all of the Gods that when this babe came into the world there wasn't a penis dangling between its legs. In dark corners, from dark hearts, the women began to whisper of the timing of the Queen's pregnancy. How odd that she should have conceived while Ares was prisoner in the Dark Kingdom. After all, the last time she'd been with child was more than a hundred years and they'd all begun giving up hope for a new Queen once Shar retired from this world.
The Queen wasn't getting any younger and some thought that perhaps it was she who traded Ares' freedom for a guarantee only he could give; a female heir.
The subjects of the Dark Kingdom grew restless again, whispers became shouts from lips that would never accept a half-breed Olympian as their new queen and they made that very clear. If their Queen's child turned out to be Fathered by Ares they wanted it destroyed. Male or female, it was to be thrown into the sea with its cord still attached. The Queen would be beheaded for her treason.
Fear grew to panic and then to frenzy in her mind, as the whispers grew louder and her subjects stared at her with open distrust. If she tried to tell them of the visions she'd seen in the mirror they would either think her lying or under Ares' spell. Either way it wouldn't be good for her or the baby she carried. Unable to bear the loss of another child to the sea, Queen Shar Draíocht did what any other woman would do in her situation; she ran. In the dead of night, she slayed her own guards before sneaking out of the Dark Kingdom along the same path she'd guided Ares months before. If it still existed, she intended to find her way to the Golden Lands and hope they would take her in.
Unprepared for the dangers of the world outside the deep shelter of the Dark Kingdom, she never made it out of the Celtic Lands. Full of Life and wonder, she stopped to taste, touch, smell, and look at everything she came across. The world was so much bigger than she'd ever imagined or been led to believe, it filled her with awe as she wandered unafraid and unarmed but for a small dagger.
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