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Viktor:Heart of Her King

By:Julia Mills

Viktor:Heart of Her King
Julia Mills

       Kings of the Blood ~ Book 1



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Edited by Lisa Miller, Angel Editing Services

Proofread by Charlene Bauer with Wickedly Bold

Cover Designed by Linda Boulanger with Tell Tale Book Covers

Cover Model Tommy Barresi

Photographer Eric David Battershell with Eric Battershell Photography

Formatted by Charlene Bauer with Wickedly Bold





DEDICATION


Dare to Dream! Find the Strength to Act! Never Look Back!

Thank you, God.

To my girls, Liz and Em, I Love You. Every day, every way, always.

To Charlene, Your support is just amazing! This one's for you!



Index of Latin


as spoken by the Kings of the Blood

Custos Animae..........Keeper of My Heart

Te Amo..........I Love You

Saecula..........Forever

Amicus..........Friend

Amicorum..........Friends

Hodie Ipse Et In Saecula..........Today and Forever

Amica Mea..........My Love

Rex..........King

Deliciae Meae..........Darling

Dilectum Meum..........My Beloved

Cor Meum..........My Heart

Saietas..........Feeder

Ita Vero..........Yes

Imperator..........Commander

Vale..........Goodbye

Tuus sum..........I Am Yours

Tranquillitas..........Calm

Sum Rex Ab Eo..........My King

Sanguinem..........Blood





Prologue


The warrior known as Viktoras lay atop the highest mountain, the point  of the village closest to the gods, as the sun scorched his bare skin.  He waited, spread eagle, wrists and ankles bound to the stakes that had  been driven into the dry, brittle earth by his comrades. Those he'd  fought beside, bled beside, and swung his sword to defend. This brave  soldier had been sentenced to the foulest punishment of their kind. Left  to wither away, a slave to the elements, a feast for the vermin.

He thought about the years of his life, the thrill of the victories and  the pain of the defeats, all only memories to take to his grave as he  felt blisters form upon his searing flesh. He relived every moment of  his trial; a farce set upon him by his enemies, led by the weak-minded  commander of their sister clan, Bjorn. Such a big name for such a small  man. The same coward who'd left his men to die while he ran in fear when  faced with their most bloodthirsty adversary.

Bjorn had come to the trial prepared. The traitor had called upon his  goddess, Eris  –  the ruler of chaos, strife and discord, who lent him the  power to stand before their Council of Ancestors and provide false  testimony against Viktoras. The turncoat assured a conviction against  the mighty warrior with a glint in his eye and a snarl upon his lips.  Viktoras' men shouted from the gallery, screaming at the injustice  before them, telling and retelling the true story of the battle they'd  just survived. Their Supreme Commander, however, stood stoic, unwilling  to lower himself to be a party to the charade playing out before him.

The only defense Viktoras waged for himself was to the gods. Praying to  the goddess of war and wisdom continually from the first day of his  incarceration, begging for her guidance. Every unanswered plea was an  arrow to his heart. He'd been left to suffer in silence...alone...a  doomed man. Sure that his appeals for justice had fallen upon the deaf  ears of the goddess Athena, the warrior began praying directly to Zeus.  He asked the Father of the Gods to shine light and honesty on the  travesty before him, while hour after hour he listened to tainted  testimony planted by his enemies.

Finally, the time came for his generals to take the stand. Roman, his  second-in-command and friend since childhood, spoke of Viktoras' bravery  and valor. The general explained how Viktoras had led the charge  against their enemies, never asking even the lowliest of their ranks to  do anything he himself, had not already accomplished. Achilles, a  brigadier general and named for his father, spoke of the many wounded  their supreme commander and friend carried to the medics while  continuing to fight the thundering hordes descending upon them from all  sides. The last allowed to speak was Bain, the eldest of the Michaelidis  family and a newly promoted general. He focused on the man beyond the  battlefield, explaining in excruciating detail the special care Viktoras  took of the women and children left without a man of the family due to  their country's constant conflicts.

The commander watched the faces of each member of the council as his  friends and comrades gave testimony. The corrupt lawgivers showed no  emotion, gave no indication they were even listening, only looked over  the crowd as if taking attendance. When they left to deliberate,  Viktoras knew the outcome was a forgone conclusion. His fate had been  decided the moment the cold steel shackles were clamped tightly upon his  wrists and ankles. The trial was only a formality, a way for his  enemies to justify his murder. They wanted to avoid an uprising from  those who would remain loyal to the great Supreme Commander, Viktoras.                       
       
           



       

No matter his belief in the doom he faced, Viktoras still prayed to the  almighty Zeus, knowing if a miracle was to be bestowed upon him, it  would be by the King of the Gods. Long after the fateful verdict had  been delivered, while the mighty warrior sat waiting for the  executioner, a light shown from above and a voice unlike any Viktoras  had ever heard reverberated off the stone walls of his cell.

"You have remained loyal, my child, even unto the end. A fate worse than  most has befallen you and it is true that life as you know it will soon  be forfeit, but this is not the end, great warrior. You are destined  for far greater things.

"Your heart will cease to beat. Your lungs will cease to draw breath.  You will be buried in a traitor's grave-but do not fret. Thirty days  will come and go while your body rests and transforms. As the sun  touches the horizon on the night of the thirty-first day, you shall  rise. Your heart will again beat. Your lungs will again draw breath and  you, my loyal servant, will be made immortal. You will be known as ‘The  Unum', The One, the first King of the Blood. You will serve a higher  purpose. You will smite the enemies that mortals cannot. You will live  in resurrection as you lived in life, an unknown hero amongst the masses  with a worth beyond all imagination.

"Those loyal to you in life may also be called into service. It is a  choice you will have to make, for only you will have the power to make  them immortal, to make them future Kings of the Blood. Together, you and  yours will form a fraternity unlike any other, with the sole purpose of  protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

"As with everything, there is a price and yours is twofold. Although you  will live and thrive as you always have, you will also need to consume  life's essence once every new moon. The darkest night of the month at  the darkest time of the night is when you shall feed. It should be given  willingly and accepted gratefully. Take only the small amount you need  to replenish the powers bestowed upon you and leave your donor  unblemished.

"Lastly, you will have a mate, your custos animae, the keeper of your  heart. The one woman in all the world who can save your doomed soul and  breathe life into your dead heart. She will be the perfect complement to  your darkness, a light that shines so brightly there are no shadows for  you to hide behind. She will know your every weakness, share your every  secret, and accept you for all that you are. This gift of the gods will  be your only nourishment from the moment of her recognition of you. You  will know when this woman is born. You will feel it in the depths of  your soul, but you must wait for her. When the time is right, she will  come to you. The mating must be completed before nightfall of your three  thousandth year or you will cease to exist. You will return to the  ether from whence you came, ashes to ashes and dust to dust. You will  enter the Elysian Fields and live a hero's afterlife.

"Our time is up, my supreme commander. The guards approach. Your day of  death is nigh. Know that I am watching and waiting. Know that your  purpose is true and just, blessed by not only the King of the Gods but  by the entire Pantheon. Go forth, brave warrior, die so that you might  live and fulfill your honor bound destiny."

In the blink of an eye, the light from above and the voice of Zeus  disappeared as if they had never existed. The guards arrived as  predicted and once again locked steel shackles on his wrists and ankles,  but this time, he was taken to the top of the mountain and left to die.

Days passed. His strength waned. He knew the end was near but held out  hope that what Zeus had promised would come to pass. Viktoras knew he  was to serve a greater purpose. He would be true to his mission and do  as the King of the Gods had commanded, while also hunting down those  responsible for his premature death. Bjorn and the lawgivers would feel  the cold, harsh steel of his blade upon their necks. He would watch the  life fade from their eyes. Their blood would pay the debt.

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