#BlogTour #SongsOfSacrifice #HomericChronicles #JanellRhiannon
Song of Sacrifice
(Homeric Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: December 26th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical
The heart of the Trojan War belongs to the women.
Mothers and daughters; wives and war prizes, whisper to us across time…
…remember our songs alongside the mighty men of myth.
As the Age of Heroes wanes, the gods gamble more fiercely with mortals’ lives than they ever have before. Women must rely on their inner strength and cunning to survive the wars men wage for gold and glory.
Clytemnestra of Mycenae struggles for control of her life after Agamemnon ruthlessly rips it apart. Leda of Sparta survives a brutal assault by Zeus, shouldering a terrible secret in silence. Penelope raises Ithaka’s sole heir alone, praying for Odysseus’ swift return. Thetis, the sea nymph, despairs of her son’s destiny and resorts to forbidden magic to save him. Hecuba of Troy mourns the loss of her second son to a dark prophesy. And Shavash of Pedasus prepares her daughter to marry the greatest warrior who ever lived.
In a world where love leads to war and duty leads to destruction, the iron hearts of heroines will conquer all.
Sing, Muse, sing their song of sacrifice…
Replaces Song of Princes as the first book in the Homeric Chronicles.
In graduate school, Janell focused on the ancient history of Greece and Rome. Hooked by the “sword and sandal” world, she studied everything she could about mythology and Alexander the Great.
The Homeric Chronicles series is dedicated to merging dozens of Greek myths, including Homer’s epics, with plays, history, and archaeology. Her intent is to raise the heroines’ voices equally alongside the heroes, opening up a traditionally male focused genre to a female audience.
She lives in CA and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. She has a pack of two big dogs and two cats.
From Chapter 7
Queen Hecuba and Prince Hektor
HEKTOR TUGGED AT his robe. “Mother, do I have to sit the entire dinner?”
Hecuba nodded, smoothing his wild hair and adjusting his simple golden diadem. “Yes, my son. You’re expected to behave as the Prince of Troy tonight. Not Hektor the Breaker of Horses.”
The prince frowned. “I’d rather be riding or sword fighting than sitting around listening to old men.”
“One day, Hektor, if you’re fortunate enough, you’ll be an old man gossiping about your glorious days of youth. I promise you, these days will pass with swiftness.” Hecuba shivered. In a blink, she saw dust and gold flashing. Again, I see the dual. Who are they to me? She rubbed her hands briskly, shaking off the chill. “We must go. Your father will be waiting.”
All eyes turned toward Hecuba and Hektor as they entered the main hall.
Priam stood. “My queen! My son, the Prince of Troy!”
Hecuba and Hektor bowed their heads, acknowledging the king. Hektor then escorted his mother to the head of the great table, seating her at his father’s right. Servants resumed scurrying about the main hall, carrying silver platters of roasted wild boar and beef, loaves of hot bread, and trays of soft cheeses. Wine stewards funneled sweet wine mixed with honey, mint, and cinnamon into finely crafted silver pitchers, before pouring the fragrant libations into hammered gold and silver kylikes for the guests.
Priam touched his wife’s hand, his finger gliding gently over the gold bangle on her wrist. “You are radiant.”
Hecuba’s face betrayed nothing. “My lord.”
Leaning close to her, Priam’s breath warmed her cheek. “Come, my queen, surely you find some joy in our company?”
A servant slid between them, refilling the queen’s kylix with spiced wine. Hecuba sipped the dark liquid. “This is very good,” she said, as it burned sweetly down her throat.
Priam squeezed a fig on his plate. “I’m pleased even if you’re not. You’ve been long absent.”
Hecuba glanced to an adjoining hallway, catching a glimpse of a very pregnant servant woman. She noted the woman’s comely face and dark, shiny hair. “With good cause,” Hecuba replied sharply. “You’ve not missed my presence over much, if my eyes judge correctly. She has a name, this one?”
Priam followed his wife’s line of sight, until his eyes rested on Melita. His lips grazed her ear, as he whispered, “She’s small comfort when you refuse me.”
Hecuba clenched her jaw, stopping the harsh words at the tip of her tongue. It’s the way of Trojan kings to take more than one wife. You knew this when you married. In the early years, she’d welcomed his loving embrace, but now she barely endured the weight of him over her as he spilled his seed inside of her. Every coupling resulted in a child, as if the gods wished to mock her grief. The emptiness of the Forgotten Prince in her arms and the grief usurped any tender feelings she’d ever had for her husband. The dark shroud around her heart protected her. Only in my grief can I find any peace at all.
A familiar voice interrupted her thoughts. “My Lady Hecuba, are you well?”
The queen looked up into a pair of honey-brown eyes and the kindly face of Shahvash, the wife of Briseus. “Yes, I’m well. Apologies, my thoughts flew elsewhere.”
Shahvash smiled warmly. “I see you’re again with child. How wonderful for you and the king.”
Hecuba placed a hand on her belly, feeling the hard, rounded curve of a new child pressing against her ribs. Soon, eating would become difficult and relieving her waters much more frequent. “Yes. It’s a much anticipated joy.”
“Briseus and I are expecting our first by summer’s end.”
Shahvash raised her kylix of wine to share with the queen. “We’re blessed, my lady. But I give my thanks to Apollo.”
Forcing a tight smile for her guest’s sake, Hecuba asked, “Why Apollo?”
“My husband’s brother, Chryse, is a loyal servant and priest of the god. Apollo granted him a vision of this child.” She lovingly stroked the sides of her belly. “He said her husband would be the greatest warrior who ever lived and her name would fall from the lips of storytellers for generations to come.”
“Then, surely she will be most beautiful,” Hecuba said. Why couldn’t Apollo give me such a blessing, even if a girl? Why did he have to take my son from me? Order such a cruel death? She wanted to curse Apollo, but dared not breathe the words to life. “Have you come to bargain for our horses?”
Shahvash plucked a handful of plump dates from a tray. “You’ve the mind of a man. Always a head for trading and exchange of coins or horses, my Lady Hecuba.”
“Apologies. I can’t help but praise our stock. Finer horses can’t be found in all the Troad.”
Shahvash’s laughter rang silver and sweet. “You’re correct. I can’t deny my husband has come for that purpose.”
Hektor clanged his silver cup on the table. “My horse is the finest in all the land.” He glanced expectantly between the women.
The queen smiled behind her hand. “My lady Shahvash. My eldest son, Hektor.”
Hektor nodded to Shahvash across the table. “I apologize if I’ve been rude to speak. I’ve been listening between the men and my mother regarding horses. I’m surrounded by talk of horses.”
Shahvash flashed a brilliant smile. Hecuba noted her perfect teeth. “There is nothing to pardon. What else would the Prince of Troy love, but horses?”
“Would you care to see the finest one in all of the land?” Hektor asked. “Mother?”
Queen Hecuba nodded approval. “If our guest should wish it. Fair warning. It’s a walk, my lady.”
Hektor sweetened the proposition. “He’s as black as a starless night. The most hot-blooded of all of the horses owned by my father. Sure-footed. He’ll be the finest mount that ever lived.”
“How can I refuse such a request?” Shahvash asked.
The eldest son of Priam grinned with pride. “It appears you can’t, my Lady Shahvash.”
“What do you call this magnificent steed?”
“God of War? A suitable name for a warhorse!” Shahvash exclaimed.
“If only there was a war! I would ride Ares swiftly onto the plains and fight.” Hektor’s face beamed as he wished for war.
Hecuba shook off another shiver of gold and dust, as she placed her hand gently on Priam’s arm. “Hektor has a mind to show our guest his horse.”
Priam nodded his consent. “He’s truly my son. Take an escort.”
“We shall.” Hecuba left the great hall with Shahvash and Hektor following. “We’re for the stables it seems.”
Priam watched from the corner of his eye as the queen took her leave of the feast, Hektor talking all the way with the wife of Briseus.
“She’s an easy woman … your wife,” Priam remarked to his royal dinner companion.
Briseus raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at Priam’s assessment. “Don’t let her soft voice and manner deceive. The blood of my wife’s family breeds fierceness and hot tempers. She’s not so easily bent to a husband’s will as you may think.”
Priam’s drunken laughter shook the table, splashing his wine. The dry planks drank the red liquid. He clapped Briseus firmly on the back. “It appears, my friend, that our taste in horses and women is the same! The untamable ones tempt the most.”
“True enough, King Priam. I fear the daughter she carries will be the undoing of me.”
“How do you know it is a daughter and not a sturdy son?”
“Apollo has spoken the sacred word that it is so.”
Priam bristled at the mention of Apollo. “The god’s word was … favorable, regarding the child?”
Briseus nodded. “The girl-child will marry the greatest warrior that ever lived.”
Priam clasped his guest’s arm. “Then, by all means, she should be married to Hektor.”
“Nothing would please me more,” Briseus said, as they raised their wine in salute and drank.
The king handed his drinking cup to a slave, signaling across the chamber to another slave. “No more talk of horse flesh and women. Bring the dancers!” He settled back into his chair, as the veiled women swirled into the room. Their swaying bodies undulated to the bells and drums, while Priam’s foggy mind drifted to Hecuba. It may have been years since she’d enthusiastically wrapped her long legs around him in ecstasy, but his cock still throbbed at the memory.