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Sabine

Part One

Kelly Addams

Copyright

Layout Copyright © 2018 by PMO Publishing. Published 2018 by PMO Publishing. Ebook design by PMO Publishing. Cover art by PMO Publishing. Contact: pmopublishing@gmail.com

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the authors permission.

Authors note: All characters depicted in this work of fiction are 18 years of age or older.

Prologue

It was a time of superstition, without enlightenment or science and the land lay under an invisible shadow, the summer sun may have been shining but the people felt only gloom in their hearts. Spring had passed, and it had been mild and kind, yet still the gloom hovered.

Omens!

Portent!

Warnings!

Things unnatural were afoot, beasts of the underworld were reported, just the briefest glimpses spied deep in the woods, and closer to home the newborn lambs in the meadows had been slaughtered their blood staining the vales.

“We have been forsaken!” Orrack the druid had wailed, “We have displeased the gods!”

It was entirely possible, the Christian God was gradually defeating the old gods of stream and wood and sky.

The One God was replacing the many, ancient beliefs and rites were being abandoned and forgotten. But not in Orrack's district, his grip was still strong, he had the personality and charisma to bolster flagging faith, his will was like iron. His resolve; unshakable.

“I warned you.” he bellowed from within a protective ring of standing stones on the edge of the village.

“The evil approaches, even as I speak. The gods must be appeased, the spirits of birch and elm and oak must be placated, the spirits of earth and water... but most importantly, we must heed the demands of the spirits of the underworld. We must make a sacrifice, only then will the portals to below be closed, only then will we rid ourselves of the shadow, and the ravening beasts being sent forth to punish us.”

“A sacrifice.” he repeated, his voice lowering. He had their attention now, the people of the village, and he knew that his word would spread from mouth to mouth throughout the local area until every living soul agreed with his demand.

“A beautiful, and willing young maiden, to be offered in homage.”

“A virgin?” one pretty young woman asked maybe a little too hopefully, her own status as a hussy precluding her from the honour.

Orrack chuckled softly and shook his head. “The spirits of evil care little if the gift has been unwrapped or nay. They demand only great beauty, and a heartfelt willingness to submit to their fate.”

A murmur rippled through the gathered villagers, the general consensus that they were quite probably doomed... because who on earth would volunteer to submit willingly to the darkness below?

“We must find this girl,” Orrack whispered, “Or our punishment will be severe.”

Chapter 1

Sabine tugged a weed from the ground she had just hoed, she liked to keep her vegetable plot neat and free of all plants inedible.

At twenty two she was a rarity amongst the local women, unmarried and childless. Every other girl her age was a mother many times over and little more than a serf to her overbearing husband. But Sabine had bucked the system and spurned every suitor, not that there had ever been a great deal of romance or wooing involved. Marriage was like a business, it was designed to benefit, for the woman she gained security and a degree of legitimacy despite being little more than a slave and birth-er of babies. And for the man the benefits were evident, he gained a mother of strong sons, a cooker of food, maker of clothes and unpaid labourer to dig the ground and plant crops while he led a leisurely life tending his herds of sheep and cattle.

At an early age Sabine had turned her back on tradition. Why should she capitulate simply because every other girl was, she didn't want marriage, or if she did she wanted a true partnership with her husband. Which is something I would never have she told herself as she pushed a shaped and sharpened stick under another weed to loosen the roots. Anyway, I like my life as it is.

There were many who looked on Sabine and frowned, gossip was rife and surrounded her constantly. She had been seen, frequently, with Agraff, the self appointed Chieftain of the lands surrounding the village. It was a time when power counted for more than birthright, and Agraff was powerful, with his warriors at his back few would question if he had the right to call himself their chief, and those that dared soon learned a lesson in obedience, all falling to their knees in submission after he had gently explained that he would tolerate no dissent.


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