Artemis of the Dodekatheon Saga

All Rights Reserved ©

Summary

With the lingering threat of war in the air, King Zeus V’s daughter Artemis is forced to flee and search for answers regarding a growing resistance. As prophecy unfolds, Artemis must decide whether to fulfill her destiny before the last battle ends it all. Offering a diverse world that lovers of fantasy will readily immerse themselves in, Artemis of Dodekatheon explores the many facets of racial conflict and highlights the consequences of ignoring relevant lessons from the past. AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE SPRING 2022!

Status:
Excerpt
Chapters:
2
Rating:
4.9 11 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue

Castle Olympus

“Your Grace, we are ready to proceed. We await only your presence.”

A young female glanced behind her toward the voice but did not move. She knew this was the law, but it went too far. As decreed by Zeus III, no Xenoi were to reproduce and were to be sterilized before they could propagate. Her father had shielded her from Delphi’s Archiereus, Chryses for sixteen years. Why now did he falter in her defense against the high priest? Crimson eyes returned to the bright, full moon above, yet the sphere offered her heart little comfort.

Everything she had ever learned justified her argument, so how could such ignorance be allowed in this supposedly perfect world? Her fingernails scraped across the marble sill of her window as fear swelled within her breast. No amount of logic could alleviate her anxiety of what was to come. If her pride allowed her, she would have begged and bargained to be spared.

“Princess Artemis,” came the male voice once more from behind her, “the longer you wait, the worse your soul will torment you. The sooner we begin, the sooner the end will come.”

A shiver ran through the princess at the sound of that voice. Why did males have to do this? It was violating enough to chemically castrate her body, but a male’s hand performing the act only added insult to the injury. The level of misogyny behind this was enough to make her want to vomit. However this night ended, the Temple of Delphi would not escape her wrath, and she would ensure history remembered it.

“Very well,” she replied in a regal tone, holding her dark-haired head high as she turned about stiffly. “I am ready.”

Outside the princess’s chamber, Zeus V paced the width of the double doors anxiously. Why was he allowing this? The law was wrong, but he could not change it without brewing new strife within the illusionary truce of the factions involved. With the rebelling Xenoi unwilling to accept any compromise and the Temple of Delphi’s resistance to change, the ruler was at a loss for any means of peaceful resolution. Raking his large hands through his slick black locks, Zeus tried to think of something to stave off this act of hate against his only child.

Upon the wall, opposite the doorway, a portrait of a Human woman hung, smiling warmly down at him. He paused his stride to gaze at it for a moment. Her pale complexion glowed in the torchlight. The king had wanted to raise their child together as an example to his people that there could be a union between Humans and themselves, but her untimely death at Artemis’s birth had ended that dream. After sixteen years of protecting his daughter from the horrid xenophobia of the Graeco, the Archiereus of Delphi had demanded he fulfill his duty as king, lest the Fates cut his reign short. Not that he worried for his own life, but Zeus feared for Artemis’s safety in the wake of his demise. He had conformed, unwillingly.

“Archiereus,” the king pleaded, turning to face the stoic priest, “is there truly no other way to satisfy the law?” The desperation was clear in his voice, but he did not care about his image at this point. His daughter’s dignity was on the line, not to mention her self-worth. There had to be something he could do.

“Zeus, do you intend to question the Law of the Graeco?” The priest turned a cold glance on the male before him. “Never since our return to Gaea’s surface, nearly a millennium ago, has a Zeus dared to defy the law. It is as sound as Athena’s word. Delphi allowed your marriage because the Advisor supported your union, but princess or no, your daughter is bound by the law and the blood you both gave her, whether she is one of the Twelve or not.”

“Chryses, please,” Zeus begged, “she could swear an oath of virginity, as the goddess herself! There must be a way to avoid damaging her body! Surely, you realize how inhumane this is to any woman of any race!”

Silence!” Chryses bellowed. He did not take well to being called by his name in such a pathetic voice. “The law is sound. Enough protest. It is too late to argue, for it will not be much longer. We should hear her cries any moment.” Crossing his arms around his staff, the high priest signaled an end to the discussion.

Zeus’s heart froze at the thought of hearing Artemis cry out, helpless to stop her suffering. A primal urge to strike the priest surged through his muscles. Thrusting his fist against the door frame, he glared at Chryses. Splinters broke through the skin on his fingers. The other’s gaze faltered as the king established that he was still Zeus. No one would tell him what to do outside of the law.

“Watch your tongue when speaking of my family, Chryses.” A dark growl escaped the king’s throat as he struggled to restrain his anger. “When the Advisor is found, Delphi will pay for this overreach of authority.”

If he is found, that is,” Chryses retorted softly, still shaken by the king’s dominant presence. “He is just as vulnerable before the Fates as you. Do not forget. Or—” the high priest smirked as a thought occurred to him, “—he could have abandoned you for faltering as the Supreme Ruler. The Human you chose weakened you, Zeus. Of this, Delphi does confirm. You made your choice, though.”

Zeus ground his teeth at the slander against his late wife. She had been no less a queen than Hera herself, and yet her heritage prevented some of their people from acknowledging her. She had not told him how to rule, but she had given him sound counsel, equal to that of the Advisor. Her dying words haunted him in this very moment, and it took every bit of strength he possessed not to break his oath.

“‘Harm none’ was her dying request, Chryses. Do not push me to break that promise tonight.”

Dressed in a black silken robe, Artemis sat centered on her large bed with her knees pressed together against her chest. The guards readied themselves about the bed with their backs to her. There were two on either side, and the remaining two stood by the door to ensure their privacy. She had never felt more exposed than she was at that moment. The last sat on the edge of her bed, glancing at her. Within his rust-orange visage, his black eyes fixated on her crimson ones. A hawk eyeing prey was the best description she could imagine. Why was he watching her so closely? Something about his gaze was strange, but was that just her unease over the procedure? Perhaps she was overthinking…

“I hope you are comfortable, Your Highness,” he said politely as he continued to smile at her.

“Must you prolong my ordeal, sir?” Her crimson orbs glared back at him. “I thought you said the sooner we began, the better.”

A weary grin crept onto his face as if he found something amusing. The royal’s face twisted with rage. What was so damned humorous about any of this? He collected himself quickly, recognizing her expression. An eagerness grew in his body language as he leaned forward, pushing her legs apart. The royal felt helpless as she leaned backward away from him.

“As you wish, Your Grace…”

The last syllable came out like a hiss as he whispered in her ear. The smooth voice was trying to express something to her. She knew little of interacting with the opposite sex, but instinct told her he was trying to convey something personal. His large hand grazed her soft cheek. She shuddered at the touch. When she looked back at his face so close now, she found her inconsistency. There was a red line just visible around his left, black iris.

“You…” she gasped hoarsely. “You’re…Xenos…”

“You are as intelligent as you are beautiful, Eve.” Leaning close enough for their noses to touch, he continued in a barely audible voice, “There is no need to delay our union. We will beget a new world together, free of the fear you felt tonight. We were destined to be here, at this very moment. We will lead our people to the bright future promised to us in the New Eden. Let us fulfill our fate.” Pressing his lips against hers, he pulled the princess close against him.

Twisting with all her might, Artemis tried to free herself from his strong embrace. Eve? New Eden? What was he talking about? This was supposed to end her reproducing days forever, not start them! Pulling her lips away from his, she unleashed a cry that sent the other six into action.

Diana!

Immediately, a figure materialized in the center of the bedroom. A tall woman in a gleaming white toga levitated above the ground. Hair as the raven and eyes of the midnight sky, her pale skin glowed in the soft, candlelight. She initially expressed surprise before scowling at the scene on the bed.

The four around the bed rushed to bar her path. Retrieving a bow from her back, the shimmering woman drew an arrow from a quiver hidden behind her flowing hair. In the blink of an eye, she felled two of them with a single arrow. Turning her bow on the other two, she swept a swift strike that dropped them lifelessly to the floor. She moved toward the last male, trying to regain Artemis’s attention.

“Adam,” cried one of the guards blocking the door, “behind you!”

The identified Adam glanced backward in time to dodge the flying figure’s bow. Grunting at his carelessness, he waved to his comrades. One of them threw something toward him, which he caught effortlessly. Unwinding it, he revealed a glistening whip. Artemis glanced at it from where she had crawled toward the floating figure, trembling in terror. The shine came from metal plates cupped about the leather core. It was an elaborate weapon, a work of smithing art, but she dared not meet the other end of its wrath. His left eye was a deep crimson where his loose contact had fallen out in his haste. Looking up at them, he spoke calmly.

“I have no intention of harming you, Princess Artemis. We must come together, or the prophecy will not come to pass. If my haste has frightened you, I apologize. We may postpone our union. You can trust me and the Resistance. Please call off this being you have summoned.”

Shuddering, Artemis turned her back to him, trying to gather her loosened robe around her. That was when Adam saw a mark on her right shoulder blade, a crescent moon shape. It was only slightly darker than her burnt-orange complexion, so it was no tattoo. He paused as he realized the origin of the mark.

“You are one of…the Dodekatheon…?”

“Dress, Lady Artemis.” The floating figure dropped garments on the bed before he could continue. Her voice was unearthly divine, as if it passed through a filter of some kind. “We must flee the castle. If these rebels were allowed into your father’s castle, there is danger afoot. Please, make haste.”

Nodding, the princess dressed behind the armed Diana. Adam did not dare move. If he was correct, this was the Roman goddess Diana, counterpart to the goddess Artemis of the Dodekatheon. Never had he heard of a Xenos blessed to be a host body for one of the Divine Twelve. His intelligence had been correct after all. She was their long-awaited Eve. There could be no mistake. She was young, beautiful, and ripening into womanhood. They needed a female of power and strength like her to harness their destiny, but how could he get through to her around the celestial guardian?

“Diana,” Artemis asked as she pulled on her riding boots, “what of Father? Should we not speak with the Advisor as well?”

“Until we are certain of the circumstances, I will not allow you to remain in this place,” the goddess replied firmly. “There are forces at work that I cannot protect you from ignorant. Yes, even from your father we must hide. You will understand my decision in time, Lady Artemis, as will your father. The Advisor would agree.”

Looking up at her guardian quickly, the princess started to protest, but her voice faltered, knowing she could not argue with the deity’s concern. It pained her to leave the one she loved most, but Diana was absolutely right. There was no way to tell who was at work here, and her father might trust the very ones responsible. Glaring at the two guards remaining, she rushed for her window once again, but a pounding at the door stopped her in her tracks.

“Artemis! Artemis! Can you hear me? What is going on in there? Open this door at once!”

She paused at the sound of her father’s voice, knowing she might not hear it for some time. Tears filled her eyes as she stepped up onto the chair beside the window. This wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t!

“Halt! Don’t move!” The last two guards turned their spears toward the two females. They could not let Eve slip through their fingers. It had taken years to find her. They could not lose her now.

“No!” Adam cried after them, anxiously. “We cannot best a god!”

Diana reached for an arrow, but Artemis stopped her with a touch on the shoulder. Looking back at them, she felt the rage of being forced from her home boiling in her core. This was their fault. She deserved to vent some steam. Raising her right arm, she gathered energy in her open palm. In a lyrical voice, she invoked the power of the goddess asleep within her.

“Oh, stars that watch me from above, hear my cry, return my love. Rain down your light upon my foe as arrows leashed from my precious bow.”

Within her hand, sparkles of white light flickered. The lights spiraled as she gathered the energy for the spell. Stretching her hand as wide as she could, she shot forth a silvery mist that swirled and swooped toward the two guards. There was no time for them to dodge. At that moment, they were engulfed, collapsing almost immediately.

Zeus forced the door open, grunting as he stumbled into the room. He gawked at the windowsill. Fear gripped his heart. There stood his beloved daughter, staring back at him sadly. Sound escaped them both as they gazed upon one another, not knowing when they would see each other again. They were all each other had, yet they would be parting ways so abruptly. The princess mouthed an ‘I’m sorry’ as Zeus cried out her name. She leapt from the window into the night. He rushed to see if she had fallen to her death. Instead, he found no trace of her or Diana.

In the hysteria, Adam dashed past the stunned priest in the doorway. He had escaped the mist’s touch, but he did not wish to chance being caught by Graeco forces. He would find Eve again. It was destiny, and he took comfort in that promise.

When the shock faded, Zeus clenched the marble sill, stifling a growl. This was no accident. Someone was after his child, and he would not wait to learn whom. His rage-filled eyes shot to the open doorway.

Frouro!” The king’s deep voice bellowed through the halls.

Soldiers rushed in from both sides of the hall. The castle guard had not been far in case the king decided to make an enemy of Delphi. They were all willing to defend their princess from any harm. The scene they found, however, was not what they expected. They managed to keep their wits enough to kneel before Zeus.

“What is thy bidding, my liege?” asked the closest officer.

“Detain these males!” Angry and sorrowful, the king barked, “I want them to talk! Find out why they were after the princess! Go now and get these temple pests out of my castle!”

“Hail, Zeus!” the soldiers cried in unison. Standing, they followed their orders.

“Zeus,” Chryses asserted as two guards approached him, “what of the princess? Will you send soldiers to retrieve her? She still must fulfill her obligation to the law.”

“I have had enough of you, iereas!” Zeus almost lunged after the priest in his fury. How could he talk about that insufferable law at a time like this? “My child’s safety is more important than your wretched mandates! I will find Artemis, but I will not subject her to this again! If I have learned anything tonight, it is that Delphi is not King of the Graeco! I am! Is that understood? Let the Fates judge me as they will!”

“You will regret making an enemy of Delphi, Zeus V.” Chryses glared back at the king as he shrugged off the guards trying to escort him out. “We will find Princess Artemis and see that she upholds the law! May the Fates smite you for your defiance and disgrace of the name of Zeus!”

“So be it!” Zeus barked after the priest exited. He waited for a moment. When he was certain he was alone, he fell to his knees. Weeping heavily, he cried out, “Forgive me, Artemis! Forgive me, Morrigan! I cannot keep my promise…!”

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Micca: I love how the plots are done and how the author writes her story, overall I love everything in it❤️❤️

Jodi Shelton: Amazing so far

Sylwia: I love this genre, and love this author's creations! She's doing an amazing job in creating fantastic world!

Jopartner: Loved his epiphany and that she didn’t allow him to dismiss her.

Margaret: There is nothing in the book I don't dislikeI recommend this book to my friends

itssmezena: love this so much to the point I read every single word and page without skipping in school while I had my midterms going on. U should rlly write an actual book like this. I just wished to see how she became the queen and how everyone respected them both also the only thing I have a problem with ...

Vanessa: Read the first book and I'm so excited to read Eric's side. I only hope that we see happy things after this war.

More Recommendations

Jopartner: Enjoyed the read. For a werewolf book it wasn't over the top which i prefer.

Kath Wise: I'm still hooked. Absolutely loving this series. A few more errors with 1 or 2 leaving me a little confused but still got the gist. Editing would help. On to the next book 😍

Aria: Loved the book and couldn't keep it down till the very end. Amazing plot and good storyline.... Looking forward to reading more of your works...

Nachux: I like itIt's very sensualMy sisterBecause it is extravagant

RaineyDayz: 5 🌟 It's so cleverly punny and oh so freakin 🔥🥵 One minute I was laughing and the next I was squirming in my seat. Who knew Santa could be so damned sexy 😋🤤 Can't wait for the rest of Sylas and Melody's story ❤️‍🔥

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.