E-book copies of Valkia the Bloody will be available tomorrow from the Black Library website. As part of this, today’s blog had an extract, which I shall duplicate here.
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‘You could concede defeat to me now, girl.’ Locephax by the light of cold day was nowhere near the mysterious creature he had been by torchlight. The silvery hair sapped all of the colour from him and he seemed, to Valkia’s eyes, almost insipid. ‘Admit that I am your better and take your place at my side. Your days will be filled with all you desire and your nights will be spent in pleasurable ecstasy.’ His eyes narrowed to slits, the purple glow of them almost disappearing beneath his lids and long lashes. ‘I am offering you so much more than the snows of the north and the ingratitude of these barbarous people. If you come with me now, you will be a true queen.’
‘I will be your slave. That was what you said.’ She finally found her voice. ‘And that will not come to pass. Ever. Now still your tongue and fight me.’
‘I admire your courage and tenacity, Valkia,’ Locephax said with a cruel sneer on his face. ‘But I think you should know that I can maintain this for as long as necessary. And I can use many of my master’s gifts to help me. For instance…’
The man turned slightly and cast an expert eye around the carnage. Over the sound of her wheezing lungs Valkia could hear that there were still struggles going on amidst the chaos as her people sought to master themselves once again. Bodies lay everywhere, some clearly unconscious from their exertions while others lay in bloody disarray, their limbs and heads hacked away by frenzied hands. The Schwarzvolf were broken. The thought sent a new shock of anger through the exhausted queen. Her people, the tribe she had lifted from the dust and forged into the mightiest power of the steppe were broken. In the space of a single night this foppish stranger had undone the work of years.
Locephax was talking again and gesturing to the figures slinking through the shadows, but Valkia could no longer hear him. A fury was filling her, stiffening her tired muscles with a strength she did not know she possessed. She blinked the blood from her eyes and stared with naked hatred at the creature that had invaded her home. The man, if he truly was a man, was beckoning to someone. He still wore that disgusting grin on his face, clearly enjoying the destruction he wrought. She needed to kill him. It felt as though there was a colossal pressure building behind her eyes. It crackled along her limbs and filled her heart to bursting.
A voice in the distance roared in defiance and a detached part of her recognised Hepsus as he bellowed in denial. Every bone, every muscle, every sinew, every part of Valkia filled with the terrible need to tear Locephax apart, to cut the head from his shoulders and bathe in his blood. Nothing could stop her. A flurry of cinders gusted past her on the breeze, the dancing motes of ash and sparks seeming to crawl past in slow motion.
‘Blood…’ Valkia growled, though it was the voice of a stranger.
Locephax’s perfect, violet eyes widened fractionally in surprise and he started to turn. He moved so slowly she wondered how she had been unable to strike him before.
‘Blood… for the Blood God.’