The Final Decree by Shami Stovall
Publication date: October 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
The Kingdom of Luka is controlled by the decrees of God-King Eliezer. Break one and become a twisted monster or serve forever, loyal to the crown. From the author of Frith Chronicles and Star Marque Rising, comes a new fantasy epic.
When God-King Eliezer utters a decree, it’s the law of the land, no matter how subtle or outrageous. Those who break the decrees suffer the god-king’s curse—their bodies twist into nightmarish monsters of devastation and hunger, forever a blight upon humanity.
The magic knows when a decree is violated, the moment it happens.
There are no exceptions. No loopholes. No escape.
Artemisia, a mysterious girl on the run from God-King Eliezer’s Holy Guard, is cursed and doesn’t know why. Fortunately, she has yet to change into a fell beast, but that isn’t a comfort. She could transform at any moment, and the resulting monster would destroy everything she cares for.
Desperate and fearful, Artemisia finds herself captured by a group of monster hunters led by Rylion Nasos, a man of superhuman strength and skill. When Artemisia displays magic of her own—magic that threatens God-King Eliezer’s rule—an agreement is made to confront the crown, despite the horrors it could unleash.
Cursed be the man who disobeys the god-king’s direct command.
I stumbled forward, fueled only by hate.
The soldiers of the god-king had taken everything from me, but I would be safe once I crossed the border. Denying them the satisfaction of my death would be my final act of defiance.
The winter winds rushed past, as bitter and cold as my thoughts. I walked the long road through the Kingdom of Luka alone. I was a stranger—a random woman—nothing more than some wraith passing by, devoid of purpose. People regarded me with suspicion, and I hurried along. I tried, at least, until I tripped and fell.
I hadn’t eaten.
Snow provided little in the way of sustenance. It sated my thirst somewhat, but my gut twisted in agony. It felt like my stomach was consuming my insides, cannibalizing the other organs to keep me alive. I knew it wasn’t, but my nightmares had been filled with such imagery, and it was all I could dwell on.
I pulled my stolen blanket tightly over my body, unable to stand. With gritted teeth, I continued at a crawl. I should have found shelter and rested, but I was on the edge of town, by the first few houses that lined the road.
When merchants rode by on horses and carts, I glanced up, hoping they would spill something edible. They didn’t, of course—no successful merchant would—and I contemplated my situation with dreaded realization.
I might die here. In some town whose name I didn’t even know.
“That’s a nice blanket.”
The tone put me on edge. It wasn’t a compliment, but an appraisal.
Shami Stovall is a multi-award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction, with several best-selling novels under her belt. Before that, she taught history and criminal law at the college level, and loved every second. When she’s not reading fascinating articles and books about ancient China or the Byzantine Empire, Stovall can be found playing way too many video games, especially RPGs and tactics simulators.
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