Home > Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar

Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar
Author: H.M. Ward


A lot of thought and deliberation went into the book that you’re holding in your hands. I originally intended to make this another entry point into the Demon Kissed Saga, so that even if a reader hadn’t yet read books one through five, they’d still be able to enjoy Assassin. That’s a trickier proposition than you’d think. First, I wanted to make sure that my loyal fans that have been along for the ride since the beginning wouldn’t be bored as I welcomed new readers. Second, a lot has been established in books one through five. While the world of Ivy, Eric, and Collin may have started out similar to the one we all know, much has changed—and that’s a lot to incorporate into a new book while still moving the story forward.

So, those who have read my last book, The 13th Prophecy, will undoubtedly enjoy seeing how the world has changed in the years that have passed since the gates of Hell were broken open and Ivy ascended to her throne. My new readers, I’d invite to enjoy the story from its beginning. While you’ll find your footing soon enough as you begin to read, you’ll find it a much richer experience once you have the backstory.

In Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar, we shift to seeing things from Eric’s perspective—and Eric is still completely insane. It makes for a while ride. He exists as the only Golden Valefar, and bears the curse of having used Satan’s Stone. Angels and Demons have withdrawn from our world, and the Martis and (red) Valefar must navigate their new way in a post-apocalyptic world. Ivy reigns from the Underworld, and has recalled the creatures of Hell, but the earth will never be the same again.

Enjoy your book! And be sure to share your thoughts with me on Facebook.

-H.M. Ward


There is neither pure goodness nor pure evil in your heart—you are what you choose to be.

The words rang like crystal in his mind. Eric hadn’t seen Ivy for years, but her voice—her words—still haunted him. When he closed his eyes he could see her face, her endless brown gaze. Shaking the pictures from his mind, he pushed them back. The past was the past. This was his future. Eric tightened his grip on the piece of brimstone in his hands, ignoring the look of terror on the face of the woman he had pinned to the floor.


All of her model-esk qualities were faded like sun-soaked parchment. Her light brown hair spilled around her face forming a halo on the ground, but she was no saint. The Martis were supposed to be the epitome of goodness—they were the angel’s hands in this world—but this woman abused that power. She sentenced Eric to death because he did what was right, and he wasn’t the only one treated unjustly. There were others she had destroyed, others who had opposed her.

The Martis should have been slaughtered during the war, but Ivy didn’t deliver justice. She offered mercy. The thought baffled him. The Queen of the Underworld showed forgiveness. It was odd, but that’s was the way Ivy was. She never did what he thought she ought to. Ivy seemed to follow her own path, no matter the cost. That was what Eric was doing now. Carving a new path, a path that would be set in stone once his blade was buried deep within Julia’s heart.

Julia hadn’t spoken. Eric took her by surprise, killing her guards before they had time to react. He was a skilled warrior—a Seraphim by birth. The black blade tightened in his grip, but Julia’s eyes remained on his face. She laughed softly, her Italian accent thick with disgust, “I should have destroyed you long ago. I saw what you were—even then.”

Eric’s eyes sparkled, glinting like amber gems in the early morning sun. They were in the courtyard of the Martis compound in Rome. The villa was the only building still standing, though its magic hid it from the surviving humans. “What was I, Julia? What was I when you sentenced me to death,” he leaned in lower, spitting in her perfect face, “for protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves?” The tension in his shoulders was building. It was all he could do to keep the dagger from spilling her blood.

She sneered, trying to inch away from his blade as it pressed harder against her skin. “You are, and always have been, an abomination. An angel stripped of power, a mortal who’s not quite human, a Martis that was tainted by that girl,” she spat the words at him, “and now what are you? A Valefar with a golden mark on your brow, a being more evil than the last, sent by the Queen of the Underworld after her false show of keeping her word.” Julia was shrewd. As if things suddenly became clear, she shook her head slightly, her tone hardening, “But this isn’t about her, is it? It’s about you.” Eric swallowed hard, the tension in his arms burning, as he tried to hide the thoughts flashing through his mind.

Julia’s lips pulled into an arrogant smile, the smile that said she knew she was right, “It’s about your blood, blood that lacked clarity from the beginning—clouding your judgment and making you an outcast among your own kind. You never fit anywhere, with anyone, and you never will. You know what you truly are, a creature that shouldn’t exist, but I showed mercy—even when you couldn’t see the truth. I let you live.” Her sharp voice dropped off, as if she was going to say more but thought better of it.

Eric’s knees pinned her arms. He perched on top of her ready to strike, but there was a battle playing out inside his mind.

It was as if he could hear her voice. Eric thought he was losing his mind. Ivy couldn’t come to the surface, she couldn’t physically speak to him here. There was no way her voice could be echoing in his mind, but it was there, crystal clear. At the same time, he could feel something tightening around his arm, as if it could restrain him. The sensation wasn’t the full force of a shadow clutching his arm. It was more like a whisper of a sensation coupled with the pleading that rang in his ears.

Don’t. Please, don’t.

Eric remained rigid, keeping Julia trapped beneath him. She didn’t struggle. Her placid face hid the terror that swam in her eyes, but Eric could sense it, he could feel her fear. It wasn’t her words that unhinged him; it was that whisper, the silent plea only he could hear. It was there every time, growing softer, as if he were moving further and further away.

Eric knew he no longer fit anywhere. It was something he was acutely aware of, and although Julia said it to get under his skin, she only restated what he already knew. He wasn’t an angel. He wasn’t a mortal. He wasn’t a Valefar, though he bore their mark and could wield their power. Eric didn’t know what he was. The only thing he did know—the only thing he was certain of—was that he had to quench the insatiable burning in his heart. He had to ease the pain, and this was the only way to do it.

Eric muttered Ivy’s words softly, “You are what you choose to be.” His eyes were vacant, unblinking golden orbs. There was a moment when Julia’s lips curved up at the corners, thinking she’d gotten through to him. The panic slid off her face as a cool rush of relief washed over her, but it was short-lived. No one could possibly know what was going through Eric’s mind, no one understood. Though he heard the whispers, the silent pleas to stop, he couldn’t.

Eric’s brimstone knife came down hard. Julia sucked in a breath and tried to twist out of Eric’s grip, but she failed. Once Eric pinned his prisoner there was no escaping. The blade swooshed through the air, the tip shining like a cracked black tooth. The blade sank into her skin, nicking a rib, but Eric forced it past the bone. Julia’s body moved of its own accord, attempting to evade Eric before it was too late. She bucked up hard, slamming her head into Eric’s. Blood flowed from above her brow. Eric released the hold on her arm, and grabbed Julia’s neck. Eyes blazing like twin fires, he squeezed tightly, while holding the dagger, twisting it past the bone in her chest.

“Those who can no longer see the truth, don’t deserve to live,” Eric growled, throwing her statement back in her face.

Julia’s lips opened, but blood bubbled up, obscuring her words. Eric leaned in, bringing his victim closer to his lips. With a flick of his tongue, he tasted her blood, grinning at her while he did it. Julia’s eyes were wide, her hands trying to push him away. For a moment, the only thing he could feel was Julia’s surge of pain and fear. It stilled him. As he basked in the sensations, the constant pain that consumed him dissipated, and he felt free. The ache around his bones eased, as did the sensation of a gaping hole in the center of his chest. For a moment, he felt whole, complete. There was no writhing, no biting back words from a tongue sharpened by pain. His eyes closed, soaking in the sensation as if it were sunshine. Eric’s hands were covered in blood, oozing scarlet from Julia’s wounds. Her flailing and screaming didn’t ruin his thoughts, if anything her terror made him more at ease. But the feeling was fleeting. It always was. That was the problem. There was no peace for Eric, no rest. This was as close as he came. The thought made him twist inside, but he had no regrets about this killing. Justice needed to be served, and this woman deserved it.

As if she realized this was her last chance, Julia’s panicked desperation won out. She lifted her hand and smashed the heel into Eric’s face, hard. She felt the crack of bone beneath her palm, breaking his nose and causing blood to rush out. Eric’s arms tensed in response and he drove the blade into her heart. A scream rippled the air as Julia as she died. Blood flowed between her lips, spilling onto the pale patio bricks in red splatters.

With a thud, Eric dropped her and stepped away. Folding his arms over his chest, he watched her perish at his feet, eyes wide with fear. The site of the brimstone wound turned black, spreading rapidly through her body. It spread in lethal tendrils, killing her from the inside out. Eric knew it was pain like no other. He’d been a Martis—a human infused with angel blood—after the curse. Eric’s life as a Martis had ended abruptly, painfully. It was etched into his mind. He could still feel the brimstone devouring him, slowly eating away at his flesh, burning away his muscle like acid. He could still feel Ivy’s hands on his shoulders, pulling him onto her lap. He still felt her soft touch and saw the tears streaming from her eyes. She mourned him.

But, Eric felt no sympathy for Julia as the poison destroyed her. He gazed at her wide pleading eyes with a sadistic smile, ignoring her garbled pleas for help. As her flesh blackened with inky vines just beneath the surface of her skin, he knew how much agony she was enduring.

It gave him a second moment of reprieve, and he felt whole again. There was no pain. Eric closed his eyes, and breathed in the cool morning air. Sunlight spilled over the stone wall surrounding the garden, and the way he felt in that second—the peace that filled his body—he knew he’d never have it again. This temporary stasis, this moment of rest was the exception to an otherwise deplorable existence. What he wouldn’t give to stay like this forever, to never again feel the soul-crushing pain that daily infused his body with agony. It was a life he could no longer remember. It was a hope that died when Ivy chose Collin. Ivy was his only reprieve, giving him—no feeding him—bits of pain to ease his suffering. Now, the only thing he could do was survive. Breathing deeply, Eric closed his eyes and was still for several moments. The weakened moans that came from Julia’s dying body softened, until there was silence.

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