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Patron Saint of Wrong: Hellbound, #3

Patron Saint of Wrong: Hellbound, #3

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Patron Saint of Wrong: Hellbound, #3

Length:
353 pages
4 hours
Released:
Jun 28, 2021
ISBN:
9781622535385
Format:
Book

Description

Desperate and despondent, Yitz struggles forward to find Adina's heart.

The final pieces have been played and the architect of New Dis's upheaval has been revealed. With Hephaestion indisposed and Boudica missing, few heroes remain to rectify the oppression promised by this new enemy. Who will face them? Who will lock horns and spar with this mighty power of industry, finance, corruption, and hubris?

Yitz, determined to rescue his wife Adina from her captors, finds himself in the precarious position of both leader and savior—not just for his love, but for all of New Dis. Leading a motley crew of misfits, the troubled and timid husband delves into Aztec horrors and mechanized war machines to befriend demons and forge alliances. He must not only save the future of New Dis, but hold his Adina once more.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a tale set in an industrialized Dante's Inferno with steampunk trappings, in the third book of the "Hellbound" series of religious sci-fi/fantasy adventures. [DRM-Free]

BOOKS BY WILLIAM LJ GALAINI:

  • "Trampling in the Land of Woe" (Hellbound – 1)
  • "Sparks from a Cruel Grindstone" (Hellbound – 2)
  • "Patron Saint of Wrong" (Hellbound – 3)
  • "An End to Ice and Sorrow" (Hellbound – 4)
  • "Beneath the Titan's Stride" (Hellbound – 5)

MORE GREAT RELIGIOUS SCI-FI & FANTASY FROM EVOLVED PUBLISHING:

  • The "A Nephilim Thriller" Series by Jeff Altabef
  • "The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean" Series by Adam Miller
  • The "Matthew Bishop" Series by Burt Clinchandhill
  • "The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy" by Richard Robbins
  • "Born - Against All Odds" by Hope Silver

 

Released:
Jun 28, 2021
ISBN:
9781622535385
Format:
Book

About the author

Having lived up and down the East Coast, William Galaini finally settled outside of DC after a charming stream of career failures that ranged from the hospitality business to the military. After marrying his college sweetheart, writing became his vehicle to pull his life together. Six novels, four cats, forty pounds, and one son later, you now can find him here at Evolved Publishing. His work focuses on character revelation and multifaceted conflicts nestled within science fiction and fantasy settings. The influences that echo in his writing include role-playing games, classic literature, world history, and his personal experience. To recharge, he naps on the couch under his mother’s afghan, surrounded by his cats.


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Patron Saint of Wrong - William LJ Galaini

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PATRON SAINT OF WRONG

Hellbound – Book 3

First Edition

Copyright © 2021 William LJ Galaini

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622535383

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-538-5

~~~

Editor: Lane Diamond

Cover Designer: Kabir Shah, with images by Aleks Dochkin

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond, with images by Bruce Brenneise

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 71,673 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) AN END TO ICE AND SORROW by William LJ Galaini, the next installment (Book 4) in this Hellbound series of steampunk sci-fi/religious fantasy adventures, and; 2) BLOOD OR LOYALTY by Adam Miller, the first novel in The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean series of epic religious fantasy thrillers. We provide these as a FREE extra service, and you should in no way consider it a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

HELLBOUND

Book 1: Trampling in the Land of Woe

Book 2: Sparks from a Cruel Grindstone

Book 3: Patron Saint of Wrong

Book 4: An End to Ice and Sorrow [Coming Fall 2021]

Book 5: Beneath the Titan’s Stride [Coming Spring 2022]

~~~

www.WilliamLJGalaini.com

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the First Chapter of William LJ Galaini’s AN END TO ICE AND SORROW, the next installment (Book 4) in this Hellbound series of steampunk sci-fi/religious fantasy adventures.

~~~

~~~

TO REMAIN UP-TO-DATE ON THIS SERIES,

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE HERE:

HELLBOUND Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the First Chapter of Adam Miller’s BLOOD OR LOYALTY, the first novel in The Wayward Sons of the Empyrean series of epic religious fantasy thrillers.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

THE WAYWARD SONS OF THE EMPYREAN Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by William LJ Galaini

BONUS CONTENT

Table of Contents

Dedication

PATRON SAINT OF WRONG

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Book Club Guide

Special Sneak Preview: AN END TO ICE AND SORROW by William LJ Galaini

Acknowledgements

About the Author

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: BLOOD OR LOYALTY by Adam Miller

For my wife Ginger, whose toes are particularly vulgar....

With controlled exhalation, Yitz pulled the trigger just as he had before. The revolver echoed across the rolling hills, through the thin peaty grass, and along the cobbled road below.

Just as before, he missed.

"You must exhale and hold your breath before firing, Ulfric said. Don’t push the air out, just let it slip out of you, and then be certain to fire before your lungs start to struggle. Once they get to struggling, your aim will drift all over the place."

Ulfric took great pains to hide his frustration, but Yitz could hear the undercurrents simmering through.

Exhale? I exhale, Yitz insisted, making his own frustration readily apparent. "The pistol you gave me, portable only by the standard of cannons, was clearly made for a giant, because even with both my hands on the grip it feels huge. I’m certain it is half my weight. Look at this thing. Do pistols need to be so big? And each time it goes off, it almost recoils into my forehead. I like the smaller pistol Emmett gave me. Give me that one back."

Ulfric folded his thick arms. Again.

Yitz sighed and made a larger show of defeat than he felt. He closed one eye yet again, and leveled the pistol’s sights on the empty clay bottle standing on the fence post at the top of the hill. Ulfric had told him that each trigger pull should be a mild surprise to the shooter, so he tugged on the trigger gradually. The pistol erupted and the air before Yitz clapped shut, arcing the weapon toward his head once more. He feared his arms would soon be too tired to keep the weapon from cracking his skull.

Ulfric’s mead bottle still stood proudly on the fence post under Purgatory’s dull sun.

All of this felt wrong. When he struggled through The Pit with Hephaestion at his side, Yitz had a smaller pistol and his targets were much closer and on the move. Yitz also never closed an eye, always shooting with both wide open. Something about a moving target made it easier to hit.

He doubted the validity Ulfric’s pistol training.

When I shot at things in Hell, I hit when it counted. Maybe He just favors your mead bottle? Yitz playfully inquired, a finger gesturing skyward. He perhaps worries that you’ll have nothing to drink out of.

All right, you’re frustrated. I can see that.

You are astute, large sir.

You might feel more frustrated with a spear in your chest, Ulfric said, a smile creeping in. Which is why you need a higher caliber pistol that can punch through heavy armor plate and shields. Which is why you are going to cart around the hand-cannon, there.

Are we sure I haven’t already hit the bottle? It’s made of some very heavy clay, and I’m certain that anything you drink out of would be bulletproof anyhow.

Ulfric smirked again. Trust me, when you hit that bottle you’ll know. He cleared his throat, his tone stoic once more. Again, he commanded. "And I mean it when I say you need to be slow on that trigger. Persuade the pistol to fire, don’t just tell it."

Then you want Esther. Esther was from my village, and she could persuade anyone of anything. The bottle would likely crack itself to appease—

Quit stalling, Yitz. Shoot.

Yitz sighed dramatically again and returned his glare to his sights, trying to hate that clay bottle. Malevolence came easy; that damned bottle was preventing Yitz from returning to the lodge and sorting through vital logistics. He had work to do.

He thought again of Esther, a world away, and that quickly led his train of thought to his village... and his father.

A sour taste occupied his mouth.

Yitz tried to think of Adina to scrub it out, but he only felt worry welling up.

It could be months before managing proper passage to New Dis. Word had spread across the ocean of the afterworld and to the lumbering city of Britannia and up the mountain of Purgatory—news of entire populations in New Dis driven mad by nerve gas, howling and tearing at each other in an endless cycle of violent resurrection. Rumor claimed that relief frigates from Purgatory were too afraid to dock. They could hear the low cacophony of moans from beyond the harbor.

The city-state of New Dis, on the rim of Hell’s pit, floundered in madness and everyone in Purgatory was scrambling to figure out how to best help.

Never have I encountered a slower gunman, Yitzhak, Ulfric chastised.

It was like something Adina would say. She might pointedly remark, Has a husband ever been so vain, while he combed his beard in the mirror, or, I was unaware that you have more than two feet, when he hinted at purchasing himself another pair of shoes.

Pulling the hammer of the hand cannon back required both thumbs. Ulfric had yet to laugh at this, and while Yitz would never openly thank the man, he made a mental note of doing him a favor in the future.

He thought of Adina again, and pined for her smell. When she slept, she would curl her back to him and scoot into his side of the bed like a cat demanding petting. If he didn’t roll on his side to snuggle her, she’d keep nudging until he was nearly on the floor. Yitz wondered if she did that only when she was truly asleep. Perhaps she was actually awake sometimes, demanding he surrender his warmth.

And how could he not? His arms were always compelled toward her, and when he wrapped them around her, her toes would wiggle back toward his.

Adina had very gropey toes, and her stubby and adorable digits would molest Yitz’s hairy ones.

Our toes are vulgar, Yitz mouthed as he closed an eye and stared down the sites again, the pistol drifting about as he breathed.

Adina.

Toes.

Toe-related molestations.

She would walk barefoot around the house, her feet small and lovely. Adina could walk through a pit of flaming shit and her feet would be pale and perfect on the other side. She always smelled crisp, especially her hair. When Yitz acquiesced to snuggle her, he’d bury his nose into her thick, brown hair, breathe her in, and then exhale her lovely sent into the world. It wasn’t his to keep.

Yitz breathed out slowly.

She slept naked, her back strong, slim, and curved like a lion’s. Two perfect dimples resided on either side of her tailbone. Those dimples were his favorite thing in the world. Sometimes he’d nibble her shoulder, gnawing gently, and his teeth would awaken her. She loved teeth. She’d stretch like a cat, purr softly, and roll over to him. Two thirds of the bed would be vacant. Without even opening her eyes she’d kiss him, grind into him, and whisper tiny demands of his hands and tongue.

The vivid memory of her taste hit Yitz’s mouth. Ulfric can keep his mead. I’ve tasted the best thing God has to offer.

The pistol fired on its own, and the clay bottle burst.

Ulfric clapped Yitz on the shoulder. Finally!

Agreed. Hephaestion surprised them both from the trees. I made him that mead bottle, too. Centuries ago. It seemed to be perfectly safe where it was for a while, directly in front of your sites, Yitzhak. Seems someone should have moved it.

Heph, you were down there against the ninja, Yitz implored. You know I’m a better shot than this. I just can’t aim at anything sitting still.

Ulfric snorted in disdain as Hephaestion approached.

It’s true, Hephaestion eventually said after mulling it over. Yitz rarely missed a difficult target. He hit when it mattered.

So a Viking harassing you doesn’t matter, Yitzhak? I don’t count, do I?

Don’t you kvetch me! Yitz snapped in mock fury. I kvetch enough to satisfy all requirements.

Hephaestion and Ulfric shared a chuckle, reminding Yitz yet again that he was surrounded by smarter, stronger, and more charismatic men than he—famous men, cherished men, men of righteousness.

Yet Adina hadn’t picked them, or men like them. Every day, she had picked Yitz. A lot of married couples drifted apart after death to pursue a parade of endless relationships. Adina didn’t. Her endorsement of Yitz meant more than God’s endorsement of Ulfric, or Ulfric’s endorsement of Hephaestion.

Now she had been taken.

Boudica’s girls had delivered the grim news that Adina’s heart had been jarred by a psychotic man thinking himself a Mayan god, and here stood Yitz, worlds away and unable to shoot a single bottle from a fencepost without having his hand held.

The three men walked towards Ulfric’s lodge, the sinking sun’s light turning the flows of wheat golden as it retreated behind the peak of Mount Purgatory. Yitz usually enjoyed evening walks along the stone path to watch the horses prancing in the fields, Bucephalus among them. Some evenings, he would park himself on the ramparts overlooking the lip of the cliff face above the fjord, and watch small fishing boats lazily drift by each other below. The water of the fjord’s river reflected the sky so perfectly it was like the boats were gliding in a sliver of cloud.

These days, the fields bustled with war tents and grunting warriors deep in training, and the waters below had enough boats to keep a man’s shoes dry if he crossed from one bank to another.

Glimmering torches tickled to life in the distance as Ulfric’s people illuminated the path to Ulfric’s lodge, Ofanhiminn. Every night was a feast filled with song, stories, dancing, and laughter. As much as Yitz complained about the noise and the drunken women inviting him to sit on their laps, he would miss the revelry when it came time to leave. He dared to hope that when he found Adina’s heart, and rescued her from the monstrous man who had her, he could bring her here to heal and sing and dance on the tables like every other free spirit.

Adina could thrive anywhere, with anyone.

Hephaestion caught Yitz smiling. Thinking of what you’re going to do to her once you get her back?

What? Yitz was startled.

Ulfric jumped in. That’s the same smile Hephaestion gets when he thinks of Alexander’s willy.

Oh, I’m that transparent, I see. Yitz’s defensiveness was mischievous. Do you, too, know this smile well, Ulfric? Because you make it when thinking of your goats?

Ulfric’s roaring laugh echoed through the field among the warriors oiling their axes and whetting their swords. The day’s combat training was coming to a close once more, and weary spearmen and shield maidens dragged themselves to Ofanhiminn. When the siege of New Dis had become known, the news drifted up Mount Purgatory like a hot wind, snatching the air out of everyone’s lungs. Ulfric put out the call to every soul on Fjell, the taiga-ring of the singular mountain of Purgatory, to come and prepare themselves to retake New Dis. Each day, Yitz saw new tents in the fields with new banners, as clans wedged themselves into what land was available.

Aren’t you worried that the clans will fight each other? Old rivalries and such? Yitz once asked Ulfric.

I’m counting on it, my friend. What better way for them to train? he had replied jovially.

Yitz thought of Bucephalus and the horses’ need for open space. And what of the horses? Those fields are theirs.

Ulfric cocked a curious eyebrow. Do you not know how armies are made, Yitzhak? A force gobbles up everything, horses included. Those horses have owners and they have taken them back in for mounting and care.

Bucephalus will be at Ofanhiminn’s stables soon, Hephaestion added. There it will be easier for you to sneak him carrots and grapes, Yitz.

Yitz raised his palms in innocence. I cannot be held accountable for your horse’s manipulations and demands. You spoiled him long before me.

The men were soon joined by others from various clans, each inviting Ulfric to their own tents and campfires for mead and revelry. Politely and with infinite patience, Ulfric declined every offer with grace. He made it clear that his preparations for the coming occupation of New Dis were tireless, and that he would only share a drink once order was brought to chaos.

As Ulfric was swallowed by the gathering crowd, Hephaestion tugged at Yitz’s shoulder to pull him clear. Let’s head up, you and I, and chat with the girls some. I want your insight.

Oh really? Yitz balked. The famous Grecian general who handled the logistics of the most successful war train in human history wants my input, does he?

Fair. In truth, I want to see how you’re doing.

How am I doing? With what?

With Adina being jarred.

Yitz fell silent as the two men continued alone toward Ofanhiminn. Nearly half of the lodge was suspended over the cliff above the fjord, dangling braziers casting dancing shadows against the rock face.

Looking whimsically toward the lodge, Yitz forced a grin. When I get her back, I’ll bring her here and she’ll love it. Everything will be fine.

Hephaestion’s stare appeared doubtful.

"That’s how I work, Heph. I don’t think about getting to Gil, I think about seeing him. I don’t think about the whereabouts of her heart or the horror she is feeling, but what I will, as you say, do to her once I get her back."

Hephaestion nodded in understanding. Well, if you need anything, let me know. I can understand some of what you are feeling, I think.

I know you can. And perhaps it’s false confidence, but I’ve got Hephaestion, the lord of the New Companion Cavalry, Ulfric the giant Viking, and two very pissed off little girls of Boudica’s. Perhaps we should pity anyone who is between us and Adina, yes?

You can handle the pity, Hephaestion said as he opened the small iron gate leading to the lodge’s breezeway, while I handle the lance.

Farther on, upon entering through the towering oak doors, Hephaestion was immediately bombarded with shouted reports and flailing inventories from various waiting parties. Yitz counted at least twelve Vikings, shoulder to shoulder, as they nudged each other for Hephaestion’s attention.

Yitz dipped under several arms brandishing reports, climbed onto a bench, and cleared his throat. He then clapped his hands wildly, and hollered for the attention of everyone in the room. "Field Marshal Hephaestion will not be speaking with any of you at this time. You will each submit your reports and requests in writing to me so I can present them to him later. As his secretary, you know that I am his only point of contact."

The clan representatives scowled and lowered their parchments and tomes. A tall one, his helmet under his elbow, looked especially frustrated. The Scyldung Clan cannot suffer further delays for arrows. Our fletchers have no proper feath—

Yitz halted him with an outstretched palm. While I know that the Scyldung are renowned archers and therefore require the best feathers we can procure, please do not think you are special. This counter-invasion force is at least two-hundred thousand strong—

Why are we listening to the Jew? The Scyldung representative wheeled on his heels to rally his fellow demanding Vikings. It’s undignified!

Yitz stood quietly, watching to see which of them would protest and which would stand off to the side to distance themselves from the minor mutiny. Soon an angry core of representatives had formed with Hephaestion standing in the middle, flipping through the reports that had already been shoved in his hands.

Field Marshal Hephaestion, are any of those requests or inventories in Greek? Yitz coyly asked.

Not a single one, Secretary Isserles. Not a single one.

The Vikings’ entitlement vanished as their gaze shifted worriedly between Yitz and Hephaestion.

And what is the only language you know how to read, Field Marshal Hephaestion?

Greek, of course. I read only Greek. And I thank you, Secretary Isserles, for all of the prior translations you have done for me over the past month. Hephaestion stepped through the small throng and handed the frayed parchments up to Yitz.

Yitzhak flipped through them indifferently. Well, I certainly hope my Greek is good enough. I hope I don’t make any mistakes when translating these requests for you, Hepher.

Hephaestion suppressed a smile at Yitz’s usage of the nickname, wherein Yitz made it crystal clear how close the two men were. Hephaestion offered his hand up to Yitz to help him down off the bench, and he took it.

These papers will go into queue behind the rest, gentlemen. Good day to you all. Yitz turned his back to them and strode the length of the magnificent dining hall, dodging the servants preparing for the nightly feast.

One of Boudica’s daughters poked her head through a side door—Deighin, the humorless one. Well, the one with even less humor.

Yitz struggled to tell the two girls apart. Her blue eyes, so pale that they nearly appeared gray, locked onto him, and she beckoned him to come closer.

What may I do for you this evening, my dear?

Mr. Yitzhak, we have a recent visitor in the war study, a survivor of the attack on the Axios. She arrived this afternoon on the gondola and she is adamant about speaking with you.

With a nod, Yitz followed Deighin back into the corridor and down a flight of narrow spiral steps into the war study.

It was a large room at the lowest point of the mead hall. A stained-glass map of Earth spanned the far wall overlooking the fjord. Every wall held shelves containing firsthand knowledge of nearly every conflict that ever occurred in Northern Europe. It was a room saturated in maps, Viking model ships, mounted weapons, and crusty vellum.

At a round table in the center of the room sat a wooden replica of New Dis, with pins sticking out of various places, each brandishing a tiny clan banner from one of the tents out in the field. Aodhin, Boudica’s daughter with marginally more humor, rummaged through a tiny basket of naked pins while poring over it.

A fourth person in the room, a lanky woman with onyx-black skin, faced the ornate window-map, her long finger tracing the outline of an island in the Caribbean. Her hair was long and bound with bone beads that clicked as she moved, its tendrils swaying well beyond her midriff. As Yitz’s eyes followed her hair down, he saw that her other hand was partially re-grown from some kind of grievous injury.

This is Secretary Yitzhak Isserles, direct aid to Field Marshal Hephaestion. Deighin motioned to Yitz.

The dark woman turned with the help of an ivory tusk used as a cane. Her eyes were an unearthly yellow, and the unburnt half of her face sported a white, chalky skull.

Yitz couldn’t speak. The woman had clearly suffered, but the stern power in her gaze arrested him.

Secretary Isserles, Deighin said, this is Professor Yonyon Olezida from Han University.

Yitz composed himself and stepped forward with an open hand in greeting. When Yonyon thrust her flaking stump of a hand into his palm, he gulped as he did his best to provide a firm handshake.

So, professor... what brings you here to Ofanhiminn? His voice was higher than he’d intended.

I need you to destroy something, the dam on the river Phlegethon, as well as any subsequent buildings. She spoke professionally and with crisp determination.

Yitz tried to keep up. Wait, a dam?

Several stray braids of Yonyon’s hair drifted away from her face as she clomped her way to the round table. She stabbed with her walking tusk, pointing to the ring that was the blood river.

"In The Pit, on the river Phlegethon, there is a dam somewhere in this location I have

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