Nameless - Sepia Blue Book 4
Velos roams the streets, killing Hunters with his dark blade, Retribution, and taking their named blades. Sepia, with power of the Jade Demon and Perdition must stop him.
Except there’s one complication—the Nameless—the one sword designed to destroy all the others has been found and the Unholy want it.
Now, Sepia will tap into a new power she can barely control, face off against an enemy with greater power, and prevent the Unholy from getting a world-ending sword or die in the process.
Can Sepia face the forces of the gathering storm threatening to destroy everything she holds dear…and defeat them without releasing the beast lying within?
Release date: March 20, 2021
Publisher: Bitten Peaches Publishing
Print pages: 193
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Nameless - Sepia Blue Book 4
Orlando A. Sanchez
Unrelenting, indescribable pain flooded my body.
I found myself strapped to a large industrial-sized bed. The pain embraced my entire body, but its focal points were two searing areas of heat localized to my wrists. I looked down and saw two bronze restraints, one on each wrist, softly glowing green.
The sensation of pain and weight radiated outward from my wrists. Attached to the restraints, a thick black chain was making sure I didn’t leave the bed. I pulled against the chain until a thin sheen of sweat covered my face.
Nothing. Not even the slightest hint of failing.
“Those aren’t Hunter restraints,” a voice said. “You may as well conserve your strength.”
She stepped into my field of view and I glared at her. She was dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt. Her long black hair was tied in a braid and her pale skin glistened. White designs comprised of intricate lines covered every inch of visible skin except her face. Memories flooded me as I looked into her face.
Calisto. Gan’s wife…right. So many questions.
“What kind of restraints are these?” I asked, struggling to lift an arm to examine the chain further. “Where am I?”
“Those restraints were created by your mother to prevent your transformation into the Jade Demon,” Calisto answered. “Currently, we’re in the lower level of the Keep.”
“The Jade Demon? What are you talking about?”
I pulled against the chains one last time to make sure they were really capable of stopping me. They held fast at every point. The restraints laughed at my effort, and the enormous rings sticking out of the wall convinced me it was a lost cause. These chains weren’t coming off. Between being strapped to the bed and chained to the wall, I got the message, subtle though it was, that I wasn’t going anywhere.
“Stop it, or I will ask Mercy to incapacitate you.”
I stopped pulling, mostly. I still kept tension on the chains; I was stubborn that way. I decided to focus on information to make up for the gaps in my memory.
“What do you mean, Jade Demon?”
“Fuma removed most of the artifact, and then—”
“Most of? Where is the rest of it?”
Calisto pointed at me and nodded.
I looked around. The room we were in was unfamiliar to me. The brown stone walls were covered in wards and designs. All of them gave off a deep sensation of energy; none of them were remotely understandable to me. The room was empty except for the bed I lay in. Nothing about this space was welcoming. This room was created for a specific purpose—restraint and containment.
On the floor, I could see the bed sitting in the center of a ward circle. The symbols in the circle pulsed in time with the restraints on my wrists. The same green glow on the restraints suffused the circle beneath me.
“In me? How am I still alive and—”
“Not transformed into a Nightmare Lord?”
“Yes, that,” I said, looking away. “What happened to me?”
“Fuma managed to remove most of the artifact, but your body has absorbed a large quantity of it,” Calisto answered. “He then imbued Perdition with the Jade Demon, catalyzing the transformation before you were ready. He wanted you to lose control and destroy everything, starting with those close to you and ending with the Order. You were meant to be an out-of-control weapon.”
“You were stopped before you caused any deaths,” Calisto answered. “Your mother had the foresight to have those restraints created the first day she turned into the Jade Demon. They are called Demon Anchors.”
“Gone for now.”
I looked at my wrists again. There was a power, a force within me that needed to break free, that wanted to erupt from inside and lay waste to everything. The only things that were checking that power were the restraints on my wrists.
“She knew,” I said, mostly to myself. “She feared what this power was.”
“No, she didn’t fear it. Emiko respected the power of the Jade Demon,” Calisto said. “She also knew it could one day be out of control. The Anchors were her solution to the potential danger of the Jade Demon losing control.”
“She gave them to you?”
“Yes,” Calisto said with a nod. “It was decided a few days before her last battle at Bryant Park. She wanted to make sure you learned what the power of the Jade Demon was, and what it wasn’t.”
“And now that power is combined with Perdition somehow?”
“Yes,” Calisto said. “You will need to gain control of this power. The alternative is—”
“Not seeing how that’s going to happen while wearing these,” I said, raising my arms again. “These Anchors cut me off from the power.”
“No, they don’t. You just don’t know how to access the power safely…yet,” Calisto said. “Once you do, the Anchors will have served their purpose. Until then—”
“Pain?” I asked. “Because that’s all I’m getting from these hyped-up bracelets. That, and my arms weigh about a ton each.”
“The pain is a deterrent,” Calisto answered. “The more you try to access the power incorrectly, the more pain you will experience. The weight will require some adjustment on your part.”
“These things really weigh that much?”
“Of course not,” Calisto answered. “The weight is a physical manifestation of the power within. At first it will require conscious effort on your part.”
“Conscious effort just to move my arms?”
“No, conscious effort to move your body. Emiko went through the same thing. This is part of the cost to be the Jade Demon.”
“Being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t sound like a price I’m willing to pay.”
“Stop being dramatic,” Calisto said. “You can raise your arms. It means you can move your legs. You’re stronger than Emiko; the first day, she couldn’t move at all.”
“Not feeling very encouraged here.”
“Get over yourself,” Calisto said with an edge. “You don’t have the luxury of a long convalescence. The sooner you are mobile, the better.”
“This feels like learning to use my body all over again.”
“An apt description, which means stop wasting time. You’re safe here, but don’t forget that the Keep is located inside—”
“The Park,” I finished. “Can they sense me?”
“The strongest will, yes. It won’t be long before they seek you out.”
“Wonderful,” I said. “It’s not like I haven’t had enough pain in my life.”
“This is an exercise in finesse, Sepia. You’re too accustomed to being a blunt instrument. This calls for a scalpel when you prefer to be a sword.”
“In the right hands, a sword is more efficient than any scalpel.”
“Not for this. This will require precision—something you aren’t practiced in.”
“I’m…I’m precise,” I said with a grunt as I maneuvered into a sitting position. “Precision is my middle name.”
“You’re about as precise as a brick. You need to focus on this. If not—”
“It means pain until I figure this out. Got it. You don’t happen to have a Jade Demon manual lying around somewhere?”
“You have all the information you need,” Calisto said. “Now you need to use it. The Jade Demon won’t be accepted by the Order, the Sisters, or the Unholy. No one can help you. Everyone and everything will seek out your death.”
“So things are back to normal?”
“No, this changes everything. What Fuma did was unprecedented, but not unexpected. At some point this had to happen—I just didn’t think he would do it now.”
“You expected me to become the Jade Demon?”
“I didn’t, but Emiko did. She was the one who made Fuma swear to give you your birthright,” Calisto said, shaking her head. “I don’t know how, but she got him to agree. More importantly, she made him wardbound.”
“They created a shared ward that could only be nullified when he fulfilled his word.”
“How did she do this?”
“Very few people said no to your mother,” Calisto answered. “Friend and foe alike. This Keep was predominantly her idea. She wanted to send the Unholy a message.”
“I think her message is being received loud and clear.”
“Too clearly, I think,” Calisto said. “This birthright has put you in grave danger.”
“How did my mother do it?” I asked. “I mean, she was a class-one Hunter and the Jade Demon. How?”
“She was a Hunter first, before she transformed. Once she became the Jade Demon, no one dared to oppose her.”
“Something did, or else she’d be here to tell me herself,” I said, looking around at the room. “Did she design this place too?”
“Yes she did,” Calisto said, following my gaze. “It’s designed for containment.”
“Is that what this place is…a cell?”
“She called it a safe room. A place to unleash the Jade Demon, once you learned control. It was a place to practice her abilities, without destroying the Keep itself. She was able to unleash vast amounts of power in here without attracting the attention of the Unholy.”
“So, basically a cell with a special name.”
“Only if you want it to be. If you fail to control the power within, this room will become your cell and your final resting place. It’s too dangerous to let you roam the streets, especially now.”
“Especially now?” I asked, confused. “Why? What’s going on?”
“Hunters are being hunted. Specifically those with named blades.”
“Who’s hunting them?”
“I don’t know…yet,” Calisto said. “The named blades of each Hunter have gone missing.”
“What? Where’s Gan? Who is hunting Hunters? What is the Order doing about this? How can named blades go missing?”
“Right now you need to focus on the power residing within you,” Calisto answered, placing a finger in the center of my chest. “You won’t be able to help anyone until you can wield your abilities. I’d start with being able to get out of bed and taking a few steps without introducing your face to the floor.”
She had a valid point.
“At least tell me where Gan is,” I said. “I’m sure he has some answers to all of this.”
“I can’t tell you where he is.”
“Can’t or won’t?” I asked, getting angry. “I thought you always knew where he was?”
“I do, or at least I did.”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s just it—I can’t sense him. Somehow…he’s gone.”
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