They Rend - A Nyxia White Story 2
Sometimes to fight monsters…you must become one.
When Nyxia White transforms, she realizes she possesses a fearsome weapon and power of the Darkin.
There’s only one problem, she doesn’t know how to use them…yet.
Gryn, an old sorcerer, has just the solution—intense training bordering on torture.
Now, with little time, Nyx must survive Gryn’s training, harness her new power and hunt down whoever kidnapped Acheron, before they rend him to ash—a demon extermination.
In order to save her friend, she must become the monster other monsters fear.
Release date: February 17, 2021
Publisher: Bitten Peaches Publishing
Print pages: 103
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They Rend - A Nyxia White Story 2
Orlando A. Sanchez
“Temet nosce,” Gryn said, staring down at me. “Do you know what that means?”
We were in an old warehouse Gryn used, to train his victims. I say train, but what I really mean is unrelenting torture. I could tell it was designed to cause me agony, because he was enjoying himself and actually smiling.
That only happened during training.
I made a mental note to pay Victoria back for this little gift of pain she had made possible. Agreeing to this training facilitated my rescue of Acheron. I stared across the floor at my immediate source of discomfort.
Gryn wore his usual: black loose-fitting pants and a burnt ochre T-shirt with long sleeves. He looked like a rebellious Shaolin monk hiding out in the city. His long hair hung loose around his head and his bare feet lightly grazed the floor, as he floated lazily in place. We had been drilling movement exercises, where he did the drilling and I did the movement.
So far, it had been an utter disaster.
Several hours of getting pummeled by his orbs had put me in a foul and homicidal mood. He, on the other hand, was irritatingly cheerful.
“Of course I know what it means,” I said in-between gasps. “It means ‘reckless harm’. Temet is the root of temerity, which means rash or reckless, and nosce is latin for noisome, which means harmful. I mean, really Gryn. Don’t you know Latin?”
He continued staring at me for a few seconds more before shaking his head.
“That is totally and unequivocally…incorrect. Your lack of knowledge is a glaring chink in your defenses.”
“Excuse me, your professorship, I spent most of my time after turning fighting for my life,” I shot back. “Somehow, I never made time for those university classes I wanted to take.”
“Don’t mistake education for knowledge,” he said. “Formal education has its place, but I acquired my knowledge in more, shall we say, unconventional ways.”
“So, what you’re really trying to say is that you don’t know either?”
“Did one of my orbs impact that thick skull of yours?” he asked. “Of course I know what it means. It does not mean reckless harm, even though that would be a perfect definition for a certain Otherkin I know.”
“That’s total BS,” I said, raising a hand to catch my breath. “You can admit I’m right, you know. It won’t kill you.”
“You are so wrong, on so many levels, I can’t even begin to describe the depth of your wrongness. It staggers the imagination.”
“You probably need to get out more, give that imagination a workout. Let it roam free.”
“Is that what you’re going to say to whomever kidnapped your demon?” he scoffed with an evil smile. “Let him free. He’s my friend and you need to let him go.”
“This is a waste of time,” I said, my voice dark. “There will be no words for whoever took Acheron. Only pain and death. I know myself well enough to know that.”
He stared at me again, searching my face.
Of course, I knew what temet nosce meant, know thyself. I didn’t last this long by revealing my strengths. I made it a point to capitalize on perceived weaknesses. You underestimated me at your own peril, and I made sure it only happened once.
“If you go in there unprepared, you will die,” Gryn answered. “Your demon will be banished or worse, they will rend him.”
“I won’t let them.”
“If you can’t stop me, they will rip you, and your demon, to shreds,” he answered. “Didn’t you say you wanted to get your demon back?”
“You know the answer to that question,” I said, glaring at him.
“Do you?” Gryn asked. “Because a half-assed attempt will only get you dead. For that matter, I may as well put you out of your misery now.”
“You could try,” I said, my voice low. “You won't find it so easy.”
“Why are you here?” he asked. “I mean, besides testing my patience.”
“The only reason I’m here is to get Acheron back.”
“Then act like it. Focus and do it again.”
I extended my claws and raced at him.
Gryn was a merciless, implacable taskmaster, but he was the best at what he did—attack magic. The only thing that made his training sessions bearable was the knowledge that he had suffered worse at the hands of his teacher—Circe.
Yes, that Circe.
He was one of a handful of apprentices that had not only survived her training, but actually thrived in the midst of it. It made him powerful, and dangerous. The stories of the suffering were gruesome. Many of those who apprenticed alongside Gryn died in the initial training. The rest became his enemies.
When Circe said life-or-death training, it was heavily weighted to the death side of the equation.
That small nugget of knowledge always made me smile, at least until training started. Then Gryn would become a world-class anal cavity of immense depth—a real Marianal Trench. If I was going to face a group of sorcerers insane enough to kidnap a Demon Lord, I needed to be ready.
Gryn would make sure I could face them and walk away alive.
I slid forward, using the claws on one hand as a rudder along the floor to control my direction. My claws dug deep grooves into the stone warehouse floor as I approached. Halfway through the slide, I changed direction, moving perpendicular to his position. I lunged at his leg, planning to slice through it.
He tracked my approach and moved to the side at the last possible moment, avoiding my attack entirely, while unleashing a fist to the the side of my head which sent me sprawling across the floor. I rolled for several feet before sliding to a stop.
I shook my head as the constellations dancing before my eyes calmed down and slowly vanished. He raised a fist, smiling as he showed me his glyphed knuckle-duster.
I returned the smile. The old bastard fought in my preferred style—dirty.
“It would have been easier if you had emailed me that attack beforehand. I could have saved you the energy you wasted in that amateurish attempt.”
“Fuck you, Gryn,” I growled, rubbing the side of my head. “That hurt.”
“It was supposed to hurt,” he said. “That’s why I wear these. Maximum damage, minimum effort. Besides, I’m not going to bare knuckle that thick skull of yours and break my hand.”
“You…are a proper bastard,” I said, getting slowly to my feet.
“Cursing at me, while entertaining, will not change the outcome of your demise when you fail,” he said. “You need to use the weapon. Bring it out.”
“I barely know how to control the thing,” I said, frustrated, “how am I going to use it?”
“I think I understand,” Gryn said, rolling up his sleeves. “You need to feel like you’re in actual danger. It’s apparent I’ve been taking this matter too lightly. My apologies. Allow me to rectify the situation.”
He extended his hands, palms up, and formed two nasty-looking orbs of black energy.
“Gryn?” I said, taking a few steps back. “That’s not funny. Those things look dangerous. Put them away.”
“I have never been accused of having a sense of humor,” he said, his voice grim. “These orbs are some of my favorites. I affectionately call them ‘obliterators’.”
“You are one sick puppy,” I said, putting more distance between us as the orbs crackled with energy in his hands. “What the hell kind of training is this?”
“Someone has taken your partner—a Demon Lord, I might add,” he answered. “Do you think they will deal gently with you? My training will prepare you for what you face.”
“Your training is going to kill me before I rescue Acheron.”
“If it does, then you don’t deserve to rescue him, or to wield the power of the Darkin. Training is over.”
“Excuse me?” I asked. “What are you saying?”
“The training portion of this session is over. We have now entered the survival portion,” he said with a self-satisfied nod. “These orbs are sufficiently powerful to erase your irritating presence from my life—permanently. Don’t get hit.”
He casually launched the orbs in my direction. They floated in the air for a few seconds before homing in on my position.
“Shit, you’re serious?” I yelled out, as the orbs raced at me. “You crazy fuck.”
“Deadly serious,” he said, pointing towards the orbs. “Watch.”
One of the obliterators slammed through an iron column, converting the iron to rust in seconds as it left a gaping hole in its wake. I did the most strategic maneuver I knew.
I turned and ran.
Gryn’s laughter chased me as I picked up the pace, trying to put some distance between me and his death orbs. I had managed to leave the first room and make it to an adjacent space, as the odor of sulphur reached my nose. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I lunged forward.
I dropped into a roll as an orb raced past above me. I scrambled to the side without looking back as the other orb punched into the floor next to me.
“Not funny, Gryn!” I yelled out again. “You totally suck.”
The orb that hit the floor had disappeared, leaving a large crater in its wake. That left one orb to deal with. Well, one orb and one psycho sorcerer, as I saw Gryn float into the room.
“You know what I was thinking?” he asked as he approached. “It may be better if I kill you here. It’s not like anyone cares about you or your kind. I doubt one less Otherkin will be missed.”
He extended a hand to his side and formed a black blade of pure energy.
“If you kill me—” I warned.
“The world will be a better place without you in it,” he finished. “Trust me. Besides, who’s going to complain? The Seven? OSA? No one cares about you or Otherkin. I know I certainly don’t. Killing you is my way of doing you a favor, Nyx. You should thank me.”
“You know what? First, no thank you,” I said, letting the rage inside me free. “Second, fuck you very much. Don’t do me any favors, especially not the lethal kind.”
My weapon formed in my hand a moment later, as my body transformed, unleashing the Darkin within. The circle of metal in my hand gleamed in the low light as it pulsed with energy. I could feel the presence of the Darkin inside, a ravenous hunger willing to devour everything. Thick scales covered my skin as a low growl escaped my lips.
“Now we’re serious,” he said. “Time to die, demon.”
“As within, so without,” I heard the voice of the Darkin in my thoughts. “As above, so below. Destroy this enemy…now.”
“Come,” I said, with a beckoning finger, “come and face your death, old sorcerer.”
My low laugh filled the space as Gryn closed in on me.
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