Darkness falls…so I can… see the light of day again
Lands of Jade is Vol. 2 of the Crimson Winter Trilogy. Vol. 1, Ruins of Sapphire can be found here or from major book retailers. AND until the end of the month of April, when you buy Lands of Jade (as an ebook or paperback) from the Mirror World store you automatically get 50% off any other title in our store (of the same type, so ebook or paperback). Go ahead and stick Lands of Jade in your cart, along with another book and the discount will be automatically applied at check out!
For the first time in eight hundred years, the sun sets on the desert world of Crimson Winter, throwing the planet into unexpected darkness and further chaos. And with the setting of the sun comes the unexpected rise of hordes of undead creatures from the endless Sand Lakes.
…so I can…
Yukari Namikoya, Japanese high school student turned Chosen of Sapphiros, must rise to the occasion and use the powers she has been given to try and protect those she’s come to love against overwhelming odds.
…see the light of day again.
But when each night lasts a little longer, Yukari soon realizes that their days might be numbered and a sinister force beyond even the menace of the Vile Emperor might be behind the terrors that are besieging the planet during such a desperate time. The worst part is that Yukari doesn’t know if her powers, or even the combined forces of her allies will be enough to protect the Kingdom of Taiyou, let alone the whole world.
Genres: Young Adult, SciFi, Fantasy, Adventure
Page Count: Approximately 340
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Read an Excerpt:
“So it’s a children’s toy that goes down the stairs?” Rama asked. “On its own, you say?”
I listened only half-heartedly as Hotaru tried, once again, to explain another tidbit of Earth culture to someone who had no frame of reference for what she was talking about. Hotaru was my best friend, but I was often exasperated by her lack of good judgment. I prided myself on having a solid grasp on the facts of any given situation, but it was not lost on me that my round-faced, dark-haired friend was my complete opposite. It was a wonder we got along at all.
Beyond Hotaru, Kaji rolled his eyes to indicate what he thought of the current topic of conversation and I smiled at him, despite myself. Like Hotaru, I had known Kaji my entire life. We didn’t talk much, but when we did we often saw eye to eye, which was refreshing compared to the arguments I often had with Hotaru.
Yue, the other one of us who had been chosen by Sapphiros, was another matter altogether. I looked up as I saw my friend appear at the base of the staircase and grab a couple of buns from the soldier handing them out, her impossibly long, chestnut brown hair falling down to cover her face in shadow. Yue and I had been close enough on Earth, though even then she had been quiet and generally preferred to be on her own, rather than socialize or study. Since arriving on this world, she had, if anything, become more distant from the rest of us. In the last three days she had been mostly silent, using her power to increase her walking or running speed until she was no longer visible as she passed from place to place, in order to avoid having to actually encounter anyone.
She turned, buns in hand, and made as if to flash-step back in the direction she had come when she stopped suddenly, her back stiffening. I sat up straight in alarm before I realized what had caused Yue to pause. A familiar grating noise filled the air and I looked over my shoulder in disbelief to see the doors of the temple were opening at last.
The group of us on the steps hurried to our feet as two at a time, sorceresses and sorceresses-in-training emerged from the massive temple, fanning out from the doors themselves and down the sides of the staircase. Prince Narlhep emerged slowly into the light of day from the dark confines of the Jade mountain. He walked stiffly, but I was glad to see him exiting the temple under his own power – after three days of his continued absence, I had begun to worry he would not emerge at all. The prince took a few more steps and stopped between Kaji and Rama, but he didn’t make any move to take his helmet off, nor did he speak.
“All hail the new King of Taiyou!” Kaji called out, his voice amplified by his power so everyone could hear him. “All hail King Narlhep!”
“King Narlhep!” The cheer was repeated by those of us on the steps, Rama’s troops, and the Roughlanders beyond, though the many sorceresses remained silent and stony-faced.
My eyes were trained on Narlhep, who still had not made any move to remove his helmet – something was amiss here. After a long moment, Narlhep retrieved his sword from Rama and started making his way down the stairs. I fell in step beside him as the sorceresses began to disperse and the others talked excitedly amongst themselves.
“Narlhep, are you all right?”
He didn’t answer me, confirming my suspicions. I quickened my pace to keep step with him as he broke free of the crowd at the bottom of the stairs and continued on away from where we had set up our encampment. Ahead of us lay the partly-destroyed small village that decorated the one side of the mountain, where we had commandeered most of our remaining supplies.
“Narlhep?” I tried again as he marched deliberately toward a wooden cabin, which was slightly larger than the majority of the huts still standing in the village.
I entered the cabin on the heels of the prince – or the king now, I suppose. The cabin was still not very big, despite being larger than most of the buildings in this village. The main room – perhaps the only room, I couldn’t tell – contained only a few rickety chairs facing a wooden desk. Behind the desk was a woman I had met before, but didn’t much like. She was small of stature and elderly, with a bun of grayish-white hair held atop her head by a black net of spider-like webbing. As the armoured King of Taiyou entered her presence, the matronly sorceress stood and gave a slight bow of her head in his direction. Narlhep did not wait for the woman to finish acknowledging him before he removed her head with a single, powerful swipe of his sword.
I gasped, my eyes widening in shock. Narlhep, like me, was only fifteen. I had never killed anyone before, though since coming here I had seen my share of death. I had read in the museum of Taiyou that Prince Narlhep, like the other princes of his line before him, had been responsible for the death of his father, but until now I hadn’t fully believed my friend to be capable of murder. Her head rolled to the ground as her body crumpled and a slight green mist, like a gas, wafted from out of her body to dissipate in the air.
“She was the last of the Oujou.” Narlhep’s voice sounded muffled from beneath his helmet, but I could hear him struggling to keep his voice controlled. “I had no choice.”
“Narlhep, please, talk to me,” I pleaded with him, wanting my friend back. “Tell me what happened in there.”
He gave no response, but stood tightly gripping his bloody sword a moment in his gauntleted hand before walking past me. I couldn’t let him just walk away. I tried a different tactic, though it would cost me to do it. “Your Majesty?”
He stopped with his back to me and he didn’t turn his head. “Don’t call me that,” he said. “I’m not the King of Taiyou.”
“If you’re not the King of Taiyou, then who is?”
Narlhep took a deep breath, audible through his helmet. “The Chosen of Jedeite. I’m to act as Regent until he returns to Taiyou, then my time is finished.”
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of ten novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and role-playing with her friends.
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