Ripper

 


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Ripper 

 

Against all odds, Greg and Samantha seemed to have cheated Fate when they escaped Regent Danata. Miraculously, the two Morphids remain bound together, attempting to lead a normal, “human” life, even as fear of the evil woman’s revenge clouds their days.

As Sam and Greg struggle to grow their relationship, she is haunted by memories of Ashby, her Morphid soul mate, and burning questions of the identity of her real parents. As if that wasn’t enough, her untried Morphid instincts fill her with doubt and indecision, taking her once simple life in directions she never could have imagined.

When Greg’s Keeper sense foretells danger, however, they abandon all dreams of normalcy and find no other choice but to flee. Armed with nothing but their Morphid skills, Sam sets their course toward New York City, a place that calls to her deeper instincts. As her Keeper, Greg must follow but knows danger awaits.

Thus begins a quest that will test their bond and may spell the end of all they hold dear. It’s only a matter of time before Regent Danata and chaos storm into their lives again.



Release Dates  

Keeper — July 1, 2014
Ripper — May 10, 2016
Book # 3 — 2017


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The nebula throbbed like a giant, black heart, floating in midair, ebbing and flowing in its own space. Distorted shapes stretched its surface as if trying to escape its confines: a fingerless hand, the screaming face of a woman, the pudgy legs of an infant; they pressed against the boundaries of their prison, desperate to break out. Only their struggle was useless.

They had nowhere to go.

Veridan stood in front of his growing creation. The black mass throbbed with energy, enough to remain suspended off the floor of its own volition. Its surface was sleek, shining blue at times in its inscrutable blackness.

One of the Sorcerer’s hands rested on the table at his side, the other on the talisman hanging from the chain around his neck. A coin-sized onyx sparkled at the center, catching the candlelight. Sweat beaded on his brow, while his lips moved in a litany of incantations.

The alcove was dark, save for a few slim candles. The Sorcerer worked quietly in the small room adjacent to his bed chamber. It was the second time this week. The fifth this month. The what?—eleventh? twelfth?—since the unfortunate incident. He couldn’t remember. All he knew was that the end of his patience was near.

The rhythm of his words remained steady. Veridan’s mind soared away from his sanctuary and, gradually, his head filled with a cacophony of moans and cries that was becoming all too familiar. He pressed his eyes shut and a parade of bizarre images danced before him. His knees trembled, almost giving way. He had never pushed this hard before. Then again, he had never imagined he’d be able to impose his will over the vast well of energy he had amassed.

In his mind’s eye, Veridan moved past the spectre of a hunched man. The place and the man had become familiar after his repeated visits. He pressed forward into an area he hadn’t visited before.

Desolation greeted him: a barren field with gray dirt and almost-black fog that stretched like a wall. All the imaginings of the tortured beings he’d captured.

He took a few hesitant steps, letting the fog envelop him. Somewhere far away, his body, which now felt detached, stood with his feet apart and arms tensed at his sides. He murmured spells at a prodigious speed, while perspiration soaked his silken shirt.

Within the nebula, however, he stood strong and firm, his steps self-assured, his demeanor confident, lest he invite trouble. The beings here knew him, hated him for what he’d done to them—a hatred he only half-inspired and had the dubious honor of sharing with Danata. Therefore, any indication of fear was unacceptable as it might give these half-souls ideas to try something. What? He didn’t know, but it was best not to find out.

From a faraway corner, a mournful keen got his attention. He thought he recognized it, this pathetic lament that sounded like the essence of sadness itself. The emotion was strong, indeed, unlike anything he’d sensed here before. He turned to it and stepped in the direction of the whining creature. Something told him he’d finally found what he was looking for—that young soul Danata had callously ripped.

Next to a dilapidated wall, huddled in a lonely corner, a figure wept in a low, continuous hum. It did so as if there was no need for air, no need for a rest. Veridan crouched and took a closer look. The shape was as close to a Morphid’s body as the crushed mugwort in his potions was to the leaves whence it came. Yet, Veridan knew his search was over.

After a quick look over his shoulder, the Sorcerer straightened and elevated himself away from that place, back to the safety of his private chamber.

Veridan’s eyes sprang open. He planted both hands on the table and bent over, gasping for breath. His heart sped and limbs ached as if he’d been running for hours. After several minutes in this hunched over position, his vital signs returned to normal and he felt ready to perform the extrication.

Slowly, he began a new incantation that had taken him two months to perfect, and that in the last couple of weeks he had come to master. A spell he had never thought he’d need—not when his concern was to deposit souls into the nebula, not take them out.

He planted his feet again, squared his shoulders, and inhaled. This part was easier than the searching. Anything was easier than venturing inside the nebula. He was tired after the ordeal, but he could manage. He wished to get this task out of the way once and for all.

Veridan began the spell. “Anima vivit, anima relinquit tenebris. Anima vivit et relinquit nox . . .”

His words started as whispers and steadily rose to a loud crescendo. The chamber was isolated from the rest of the castle, so he didn’t worry about eavesdroppers.

With one hand clutching the talisman at his chest, while his feet firmly within two concentric pentagrams, he left no room for error during the process and kept the magic under rigid control.

As the spell reached its final words, the nebula pulsated with increased intensity. Its surface bubbled like hot petroleum ready to burst and stain the entire world. The incantation made allowances, included extra words to reinforce the magic that kept the mass of energy contained, and created a small hole in the initial spell that had created the spectral prison in the first place.

Finally, a dark tentacle issued forth from the black miasma, undulating like a silken black ribbon in a wild wind. Its tip tasted the air as its tail detached from the large dark mass. Like a flying snake it slithered through the air, trying to find a new home.

The Sorcerer coaxed it toward him with a few more carefully chosen words. As the tendril approached, Veridan extended the talisman in its direction.

“Inferi. Es quietus,” he commanded. The black tentacle writhed, but unable to disobey the order, it floated into the dazzling gem, disappearing in its core and turning its pristine black color into a murky gray.

Veridan staggered forward, gasping for air. With shaking fingers, he reached for the beaker on the table and swallowed its contents. The elixir was powerful, another one of his personal creations that had taken much trial and error. Strength returned to his limbs as the potion did its work. Slowly, his body temperature came back to normal and his heart resumed its regular, steady beat.

Once more, he doubted his actions, and thought of the timeless promise he had made to Mateo, a promise that after all these years he was still bent on keeping.

“Protect him, for me,” his old friend had asked.

A chuckle rumbled inside Veridan’s throat. He had been pure hearted and full of idealism once; maybe there was still a bit of all that nonsense left in him.

Feeling replenished, Veridan straightened and removed his sweat-drenched shirt. He exited the alcove, entered his modest bedroom and walked to the dresser in the corner. The lighting was also dimmed in this area, the way he liked it.

He grinned at the sight of his new Armani suit hanging from the valet coat hanger. He did love a well-made suit, and this one was superb.

After slicking his jet black hair into an immaculate style, he changed with meticulous care. When he was done, he placed a red silk handkerchief in his breast pocket and left his room.

He had kept his promise. Hopefully, he wouldn’t regret it.




[Image attribution: Photo by Merton Wilton, used under CC/No changes]
[Image attribution: Photo by Robert Milloch, used under CC/No changes]
[Image attribution: Photo by Caitlin H, used under CC/No changes]

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