I am very excited to announce that next week both, Silver Shadow and The Lost Elf, will be released and available to purchase!
Although the two books are in continuation to the comic book inspired series that my son’s, Ethan and Wyatt, started with their company SeppinRek Entertainment, I am confident that my readers will enjoy these two books.
They are two books that can be read without having viewed the other books previously published.
I was given pretty much free rein to create and write both stories. I have to say, it was not only a great deal of fun, but it was interesting to shorten my usual storytelling to do more of a novella than a full length book. The two main characters are, and will forever be, intertwined with one another, so it made sense to release them together.
I don’t normally offer sneak peeks, but I am just so proud of my boys and all they have accomplished. I cannot thank them enough for trusting me to expand on their vision and I hope you will come to love these characters!
So without further adieu…
Oh…and I should warn you, Silver Shadow is violent and what you are about to read may cause grown men to flinch.
But us women will cheer!
A woman’s muffled scream tore through the heavy air which was thick with fog that rolled in from San Francisco bay. The foul sewage stench from Bayview Hunters Point permeated the air and filled my nostrils as I surveyed the shipyard in the distance. I was standing on top of a two-story crumbling apartment building and I shut my eyes to block out the sounds from the neighborhood.
My head turned sharply to the left as I made out another sob which whispered in the night air and I flung my arms out to jump down to the ground in one swift motion. My lightweight, but sturdy boots absorbed the impact of my fall and I hurried amongst the shadows to find my prey.
I barely took notice of the garbage littering the uneven sidewalk. I stayed clear of the needles and bottles which were scattered on the uneven asphalt. I spotted a minivan with a blown tire up ahead and shook my head. The hazard lights were blinking, but instead of a warning, it was more like a beacon to the criminals of this dilapidated area.
My fingers clenched inside my silver gauntlets and I scanned the area before spotting the alleyway. I reached out to shoot a thin silver cable out of my glove and I was instantly propelled up to the rooftop of an abandoned store. The crumbling sign, which had once tried to entice customers with soul food, was now flaking as the tip of my boot touched the faded paint.
I made no sound as I crept along the roof and I found what I was looking for as I got near the end. A man was holding a woman up against a brick wall and I could see him trying to rip her pants down as she struggled.
“Please,” she cried. “Please, no. I have a family.”
“Shut up,” the man said, as he gripped her throat tighter. “You might like this. I’m sure your husband never gives it to you this rough.”
I dropped down and the woman’s eyes went wide when she caught sight of me. I think she looked more frightened of me in this instance than the man who was attempting to rape her. My long, charcoal gray hooded coat flared out around me as I held my stance with one hand on the ground as my legs stayed in an almost kneeling position.
I quickly assessed the situation, and the would-be rapist, as I used my cleverly attuned senses to check to see if there were any of his cohorts around. These punks always traveled in packs, but tonight he seemed to be all alone.
I stood up and the man finally realized someone else was in the alley. He kept hold of the woman as he half-turned to me.
“Who the fuck are you?” he shouted.
“You like it rough?” I asked, as I unfolded my tall frame and stood up. My voice was low and husky as I stared at him through my hood which covered my face.
“Get out of here,” the man said. “I saw her first.”
“You get one shot,” I practically whispered. “Leave now and I may just let you walk away without doing much damage to your pathetic body.”
“Go to hell,” the man said.
His voice shook, and I lifted my head just enough, so he could see the smile form on the lower half of my face. His grip loosened on the woman and she dropped to the ground in fear. I moved ever so slightly towards the man and he nervously reached into his pocket.
“You’re him,” the man said. “The Silver Shadow. I didn’t think you were real.”
“Oh, I’m real.”
“I ain’t did nothing,” the man said, as he shuffled towards the wall. “I was just having a little fun.”
“So, am I,” I said, as I charged at him.
I grabbed ahold of his neck and he tried to stab me with the knife he had in his pocket. I wrestled it out of his hand and smiled. I could see the reflection of my perfect white teeth in the steel and brought the knife lower until it reached the man’s groin.
“No,” he begged. “Please.”
“Funny,” I whispered. “That’s what she said to you.”
I felt no remorse as I plunged the man’s own knife into his groin and sliced off his balls in just a few quick jabbing motions. The man screamed in agony and I stepped back as I drew a rag out of my coat and calmly wiped off the knife. I threw the weapon on the ground and it fell into a small pool of blood which formed by the man’s legs.
His scream filled the air and then with a whimper, he passed out. I walked slowly over to the woman, who was still lying a few feet away in shock.
“You’re going to be fine now,” I said. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“What?” she asked. “You just…is he…?”
“He’s not dead,” I said.
I leaned down as something caught my eye and I picked up a cell phone. “Is this yours?”
“Yes,” she said, faintly.
“Call the police,” I said. “I’ll stay until they get here.”
Her hands were shaking so bad that I finally had to dial 911. She was crying as she spoke to the dispatcher and I kept my eyes peeled on the entrance to the alley. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come to investigate the screams and I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard the sirens.
“You’ll be safe now,” I said, as I went to shoot back up to the roof.
“Thank you,” she whispered, as the sirens came closer.
“Don’t wander around this area again,” I said. “It’s not safe.”
She nodded and when I noticed the patrol cars come to a stop, I disappeared into the night sky and went to hunt for other threats deep into the night.
The Lost Elf
Zhangzhou, China 30 years ago…
The city of Zhangzhou bustled in the late morning hour. The sweltering heat did not seem to deter the locals who tried to hawk their wares on the bank of the Jiulong river. In fact, no one seemed to pay any attention to the rather regal looking woman who seemingly appeared out of thin air. Her long white dress swayed around her feet as she navigated the overcrowded streets and headed to the old district.
She smiled and nodded to people as they rode their bikes by her at a frightening speed. The mandarin dialect flowed through the air and the scent of spices tickled her nose. The red paper lanterns that hung from the buildings barely moved as there was no hint of a welcoming breeze to cool the oppressive weather.
The woman stopped when she reached the canal and snapped her fingers. A long thin boat with a blue awning made its way to her and she sat down on the small seat before the vessel crept along the murky water. The boat stopped after it navigated a particularly narrow fork in the canal and the woman floated out of the boat before she looked around.
The dark wood of the three-story house looked weathered but well-kept. Her face broke into a grin when she heard the loud yells of a woman and she walked purposely to the front door. She did not knock or wait for an invitation. She simply entered the home and took in her surroundings.
The house was spotless and refreshingly void of any clutter. There were small knickknacks here and there, but for the most part it was a simple, but homey space. She heard the soft whisper of air moving and made her way up the steep stairs to the second floor. It was a wide-open space and there was a man standing in the center of the room. His movements were elegant and quiet as he went about his art.
His nostrils flared and he turned around in one quick motion. His mouth slightly opened as he stared at the woman. He studied her graceful figure and classic beauty of her aging face. When she turned her head slightly, he bowed deeply after he saw her pointed ears and licked his lips nervously.
“The queen of the elves,” he said. “I am honored, your majesty.”
“It’s been a few years, Jian,” she said. “You look well. I heard Liu a few moments ago. I am pleased to find you and your sister are settled and safe.”
“We are finding our retirement relaxing.”
“I highly doubt that,” she smiled. “Your spirit is much too restless.”
“It is,” he said. “I cannot lie, but I made a promise and I am going to stick to it.”
“The exalted sensei of the legendary heroes, The Frontiersmen,” she said. “You have kept your word and I admire how all of you have bowed out gracefully, so to speak, but I’m afraid, I must task you with something of the utmost importance.”
A petite woman with short dark hair came rushing into the room speaking mandarin at a rapid pace. She slammed down the tea tray on the small table and started bowing furiously.
“No one tell me,” the woman said. “No one say anything. I am always last to know.”
“Hello Liu,” the queen said. “I am sorry for arriving unannounced.”
“Queen Rhedyn,” Liu said. “It is an honor. Sit, sit down. Have tea.”
“Thank you,” Queen Rhedyn said, as she sat in the rickety old chair. “I am quite parched.”
Liu poured the tea, and everyone sat down. An awkward silence came over the room, but the queen waited patiently.
“I do not know why you are here,” Jian said. “I am done with that life. We all made a vow as we got older to disappear and live our lives in private. There are many people who have tried to hunt us down and we must maintain our silence as we go about this world in anonymity.”
“I am not asking you to break your vow,” Queen Rhedyn said. “I am here to ask you a favor. A personal favor. One that has nothing to do with your former team. This mission is one that must be done in secret and it will not go against your newfound life in any way.”
“I do not understand.”
“You saved my daughter’s life,” Queen Rhedyn said. “She was young and foolish. She found herself in an unfamiliar world and was almost kidnapped by those wretched witches. Without you, Jian, much would have been lost.”
“I did what anyone would have done,” Jian replied, almost embarrassed. “Besides, you helped me as well. The last mission of The Frontiersmen would have gone horribly wrong without your interference. We, and the world, owe you for what you did. I know the elves do not get involved in our difficulties. If you had been discovered…”
“But I was not,” Queen Rhedyn said. “All is well for now, but I’m afraid the future does not look so bright. There is a great evil that will one day come and that is why I am here.”
“I will do anything for you, but I cannot…”
“I’m not asking you to fight,” the queen smiled. “This will not be your war, but the burden of others. I am requesting a much bigger obligation on your part, but it is one that will not put your identity or past at risk. You and your sister are my only hope right now. I have no one else I can turn to and I will beg if I must.”
“My queen, you will never have to beg for my help,” Jian said.
“No begging for me,” Liu said. “I am ready for whatever your majesty wishes to ask of me.”
The queen closed her eyes briefly and let out a relieved sigh. She pulled out an old wooden box and set it down on the table. The lid creaked slightly when she opened it and she withdrew a curious looking bracelet that was made up of thin black rope. A charm was attached and the outline of a dragon on a crest of gray, black and white colors shone in the slant of sunshine coming through the open window.
“This is why I have come,” Queen Rhedyn said. “In a few months, a baby boy will be born. His mother is descended from an elf. She has old magic on her blood, and she will transfer this magic, which has laid dormant for many of years, into her child unknowingly. This boy’s destiny has been chosen and he will do great things, but he will need guidance. If he does not have that direction, I am afraid of what his fate will be. He will need a sensei and I know of no other man who I trust more.”
“You want me to train him?” Jian asked. “In fighting? Martial arts?”
“Yes,” Queen Rhedyn said. “But you must also guide him and help him use his elevated senses. He will be a great warrior. He will protect the powerful and hunt the wicked. He will be not be a bright beacon, but a shield of darkness to cover those in the light. It will not be easy for him. He has much pain and grief that will almost consume him, but you can help him channel those emotions and train him to be who he was fated to be.”
“And what is that?”
“The shadow that operates in the gray areas of humankind,” Queen Rhedyn said. “I’m afraid, a dual identity is his fate as well, but he can preserve who the world thinks he is, if he is allowed to walk amongst the shadows of the night. Once he has been trained, he will be ready to become something even greater.”
“Greater than a warrior?” Liu asked. “There is nothing more honorable.”
“This bracelet will be his most valuable weapon,” Queen Rhedyn said. “He must never take it off once he is ready. It will protect him from any kind of magic, from virtually any being. It was a gift given to his ancestor and now it is his to wear.”
Jian and Liu shared a look before nodding to one another.
“I will do this for you,” Jian said. “Not just because you are a queen, but because I know it will be the most important thing I will ever do in my life. I can feel it in my bones. The connection between a sensei and his student is sacred. The bond has already been formed. He is American, yes?”
“Yes,” Queen Rhedyn said. “The mystical and magic has begun. The pull is there, and you cannot ignore the call. I understand it all too well.”
“There’s more,” Liu said suddenly. “Yes?”
Queen Rhedyn sighed. “Yes, there is more. His life will be forever intertwined with another. The walls of fate have made it known to me that he is to be mated with my granddaughter.”
“A human and an elf?” Liu said. “How is that possible?”
“It has happened before,” the queen answered. “His ancestor was human. He is not entirely one himself. He does have elf blood, although it is rather diluted, like I said. I wish it was not the case. Willow has faced such prejudice in her life because she and her brother, my namesake Rheagon, are twins. They have been looked upon with fear and reverence since they were born. We have not had twins in our realm since the beginning of our race and I’m afraid this will be another black mark against her when the boy is born, and his name appears on the wall with hers.”
“Should that be kept from him?” Jian asked.
“Yes and no,” Queen Rhedyn replied. “You can allude to it as much as possible, but I am afraid until he figures out about the elves and finds her name, then the spell which prohibits you from speaking of us will be in effect.”
“Anything else, your majesty?” Jian asked.
“He will grow to be a good man,” Queen Rhedyn said. “He has so much to give in his heart, but the walls around it are going to be like steel until he meets her. Keeping up appearances will wear on him, but he must stay the course. He will feel like he is floundering and waiting for something to happen. This will make him restless and dangerous to his enemies. He must channel that into his training. His carefully crafted world will break wide open after he meets Willow and he has to be ready for what is to come.”
“And what is that?” Jian asked. “What is this evil?”
“It is ancient and old,” Queen Rhedyn said. “I cannot see beyond that nor can I stop it. He will be visited one day by the famed wizard. That is all I know. Once he starts on this path though, it cannot be undone.”
“The wizard?” Liu asked. “The one they call Tarot?”
“Yes,” Queen Rhedyn said, before she stood up. “I must leave. I can feel magic being summoned. My presence here is compromised.”
“I can help you,” Jian said, standing.
“No need, my brave man,” Queen Rhedyn said. “I will leave before they find me.”
“We will leave as well,” Jian said. “San Francisco, yes?”
“You are a gifted man,” Queen Rhedyn said. “I am beyond humbled and honored by your acceptance of my request.”
The queen went to leave, but as Jian held open the door, he stopped.
“What is his name?”
“Thaddeus,” Queen Rhedyn answered. “Thaddeus Whitlock. Don’t worry though. He will find you when he is ready.”
The queen left and settled into her boat. She held out her hands and an invisible bubble went up around her as she made her way back into the city. She let out the breath she had been holding as she found the entrance to the portal that she had conjured earlier with help from her most trusted maid who unbeknownst to anyone had this ability.
“May the good faeries be with you, Jian and Liu,” she said, as she looked over her shoulder once more and back out into the city. “I’m afraid we will not see each other again on this earthly plane. Please, guide Thaddeus and above all else, train him to protect the one most precious to me and help her find what I am afraid is going to be lost.”
She stepped through the portal and the shimmering air waved around behind her before disappearing altogether.
I will update everyone when the books are released and I can’t wait to share more of their story with you!