Book Description: The Scarlett Curse: The Sacred Blade of Profanity
Scarlett, bearer of The Sacred Blade Of Profanity for nigh on three hundred years, untouched by linear time, unhindered by the confines of space, nevertheless has grown weary. The ancient dagger, crafted in sorcery over eight thousand years ago, requires the blood of the profane to sustain its power. Scarlett has killed scores over the centuries and will continue for as long as she possesses The Blade.
Her chance meeting with young Dera, an 11 year old mute from the outskirts of town, throws both of their worlds into chaos, as Scarlett returns to the busy town of Mills Wall, to complete a failed attempt on her most elusive target to date. Could this child be the downfall of Scarlett? The demise of The Sacred Blade Of Profanity? Dark and troubled times are all that is foreseeable for both Scarlett and the mysterious little girl. Indeed for all of Mills Wall.
The Scarlett Curse serves as the opening novella of what promises to be an intriguing fantasy/horror series about the Sacred Blade of Profanity, a dagger that was given a deadly life of its own when it was forged by sorcerers thousands of years earlier. We are immediately introduced to the beautiful Scarlett, who has been under the subjugation of the Blade for over 300 years. As she has done hundreds of times before, she tracks an intended victim through the streets of Mills Wall, cornering him in a hat seller’s stall in the downtown market place. Just before launching her attack on him, she is accosted by a sergeant of the Town Guard. As a reward for his intercession, he sustains the deadly attack instead of the intended victim. As Scarlett flees, it becomes clear that she is an agent of the Blade and has no power to resist the control it exercises over her. It is also evident that she has committed these murders so many times that she has become deadened to the horror of her actions.
The power of the Blade is sustained by being immersed in the blood of the profane, meaning that its chosen victims are steeped in evil themselves. In the case of intended victim Joshua Melkerin, he has kidnapped three young children and is holding them prisoner in his house, intending to sell them to an evil and mysterious criminal gang. Joshua has no qualms about murdering one of the children who is ill, and burying him in his garden. Joshua surely deserves the fate that appears to be hanging over him.
The Blade has an insatiable hunger for blood. Not long after sacrificing a victim through the hand of Scarlett, it prompts her to go out and hunt Joshua down,to finish the job. The incidental blood that it tasted in the killing of the sergeant of the guard at the market stall does not satisfy its craving for long. We find that if Scarlett fails in her mission, the blade plunges itself into a non-lethal part of her body to partake in the sweetest blood-immersion of all. But the Blade realizes that this is not a sustainable treat: it can ill afford to kill its beautiful and effective death agent.
Things get extremely interesting when Scarlett collides so jarringly on the path with eleven year old Dera who is walking home with her mother to her cottage, that she blacks out. Dera, a pretty mute girl, becomes subjugated by the Blade while Scarlett is unconscious and is made to commit a hideous crime. When she awakens, Scarlett takes Dera under her protection and flees with her through the forest. The Blade switches its control back to Scarlett, the more seasoned, preferred instrument of death. Scarlett finds herself having to fight to resist the Blade’s growing promptings to kill young Dera.
Meanwhile, back in the town of Mills Wall, Joshua needs to replace the sickly child that he murdered with another one in order to fulfill the order of his criminal clients. He recollects seeing Dera in the market stalls with her mother, and decides that she would make a suitable replacement for the dead boy. He goes off to seek out and kidnap Dera.
As these people with various ties to the Blade converge, the presence of other powerful forces and entities begin to make their presence known. Dera’s mind is the host of three prii, or fairies that direct her actions. Astra Kiiltth, a seer, senses that things are going awry with the Sacred Blade of Profanity in ways that could throw the very fabric of existence out of balance.
Author Toneye Eyenot uses a rich, evocative style, and skillfully brings to life his pseudo-medieval village of Mills Wall. I found myself caring quite a bit for both Scarlett and Dera, the helpless thralls of powers greater than themselves.They are compelled by irresistible outside forces to commit acts of extreme violence, and cannot be held responsible. The truly odious characters are the kidnapper/murderer Joshua Melkerin,and the lethal Sacred Blade of Profanity itself.
Toney Eyenot is off to a very promising start with his Sacred Blade of Profanity series, and I very much look forward to future installments!
See more of the author’s books on his Amazon page
Review by Gregg Zimmer author of Verdure