Welcome to the tour for dark, epic fantasy A Plague of Hatred by Jeremiah Cain. Read on for more details!
A Plague of Hatred
(The Encroaching Chaos #1)
by Jeremiah Cain
Genre: Dark Epic Fantasy/ LGBTQ2+ Rep
Publication Date: June 13, 2023
“This dazzling epic fantasy is packed with memorable characters in black, white, and gray.” — BookLife Reviews
On the verge of adulthood, Roslyn’s dreams are simple: Marry Jon and become a healer.
But on the world of Perdinok, the capture of the Church of Deagar by hate-filled fanatics puts Roslyn and all other followers of the blue God Karulus at risk. Soon, soldiers arrive to assassinate Roslyn’s mentor and priest. Dreaded Silthex knights lock eight hundred of Roslyn’s fellow villagers in the local inn–intending to burn them alive. Roslyn must act quickly and grow up quickly.
Years later, having become the legendary resistance leader known as the Blue Rose and an ambassador rallying forces against the repressive Empire, Roslyn is given another assignment: Find out how Chaos energy has been allowed to leak into Perdinok from the Plane of Chaos.
Now, on the slopes of Mount Triumph, Roslyn must call upon all her skills as an Azerent Mage to wrest truth from the twisted temptations and taunts that spew from the mouth of the devious Harpy that she has called up from the Nightmare Realm. Unless she can distill the tint of truth contained in the Harpy’s obscure prophecy of doom, her very planet may be at risk.
She kept walking, continuing unhurriedly down the thin dirt road through the dark woodlands. Her legs ached from the extensive journey, yet she could not risk a carriage driver knowing her destination. Nocturnal insects provided the only sound she’d heard in hours. A hooded cloak, long and forest green, hid all that she was. The constant need to hide had become a crucial necessity.
For over a decade, the Church of Déagar had stood as the one and only legal church within the Dayigan Empire. The worship of God Karulus, her God and savior, was punishable by death.
Nevertheless, Roslyn would not bow.
And so it came to be that, on this cool early spring night of her thirty-second year, she arrived in the shadowy yard of a moonlit cabin.
She knocked five times on the simple wooden door and waited five seconds. She knocked twice more.
A square panel at eye level opened within the door, and a young man peered out. “Bit late, innit, miss? Who may I ask is calling?”
She drew back her hood, showing a thin face with delicate features. Sadness lingered in the blue of her eyes and a frown crossed her lips. Her hair, dirty blond in both color and state, hung limp, retreating into her cloak.
“My name is Roslyn.” Even as she talked to him, she did not meet his gaze. Instead, she kept her eyes, as well as her head, lowered, as was proper. “I’ve come to sail the Veiled River. Will you allow me passage?”
“Sorry, miss. If such a river did exist, ’twould be unsafe to travel.” He began to close the panel.
“But yet, I have my ticket here.” She removed a folded note from a purse on her belt and held it to the hole.
The man pulled in the page and closed the panel door, leaving her in dark silence.
Roslyn waited. As nervous as she was, she remained calm. In the unlikely event that she was being watched, the observer should see nothing but an unsuspicious woman at an unsuspicious door. Luckily—or sadly—she’d had much practice in this sort of thing.
Finally, the door opened and the same young man showed her in. “Welcome to Port Lytel, miss. Lord Karhelm will see you.”
By flickering candlelight, he led Roslyn down a slight, tight hall.
“In here, miss.” He opened a final door, but did not enter with her.
This room was better lit. A fireplace cast a glow supplemented by a tin candelabra on a simple table. Its tallow candles streamed thick lines of black smoke.
A tall, well-built man in his mid-thirties stood in the center of the room.
Even as Roslyn entered, his face gave no sign of salutation.
“I was told you wished to see me, my lord,” she said, keeping her head at a downward tilt.
“You are the Azerent Mage sent by Father Hanugfrie.”
“Azerent Master Healer, my lord. I primarily perform the magic of my specialty and have taken a vow to do no harm. But I trained under Father Hanugfrie for three years and studied at Azerent College for five. Afterwards, I served God Karulus as a healer in multiple ports, during which time I received accolades for skill and merit from both the Order of Azerents and the Karulent Church. Also, I received multiple awards from the Veiled River Commission for bravery as a healer and as an evacuation coordinator, both under life-threatening conditions. I am pleased to join your port, and I know I will be an asset to your team.”
“Quite a mouthful.” He paused without expression and looked her up and down. “At least your appearance is adequate,” he said. “They warned me you’d be a woman. You should know, I find it obscene. A woman casting magic.”
“The Déagrians would say the same of all who practice magic.”
He crossed his arms. “I assume that was meant to be humorous. It wasn’t.”
“Actually, I meant it to be accurate, which it was.”
“Regardless, you are here. Let us hope God Karulus keeps you strong, for in this desperate time, we have no other choice than to utilize your gifts.”
“My thanks, my lord, for allowing me to serve our God.”
“I prefer that you call me Lieutenant.”
“An army rank? You are a soldier?”
“Once, at twenty, I was an honored Dayigan soldier with a royal commission and on my way to commanding thousands. But in an hour, I became a despised criminal. I continue to use the rank to remember that the world can change in a moment. You’d do well to remember the same.”
“Lessons I’ve learnt quite well on my own, Lieutenant.”
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About the Author
Jeremiah Cain is a dark epic fantasy writer of a vivid world that BookLife Reviews called, “rich with detail and myth-lore that traipses brightly through the darker themes.” He served as an army medic and has a BA in Communication with a minor in English. In addition to reading and writing, he loves video games, particularly RPGs.
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