I just realized today that I still haven’t officially introduced you guys to my favorite new side-character. So, since it’s Teaser Day, I’m fixing this. 😊
Meet Zosime! 💜💜💜
There are a lot of new characters in The Reign of Darkness. (Well, new-ish. They’ve kind of been behind the scenes all along. 😉) But my favorite new side-character is the quirky, flower-loving, clairvoyant…Zosime! She works as a royal advisor by night and as a gardener by…well, also by night…because she’s a vampire. 😁 She, like Rose, is in love with a warrior. Her warrior’s just a little less…mischievous than Kara. (Who isn’t less mischievous than Kara? 😂)
This excerpt’s a bit longer than usual, but it’s a lot of fun. I hope you like it! 💜💜💜
“What’s wrong?” Zosime said with a smile. “Don’t you trust your lover?”
Rose raised an eyebrow. “Have you met her? She lies. A lot. And well.”
Zosime strolled further into the garden. “Even to you?” she called back.
“Usually, no,” Rose admitted. “She must have a good reason this time.”
“If you believe that,” Zosime said, “then, why are you here, asking me?”
“For the same reason she’s lying to me,” Rose said. “She wants to protect me. So, I need to protect her from whatever she’s trying to protect me from.”
Zosime turned toward Rose, laughing, “Is this how you two always are?”
“Yeah, it’s kind of our thing,” Rose muttered. “So, will you help me or not?”
“She told me not to,” Zosime said, as she returned to tending her garden. She knelt next to a large, yellow rose bush. “Your lover is a bit scary, you know.”
“Kara’s not going to hurt you,” Rose laughed. “Surely, you know that.”
Zosime’s brown eyes shifted up toward Rose. “I’m not so sure,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I think she’d hurt anyone, if that’s what it took to save you.”
Rose noticed Zosime eyeing the clay pot of water on the table next to her, so she picked it up and carried it over to the vampire. “Contrary to popular belief, she is not evil,” she said, giving the pot to Zosime. “She’s not well-behaved, by any means, but she’s not evil. She’d never actually hurt you—not over this.”
Zosime laughed softly, “You don’t even know what this is.” She poured the water slowly, watching the flowers, as she watered them. “You have no idea.”
“Then, tell me,” Rose said. “What did you see? What’s going to happen?”
Zosime didn’t even look at her. She kept her attention on the roses. She was silent for so long, in fact, that Rose had already given up and turned to leave, when she finally spoke. “The future is a puzzling thing,” she said, suddenly. Rose turned toward her, watching her curiously. Zosime straightened, her lips quirking up into a smile that did NOT fit the situation. “Also, nonexistent, at the moment.”
“What?” Rose sputtered, her brows furrowing. “What does that mean?”
Zosime busied herself with the roses again. “You know what it means.”
“The end of the world?” Rose said. She waited for an answer, but Zosime ignored her. Apparently, she was more worried about her flowers than the end of the world itself. “Uhh, okay. If that’s true, we have to stop it. How can I stop it?”
“Some things can only be destroyed by the one who created them, and some things can only be saved by the one who destroyed them,” Zosime told her.
Rose rolled her eyes. “Why does everyone here talk in freaking riddles?”
Zosime straightened, sighing softly, “It’s not a riddle. It’s a prophecy.”
“Right. Thanks,” Rose said irritably, “but what I need…is an answer.”
Zosime stepped closer to Rose. “You’re asking me to speak plainly?”
Rose took a step back, watching the clairvoyant vampire warily. “Yes?”
“Your future is so terrible that even a glimpse of it could drive you mad,” Zosime told her. “That’s why I’m not allowed to tell you what I saw in my vision.”
“Whatever it is—I can handle it,” Rose said. “I’ve been through worse.”
“You think you have, but you haven’t,” Zosime said. “What will happen to you is worse than you can imagine—and unpreventable, I’m afraid. But as for the end of the world? That part can be changed. But only by you. It must be you.”
“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Rose said anxiously. “Why me?”
“Because it’s your fault that it’s happening,” Zosime said with a shrug.
“What?” Rose sputtered, her eyes widening. “How? What did I do?”
“Hold out your hands,” Zosime said. “I have something that will help.”
Rose frowned, wondering—not for the first time—if the flower-loving vampire were a little crazy. But she was out of options. So, she held out her hands.
Zosime opened her own hands and placed a yellow rose in Rose’s hands.
“Um, Zosime?” Rose said slowly, scowling at the rose. “This is a flower.”
Zosime gave Rose that playful, quirky smile that she wore so often. “It’s your answer,” she said, clearly proud of herself. “That’s how you save the world.”
Rose looked up at the vampire, both eyebrows raised. “With a flower?”
“With a rose,” Zosime said with a shrug. “That is your name, isn’t it?”
Rose blinked. “Oh. Great. Yeah, that’s…hilarious,” she said sarcastically.
Zosime just laughed and returned to her garden. “Get some rest, Rose.”
But Rose didn’t hear her—because she couldn’t stop staring at the flower in her hands, transfixed by its silky, black petals.
Black as shadows
Black as death.
She didn’t remember seeing any black roses in Zosime’s garden.
As a matter of fact, she was positive that the other roses had been yellow.
“Zosime?” Rose said, watching the flower. “Do you have black roses?”
“No. Only yellow and red,” Zosime said, as she tended to another plant.
“But the rose you just gave me is…black,” Rose said slowly, looking up.
Zosime turned toward her with a frown—and froze. Because the rose in Rose’s hands now—it looked different from the one she’d picked just a moment before. She stepped closer to Rose, staring in horror at those black petals. “This is how it started,” she said quietly, her voice practically a whisper, “in my vision.”
Rose could hear Zosime’s pulse racing. She could smell the adrenaline in her blood. It was the first time she’d seen the vampire afraid. “How what started?”
Zosime looked up at Rose, her brown eyes wide with fear. “The end.”
from my upcoming book, The Reign of Darkness,
Book Four of the Creatures of Darkness Series.
©️ Britney Jackson
Coming Soon(ish) 💜💜💜