Soul Swallowers: Sajem

 

The WIP is getting closer with another chunk of editing checked off.
I’ve introduced the main character, Raze.
Also Danzell and Johzar.
I hope you enjoy getting a peek into Sajem (from Johzar’s perspective).

***

The Black Gull’s door stood ajar, and in contrast to the sea’s fresh scent, the tavern reeked of spilled ale, rancid grease, and sun-ripened sailors. The stink didn’t bother Johzar as much as the sight of Sajem and six slavers deep in their cups. One of the man’s crew, a woman with serpents inking up her arms, spotted him. Heads turned and Sajem laughed, a calloused paw beckoning him in. “Ah, my friend, join us. How went your travels in Tegir?”

Johzar ambled to the table and claimed a seat across from his quarry. Finding Sajem had proved easier than expected, but the conditions didn’t befit murder, a point working equally well to his advantage. “A troublesome time for the empire. I would have thought you knowledgeable of all the sordid details.”

Sajem grunted. “Tegir’s bloated with rules and soldiers. I like the Vales. The law here is like water, fluid and easy to direct.” He growled at a server for another pitcher. “The raiding is healthy for the purse, and the ladies and lords look the other way as long as we don’t get personal. Our Governor Benjmur hasn’t forgiven you for stealing his daughter.”

Johzar shrugged. “He wrote the rules.”

“You got caught.” Sajem cracked his knuckles. “Out-matched by a girl.”

“True.” Johzar let the taunt slide. “Speaking of getting caught, eventually those ladies and lords will tire of you. And when they tire of you, they’ll tire of me.”

“Then we kill them in their sleep.”

“Kill them?”

Sajem’s smile thinned at the slip. “Capture them, sell them.”

“How’s our friend, the governor?” Johzar topped off a tankard. “Are you still his dog?”

The slaver’s red eyes tightened. “If the chits are the right color.”

“So, you’re an assassin now?”

“We’re not assassins,” the woman said.

Johzar arched his eyebrows. “Who benefited from Ezalion’s death? Who gives Sajem his orders?”

“I don’t take orders,” Sajem snarled.

“Unless the chits are the right color.” Johzar chuckled. “Still hearing voices? How many souls is it now?”

Sajem’s lip rose at the corner, baring a filed fang. “Enough to get what I want.”

“Here’s my problem.” Johzar leaned forward. “You’re a slave to the madmen in your head. They may bear the skills you desire, but they’re impulsive and thick as planks. Your rampages through the Vales don’t go unnoticed, even in Tegir. I made a mistake with Benjmur’s girl, but she lied about her identity. You don’t care if your victims are political, and we always stayed out of politics. It was cleaner that way. Follow the laws, keep our knives belted. Remember?”

“Times change,” one of Sajem’s men said.

“You know how many of my crew I’ve lost in the past ten years?” Johzar asked. “One. How about you?”

None of the slavers replied, and Sajem emptied his tankard down his gullet.

“I’ll warn you once.” Johzar addressed all seven of them, “My crew and I don’t appreciate change. We plan to go on living and getting rich. You make that difficult for us; we’ll make it difficult for you.”

130 thoughts on “Soul Swallowers: Sajem

  1. Sounds like these are dangerous people. I can feel the tension building, Diana. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very powerful snippet, Diana – you´ve definitely got me hooked!! So much room for conflicts here, can´t wait to read how or if they´re going to be settled! 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun excerpt. Nice set up of future conflict. The pacing was good and the line-editing was flawless. Thanks for sharing this, Diana. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am actually lost for a comment.. it ranges from “is this her book” to “I want more”. Really great work

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the great comment. You certainly made me smile. 🙂 The book will be out in early June as I’m working on the final polishing now. I’m so glad you enjoyed the snippet. ❤ ❤

      Like

  5. Elisabet says:

    Loved it, waiting for the full version. As usual you keep us on enthralling.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant and engrossing writing, Diana! I feel like I’m right in the middle of the mead hall with these characters. I also like the theme of soul swallowing which I am sure will be very interesting as to how that plays out. I couldn’t help but think of today’s political climate where you talk about the lords and ladies looking the other way. It’s gonna be a great book! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lana. I think it’s human nature to “look away”, otherwise we’d have to put ourselves out there and do something! Sometimes things need to hit home first. I hesitated using this title since it has “horror” connotations, but it is the core of the book in a more fantasy way. Thanks so much for the great comment and for stopping by to read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s interesting, the images that stay in the mind eye after a reading a story. From this one it was the image of a bared filed fang.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Antonia says:

    You really have a gift for bringing the reader into your stories. I love your writing Diana!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I remind my creative writing students to try and use ALL the senses when they write a story. I’m going to read them your first sentence here to show a great example of SMELL! And then I can always use your stories as an excellent example of how to use dialogue. Wowzie – this is good.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh, I’ve forgotten how much I love your writing. Dang, you know how ta turn a phrase.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great snippet, Diana! I’m a little behind this week (and next, I’m sure). Rich description, and I could picture the slavers talking. Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, this is captivating! Great write, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. paulandruss says:

    Really Enjoyed this extract Diana… effortlessly atmospheric

    Liked by 2 people

  14. oh, this was great.
    I think i read some hint of hurt, as if the two were once friends? and Jozar – did i spell that right – seemed disappointed?
    and the tone of threat at the end spices it up.
    did i read it right or totally get it wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you read it right. Sajem has been swallowing multiple souls and is losing control. Johzar is going to have to do something about it, if he can. Not a pretty picture. 🙂 Thanks for the visit and for reading, Jina. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Diana, I would like to email or talk if you are available and have free time. Let me know! Thanks so much

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I great taste! I’m excited to check out more!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Teri Polen says:

    I’m liking the sound of this, Diana – and that’s one powerful (in more ways than one) cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Teri. Covers will be out in May. I just put this image together for the post. It’s fun visualizing my characters, especially the bad guys. And this guy is bad. I’m glad you enjoyed the snippet. I’m working away at it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Jennie says:

    Ooooo! Really good, Diana.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is good and going to be excellent. Thanks for sharing ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love your cover, Diana. Slavery is a very controversial and interesting topic, I am sure this will do very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robbie. This image was just put together for the post. Cover coming in May. It is an interesting topic and I was nervous about including it in the story. I did some research on how slave-owners in the States tried to justify it, as well as the horrors. This is fiction, of course, and the protagonist is all for freedom and choice. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. rijanjks says:

    Interesting to see through Johzar’s eyes. A troublesome time for the empire indeed. Great excerpt!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by to read, Jan. Sajem isn’t a pov character even though he has a big bad impact on the story. 🙂 I needed someone else to introduce him… why not another baddie. Ha ha. I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpt. Happy Writing!

      Like

  22. Jay says:

    This is really cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the visit, Jay. I’m slowly introducing some of the characters without giving too much away. These are my bad guys, some worse than others. 🙂 Baddies almost always make for fun reading.

      Like

  23. This isn’t my usual kind of read but I DO like the characters and you certainly have my attention. Fabulous reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by to read, Tess. And for the lovely comment. These are my baddies, so they tend to demand some attention. 🙂 And it’s fun to share little snippets now and then. Happy Travels!

      Like

  24. acflory says:

    Absolutely intriguing. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A shiver went through me as I kept my head low among those rough characters…your words drew me into their world fast and even now it’s hard to shake off!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Sounds riveting Diana.. I could smell those sun-ripened sailors .. fantastic

    Liked by 1 person

  27. So exciting your getting close! Thanks for the sneak peek. Gritty. I’d better hurry up and finish reading the Rose Shield so I can read this one too.
    My Miss Livingstone book II progress is still slow and steady. Lots of hours and what feels like little forward movement, but the chapters are ticking off and are so much richer. I’m pleased with them. That’s what counts…so hopefully they’ll be fun for everyone to read.
    Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Oooh, yes… I’m totally hooked, Diana. I could smell the tavern, hear the tankards clank on the tabletops, and feel the sticky surface. You showed the dynamics of two groups brilliantly in just one short scene. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. What a scene, Diana. So well written and compelling. Enjoyed meeting Sajem who bares a filed fang. He may be a tough guy, but at least he takes care of his teeth. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I see a parallel universe where things happen exactly as on Earth, especially nowadays. Great characters, setting and dialogue. Good luck with it, Diana. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind comment, Sebnem. Definitely parallels to the “real” world in terms of human behavior. 🙂 Sometimes the real world feels like fiction to me, too. Lol. Have a great day and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. dgkaye says:

    You certainly know how to captivate a reader my friend. Congrats on your upcoming success no doubts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Excellent glimpse thru an excerpt. Captivating!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Tina Frisco says:

    You’re writing is tight, vivid and descriptive, Diana. You draw the reader in and leave us wanting more ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tina. What a lovely comment. I’m getting close with this series. Doing a final slow, read aloud edit. It always feels like a long stretch at this point. Have a wonderful, healthy, peaceful week and Happy Writing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Val Boyko says:

    So darned exciting ❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks, Val. This book has been fun to write. It has opportunities to write exciting bad guys and battles as well as scenes of wisdom, presence, and grace. Thanks so much for stopping by to read. ❤ Have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Steven Baird says:

    Bad and badderer? Thanks for a great (and dark) peek, Diana. Looks like a winner. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. The last line is powerful. Thanks for sharing another character with us. I wouldn’t want to go to bed with Sajem on my mind or find him in my dreams. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • He’s not a nice guy. I have three increasingly “mad” characters in the book, all impacted by swallowing unhealthy souls. Writing their characters has been fun and challenging. Thanks for reading, Mary. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  37. babbitman says:

    Ah, I love a bit of bad-guy barbed bantering. You just know that there’s a possibility that someone will overstep the line and then it’s tears before bedtime.
    Oh, and blood. Lots of blood.
    Can’t wait to read the full story!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Ah this WIP of yours sounds so very promising, Diana! I loved what we got to find out about the characters so far 🙂 Hoping to read more soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Mae Clair says:

    Fantastic scene ending. And as always, extremely vivid and well executed. Looks like you’ve got another winner in the making!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mae. I’m a little concerned about pacing and am trying to tighten the story up on the current editing pass. *Sigh* This is always the time in the process that I get anxious. 😀 But getting there! Happy Writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. I can relate to Sajem! Nicely done, Diane.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Lyn Horner says:

    Very intriguing, Diane. Will this book lead to another fantastic series?

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I have to say, that look is perfect for my attitude at times. Nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. balroop2013 says:

    Seems like Sajem is a powerful character with a lot of attitude, even his face gives shivers! Happy writing Diana and thanks for sharing this piece. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Well written, and interesting characters and setting. One can feel there’s a vast world out there…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the kind comment. It’s hard to find a piece that doesn’t need a lot of set up or backstory. This is the bad guy and the badder guy. 😀 Have a great week and Happy Writing.

      Like

  45. Carrie Rubin says:

    “You’re a slave to the madmen in your head.”–I think a lot of us have that same problem. Get out of our heads, unproductive thoughts! 😄

    Liked by 3 people

  46. I surely did enjoy it, thirsty for more! Very fine editing, fabulous cover, a sure fire winner! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the kind comment, Holly. This isn’t the cover, though I’m glad you like it. I have a lot of fun creating these for the posts and envisioning my characters. Cover will be done in mid-May-ish and I have no idea what it will look like. Have a wonderful week, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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