Hello everyone! Today I am sharing with you a super exciting post! Myself and a group of UKYA Book Bloggers have teamed up this week alongside amazing author Bex Hogan to host a blog treasure hunt for a new Isle of Storm and Sorrow short story; Vitriol! Today I am sharing Part Three of this epic story which is set between Viper and Venom and follows Shard, a member of The Maiden Crew who has severed his loyalties with Adler and is set on gaining the title of captain, no matter what blood is spilt.
If you haven’t heard of this amazing series then here is the synopsis for book 1 in the Isle of Storm and Sorrow Series; Viper!
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles. But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake. He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father. She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?
I adore this series so much and I have a review of Venom coming soon for my local library so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Raised on a healthy diet of fantasy and fairy tales, Bex Hogan has spent much of her life lost in daydreams. Writing her stories down was a natural progression and now she enjoys sharing her time between living in the real world and escaping to her imagination. A Cornish girl at heart, Bex now lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband, two beautiful daughters and crazy cocker spaniel. She might be found riding horses, talking to her plants or eating marzipan. Or not.
Important Note: This will contain spoilers for Viper.
Vitriol by Bex Hogan – Part Three
The only thing worse than being sent on this mission, Shard thought, was that he wasn’t going alone. The Mouse had deemed it necessary to send Raze along – ostensibly to assist, but Shard couldn’t help but feel Raze was only there to keep an eye on him.
Shard had always liked Raze, they’d fought alongside each other many times, risen from dirt and blood to live another day. Brothers in arms. Until he had turned on his friends, on his Captain, and fought them for the Mouse. Shard still couldn’t understand how Raze – how any of them – could have done it. To flip so easily, to attack those they once defended. Adler had made them Snakes. Where was the gratitude? The loyalty? Without him, half the crew would no doubt be drunken gamblers, fighting every night to pay off debts, or lying dead in some ditch because they met someone with fiercer fists.
Not that Shard had liked the Captain that much. Truth be told he was a cruel bastard. But that wasn’t the point. There were rules. And mutiny broke them all. Now there was a quiet chaos brewing, that the Mouse seemed oblivious to. That’s what happened when you got a girl like that suddenly finding herself with power she didn’t know what to do with.
It’s why she had to go. Shard knew it was the only way. If he didn’t kill her, someone else would. It was inevitable. Bronn couldn’t possibly watch her back all the time, and when he looked away, Shard would be ready to take what he knew should be his. Adler had taught him everything he knew. He would be a worthy successor. He would put things back the way they should be.
It was time Shard had the glory and the riches.
First things first. He had to find Choke. And that was going to be infinitely harder when he was pretending to search for Karn. Unless. . . Maybe it was worth seeing whether Raze was ripe to turn. He’d done it before, no doubt because he wanted to save his own neck. Perhaps he’d switch allegiance again, given the right motivation. Shard simply had to find out where Raze’s loyalties actually lay.
‘Think the last time we were on this island together was when we raided that settlement in the east, do you remember?’ Shard said, as he stomped on the hard ground, his breath like smoke on the cold air.
Raze screwed his face up in thought for a moment. ‘We found a stash of grog made from sweetherb leaf that nearly killed us, if I recall.’
Shard laughed. ‘I’d forgotten that. That stuff was lethal.’ He paused. ‘Wonder if we can find any more?’
Raze gave him a sideways glance. ‘I can just knock you over the head and be done with it, if you want.’
‘All the punishment, with none of the fun? I’ll pass, thanks.’ Shard let the companionable silence sit for a moment, letting Raze chew over shared memories before he probed a little further. ‘A lot’s happened since then.’
Raze nodded. ‘You’re telling me.’
And now, Shard had to tread carefully. It was an unspoken decision that no one really spoke about what happened in the West, when hell rose from the ocean and obliterated everything.
‘You ever think about those water monsters?’
The shift in atmosphere was palpable. Raze looked firmly at the ground and Shard thought he wasn’t going to answer, but then he said, ‘Every night. When I close my eyes. I watched as my friends had their flesh melted from their bones by those beasts.’
For a moment, Shard was transported back there, to that day, when nightmares became reality. He had been one of the lucky ones.
‘Was that why you switched to fight with our new Captain? Fear of those creatures?’
Raze’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, wary of a trap.
‘Because that was why I did, in the end,’ Shard said hurriedly to reassure Raze.
‘Yes, I suppose so,’ Raze admitted with reluctance. ‘I don’t like magic, never have. Last place I want to be is on the wrong side of it.’
Interesting. To Shard’s ears it didn’t sound like Raze particularly liked his new Captain, he just was more afraid of her magic.
‘I know exactly what you mean,’ he said, wanting Raze to keep confiding in him. But it was a lie. Shard didn’t believe for a second that the Mouse had magic. Like her lucky shot that brought down Adler, the Mouse had managed to convince everyone that the water raptors came and left at her call, when really she just took advantage of coincidence. There was no way that girl had that kind of power.
‘It’s strange now,’ Raze said. ‘I feel like I have to prove myself every day. Like my Initiation is no longer enough. Though I fought for her, there’s a need to keep earning the Captain’s trust.’
‘Is that why you’re here?’
‘Maybe. I wondered if our mission was some kind of test.’
This was a surprise to Shard. Perhaps Raze wasn’t here to watch him after all, but serving his own penance. Interesting.
‘But as it happens, I have an idea where Karn might be,’ Raze continued.
What an epic part three!! Dying to read the next part? Me too but you’ll need to know where to find it first! Here is todays clue:
If you haven’t checked out this amazing series yet then what are you waiting for! Thank you so much for visiting my blog today no matter if you are a new or returning reader! I really appreciate everyone who checks out any of my posts 💗
Love and light,