The Haedyn Chronicles
Jennifer L. Oliver
Genre: Dark fantasy
Publisher: Small Escapes Publishing, LLC
Number of pages: 212 pages
Word Count: 54,000
Cover Artist: Jennifer L. Oliver
There’s always a choice.
Haedyn chooses to survive. As the last Unnamed, a species mistakenly created from angels and demons, she is an abomination to both the human and supernatural worlds. If survival means being the favorite servant of the demon Azazel, it’s a choice she can live with. Until she meets Lex.
Former investigative reporter, Lex Carter knows more than the average human - he saw his brother murdered by vampires. Now he’s dedicated his life to learning everything there is to know about monsters, how to kill them, and what happens to their victims. But when he’s kidnapped by a super-human albino who claims she's protecting him, he realizes that not all supernatural creatures are monsters and there may be one that's worth saving.
Together, they just might be able to discover the truth about Haedyn’s past and free her from Azazel’s bonds. But will she still choose to survive when it means risking the souls of those she loves?
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The concrete cell reeked with a mixture of rotten trash, burning flesh, and the sweet tanginess of blood. Haedyn twitched her nose. No matter how often she had to deal with it, she'd never get used to that smell. It was horrible.
Dirt crunched and rolled under the soles of her boots as she circled the silver chair in the middle of the room. Its occupant was furious, snapping and snarling at her. Not that she blamed him. Being captured by a demon's minion wouldn't rate high on her list of fun, either.
The prisoner struggled against his restraints. “Bitch. My Alpha’s gonna kill you. Just wait," he growled, pupils wide with the animosity of a trapped animal. "He’ll come here and rip through that white skin of yours like it's a sheet of paper, then hang your head on the wall like a trophy.”
She rolled her eyes and ignored his aggression. Werewolves had the worst tempers, especially when they were wounded or trapped. This one was both. Plus, he’d been drugged and was unable to change to his more powerful wolf form. Yeah, he was beyond pissed.
She sighed and continued circling. He'd wear himself out eventually. The anger and vile comments were all part of the process. Then the next phase would begin, full of tears and begging. That's when she'd break him, make him tell her where to find the human. But for now, she'd play the game until he was ready.
“Where's the human?”
"I ain't telling you shit." He spat on the floor at her feet.
"Tell me where the human is and I'll set you free."
The werewolf narrowed his yellow eyes. "You won't set me free. You think I don't know who you are? You're that demon Azazel's little bitch. You don't set no one free. You kill 'em."
Haedyn clenched her jaw. The werewolf was right; he wasn't going to leave here alive. She needed that information and there was only one way he was going to tell her. Poor sap. He just forced her hand.
She circled the chair again. This was the part of the job she hated. Inflicting pain. Killing. Every time she heard them scream, made them bleed, she swore a piece of her insides turned to dust.
It was the price she paid for serving a demon. But she didn't have a choice. Either she did what was expected of her or she faced punishment from her master.
Demons didn’t give second chances, and Azazel was no different. Disobeying his orders meant death. And even if she was stupid enough to go up against him, she had no one to turn to for help.
She was the last Unnamed. A mistake created by the demons and angels, which is why they killed off the rest of her kind. Humans mistakenly called her “albino” and kept their distance once they saw her deep red eyes. The supernatural world thought she was an abomination. If they weren't scared shitless of her, then they wanted to kill her.
She didn't fit in and she was all alone. Which is why she made the decision fourteen years ago to do whatever she had to in order to survive. Serving Azazel was the only choice she had.
Besides, what else would she do? She was evil, part demon. And like Azazel said the night he found her at the orphanage, she had a gift for death. One which he had honed. Now, she was his best interrogator, his best assassin.
Haedyn looked again at the werewolf. He shifted and squirmed, pulling at his shackles. Drops of blood beaded along his forehead. She smelled the panic and the fear mixed in with his sweat. Then she met his eyes. For a brief moment, a part of her screamed to let him go. She quickly pushed the impulse away.
Discipline. She had to maintain discipline. Compassion was a weakness. How many times had Azazel pounded that into her during their sessions? Fourteen years of intense training and still she had to remind herself.
She closed her eyes, burying the whispers of empathy deep inside. A stillness settled within her. Then she re-emerged as the cold-hearted, unemotional assassin Azazel had molded her into.
This is what she was trained to be. This is what she was trained to do. Save them. Deliver them. It's what kept her alive, and that’s all that mattered.
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Character Name: Haedyn
Character Bio: As the last Unnamed, a species mistakenly created from angels and demons, Haedyn is an abomination to both the human and supernatural worlds. She was trained from a young age to serve the demon Azazel and is now his best assassin. Survival is the only thing that matters to Haedyn… until she meets Lex.
Describe yourself - what is your worst and best quality?
My worst quality is my lack of trust. I’ve learned never to trust a single living being, they all lie and have their own agenda. Especially demons. And vampires. I’ve never met a bloodsucker who didn’t lie.
My best quality? My patience. When working for a demon, you have to be patient. There are times when he expects the impossible, or will send me out to hunt down something twice my size. I have to be able to shut off all those pesky human emotions and focus on the task at hand. Sometimes that means watching and waiting, making the right move at just the right time, and being able to analyze my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. I don’t have the luxury of being scared, or angry, or frustrated. I do what I do to survive. And compassion is a weakness I can’t afford in my life.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
That just because I work for Azazel, just because I’m his favorite servant, doesn’t mean I’m anything like him. I don’t get off on causing pain or death. I don’t get off on torturing others. I do it because I have to, not because I want to. Azazel enjoys it. That’s his “thing.” I mean, he is a demon after all. But I’m not. Well, I’m not all demon. I’m only part demon. But that doesn’t make me his little mini-me clone.
What is your biggest secret, something no one knows about?
That I hate killing, hate inflicting pain. But I have to do what I can in order to survive. So if that means following Azazel’s orders, completing my assignments whatever they may be, then that’s what I have to do. I don’t have a choice. I wish I did. You don’t know how much I wish I had a choice to do something else, to be something other than this abomination with evil running in my veins. But this is who I am.
This is what I was trained to be. This is what I was trained to do.
What are you most afraid of?
Death. I don’t want to die. Especially dying alone. I want to live, but I want to be a part of something bigger, be a part of a family. I don’t want to die before I have that chance, if I have that chance.
What do you want more than anything?
A place to belong, someone to belong to, a family.
What is your relationship status?
Definitely single. It’s not like there’s a big old list of mates out there for me. I’m the only one of my kind. And as far as every other male in the world, well they either want to kill me, or they’re scared of me. Regardless, it kind of makes it hard to be all lovey-dovey with someone, ya know? Besides, it’s better this way. I have enough trouble just keeping myself alive and well. Add someone else to the picture and I can’t guarantee their safety. It’s just better this way. Lonely, but better.
Um, well, it’s not something I really think of. I mean, the gloves are for my own protection. Without them I’d be falling into visions every time I touched something. That takes a lot out of me, and I don’t always have time to recoup from it.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
The jewelry isn’t for fashion’s sake. Every piece is charmed. It either warns me of danger, or protects me from magic. Like this bangle on my arm? It’s actually a whip. A little magical chant and poof - it’s a weapon.
The material of my suit is flexible and sturdy, which helps in a fight. I have to be able to move fast. So I can’t have clothing that is loose or baggy on me.
But my favorite is my cloak. I wear that more to blend in, but it’s comfortable. And it makes me feel a little less vulnerable. Like I can hide away from all the prying eyes and sneers. Plus, it’s practically indestructible, so, you know, that helps.
How much of a rebel are you?
Seriously? I work for a demon. Rebelling isn’t an option. Azazel would kill me in a split second- No. I take that back. He wouldn’t kill me, not at first. He’d torture me, and enjoy every moment of my pain. It’s what he does. So, yeah, no rebel here.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Surviving. I mean, think about it. I’m not even supposed to be in existence. My kind were killed off centuries ago. It’s a fluke that I was even born, much less that I survived eight years at a human orphanage. And then I was taken in by a demon. So, yeah, I’d say surviving this long is a damn good achievement.
What is your idea of happiness?
I’m not sure happiness truly exists. Not for me anyway. But, if I allowed myself to imagine what it might be like… I’d be part of a family, maybe have a sister, a boyfriend or a husband even. I wouldn’t be this, wouldn’t be an abomination. I’d be human. I’d be normal. I wouldn’t have to kill or hurt anyone ever again. Yeah, I think that would be my idea of happiness. But, it will never happen. Not unless a miracle happens and well, I don’t believe in angels or miracles. Not anymore.
What is your current state of mind?
Determined. I don’t have much of a choice, really. I can’t give up. Doing so means I die. And there’s got to be something more, some purpose that I’m here. But it’s hard, you know. It can wear you out, always hoping and never getting anywhere. I’m tired of killing, tired of causing pain. But I have to survive and that’s the only way I can.
What is your most treasured possession?
That’s easy. My Italian longs word. It’s made out of cold steel. I love it. I don’t go anywhere without it. It’s like a part of me, another appendage.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I think everything about me is probably unique. I mean, how many beings have you seen that have this pale of skin and silver white hair? And let’s not forget my eyes. I haven’t met a single soul who likes looking into these deep red orbs of mine.
What is it that you most dislike?
Lies. I hate being lied to. Of course, I’ve grown up with a demon and his servants, so I’m kind of used it by now. But I still hate it.
Which living person do you most despise?
Well, they aren’t really living beings but vampires are at the top of my list. I can’t stand those freaking bloodsuckers. They are the most arrogant species on this planet. And I haven’t met one yet that understands the need for a toothbrush. You’d think that a being that is practically immortal would figure out that they might need to brush their fangs. But no, they just go around drinking all the blood they can get and breathing their foul air on others. It’s gross.
What is your greatest regret?
That I wasn’t able to safe the rest of the orphans the night that the vampires attacked. I tried. I thought for sure that if they went into that tunnel they’d be safe until morning. Then they could follow the river into town. But Azazel… he found them. He said that it was how it was meant to be. That I delivered them straight to their fates. But I had really wanted to save them. They were so little, so innocent. It just sucks that I wasn’t able to help them.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Honesty. Though I’ve yet to meet one who can pull it off. Especially human men. It’s like they are predisposed to spit out lies every time their mouth opens. But, maybe one day I meet someone who will actually tell me the truth. We’ll see.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
I don’t really have much time to read, which is kind of sad because I enjoy it. But Azazel insists that I keep in shape, keep up my training. So every bit of spare time I have is pretty much taken up by sparing with him, or meditating to keep my sanity in check.
Which living person do you most admire?
Um, that’s tough. I mean, I don’t really know anyone other than Azazel and his servants. And you can well imagine that I don’t admire any of them. But I’m still kind of young, so maybe I’ll met someone eventually, like a queen or something. You know, someone who I can look up to and trust.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d no longer be an Unnamed. I mean maybe if I was something else, a human even, then maybe… maybe I wouldn’t be alone. Maybe I’d be part of a family or a pack or clan or whatever. I just know I wouldn’t be the only one of my kind anymore.
What is your motto?
Never give up.
During her many years of working at a daily newspaper, Jennifer L. Oliver honed her writing skills in secret. As an avid reader, she enjoys books that give her an entertaining and temporary escape from the ruckus of everyday life. Now, she hopes to bring the same enjoyment to others through her own work.
Jennifer is the author of The Haedyn Chronicles, and other dark urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. She is also a freelance proofreader and always looking for the opportunity to help other authors reach their publishing dreams.
Although she was born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives on Florida's gulf coast with her husband, two cats, and a Royal Bahamian Potcake dog who is more than half her size and thinks the world revolves around treats. When she's not writing, you can find her playing in the flower garden, giggling with her granddaughter, and enjoying time with her family and friends.