Bones of Empire
Published by Snowbooks
Long ago, Ritakhou was a flourishing empire filled with light, life, and magic. Then came the Schism. Now the kingdom is called Rimbaku and is a pale shadow of its former self, a land stripped of its glory and its power. The only magic left comes from aitachi, the Relicant Touch the ability to absorb skills and memories by consuming the bones of the dead. Throughout the land, status and success are based on one s aitachi and theaishone or relic bones one can attain, and the so-called Relicant Empire has grown stale and stagnant as a result.
The young emperor, Hibikitsu, recognizes this but feels powerless to change centuries of habit and reliance. His finest warrior, Misataki Shizumi, also feels stifled despite her prowess she is a commoner and can never rise above the rank of sergeant in the elite Honjofu, even though her commanding officer is a nobleborn fool. Seikoku, a koshitsu or graverobber, wrestles with the horror of what she does and the need to survive, while Chimehara, a beggar turned killer, has no compunctions against using every weapon at her disposal to attain her goals. And all the while Rimbaku s enemies are circling, testing the nation s borders. They know the empire is weak, and are determined to push it over the edge and then strip its bones as it has done to its dead for so long.
Meanwhile, the brothers Kagiri and Noniki set out from their small village with a handful of aishone and a great deal of hope. They soon find the world a bigger, darker place than they imagined, and are forced to accept a dangerous proposal, one that will put both of them at risk for not only their lives but their very souls but that may change the Relicant Empire forever.