As most of you know, being out of work, I’ve tried to ramp up efforts on the third book, and even though video games, depression, anxiety, and a dozen other things keep interfering, I’ve gotten a lot done, and have the rest of it mapped out in my head. So, to tempt you (and possibly get you to read the first two books, if you haven’t), here is part of a scene from the third, aka Sorrow’s Aid:
Even this four, standing apart from the others, make a stunning palette.
Lucifer, golden Lucifer, with eyes of garnet. Satanas is boldly crimson, with black-tipped pinions making up his great wings, his eyes deepest jet. Pazzuzu, the only female of them, is the rich, velvety blue of twilight while her eyes sparkle the yellow-green of peridot.
And he, he is unblemished, purest white from head to toe, with turquoise for his eyes.
Before the Creator they stand, the host gathered behind them in curiosity and just a little unease.
The Creator does not wear the form He has shown to a few mortals. This is not Random, the befuddled man that Frank Rhoades, and a few others, have met. Today, in the midst of His beloved companions (never servants, they are far more to Him), He is the blazing column of iridescent energy. He is the raw power of Creation.
He is the Balance. And He loves this host, and the four, as deeply as they love Him.
But now the four have hurt Him. Four have brought dissension to the host. Four bring jealousy, and ambition. These four would leave His side, and their brethren, to become gods. To rule Worlds.
He is the fourth. As events unfold, he shifts uneasily. This is a feeling he’s never known. Never has he gone against the Creator’s will. A disagreeable thought has never before entered his head.
Then along came Lucifer, and Satanas, and Pazzuzu.
Pazzuzu is reluctant, also, he senses. But Lucifer has ever been a persuasive one, with glib tongue and words of honey. Satanas has always been too clever, and he chose to follow this course as soon as it was offered. Between those two, who else could resist? It must be so.
“We have ever been true, unfailingly faithful,” Lucifer insists. “Is’t so much we ask? Wherefore wouldst Thou hold us back?”
“Even as gods we would serve Thee,” Satanas is quick to add. “’Tis an insult to Create new beings to raise above us.”
“If Thou makest these gods, I shall not bow to them,” Pazzuzu vows.
He says nothing, but shuffles his feet again, mantling his wings to resemble a downy white cloak. Over and over has he heard these arguments, for they were rehearsed and debated. They sounded so reasonable. Now, bathed in the Creator’s all-encompassing glow, the words sound feeble. They are petulant children, pleading to a benevolent parent.
Nor does his silence go unnoticed by the Creator. Although He is only light and energy, and wears no face in His true form, this one knows he is now the object of scrutiny. Beneath the cloak of his wings, he shudders, cringes ever so slightly.
**And thou, Singer? Where is thy chord in this disharmony? Dost thou stand with them?**
He knows shame, now he knows doubt. Indecision. He hesitates.
Aye, he thought he would be a god, but still? Upon reflection, was it worth leaving the Master’s side? Worth leaving the host? Would he still be part of the song?
What would happen if the Master denied them outright?
“I do.” His trembling voice was barely a whisper. “’Tis wrong to spurn us so.”
**Spurn thee?** There is no recrimination in His voice, nothing but love, and that makes his heart hurt that much more. **Mine grief is great that thou seest not the truth. I adore thee, and would keep thee by My side. Always.**
“Yet neither wilt Thou entrust Your Creations to our care?” Satanas, always the stubborn one.
The Creator’s focused remained on the silent one. **Ne’er did I claim I would place the gods above thee.**
“But must we answer to them?” demanded Lucifer. “Where must we fall in the new order? Not equals, not servants, but what in relation to Your gods? If we are not to be keepers of Your Worlds, set us free.”
**Dost thou think thou art not?** There is genuine shock this time.
Meanwhile, the song has subtly changed, slipping into a minor key. Not a reflection of joy and unity, but a dirge. Sorrow, unknown here, starts to take over the host.
It should serve as a warning, but ever headstrong Satanas presses on. “We are bound to Thee, Thou knowest this. To allow us to become caretakers wouldst take us out from under Thine eyne!”
The accusation chills him They have gone too far, surely He should speak up. He should deny them, and rejoin the host, before he has nothing left but regret.
But he cannot move. Still he stands with the four. He has made his choice, and it would be weakness to stand down now, no matter how badly he may want to.
**Yet for the love of thee, I shall grant thy wish.** The Creator has made His decision. **I know thou wilt come to to repent thine haste Still, for thy pride and thy greed, for the discord thou hast brought, thou shalt be gods aright.**
Lucifer actually laughs Pazzuza also makes a noise, but it sounds more like dismay.
The Creator continues as if He hasn’t heard. **Thou shalt be the dark gods, lords over abominations and horrors. Mortals shall shun and fear thee, and quake at thy names Thy dominion shalt be over the lowest of creatures, the hate-filled misshapen who creep within shadows Those of bloody minds and murderous hearts, they shall grovel at thine altars.**
He trembles violently. He had not anticipated this terrible outcome, not at all. He can never take the words back, and so he is subject to this swift, merciless judgement.
**Each of thee has a spark of Creation within. Henceforth that spark shall be Destruction. Thy magic canst only work ill, and so let outward appearances reflect thine twisted, o’erweening desires within. BE GONE!**
Suddenly, he is falling. His wings will not respond; he tumbles helplessly. The last thing he hears is the Creator’s voice, rife with sorrow, inside his head.
**Thou hast chosen rashly, Singer. I forgive thee Traitor thou seemed, but ne’er in thine heart. Thou shalt not change, and in thy purity, remember the love I bear thee. Thou shalt eternally serve as reminder to the others of what they have lost.**
And then he feels his bond with the host, and the Creator, break, as he plummets through darkness.
“Lucifer! Thou hast ruined us!”
The scream tore Frank’s throat raw as he jolted upright; liquid sprayed from his mouth to spill down the front of his shirt. “Holy…what the…who?”
That last was directed at a man who’d been kneeling over him, trying to pour something into him as he’d broken from the dream. Now the man had tumbled back onto his backside, the bottle on the ground.
“What did you say?” the man demanded.
A fit of coughing grabbed Frank before he could answer; sparks exploded in his vision and he fell back again. His head was pounding, he was vaguely nauseous, and there was a metallic taste in his mouth that didn’t help matters.
What the hell was that crap he was trying to make me drink?
When the coughing stopped and he could catch his breath, the man repeated his question. “What did you say?” He gripped the front of Frank’s shirt, knuckles white.
“I…I don’t know.” He didn’t. He knew he’d shouted something, but now, for his life, he had no idea what. And the nausea grew so strong that he feared he would vomit if he said much more. “Gonna…puke.”
He tried to bat the stranger’s hand away so that he could roll over, but the man kept him pinned tight.
“Fight it. The antidote won’t help if you sick it up, and I don’t have the supplies to make more.”
Frank nodded, although his brain twitched at the mention of an antidote. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing: in through the nose, out through the mouth, a meditative technique to take his mind off his twisted stomach muscles as well as slow his heart rate.
As the diaphragmatic breathing began to take effect, he studied the man beside him. He was pale, although not in a sickly way; it was just a very fair complexion. His face was narrow, with sharp angles and a slight hook to his nose. Thick black hair swept back from his face, with white and grey wings at the temples, while an equally thick mustache obscured his upper lip. Intensely green eyes stared out from under heavy brows.
He was handsome in a refined way, as if born to the upper class.
Except that doesn’t happen anymore. There aren’t royal family lines that interbreed and create stunning lunatics these days. You can be born into a rich family but it doesn’t really give you a distinct look.
Although…the lunatic thing…he does look like he might be…less than stable?
Antidote? Antidote for what? Snakebite?
That got his heart pounding again. He managed to prop himself onto his elbows.
A cemetery. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but close enough that the gates were probably closed. How had they not gotten thrown out?
Why were they in a cemetery?
Why did this man look vaguely familiar?