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100th Post: A Sneak Peek at “W”

November 13, 2010

Somehow, I’ve written one hundred posts.  That may not seem like much to some people, but it seems like a fairly big milestone to me. Therefore, to mark this special occasion, I am going to lift the veil of secrecy that’s been shrouding my novel-in-progress, which for the last ninety-nine posts has been code-named “Project W.”

But before I do that: I want to thank all of you. You all are the reason I have made it this far, and I have to say a heartfelt “Thank you” to everyone who has read and commented on this blog, offered their support and advice, and returned time after time.

You’re probably waiting for the story, right? Well, I had to comb through the MS to find a fairly short, self-contained scene, but I finally came up with something. There may well be bugs, but I hope you enjoy it.

Sneak Peek Begins Here

“Project W” has been my code-name  for my novel “World About to Fall.” It’s a fantasy set in a universe on the brink of apocalypse. A single Word created the world, but now that world is ending.

Brother Gaelin of the Ecclesiat has devoted his life to Ael and the Angel, but feels his faith slipping as the Last Day approaches and a new Throne begins her despotic reign. Meanwhile, mage Davi Sanders turns against his fellow magi by helping a renegade Magically Created Being escape dismantlement. For the first time in centuries, the paths of monks and magi must cross in order to prevent the Apocalypse. But to find the Word that will create the world anew, they must put their trust in the Angel’s greatest enemy… the Beast.

Earlier in the novel, we were introduced to the god Ael, who became the Angel, and also became the Beast, while still remaining Ael. Now, my main villain, Alesta, pays a night-time visit to the Angel’s sepulchre.

*****

Blackness cloaked the cathedral. All was silent. Hardly surprising considering the hour; even the most devoted monks were in the dorters, deep in sleep.

            Save one.

            The door between cathedral and cloisters creaked. Alesta froze, listening for approaching footsteps. No one came; the nave was empty. Clutching her lamp, she crept towards the back of the chancel. There, she pulled on her gloves and eased the door open. No telltale creak this time; these hinges were always well-oiled. Another glance backward at the cathedral’s vast darkness, and she disappeared down the corridor.

            Upon reaching the inner sanctuary, she ignored the High Altar. She set her lamp down and tugged at the trapdoor. It swung upwards, revealing a shadowy square in the white marble floor. Rough steps descended to oblivion. Without hesitation, Alesta retrieved her lamp and went down. Claustrophobia threatened to overwhelm her, but she gritted her teeth and continued. She would not let petty fears keep her from her Angel.

            At the bottom of the stairs, passages went off in three directions. She chose the centre one. It narrowed as she progressed, and her heart began to race. A musty scent thickened the air, and for a moment, she could not breathe. She waited until the feeling passed, and then, closing her eyes, she placed a hand on the hewn stone wall. Her fingertips could guide her. In any case, there was little to see. No carvings or paintings adorned the crypts. The dead had little use for such things.

            She reached another door, massive and unmarked. Ebony wood contrasted with the grey stone of the catacombs. Few ever saw it. Fewer still passed through it. Alesta did so with a prayer to the Angel.

            After all, it was His sepulchre.

            Light from her lamp skittered off the gold of the interior; floor, walls, and ceiling were all gilded. Another statue of the Angel dominated the chamber; this one was carved of some white stone that was not marble, nor crystal, nor any stone ever found in the ground. It stood larger than Alesta, shadows streamed behind it to cover the rear wall.

            All was perfectly silent. All was perfectly still.

            Alesta collapsed before the Angel. She cleared her mind, her thoughts faded to an expectant void. This was where the Angel truly lived. When He was ready, He would come.

            In the depths of her mind, she felt something stir.

            Angelis Rex! Alesta cried without sound. O, my Angel King!

             An alien mind grazed hers. Curiosity without joy; a clinical questioning that challenged her presence here.

            Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. I am frightened, Angel King. I feel the people’s faith dissolving, and I try to guide them back to You, but-

The otherness turned sibilant, beguiling. Alesta’s eyelids drooped. Events were following some plan of His, she sensed that much, but… “I don’t understand.”

The Angel’s cold anger filled the chamber.

            Alesta’s spirit quailed. It was true. She had known it all along. They were impure, perpetually doomed to failure. Even her own monks; she had heard their discussions, their disregard for their vows of celibacy. Even she- but she would not think of that. She would atone for her great transgression. They were imperfect sinners, every one of them fallen from the grace of Ael.

            Hints of triumph. Quiet scorn as she thought the name Ael.

            “Angel?”

            He waited. Let her reason her way to the truth. “Ael is All,” she said hesitantly. “Pure and impure. If you are the stainless part of Ael… you must be greater than Ael.”

            Satisfaction replaced the anger.

            “Then if the people worship Ael, they also worship that part of Ael which is the Beast.”

            Assent.

            Horror suffused Alesta’s veins. Every time she had prayed to Ael, she had also offered prayer to the Beast? Her wicked, foolish flesh and spirit was more contaminated than she had believed.

 The Angel reached for her, and she felt parts of her spirit burn away under the scorching heat of His hand. She had no idea how long she lay there, on the floor of the Angel’s sepulchre. But at last, she lifted her head to the Angel’s statue.

I am your servant, Angelis Rex.

*****

-Arvik

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2 comments

  1. What a lovely sneak peek! Out of my usual genre, but that made it a nice change of pace.

    So glad that Michael suggested this to you in celebration of Post #100.

    Thanks for sharing Project W with us. 🙂


  2. Good stuff. Nothing is more intriguing to me than the way people can get their concepts of good and evil confused by religion. The concept puts all sorts of hooks into your readers, and we want to know how this character is going to come to terms with WHAT she has been worshipping, and how she will serve going forward. Keep going!



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