Seraphim – 9

A willowy slip of a man stood behind me.  His face broke out in a wide grin showing all his sharp straight teeth and a touch of color painted across his cheeks.  Upon seeing my own face, his blush deepened and he dragged long slender fingers through his blonde hair.

Blonde hair?

I stared at him for a moment taking in his features – a mirror of my own – and two splendid white feathery wings perched along his shoulder blades.  Blood did not lie and neither did the racial characteristics of this man.  No horns…

“Agathodaemon.”  I said, every muscle wound taut and ready just in case.

“Relax there Captain,” the man raised his hands in the air showing his lack of weapons but I wasn’t fooled, “the name’s Ely.  I mean you no harm.”

“Why would an Agathodaemon be in this camp?”  My good wings fluttered while the wrapped nub tried and failed.

“And why not?”  Ely spread his wings gesturing to the entire camp around me.  “We are all part of the same philosophy.  None of us want to be a part of this pointless war.  Do you even remember why the fight started?  When?”

His question caught me off guard.  I knew why I was fighting but no one – not even the higher-ups in the Agathodaemon Army – could answer those questions when asked.  It was ingrained into our minds to NEVER ask those questions.

“I see.”  Ely folded his wings against his back.  “You don’t know either, Captain-”

“Malachai Lu”Umar.”  I interjected.  “Malachai will do.”

“With all due respect, Captain, you are an Avant-garde in the Agatho-”

“Not anymore.”  I cut in for a second time.

Ely’s face fell, his words silenced.  For a few moments we both stood feeling awkward.  Then his smile lit his face once again.

“I bet you are looking for Captain Kel.”

How did he know?

Before I could ask though, Ely grabbed my hand.  I almost fell back from the informality displayed  but the pain in my severed Flight Wing reminded me that I was in no condition to start a potential antagonist confrontation with this man.  He might only sport two wings but at this moment, he was well and at full strength.  Which spoke much to my own condition.

“Come, I will take you to him.”  Then he dragged me off in the complete opposite direction I had been traveling in.

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Seraphim – 8

Sunlight warmed my back, a first since the incident and I welcomed it.

Reveled in its giving light.

But with the freedom from the tent came the bombardment of new sights and smells.  Tents huddled in a certain abstract order that hurt my brain attempting to figure out.  The smells of normal campsite were coupled with the exotic mingling of both Kakodaemon and Agathodaemon.  As I passed a large pasture, I noticed both species locked in what appeared to be friendly sparring.  Some even laughed and slapped hands with one another.

My ears twitched, my nose wrinkled and I shivered.

How could they frolic so easily?  Didn’t they know they were enemies?  Could it be that there was a capability to actually endure being around someone you are sworn to kill on sight?

Yet they didn’t kill me.  I was more an enemy than they being from the outside world.

But as I did pass, some cowered and walked away from me.  I did my best to ignore them and the feeling of wanting to be as accepted as they did to one another.  A foreign prickling raced along my blood, coating it with adrenaline and longing.  A pin-prick of aching for the same brotherhood  curled itself along my heart threatening to blossom into a spark.

A spark I feared.

More tents rose skyward yet hidden expertly by the thick evergreens and, no doubt, any wandering Agathodaemon patrolling the area.  By both design and placement I could tell that each and every creature dwelling in this camp had come from a background steeped in military training and prowess.

Each tent also looked identical.  Color drained from my face.  How would I find Kel’s tent if I didn’t  know the foggiest of where it would be or what it looked like?  In an Agathodaemon’s campsite we tended to keep our generals and important persons more toward the middle clustered around tents and soldiers that would give their lives to their leaders.

Was it the same here?

Staring at each tree and tent as I walked pass, I frowned.  Where the hell was the center of the camp?  There was no definite sign of going deeper into the camp nor could I figure out where the medical tent was should I give up and go back to recover.

“Well I’m just going to have to make circles until I find someone willing to speak long enough to offer directions.”  Assuming they did not cast me off as an enemy and attack me.

“You look lost.”  A smooth, tenor voice spoke from behind.  The lilt within the tone crossed between wry sarcasm and friendly humour.

Friend or foe…

Taking a deep breath, forcing the lump passed my throat, I turned around readying to face whatever greeted me.

Seraphim – 7

Recovering felt anything but easy.  Even after I was able to sit up by myself I still couldn’t make any reckless movements for fear of tearing the stump on my shoulder.  But with the restless days I felt the strength renew in my veins.

But as the days turned to weeks, so did the want to move around bite at me.  Only after I experienced the eighth day of the sunlight on my back, did I decide to take matters into my own hand.  Standing up, I found my pants folded neatly along the foot of the bed.

Kel had told me that he wanted to see me after I was well.  Turning, I stared at the table where Doctor Ylanna used to work for the long hours of the night.  She would be back in an hour or two.

“I’m sorry, Miss.”  I spoke to the empty chair.  “I need to find out more of this place.”

Buckling my sword onto my hip, I reached over and opened the tent flap.

Seraphim – 6

“Elias!”

Hands pinned either side of my shoulders, sticking me against the ground.  Capturing me, immobilizing me.  Knife seared against bone causing the screams to flee from my lips.  Why?  Why did you do this…

I struggled.  Fought.  Ripped at the air in desperation.  Anything to get free.

“Calm down!  Captain!  Calm!”

Lights flashed, banishing the darkness from my vision.  Elias’ face fades into the fragments of my troubled mine.  Bringing into the light of the face of a troubled blonde woman.

Ylanna glanced down at me with concern; her hands pinning mine but not to hurt me.  A bolt of pain lanced down my back as I felt my protesting muscles fight against my own struggles.

“Wh-what happened?”  I finally managed a breath.

“You were having a nightmare.  Screaming and writhing.”  Ylanna shook her head.  “I was afraid you would undo all the stitches and hurt yourself more.”

“I-” I took in a deep gulp of air in the attempts to calm my rapid heartbeat.  “I’m fine now.”

Just as her face calms, the door bursts open and I jump.

“Is Mister okay?”  Sariah’s voice called from behind  Ylanna.

Whirling around, Ylanna snatches up her daughter and rocks her against her hip.  “He’s fine just had a bad dream.  Remember when you have bad dreams.”

“Uh-huh.”  Sariah giggled then flashed me her most brilliant smile.  “Don’t worry, Mommy will protect you from the bad men.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her innocence.  That her Mommy was such a hero as to chase all the evil from that little girl’s world.  Hell, the woman probably did.

Ylanna kissed her daughter on the cheek then set her down, nudging her  back gently.  “Why don’t you go outside and play.”

“Okay!”  And Sariah bounded off just like that without a second word or glance.

“Still don’t trust me yet around her.”  I grinned.  Could I really blame her?  Her child was a half-breed, sired by a Kakodaemon.

“I don’t trust any of my kind nor other Kakodaemon I do not know.”  She shifted her hip against her desk, folding her arms over her chest.  “In this war, you never know who is friend or foe.”

She couldn’t be closer to the truth.

Still my smile held fixed in place.  “Now that we’re alone again… do you mind enlightening me to this type of facility?”  Staring up at the cloth high vaulted ceiling of the tent, I recognized it as a nomadic tent designed for quick set up and take down.  Common among scouting groups in both armies.

“You won’t get much out of me.  All you’ll get is that this is a sanctuary for those weary from this obscene war.”  She placed her hand on the desk.  “We’re here to protect.”

“Why hide – ”

“Rest Captain.  Soon you’ll know everything.  Captain Kel will inform you more than I.”  A smile finally reached her lips.  “All you need is to rest and heal.”

Winter Soul Revised!

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It took me 5 months – even a hospitalization – but I have finally finished revising my complete novel Winter Soul which is book one of the Death Walkers I blog about in the neutralplains.wordpress.com.  I started the revision back in November 2012 and finished it in late March 2013.  And I must say I have never felt so much more sure and happy for this novel.

This is the BEST novel I’ve written up to date.  And my skills as a writer will only improve with each passing novel I pen.

I have also given it back to the agent who first requested the R&R (Revise & Resubmit) so now I just wait.  And even if I am rejected in the end it will only serve for me to push forward.  I KNOW that this book and its series needs to be shared!

Seraphim – 4

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Her smile brightened; casting a jealous shadow over the sunlight.  A small giggle left her throat and she bounded toward where I lay.  The doctor’s hands pressed against the little girl’s shoulders keeping her from moving a foot closer.  Those suspicious eyes never left, yet when it came to the girl, they mixed with worry.

“Mommy.”  Blonde curls bounced in the air as she craned her head up toward her mother.

“I will not hurt the girl.”  Seriously, what did they think I was?  Then again, knowing what my people are capable of; what they have done even to our own kind, I did not blame the woman in the slightest.  Still, it was eerie to think, that this little girl had to have some type of Kakodaemon blood in her.

“How is our guest?”

Another shadow blocked the remaining light from the doorway.  Then the room bathed the newcomer in the candlelight.  Breath paused, and I could hear my heart skip in my chest.  Kakodaemon.  Another.  This one taller than the current man in the room but only by a few inches, and not as intimidating as the first.  Just like all the rest of his kind, this man stood made of sex and sin.  Yet, twin horns spiraled up unlike the ram horns of the other Kakodaemon.  Still, just like the little girl being held back by the doctor.

Blonde hair.  Spiraled horns.  Wings.  My eyes slid from the doctor to the new Kakodaemon, then to the little girl.  It made sense.  She was their daughter.

“I didn’t know that one of us could ever create children with a Kakodaemon.”  Even as it came out, I could hear the slight disgust hinted in my voice.  Maybe more than I had intended.  It just wasn’t done.  Every training I previously had, even the very life I was taught since birth, all pointed toward this little girl as being an abomination.

But she’s a little girl.  A child.  Just like the ones you saved.

The ones my men died for.  Bitter betrayal flooded my mouth in a corrosive bile that did not stop.  Turning my head I threw up the remaining contents of a tasteless meal I couldn’t even remember having.

A cold hand pressed against my forehead, another rubbed my back until I spilled the rest onto the ground.  No one kicked me, nor scolded me for messing up the floor.  The doctor stroked my back, concern etched on her soft facial features.  Between episodes I tried desperate to apologize for such an indecency but all that came out were gurgles and incoherent babble.

“Shhh…”  She soothed, pulling loose strands of my hair back from my face.  “You can’t help how you are feeling.”

How could this be?  In all my life, I never knew an Agathodaemon woman to be so kind.  So loving.  Not even to her own child.  They were accessories to power.  Good solely for climbing the social ladder.  I’m sure even the children I sired where nothing to the mothers who paid for them.  Yet, this woman, was different.

“Thank you, sweet lady.”  Though no words came out, just a series of sputtering and coughing.

“Don’t fight it.”  Ylanna pressed a cool hand along my damp forehead.  “Your body will take a few days to recover.”

“How bad?”  That came out clear despite the growl.

I couldn’t see her frown but I felt it.  Her body stiffened slight.  If not for my intense training within the ranks of the military, I probably would not have noticed, but her actions deafened my senses.  She didn’t have to tell me in great detail what she tried so hard to put off.  I could feel it.  Though muscles from my wing still moved, the cool air rubbed only against bone and bandages.

“We couldn’t save your third wing.”  My right shoulder twitched feeling the fragmented muscles.

For an Agathodaemon, losing one of the Flight Wings – wings that grew from the shoulder – felt like being clipped and flightless.  True my Glide Wing below it would serve the same purpose, it had no choice now; I couldn’t stop the useless feeling washing over me.  Without all four of my wings, I was undone.  Growling, I bit my lip to keep from a full snarl.  Broken.  Without.

Another small hand fell on my shoulder, pulling me from my reverie.  Innocent blue eyes coaxed a smile from my cracked lips.  Somehow, the bizarre arrangement of horns and blonde fluff gave the little girl a charm all her own.  I couldn’t hate her, nor feel despised by her own creation.  No she was indeed a beautiful child.

“Sariah, give the man room.”  Ylanna tried to situated her body between the girl and my reach.

“Sariah is it?”  The girl nodded, strong emotions of joy radiated from such a broad smile.  Heartstrings tugged and for the first time in years, I wondered what my children looked like.  Not that I could ever find out.  I shook that idea off.  Never again would I be able to set foot into Elysian without a few wing tips through my back.

“Such a beautiful name.”  My own smile widened.  “For such a beautiful young lady.”  Odd how two assuming enemies could come together.  My heart ached remembering the children who caused my own downfall.  It wasn’t their fault for living.  If anything I still did not regret saving them.  Not even if they were Kakodaemon.  No.  If still placed along my path again, I would repeat my act.

Ylanna grabbed her daughter’s hand, pulling from me once more.  She then looked up at the man who had to obviously be her mate.  Then back to the other man who only now just pushed himself off from the wall.  “For now, he is clear but he needs much rest.  Kel, I leave him in your hands.  Don’t hurt my patient.”

With that, the three of them were gone leaving me in the hands of this man with such large, ram horns.  A man who, for some reason, I felt like I knew from a lifetime that seemed long forgotten.

Seraphim – 2

Fires crackled around drawing the darkness back to light.  A pounding rang in my head and, groaning, I managed to open my eyes.  Just slits.

“So you are awake.”

“Elias?”  The corners of my lips pulled into a smile.  But how was he here?  Did I leave him by the trenches?  Still, none of that matter now.  We needed to get back.

Dragging my arms behind me, I pushed up against the rocky ground.  Then stopped.  Alarm touched the corners of my fogged mind.  Something was holding me down.  I pulled against it and bit down a scream feeling my broken wing tear by the remnants of its ligaments.  Turning my head to the left, I stared, trying to focus on what kept it from coming off the ground.

A boot?  I followed the trail upward.  A leg.  A hip.  Elias.

“What are you doing, Elias?  Get off me.”  I cleared my throat and tried once more to sit up.

A knee came down on my chest as another Agathodaemon came into the picture.  My blood in my veins froze.  What was happening?  Why was that man here?  Five wings surrounded me, caging me within a feathery dungeon of daggers.  Fuzzy as my mind was, I knew that something was off.

“You shouldn’t have saved them, Captain.”  Elias shook his head, pressing his foot down against my feeble wing.  “I cannot save you.”

Realization came too late.  Pupils dilated and I thrashed.  Fingers grabbed at anything, everything, fighting to get away from those I once considered friends.  But they held firm.  Steel glinted from the dying firelight then plunged toward me.  My heart dropped in my chest.  There was nothing I could do.  Nothing to stop that dagger.  It buried deep into my wing.  Fresh pain painted across my eyes in a blaze of black dots.  I couldn’t scream for there was no voice to use.  Paralysis overtook my body.  The pain threshold had been broken, yet still I could feel their tugging and ripping.

“No…”  The bone popped from its socket and more blood gurgled up from somewhere deep inside.

Then they were gone to leave me here to fend or die.  Though the vultures and Kakodaemon would get me first.  Bloody scavengers.  Still, now I felt a pain far worse than the injury that allowed my lifeblood to pour from me.  And all I could do, all I did, was weep, praying for this darkness descending to take me away once and evermore.