A sneak peek inside ‘Outcast Angels: The 13th Chronicle’:
If only someone else had been on farwatch that day. Then Sanctuary II would not have fallen, Yered would not have been taken and the Black Plague would not have returned to bring death and destruction to mankind.
But because the day’s long distance surveillance duty fell to Ravid, evil would triumph. And all because of a flash of light that should never have happened.
Ravid was supposed to be drifting silently in the blackness of space, in a high orbit around Mars, on alert for any Darke Warriors who might venture too close to the planet or its moons.
Instead, the most space-happy of the Outcast Angels, utterly bored after far too many hours floating alone in the void tilting at shadows, had summoned his ectoplasmic wings with an indulgent thought and was now skimming merrily across the edges of the Martian atmosphere.
Ravid loved space — and why not? The vast expanses of the universe itself had been his to roam and reshape. He assembled galaxies for aesthetic grandeur, breathed new life into red dwarf stars, orchestrated supernovas for maximum effect when viewed from the Kingdom. Ravid practiced his celestial arts for countless millennia, until his personal fall from grace just before the Great Rebellion. He should be out there still, not confined to this pipsqueak star system. If only …
Ravid discarded the wistful thought and concentrated on what he was doing. Planet-surfing could be hazardous … his wingtips were already glowing as he dipped a little too much into the Martian atmosphere. Go ahead and beat yourself up, Ravid told himself, it’ll take your mind off the smell of burning angel as you plummet towards Mars.
Ravid focused successfully on his joyride for a few minutes, until something else caught his attention — over his left shoulder, he caught a glimpse of a comet as it streaked past. Beautiful! Then Ravid’s heart sank. Did I just see Darke Warriors on board? He couldn’t quite see properly at this distance, especially through the comet’s glowing tail, but such a situation wouldn’t be that unusual. Both Outcast Angels and Darke Warriors often hitched a ride on asteroids or comets, traveling through the system without exerting too much personal energy.
More to the point, had the Darke Warriors spotted him? Ravid should have been just an invisible speck floating in space. Instead, here he was, wings glowing with aetherial energy, wingtips flaring with heat and light as Ravid soared through the red planet’s atmosphere, a giant beacon for any Darke Warrior looking his way.
Ravid had to make an instant decision: fly to the comet and go head to head against any Darke Warriors that might be on board; simply shut down his wings and risk tumbling towards Mars in a fireball, making himself even more visible; or make a run for it, heading back to Phobos immediately, hopefully before he could be spotted.
Ravid’s natural instinct was to go after the comet and take on the enemy. How many of them could fit on a comet that size? he found himself calculating. Three? Four? I could handle at least that many.
Then reality intruded. Even if I take them all out successfully, when they are reborn on Hades they’ll tell the other Darke Warriors where I am. Sanctuary II will be blown.
Ravid reluctantly made his only real choice. He adjusted his trajectory and hurtled towards the Martian moon, his headlong flight barely under control. Had he really been spotted? Would his indulgent mars-surfing mean disaster for the long-hidden second sanctuary of the Outcast Angels?
In the relatively clear space above Mars, there was nowhere to hide, no asteroids to seek shelter behind, no space-borne debris large enough to conceal either Ravid’s six-foot high frame or the wings that were propelling him at breakneck speed towards the nearest Martian moon, Phobos. Ravid’s only desperate hope was to make landfall before any Darke Warrior scouts saw him. Ravid increased his wing-speed to beyond terminal velocity and drove down, down, down.
Ravid was traveling — okay, falling — towards Phobos at 150 feet per second, and if his wings had been mere flesh and blood and bone they would have been completely useless in this airless environment.
Thankfully, however, the non-corporeal wings interacted not with air but with the underlying currents of what the classical Greeks had named aether — unseen energy streams that flow everywhere through the universe, providing both carriage and communications for spiritual beings.
Only the frantic last-minute beating of Ravid’s ectoplasmic wings against the aether currents, at more than a hundred wingbeats per second, slowed him enough that he could smash with merely bone-crunching impact into the rocky orange-washed surface of the tiny moonlet.
Smashed, bounced up and then quickly adjusted his wingbeats to avoid floating away from the moon with its negligible gravity.
Ravid half-leapt, half-flew across the rocky Phobos plain to the nearest hidden entrance to Sanctuary II, shouting a thought to Shamar, on sentry duty in the monolith tower.
“Break out the fancy dinnerware, Shamar, we may have company.”
Arriving at the entranceway, Ravid concentrated for a moment to dissolve the mighty wings that had propelled his furious flight. Only once the wings had disappeared could his six-foot-tall frame squeeze through the narrow opening.
Once inside, Ravid turned and looked back. No obvious sign of pursuit, just the glorious orange of the planet Mars dominating the horizon as far as even angelic eyes could see.
Ravid reached up and activated the hidden defenses that he had designed so very long ago for just this eventuality. If any Darke Warriors attempted to gain access through this doorway, they were in for an unpleasant surprise.
Hurakan and his four most-trusted (or, rather, least-distrusted) lieutenants were lurking in the asteroid belt when the message came through. The messenger, a timid little angel-turned-Darke-Warrior named Merloy, was extremely nervous about being the bearer of such tidings to Hurakan.
And who wouldn’t be? Hurakan was indeed an imposing figure, rumored to be one of the intimates of Lucifer himself. Hurakan, Lord of Storms, master of the elements — more than six foot tall, clad in form-fitting armor that bristled with spikes, a vicious curved scythe in one hand and a mighty scimitar in the other. And who could overlook the serpent that curled itself around Hurakan’s leg, as if poised to strike at the unwary?
Merloy gathered his courage and flew over to Hurakan, waited to be heard, tried to avoid staring at the wicked scar in the form of an inverted cross that cut deeply from Hurakan’s right eye all the way down to his cheekbone. Whoever had scored that lucky hit must surely have been ground into dust by way of retribution.
Hurakan looked up, scowled, signalled for Merloy to speak.
“Milord, I have just received word from one of our scouts patrolling near Mars. He is sure that he has just seen one of the outcasts.”
“How sure?” snarled Hurakan, little interested in pursuing yet another false lead. Hades knows, there had been enough of those in the thousands of years since the Darke Warriors had destroyed the outcasts’ first Sanctuary.
The unfortunate Merloy knew only too well what that tone of voice meant — and who would bear the brunt of Hurakan’s displeasure if the Lord of Storms decided that his time was being wasted. Merloy frowned in intense concentration, forwarding the query telepathically to the distant scout who had reported the contact.
A response arrived quickly.
“Lord Hurakan, the scout reports that he first saw a flash of light coming from an object high above Mars. When he flew closer to investigate, he swears he saw the feathered wings that the outcasts prefer. Before he could gather any more information, however, the figure headed off at an almost impossible speed and plunged towards one of the Martian moons.”
Merloy smirked as he passed on one final comment: “The scout doubts that the outcast would have survived the descent.”
Hurakan snorted. “That certainly sounds like Ravid. The fool always did take stupid risks.”
Hurakan stirred himself, manifested his dark, leathery wings and motioned to his four colleagues — maggot-ridden Ezeqeel, corpulent Chosek, slimy Dalkiel and the funereal Kasdaye. “This sounds like a possible lead to Sanctuary. Let’s go and see if we can finally find this rat-hole and stamp out some vermin, just as we did with their first hiding place. Signal the others to grab themselves some asteroids and let’s see if we can pound some sense into the outcasts.
“Then you four come with me. If the outcasts really are holed up on one of the Martian moons, I have a little surprise in store that will flush them out once and for all.”
One final word for Merloy: “Tell those scouts to keep snooping around Mars and the moons, see if they can spot any other signs of life. If we can identify exactly where those outcasts are, we can focus all our attention on one place rather than having to bombard them all.”
Hurakan paused. “You will tell the scout what to expect if this turns out to be nothing, won’t you?”
The messenger nodded nervously.
Outcast Angels: The 13th Chronicle by Michael Carney
What If … some of the angels who rebelled against God and were cast out for that rebellion simply refused to join Lucifer and his Darke Warriors in an ongoing war against Heaven?
What If … those Outcast Angels have been battling against Lucifer and his evil minions for thousands of years, under our very noses?
What If … one of those Outcast Angels, Ravid, once a mighty warrior within the Kingdom of Heaven before falling from grace, is all that stands between the human race and the return of the Black Death, more virulent and more deadly than ever?
Outcast Angels: The 13th Chronicle takes us on a thrilling journey from the moons of Mars to frozen Siberia, from war-torn Libya to Medieval Florence, from the Vatican to present-day New York and many other exotic destinations.
Don’t miss Outcast Angels: The 13th Chronicle by Michael Carney, coming soon.
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