♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Interview a character from your book. Why did you choose this character?
Today on the blog I’ll be interviewing Captain Maiel, of Eden, Zion. She’s a commander of a military unit under the designation Moon Order. Her commanding presence, reaching just over seven feet in height is disarming, along with those eyes of lurid blue and brilliant red hair. This doesn’t even mention the wings! Today she is dressed in the plainclothes uniform of her order, a subtle toga-styled gown in cream with the order penannular (that’s a brooch of sorts, fitted with nano-tech that houses her active duty uniform—that uniform is very Greco-Roman in design—see the figure on the left) fixed on her left shoulder. Ever at her side is Leader Argus, a wolf who serves the legions in her unit. Despite his formidable appearance, he is laying by the Captain’s chair as sweetly as a pup.
Good afternoon, Captain. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today.
Thank you for having me. (She replies in a tone that evokes the power behind her command and absolute confidence. Her eyes seem to glow as I’m weighed and measured.)
Well, let’s get right in it then. Now that you’re back from what many are calling a crisis of conscience, how do you view your contribution to Zion’s armies and how your life has been so far?
My contributions are on record, and I have been ordered a penance for my disobedience to rank by General Mikhael himself. One must also consider that I was able to return a fallen member of my order, something that was not accomplished in the two-thousand years he roamed Earth. I’d have expected a contingent to be deployed to Samsara sooner—(she exhales, amused, if not somewhat abashed by her strong feelings on that matter). My life is getting back on track and any doubts I once harbored in my commanders or the king are all resolved.
She nods, with a knowing smirk. I’m digging into private and military affairs that are rather wrapped up in government secrecy.
Let’s move on. Rumor has it that your husband, who is a human, entities who frequent the Samsaran realm on Earth (where I live), may be fighting a burning down? Is that true?
I would not be too hasty with a rumor mill. Dominic has paid dearly for the rumors swirling around us. It should also be noted that there is prejudice toward the mixing of races and many view humans as clever apes. Because of this, he has struggled for many years, but is achieving his rising.
Indeed, Captain. I’m glad to help you clear the air about that. Speaking of air—I see you have a new companion.
Oh, yes, this is Pallus, he was given to me by one of the cloister Powers. He’s been trained to assist my unit with reconnaissance and intelligence.
Wow, and I thought he was just a barn owl. Does he speak, too? Like your friend Argus, here?
Pallus is barely hatched, she muses, stroking his feathers. He’s still learning communications with other species, but he does all right. You may not recognize how he talks, per se. Whereas Argus has learned speech and transmits it telepathically, Pallus is still working in images.
Only if you have a cookie to offer. She scoffs, playful. Relieving my tension. He’s quite sensitive to touch because of his feathers and it can be unsettling for him. Moving the owlet down her arm, the Captain presents her companion. If you scratch him lightly, just here, he will warm to you.
I gently press my fingers into the thick feathers of the bulb of his head, and give a little scratch. The bird yawns, tilting his head aside, and seems to appreciate the touch. As I pull my fingers back they tingle with the energy these Zionites give off.
Amazing. What is that feeling?
Atman. His energy or being.
I’m sorry? Can you explain that a bit more.
Atman is the true state of all life. It’s energy rather than matter, although matter is energy.
But you have form.
Yes, we all do, to the perception of others. It is our perception that forges the reality in which we live. For instance, in your realm, you must wear these bodies—skin suits, my son calls them. They’re a phenomenal bio interface machine that allows you to utilize this plane to discover the very depths of your atman and rise into greater states of being.
Rise? Do you mean grow? Are we changing into things? My body isn’t real?
Oh, your body is real, to this plane of existence, at least. However, it’s just a machine your consciousness directly or indirectly attaches to for a short time as you run exercises. We’re all changing, all the time. Just as now you’re becoming more aware of things that are, expanding your perception.
I stare for the longest time, thinking she’s mad, but I can see her wings and the size of her. She’s not of my world. That much is obvious. She’s something that gave rise to the myths of heaven and hell in our world. Our ancestors knew of them, and wrote of them and I swear if I touched her my hand would pass through her flesh, but she’s so solid looking at the same time. Then, a dark shape scurries behind the Captain’s chair. My heart races. The wolf at her side rises, a growl low in his throat. She touches his haunch and he sits, keeping a close eye on the same corner I saw that thing retreat to.
What the hell was that?
That is an imp. A little bit of trouble. Nothing to worry over. I will clear him when we’re done.
An imp? (I see it again and gasp). What the hell?
They’re around you all the time. They’re formed from your energy, dark energies that bog you down. Like a poison gas it seeps through the world. At first they’re simply annoying. A lamp falls over as it bumps a table trying to hide from the Captain it has now spotted. It seems terrorized by her mere presence, something I can relate to. He’ll make you spill your coffee, or trip you in the hall to embarrass you in front of a young man you’ve grown a fancy to. But, given time, they grow, feeding off your hate and distress. They can become a haunting, moving things about the rooms, giving you nightmares, attacking you.
I’ve woken up recently with scratches on the back of my shoulder. I’ve had bruises before—are you telling me—
Yes, you probably have grown a rather large one. Have you lived here long? You could have also inherited one from a former tenant. If you don’t have a cat, that is.
Footsteps creep on the stairs. It’s too timely but I’m already startled. I don’t own a cat, no. The apartment is old. So many thoughts racing.
I will take care of it, she assures me.
So then, Zion isn’t the only world that has access to ours?
She raises her eyebrow at this, as if I have not been paying attention in class the whole time.
These—these imps, you call them, are they from Jahannam?
No. They come from you, emanations of your bad energies. They can become marditavya if they grow great enough. Most just form small and make up herds as an atman regresses to the darkness. Then they become your servants.
I thought you said we were rising.
Many of you are. Many of you are falling. There are shadows here too. Darkness is always on the edge, willing you to do bad, to regress and find your destiny with Jahannam.
Is there nothing that can stop it?
You are guarded, but ultimately it is your decision if you will rise or fall.
My heightened state of panic is not eased as creeping and noises start to prick my ears from around the house. It was just me and the Captain at this interview when we started and now I have a sense that so many more are present.
I fear asking you to embellish.
Each soul, that is your kind, animal kind and so on, is guarded by a legiona who is tasked with ushering you toward your rising. Everything you do in this life is meant to direct you toward that end, but sometimes, there is a crack—a fissure—in the crystal that distracts the will and puts more focus on the darker aspirations. Some souls desire the dark, and must find their rising by first falling.
I feel like I’m finally calming down, focused on what she has said when a metal pan falls in the kitchen, clanging across the floor as though the witch had just struck the tinman down. No, Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore. My heart thrums as I wait for something to emerge from the swinging kitchen door. Then I see a hulking winged brute near my chair. Leaping to my feet, I regard him with wild eyes.
Your guardian, my interviewee tells me.
I suppose I should find comfort in that he isn’t a demon.
Indeed, but now that you know the truth—the shades will seek you. Keep the secret from those who would do you harm. Your discernment will be your guide. The dark is forever at your door step, biding the time you leave your soul unlocked and it will snatch you away. But share this gift with those who must know. They must be warned.
The captain hands me what looks like a small penannular with a triangle and eye on it.
You’re one of us now.
I accept the gift and close out the interview. The winged pair clear the room of the intruders and the light seems to lift, as if a curtain had partially been drawn over the windows at their arrival. I look to see Argus staring up at me. He seems amused by my duress, but gives my leg a nuzzle before trotting off to his commanders call.
Learning the truth about our world—our worlds—nothing will ever be the same…
Click on over to Traci Wooden-Carlisle’s blog to see which character she has to share.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Mrs. Wooden-Carlisle desired to be a poet and novelist at the age of 11. Today, Mrs. Wooden Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, serving as a church Office Manager, teaches fitness classes, celebrates her faith through dance, and is currently writing her third book in the Christian-fiction series, Promises to Zion. Check out her other books here.