I challenged my support team to select a page number between 1 and 460, and I would post an excerpt from each book, as we draw closer to the release of the sequel. That’s not as easy as it sounds. A lot context is removed when just posting excerpts and the impact of the scene can be lost on the reader, and actually hurt the author’s chance of being read.
What I like about the selection below is how it shows the vast difference between these volumes that are so deeply twined. In one section, you are behind the walls of Zion, in Gyuto Order, and the next, you’re in New York City, c. 1995. The contrast is jarring but intriguing. How did we get this far? You’ll just have to read the books to find out.
This is just a taste of what you can expect in the series.
“Wake him. Tell him Gediel has come to use the ways. I have an important question that needs answering,” Gediel said.
The boy regarded him a moment. He was hesitant to wake his commander, and for good reason. Their teachings demanded complete compliance and order. To break that practice could bring more difficult lessons to assure the younglings didn’t stray again. It sounded cruel, but their specialty was utilizing the Astral and that realm was unforgiving to minds that didn’t practice rigid control and focus. The slightest lack of discipline could lead to
torments worse than Jahannam had to offer. So the boy would be punished, regardless of the reason for interrupting meditation.
Chiron barked, making the youngling jump. Gediel watched him hold up his hand to beg the wolf to be quiet. Chiron’s bark could wake every single Gyuto and make his day the worst he’d ever have. The youngling nodded at Gediel, agreeing to disturb his commander. He turned to his
friend and ordered him back to guarding the entrance to their shrine. He gestured for the visitors to follow him. Gediel didn’t hesitate. It wasn’t as though Shen would beat the boy. He’d simply be given hard tasks to teach
Gediel followed closely. Beyond the white wall of the Gyuto city was a network of homes and gardens on meandering paths. White screens and wood beams, cherry trees and tall ferns. The scooped roofs with their terracotta tiles were some of the most ornate in all of Arcadia. The architecture was both unique and pleasing to the eye. The commander’s compound was toward the center. There they found a cherry tree in full blossom. On a bench beneath the pink flowers sat the praefect. Shen’s eyes were shut, but Gediel knew he saw more than he let on. He waited for the commander to acknowledge him, his eyes drawn to a pair of doves cuddling in the crook of a branch in the cherry tree. Their coos were the only sound in the entire compound.
Shen sat quietly as the sun rose behind them. His long black hair lifted in a delicate breeze. A cascade of flowers fell from the branches, tousling the feathers of the doves and making them twitch.
“Why have you come?” Shen asked, still in meditation.
“To use your gate,” Gediel replied, his eyes slipping from the birds to the praefect.
“You’re late,” Shen said, opening his black eyes.
The engel stared blankly at Gediel, but then smiled. Fine whiskers framed his mouth. He smoothed his beard, tugging on the long part at his chin.
“I was just about to close the gate,” Shen said.
“How long can we have?”
“It’s got two bedrooms, two baths—eat-in kitchen and living room. It’s a little on the small side, but after living in the dorms, you’ll probably think it’s a palace,” the super said, opening the door to the apartment.
The super was a woman well into her sixties and four-foot-eleven, by the name of Mrs. Vickery. She reminded her of a baker, or perhaps a grandmother; a happy woman who lived on her own in the middle of one of the most exciting cities in the world, but belonged in the country. She had been married, but her husband died of cancer, something to do with the Vietnam War. The flashes filled Holly’s mind. Their roots had much in common and it gave Holly hope the city would work out for her, too.
“This is a quiet street, so you’ll have plenty of peace to do your studying. There’s a church just down the way. Sometimes the bells get loud on Sundays,” Mrs. Vickery smiled. She ushered them inside, “Come in. Come in.”
Holly and Rani stepped into the entry way, crowded by their unseen entourage. Reyes had added to their numbers with an interesting mix of personalities that he picked up, a couple from that very building, a pair of women who lived there decades apart. Holly hoped this apartment would have enough room for all of them, as the dorm had become stifling, overwhelming her brain with the emotions and memories of each. She felt bad that they were forced to occupy the rest of the suite under the distrustful watch of the other guardians until they could see the place. They assured her everything would be fine in a few days when they would occupy their intended haunt.
That was Reyes’s idea. After living in the dorm for a few months since his death, he was familiar with the behavior of his kind. The apartment building would have at least a dozen ethereal bodies whisking through walls and up and down flights of stairs. Reyes got chummy with them all, but it left Holly a little unnerved. Even vetted by Zaajah, they were still ghosts, atman without bio appliances and questionable clearance for Zion.
I certainly hope that has whet your appetite. Make sure you subscribe to get these updates and more from my blog straight to your email. Just drop your addy in the box on the upper right. That’s it. I never share that list with anyone. I’m a dragon like that.