Evocati Callidora is one of the most striking characters in the trilogy. Her height on par with Captain Maiel, she boasts moonlight eyes and silver hair. Of course, she is a member of the Moon Order. It is said that Callidora, Cal for short, is of the very essence of moonlight. Even her skin has a surreal glow.
Despite her striking appearance, or perhaps because of it, Cal still struggles with enough confidence to command the units for which she assists Maiel. The Captain has reminded her that she would not have her current position if it was not believed she would be able to command in her absence. Her captain’s reassuring words do little to cut through the doubt.
When Maiel flees to Earth, Cal is called upon to not only take over the command of their units, but also to do the bidding of the alders in an effort to recover her commander. This trial by fire reveals a great deal about Cal’s fortitude, while also revealing a surprising new connection both she and readers little suspect.
Cal carries a braid cut from Maiel’s red locks, as do the other members of her units. Each is awarded this trophy upon coming to her section of the order. The braid keeps them connected, much like a spell poppet. For this reason, Cal gives the braid she has to Gediel, hoping it will help him to locate her sooner, or, in the very least, keep him focused on their friend.
The Evocati views herself as Maiel’s younger sister, and is distraught at her parting. She hides her emotions relatively well, but it is clear that this change has unsettled her. Channeling the energy from these feelings into her work, she becomes the leader she feared she would never be. Symbolic of this is her relinquishing the braid for good to Gediel. She no longer needs to lean on the hope that Maiel will come and dig her out of the mess she’ll create from her mission orders. Cal is now certain that she will carry out her orders with competence and strength, and that those who follow her will be well guided. The fear of causing other legiona to be taken and possibly destroyed has become muted.
The experience that Cal has even before the close of the first book is respected by those she works with and serves, although she may not respect it herself. The alders would not have tapped her for the missions they order her to, nor would Gediel have involved her in his mission.
Cal’s personality is introverted. She is thoughtful and reflective, also kind and forgiving. These traits do not stop her from fighting the danava. The denizens of Jahannam have committed severe crimes for which they must be held accountable. Being an erela, she has clarity and understands the divide and the danger they pose to the many souls and duta she vowed to protect.
“Gediel found the barracks—fenced in by a thick wall of fir trees—that housed the garrison under the authority of the renowned flame-haired duta. The primus hesitated outside the marble entrance. Strawberry trees lined the walk and several of her soldiers lay about with no command. Edging toward the walk, he stopped and backed away. An imposing erela stomped down the white steps, wearing the uniform of her order, a pale-hued toga with the moon penannular securing it over her shoulder. Upon her hip was a blade. Her eyes flashed with silver lightning. She whipped her platinum head to and fro, disgusted by the display.
“Get about your duties!” the leader Callidora ordered. She grasped the thick mane of her hair, worked into a flawless tail at the back of her head.
The erela was Maiel’s second and as hard a taskmaster as her literally more colorful mistress. Callidora muttered under her breath about their laziness, cursing them and her commander. She loved Maiel, but the captain’s absence tried her patience. She smacked one of the engels with the flat of her sword to soothe her irritation.
Gediel held his breath as the soldiers disappeared inside. Callidora stepped down the walk, spying out any that might think to defy her. Her silver sandals sparkled, but made no sound. Her teeth were bared in a snarl. She sensed someone near, but looked uncertain as to who it was. She paused, sniffing the air. She was much like her commander in tactics. Gediel shut his eyes and cursed.
“You can come out, Wolf Leader,” Callidora muttered.
Gediel stepped from the shadows. The erela nodded and walked back toward the marble house. He followed, not speaking a word. She would ask him soon enough why he came, or perhaps she already knew.
Gediel’s eyes nervously shifted around the garden. He hadn’t been there in eons and it felt strange to pass that way once more, though not a thing had changed. Blue flowers dipped and swayed in the breeze. The lawn was manicured and the shrubs sculpted. They scuffed up the steps and came
to the door, both panels bearing the watchful moon symbol of their order; some souls called it an eye. The moment he felt his fight or flight instinct, he began to question the necessity of this interview.
“So what brings you to our halls?” Callidora asked.
Gediel smirked. Callidora was direct. She faced him just inside the door. Her stern gaze pierced through him, though she already knew what he wanted. Thus, Gediel held his tongue and considered the marble floor and ring of arches. Beyond, the surface dropped off into a circle of steps that ringed a blue marble floor several feet below. He slowly made his way into the amphitheater. It was eerily silent now. The stillness contrasted with the usual revelry which he had been party to in years past—the same explosive festivities that gained them the endearing nickname of Lunatics. A smile curled the corner of his lips as he remembered long ago. His eyes slipped up the high dome and back down. He could almost hear the beats thumping off the interior, the lights spinning round, and the sea of limbs undulating as they danced away worries and frustrations. It would be called “rave” in the Samsara sometime in the late twentieth century. Regardless of titles, very good times were had here and though it resembled the hedonistic parties of Rome and Greece, and those yet to come, they didn’t carry the same shades of intent. They just liked to dance and be close, sharing their secrets and displaying talents useless on a battlefield. This was how they survived the ugliness, the hardships, and the losses.
A niche on the western side accommodated a stage about a head taller than he. Gediel slowly stepped down the stairs with his eyes on it. He recalled the nights he’d watched members of the units break their vocal chords as they belted out their hearts to music that wouldn’t be heard by a soul for thousands of years. He pictured their expressive faces and heard the words filled with real feeling. The lights flashed around them. Their outlandish costumes were a part of the show they lived for. This is what the Order fought to protect. Home and each other. They were family.
Through the figures of his memory, he saw Zaajah and Maiel dancing together. Callidora had tried out a song she just wrote for the first time, still a youngling. She had one of the best voices among them. The duta lost themselves in the music, jumping and strutting as if the sounds pulled them like marionettes. It was the night he realized what he felt for their leader. He was younger then, though he looked not a single day older now. It showed in how he carried himself and what he would and wouldn’t say. He saw himself, arm around her waist as they danced, lost in the music as much as in each other. Stepping toward the image, it faded. If only he had known how to speak up then.
Gediel stood still, feeling the rhythm beat through his sattva. His throat burned with regret. Drawing a deep breath, he steadied himself. Callidora joined him on the floor.
“We’ve missed having you at our celebrations,” Callidora said.
“Youthful games. I’ve grown too old,” Gediel replied.
Callidora snorted doubtfully.
Gediel’s eyes locked on the stage. He remembered Maiel performing for her troops. Frivolous, he told himself. Gritting his teeth, he blinked away the memories. The room was charged up with so much energy it felt like he would drown in it. One residual string that threatened to drag him down forever.
“You used to have fun here,” Callidora rasped. “Whatever happened?” she dared to ask.
Gediel eyed her. She gave a wry smile and shook her head. Her duck white wings fluttered. Gediel cleared his throat.
“I see,” Callidora said, guarding her satisfaction. “You’ve come for something?”
Gediel remained silent. She walked up the steps on the other side of the amphitheater, hesitating when he didn’t follow. Gediel cast a last glance at his memories and followed her. It would be best that he left the room and its traces of the past behind.
Exiting into the garden through the north hall, they walked until they came to the indoor practice rooms. Callidora opened the door. This was where the captain and other officios usually trained. The hall was lined with silver mirrors on three sides and great glass arches on the outer wall. If he recalled correctly, there was a pool in the next room and one beyond the windows. He could see the water reflecting on the painted ceiling. Silver and blue marked every crevice that was not marble or ivory or alabaster white. A depiction of the full moon lay at the center of the floor and above. Gediel paced halfway across the room. The walking poles were still engaged. Someone had been practicing their balance before suddenly leaving and forgetting them. The cherrywood staffs suddenly disappeared. He heard Callidora muttering under her breath again about lazy inebriates. She definitely had her hands full while her commander was away. The Order of the Moon was full of highly intelligent duta who needed to keep busy with
routine. Those duteous ranks were laboring under a great despair that made them listless and sullen. He felt the blight whispering through the passages, making the air stale. Even Callidora seemed exhausted.
“She’ll be back soon, Cal,” Gediel assured her.
“You can’t guarantee that,” Callidora growled.
“You need to be ready,” he said, turning.
Their eyes locked and he saw hopelessness had eroded her resolve.
“What’ll you all do if she’s raised?” Gediel challenged her.
Callidora frowned at the floor and picked at her fingertips.
“You’re expected to lead them in her absence. This is how you thank her hard work? This isn’t what she trained you to do. You should be more than ready to face this by now,” Gediel said, snapping into the role of a commander.
Callidora continued to ignore him.
“Lunatics—that title was hard earned, but here you are, crying yourselves to sleep every night because your mistress has left you,” Gediel mocked her.
Callidora’s eyes rose, flashing with moonlight.
“Don’t tell me my place, Primus. I’ve earned it and I know it very well,” Callidora hissed.
“You’re a puppy if you think this is how you lead,” Gediel rasped. He stalked toward her. “You’ll be expected to lead her units against the danava horde. They won’t take pity on you because you are leaderless. It’s what they wanted. She trained you to lead them with or without her.”
Callidora glared at him.
“Find what you’ve come for quickly. You don’t belong here. You may order the younglings of Fenrir as you please, but I’m no youngling and you’re in my house,” Callidora said.
The Moon leader spun out of the room, leaving him alone to inspect their quarters. The door shut him in and he fell against the wall, crushed by the energy he found there without the leader to hold it back. The buckles and findings of his coat scratched the glassy surface of the mirror. Gediel focused on why he had come and pushed back the impressions its inhabitants left. This was no time to lose his resolve like a schoolboy breaking into his teacher’s office. Besides, Callidora had brought him there. She knew what he was after and gave him the key. He chased her out to save her being reprimanded by the praefect for doing so.” – An excerpt from The Trailokya Trilogy, Book One: The Shadow Soul.