Captain Joel is a legiona in the Sun Order. He is also the twin brother of Captain Maiel, Moon Order. These twins are quite close, as is their entire family. Joel’s personality largely differs from that of his sister. Where she is more serious, reflective, and measured, Joel is jovial, immediate, and a risk taker. It should not be taken away that he is sloppy in the execution of his duties, however. Joel is a very skilled leader and legion member.
Joel attained his leadership post ahead of his sister, not because of her lack of skill, but because of the availability of the opening at the time, as well as his desire. Though Maiel enjoys her service to Zion, she joined after her brother, and was content to remain in whatever rank she occupied at any given time. In her mind, that was a form of loyalty and display of skill that rising through the ranks ignored. This shows her nature better than anything (reflection and measure).
The Sun Order captain is the last of the three children born to Alder Alexandrael and her husband Gragrafel. The order of their birth is disputed only by him. Joel treats this topic as a joke by which he can tease his sister. Joking is not relegated to just his sister. He heckles his elder brother Zacharius and gives no quarter to the legiona in his platoon. Their affection for him is displayed in fierce loyalty and a rigorous carrying out of orders.
In appearance, Joel resembles his order’s symbol. He has warm tanned skin and blond hair with eyes like the sky. His features are those of his father before the duta rose to the station of principality. His sister and brother resemble their mother. Not quite as tall as his elder brother, Joel still boasts an intimidating figure. Great gold wings complete his mosaic.
Through Joel, Maiel met her husband Dominic. At the time their ketu was recognized, Joel was Dominic’s commander. His platoons are quite welcoming to the souls who wish to serve the legions. Many duta do not feel this is appropriate, as souls are a far greater risk in the face of war with Jahannam. To them, they have not yet risen enough to withstand the temptations of the mudeaters. Joel views this as an opportunity to aid them in gaining that strength, while proving themselves to those who would hold them back. Still, he does not take it easy on these recruits. They are expected to perform at required levels or be dismissed. Dominic chose to leave the order when his first child was born, concerned to make the boy an orphan like he was.
Joel’s service to Zion has kept him from building a family like his sister, showing that the twins differ in priorities yet again. Correspondingly, these priorities are at the root of the differences in their service records. However, he does have a ketu. Joel’s wife is Corabael, a duta muse. The pair enjoy their nieces and nephews until the time comes for them to have children of their own. The match is far newer than the one his sister enjoys.
Corabael is a lovely erela, also golden like her ketu but of a more tawny hue. She has a sunny and kind demeanor that is much gentler than her husband’s. If Joel had a weakness, Corabael would be it. Thankfully, she has not yet been called out of Zion to do her work. The dregs of Jahannam will have to content themselves with pestering him other ways.
Like his sister, Joel has earned himself a name in Jahannam, and is thus marked.
An excerpt from The Trailokya Trilogy, Book One: The Shadow Soul:
“Wake her,” Zach insisted.
“I don’t dare, not with how she showed up,” Dominic said, crossing his arms. He stood tall, trying to match their height and breadth.
Zach crossed his arms and glared down his nose at him, bewildered by his display.
“You may think it’s all right to wake that wildcat, but I know better.”
“I’ll go. She loves me best anyway,” Joel said, stepping toward the house.
“Joel, don’t. Let me,” Dominic called him back.
Joel raised his eyebrow at this. Dominic knew he wasn’t fooling either of them. He eyed the brothers a moment, then turned and went back into the house.
“Where’s my daughter?”
Dominic stopped just inside the door, startled by the sudden and robustly spoken question. He faced a dark-clad alder, many years older than he, female, tall and slender. She wore the full black robes of her vocation and kept her silver mane beneath something like an orthodox priest’s habit. In her arms, she held his youngest children, a set of twins who resembled their parents. It seemed that twins ran in the family. This was his second set. He looked them over and then tried to smile at the matriarch.
“Mother,” Dominic said, winding past her. “I was just going to wake her.”
“She’s not in bed,” his mother-in-law informed him. “Where’s she resting?”
“Well, she’s in my studio,” Dominic lied.
“Here,” she said, passing the children off to their uncles, who blocked his retreat.
Joel received his niece with cheer, immediately cooing at her and making her bubble with laughter. Zach received his nephew with reluctance, holding the boy before him and examining him like a scientist peering at a cross section of some organ. The boy regarded him in the same way.
“It’s good practice for the both of you,” Alexandrael told them, patting Zach’s arm in attempt to ease his discomfort.
“Why in all of heaven would she sleep in that dusty old room?” A new voice called down from the top of the stairs.
“Aunt Magiel.” Dominic half-cursed the name as he spoke it under his breath.
Dominic rolled his eyes shut and rested his head in his hand. His wife’s moody aunt was the twin to her mother. They called her matula, duta for aunt, he learned. He rarely used their terms, quite settled on human language. Besides, it was a sign of familiarity and affection that he simply didn’t feel for them. Magiel was an expert at goading him, trying his patience more times than he cared to admit. If it weren’t for the love of her niece he would have given her a piece of his mind and suffered what might come of it, just to see the shock on her pale, curdled face.
“Because she finds comfort among my things,” Dominic replied. She cradled his first born, as Ian played at being a kid again. All of them tramped around at the ripe age of six human years. Far too big to be coddled so, and most likely in desperate need of sleep. “Must you get them up?”
“Why not? They should be witness.”
“Witness to what?”
“To the alders’ decision,” Aunt piped, as if it were obvious.
“Decision? What decision?” he asked, but they sternly stared at him in silence. “She isn’t here,” Dominic added, turning from them.
Dominic went into the dark, front room, seeking space away from his in-laws.
“Why in Jahannam not? Zaajah said she went home,” Joel said, quite forcefully.
Joel was the only one of them actually welcome in his home. Dominic glared at him, not feeling so at that moment. He sunk onto the sofa.
“I wish I could tell you,” Dominic said.
“What did you do?” the aunt demanded, setting her grandnephew back on his feet. She charged into the dim sitting room. “Did those shadow creatures lure her away again? Were you and your guardian drinking all day? I’ve never seen so much alcohol fill the gizzard of an engel as that one. You’d think you’d float away,” she said, assessing him like a snob.
“I didn’t evolve to her liking yet,” Dominic said bitterly, beating them to it. “Not to your liking either, as you won’t forgive me one incident.”
Dominic didn’t have to see their faces to know that his mother-in-law raised her eyebrow, or that her sister looked satisfied. Zach stood there, stoic as always, and Joel’s brows furrowed, torn between Dominic and Maiel. Joel was the only one, other than his sister, who treated humans as equals. Well, that was until tonight. Dominic sighed. He sank more deeply into the couch.
“I didn’t mean that. We had a fight and I’m still angry,” Dominic said, expressing the apology he wanted to hear from his wife.
“We forgave you long ago. And none of us blame you for your guardian’s vices,” Joel said. “Forgive us if we worry over her, but it’s not something to take idly when one of our ranks goes into the Pit of Acheron from a Samsaran incarnation.”
“None of my doing,” Dominic said, though they believed it was. He stammered on, “The alders laid out that plan. Your sister chose to stray from it.”
“You weren’t meant to die like that. My khata was beside herself to find a way to make something right that couldn’t be righted. It was the demons that forced her hand. Not you and not her. What else was she to do under such torment?”
“We could’ve protected her until it was time,” Dominic insisted coldly.
“She was going to be lobotomized—that man would have continued to rape her,” Joel said, confused that Dominic would suggest she remain in such a place.
Joel pulled the cord of the lamp on the table next to him. He eyed Dominic a moment, then sat opposite him, using the table as a stool. He passed the infant girl back to her father. Dominic quickly found himself confessing, unable to hold the truth back from those who loved her as much as he did. It was something in his daughter’s eyes.
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