News & Announcements:
I've been getting a bit of writing done. I've also been reading a lot, and I'll tell you what I've been reading below. My hands are still achy, but not quite as bad as they were. I'm still trying to keep it under 3K per day, which hasn't been difficult, since most of the chapters so far are very short. They should start to get a bit longer, now that I'm about to start writing the second act.
I'm also getting more into the hygge mindset and the Christmas spirit, as usually happens about this time every year. I've got almost all of my Christmas shopping done, so there's that. Now we need to focus on getting a tree and decorating, then Christmas celebrations/dinners. Hopefully, things won't be fraught with stress, as it seems every Christmas season tends to have this problem.
I've included a very long character journal entry from Zachariel's point of view, plus a brief excerpt from one of the chapters I wrote this week. I hope you enjoy them.
I'm adding last Friday's word count here, since I somehow left off Friday, the 29th's word count a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get back on track here.
The first number for each day is that day's word count. The second is the total for the novel at the end of that day.
Fallen: Out of Time
Day 6: 550 | 8,070 (from last week)
Day 7: 1,297 | 9,367
Day 8: 853 | 10,220
Day 9: 1,165 | 11,385
Day 10: 1,296 | 12,681
Day 11: 1,376 | 14,057
Day 12: 1,550 | 15,607
Day 13: 0 | 15,607
Weekly Total Plus One Day: 8,087
Character Journal Entry - Zachariel: Big Plans
Who woulda thought I'd be here after all this time, huh? I mean, 13,000 years is a long time when you're being flayed and whipped and all down under. I didn't think I'd ever break free. Never had a chance. Well, not 'til that witch got clever and opened a portal to summon a demon. Big mistake. Witch, meet Zachariel, Fallen Chayal* and Soon-To-Be Destroyer of Illdirin.
She tasted -- meh. Normally, I'm not a flesh eater, but I did it. I snacked on her. Disgusting, I know, but I'd just been flayed. Very little meat remained on my bones. I was ravenous. Needed to rebuild what Ap-- what he took from me. It's not like I was consciously thinking, "hey, I think I'll eat a human today. See if it tastes like chicken," or something like that. It was all instinct. The only reason I know what happened is because I remember being covered with her blood during one of the few lucid moments I had after I got here.
See, in the first hours I was here -- maybe a day, day and a half -- I was mostly out of it. Going from down under to the land of the living can do that to you. It's disorienting, even to a fallen celestial like me.
I did, however, remember what I wanted more than anything since they took Sachiel from me. After living with it for almost 13 millennia, there's no way I'd forget my most basic need. And I've got a plan.
I heard there's an immortal, a very young female who actually has magic. And not just any one magic, either. Hell, no. She's got all of 'em. And their source? Illdirin itself and its atmosphere. I have to have this immortal. Seriously. If we can meld her magics to my bound power, aim it all down toward the center of Illdirin, I could blow it up -- and free everyone down there.
I suppose anyone reading this might wonder why I'd wanna do all that. It's pretty simple and straightforward. The Gods killed the woman I loved. Now I wanna kill everything they love -- basically, all the mortals on Illdirin.
But what does that have to do with those down under? Well, honestly, I don't care one way or the other 'bout 'em, but the Gods wouldn't like it, so it would be a score for me. And who knows? Maybe all those people and monsters and fallen angels, the lesser gods, will give Illdir and Tatia a run for their money. Serves 'em right after what they did to Sachiel.
When Archan and his hellhounds took me down under, I knew the punishment was just. I didn't like it, but hey! I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to pursue a relationship with Sachiel. To explain: I was a warrior of the Agaean. Sachiel was a fallen celestial. Fallen because she'd remained faithful to her goddess after she fell. Rule #2 in the Celestial Rulebook: Thou shalt not carry on and have sex with a fallen being. Okay, I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the picture, yeah? So I was sent down under because I chose to love a fallen celestial. Not only that, but we were gonna have a kid together.
So, what happened to Sachiel, you might be asking. This is how it went down. Archan handed me over to the ancient fallen celestial who was to be my torturer for the rest of eternity. He put me in chains and whipped me good, just 'cause he could, the sadistic bastard. But that wasn't enough for the Gods. Nope. They brought Sachiel to where I was being whipped, and they killed her right in front of me. Basically, they rubbed salt in my wound. They wanted to watch me suffer.
Not only did they behead her. That would do nothing to destroy her. She'd just rejuvenate. So what else did they do? They drained her with anti-magic, which made her as vulnerable as a mortal, then ran her through -- right where my son was.
Yeah, I knew the baby was a boy. We both knew it. That's how we work. We can feel the life force a few hours after its conceived, and we can tell by the feel of its power whether it's a boy or a girl. When we found out, we ran. We wanted to be together more than anything. We wanted to watch our son grow up. We couldn't do that on Illdirin or anywhere in the Gods' domain. We were on the run when Archan and his hellhounds found us. And we were in another dimension. But he's got serious skills, and so do his mutts. They found us in, like, two days. Granted, those are Agaean days. One day on the Agaean is like 5,000 years on Illdirin.
So, they killed Sachiel. They showed no remorse for taking the life of one they'd created, nor the innocent life growing inside her. They wanted to make a point. A point!
And I was their example to other celestials who might get the idea of starting something with a fallen one. I can just imagine the talk going 'round the Agaean. "Remember Zachariel? He was stupid enough to love a fallen one, and now he'll suffer for all eternity. Learn from his mistake. Don't bring shame on yourself and your family like he did."
Whatev. I don't care what they think 'bout me. Soon, it won't matter anyway, 'cause I'm gonna avenge their deaths. It's not just Sachiel I cared about. Our son -- I never got to meet him. Never got to see him grow up to become a warrior. I'm gonna make 'em pay for that -- or I'll die trying. Unless they send me back. I can't go back, so I can't fail.
The hell I've been through, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Well, I wish it on him daily -- the sicko who does most of it. But he's an exception. I hate him with everything that's in me. I kept looking for that one opening to whoop his butt, to make him my victim, instead of the other way 'round, but it never came. All that came was a portal to the land above, and of course I took advantage of the opportunity. Given a choice between whooping his butt and freedom? Hell, I'm taking freedom!
I keep seeing him, though. It's all in my head. I'm one paranoid son of a gun. I keep thinking he escaped, too, and is looking for me. I ain't seen no evidence that he's here, though. If he was, I think Archan would find him. His hellhounds would drag him back under.
'Course, Archan hasn't come for me yet, either. It's only a matter of time before he does, so I've gotta work smart. Maybe the Gods didn't believe my threat to break free and destroy the planet. Who knows? But eventually, they'll send him. I'll be ready when they do. I plan to do as much damage as possible in whatever limited time I've got. It's the least I can do for Sachiel and our son.
We never gave our kid a name. In some ways, I don't wanna give him one. I'd rather he remain an abstract concept. If I give him a name, will he become a weakness I have to deal with? Maybe I can give him a name after I get my revenge. Then, I can mourn. Until then? Not happening.
Would you believe I've never actually mourned for them? 13,000 years down under, but not once have I shed a single tear. Never had the chance or inclination, what with all the torture and my single-minded desire for vengeance. As soon as the gods killed my family, I kept one thing in mind: I had to avenge them.
Over time, all the other feelings melted away, and only the need for vengeance remained. It still remains. Love? I remember the concept, but not what it's like to feel it? Compassion? Yeah, right. Happiness, contentment, gratefulness -- you name it, same deal. I remember the concepts, but to experience the actual feelings? Not in nearly 13 millennia. I wouldn't know them if I felt them today, that's for sure.
'Course, I've still got rage. Rage keeps me warm at night. It's what fuels my desire for vengeance. Without rage, I'd never succeed. I have a clear understanding of what rage feels like.
In everything that's going on, there's one wild card. That's my brother, Sam. I fully expect him to learn of my escape. I'd be willing to bet he'll look me up. I don't want him to. I don't need the distraction. I'm half expecting the Gods to use him against me. If they do, I'm screwed. I ain't seen Sam since I was dragged down under. He was just a kid then. Hell, I wasn't much older. I guess there's always the chance he won't want anything to do with me. That would solve a lot, but I just don't see it happening. Sam and me, we stuck together. We had each other's back. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see him falling for whatever stories have been going 'round 'bout me. If there was anyone who'd stay true, no matter what, it would be my kid brother. No way would Sam betray me.
'Course, there was a time when I thought the Gods could never betray one of their own. I saw them do it with my own two eyes when they drained Sachiel and killed her. I'll never trust them again. They proved they're no better than the rest of 'em. They're all out for what they can get. None of 'em care about anything else. People are just a means to an end. Although, I do believe Illdir and Tatia really care about the mortals of Illdirin. They wouldn't have created the laws they did otherwise. Y'know, like that Rule #2 in the Celestial Rulebook I mentioned above.
I'm hoping Sam chooses to stay away. I don't want him touched by what I do and the choices I make. And if he has mortal friends, I don't wanna know 'bout 'em. What I don't know won't make me hesitate when the time comes, y'know? If he's got people he cares 'bout here, and I find out 'bout 'em, I might not carry through with my plan.
But no, that won't happen. I've learned to compartmentalize. I've had to, what with everything done to me down there. I'll be fine. I'll just play it cool, make myself not care. It'll make Sam hate me, but it's a price I'm willing to pay to avenge their deaths.
Whatever comes of this, I'm ready to pay my dues. I've really got nothing left to live for. To die for Sachiel and our son would be an honor. No one would mourn my death -- except for Sam, and maybe our sister, Kristiel -- but that's the way I want it. Well, I don't want Sam and Kristiel to have to mourn my death, but it would probably be best for them if they didn't have me as their brother, anyway. I can't do anything for 'em but cause trouble. Trouble's what I'm living for these days.
Anyway, I've got "followers." Fallen celestials, mortals, immortals, demons, monsters. They're all following me 'cause they think I'm looking out for 'em. Most of 'em don't know my real purpose. They just want to be led. They wanna be told what to do. Give 'em a pat on the back once in a while, and they're golden. Makes 'em feel important, I guess. Only three other people know what I'm all 'bout, and they've promised to be loyal to the end. Granted, they're fellow ex-inmates, and I'm taking their word with a grain of salt. But I've always watched my own back. I've had no one else to depend on. Just me, myself, and I. No way am I dropping my guard now.
And I've got a stronghold. Some old town out in the desert. I call it Nefaria. Has a nice ring to it, huh? So, I picked out a building to be my home. It's the nicest building in this one-horse town. Even has a courtyard with a fountain out back. Granted, the fountain doesn't work, but I've got engineers working on getting it up and running. They said they'll have to dig down really far. I told 'em to do what they can. 'Course, it helped that I told 'em any failure would get 'em flayed. That spurred 'em on to greater effort.
Everyone in my group has their own place now. Some are doubled up. We've got some prostitutes among us. They're bunked together in one house, and the rest of us partake of what they're offering as time permits. I've also got men out looking for this immortal with magic. Once they bring her to me, I'll take it from there. I know I'll have a lot of convincing to do. She won't just believe everything I say right off the bat. Fortunately, I've gotten pretty good at lying.
After so many years down under, this place is like the lap of luxury. You'd be amazed to see the difference between the two places. My cell down under had no bars, but I couldn't leave. I was always bound to something. The place always smelled of sulfur, and fires burned constantly. Despite the fires, there were lots of deep shadows. The lesser demons -- called shadow demons -- liked to hide in the darkness and taunt people from there. If they weren't tempting and taunting people with their whispers, they were touching and fondling them with their grotesque hands, each finger ending in long, sharp claws. I always knew where they were, 'cause their eyes glowed red. If I saw glowing red eyes, it was a sure bet that something bad lurked there.
This place, though? Complete opposite. It's very light here, at least during the day. And I have lots of room to move around. Even though there are a lot of walls, I don't feel like I'm trapped. I can come and go as I please. There's furniture here, some of it's pretty nice. There's this couch I really love. It's in my office. It used to be red, but it's pretty faded now. When I lie on it, I feel like I'm sinking into a cloud. I could die happy if I'm lying on that couch when I go.
The engineers are working on getting the electric up and running. They said the wiring's ancient, but in good shape. It's just disconnected in places, and the power plant's been shut down. It will take some time to get it back up and running, but they promise it won't be too long.
Now to get my fountain working. I've missed water. You people who've lived here for years take it for granted, but if you didn't have it, you'd find out pretty quick how important it is. There were so many times, down under, when I woulda killed for just a drop of water on my tongue to quench the neverending thirst. You people treat it like it's an endless commodity, like it can never run out. I've got news for you. It can, and it will, once I see my plan through to fruition.
Well, back to work. My minions need the attention of their king, and who am I to deny them?
* Chayal: angelic warrior, angelic soldier
Excerpt from Chapter 18:
A moment later, Archan vanished in a flash of light and thunder.
A clap of real thunder jarred Zach back to the present, where he found himself kneeling in the snow, tears frozen to his cheeks. He’d had a flashback, as if he’d really been down under. The experience had seemed so real, and he couldn’t shake the grief that cut just as deep and fresh as it had millennia ago.
He forced the grief down and locked it up tight, as he’d done for so long. He couldn’t take the pain, so he avoided it altogether. Now, he pushed himself to his feet and, with his chin raised in determination, he put one foot in front of the other, slogging away through the ice and snow, trying with all his might to shake the funk that threatened to overtake him.
The storm was close enough that its thunder and lightning still startled him at times.
As he trudged along, he spotted a figure in the distance. He ran over to the trees and followed them forward, toward the figure. As he neared, he found that she was an elvin mage of some kind.
A falcon cried far above, and the mage glanced back over her shoulder.
In that moment, Zach froze. She looked so much like Sachiel it took his breath away.
“Sachiel?” he whispered, knowing it couldn’t be her. But how could he explain her perfect likeness in the elvin mage?
She continued on, and he followed. They went on like this for some time until she came to a small structure. She cleared it of snow and ice, revealing it to be an altar of some kind.
Zachariel watched as she chanted an arcane spell.
Moments later, a portal opened.
Book I'm Currently Reading:
I'm making my way through A.G. Riddle's The Long Winter trilogy. I'm currently on the final book, The Lost Colony. I'm really loving the characters and the plot. It's definitely very character driven, which I love, but the plot keeps me on the edge of my seat. It's great!
Music I'm Currently Listening To:
Going with the Viking metal flow this week with Valkyrja, by Tyr. :)
Video I Like:
This week's video is actually a series on Amazon Prime. It's called Jack Ryan, and it's based on one of Tom Clancy's most beloved characters when he was younger. I could binge watch this in a weekend and be extremely happy at the end...well, until I hit the series cliffhanger. Who doesn't hate cliffhangers?
Lois Eighmy (pronounced like Amy) is a full-time fantasy and thriller writer. She's also an artist and fledgling photographer. You can see some of her writing and other creative works here on her website. She lives in Missouri with her husband, Jeff, her white calico cat, Chloe, and her brindle mutt, Nikita. She dreams of moving anywhere she can experience an annual White Christmas, but is happily working on being content with where she's at in the present.