Prologue The First: Africa, eight years, three months ago:
He had many names: Asphyx, Cave Demon, Daemon of the Waters of the Earth, Archangel, Keeper of Souls, Paradoxium, Demon's Folly, Todd...but to him, he was just himself.
He had been here since there was a here to be, and now this task, at
least, was done.
There had been many, often even more than one per millennia, as time is
reckoned now in this the rising of man, and they had been-entertaining.
As he had been told the proof would come, in truth, would be compelled to
And so it did.
And, as he had been told, he would doubt the proof that it might be
And doubt he did.
This could not be proof of the paradox. It was too small; larger than the
scarab, yes, but they were many and it was but one and alone; smaller in mass
and in muscle than the other trials by far.
And fragile, not even true daemon stood before him but mortal born.
Indeed, the trials themselves seemed set, as set they were, against this one, against its kind in particular.
Hmm, the Archangel thought, perhaps then this be telling true, and I should not doubt, but doubt he had to.
No, it was too young, not yet two centuries, a mere portion of a blink of
an eye, far too young to be proof.
Yet it bore the mark and by measure of its kind could not be marked.
The Archangel thought the motive selfish; it sounded so, but if proved
true as stated would be thus pure and that truth be in the Trial not in the
The other requirements are they met?
The Archangel probed as he spoke to it; his words meant naught, the
Does it know or is it ignorant?
It did not know specifically, but by nature and in general-yes and specific awareness was never stipulated.
Does it fear or has it courage?
It had feared once and often and if it survived was certain would again;
although for now, the metal was tempered well. And courage; courage and foolhardiness, they are often one. It would not leave without what it came for or it would not leave. It was here all the same.
Has it strength or is it weak?
No it did not have the strength, in that it would fail. It had not fed; in truth, it hadn't fed well in a long time. It would fail, but neither quickly nor quietly.
It would fight and it would struggle until it won or was no more.
Hmm, is that perhaps enough?
"Do your worst," it said, "...but when I win, I want what I came here for."
The Archangel chuckled to himself, 'When,' ha, yes, determined it is nonetheless.
Lastly, that to be restored must at once be given and freely. Yes,
yes that was already so.
Well, the Archangel thought, let the proof be proven, then.
Thus the Trial began and in its due was done.
Afterward the Archangel mused aloud to that which Be:
"I should tidy up.
True, time will attend to it.
There is yet time."
And in after thought he asked, "May I watch?"
Answer was given.
The Archangel smiled as he unfurled his wings and he set with them upon
the heavens and the stars heard the peal of his laughter.
Asphyx, the Archangel, will be showing up in various places through out the story, but beware, he may not be what you think he is and you may think you're reading about him when you are not- how's that for cryptic- I like to keep you guessing.
Prolog Two is next.