by C.L. Roman
Cheri Roman is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and two Chihuahuas in St. Johns, Florida.
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Brass Rag Press
Release Date: July 1, 2013
When Captain Fomor leads his unit of six angelic warriors to Earth in an attempt to escape the war in Heaven, not only do they unwittingly set into motion the age of legends, but they must face an inescapable evil that threatens to destroy them, the humans they fall in love with, and the Earth itself.
Creating a new life on antediluvian Earth is no where near as simple as Fomor’s team had hoped it would be. A tragedy occurs early in their sojourn that convinces the seven that they must avoid both humans and fallen angels. But when they unexpectedly meet with the Nephilim, a tribe of unusual humans with unknown origins, the results are unprecedented. However, falling in love with humans is the least of The Unit’s problems.
Mankind is busily descending into a maelstrom of violence and profane religion. The Fallen, angels transformed into demons by their rebellion, have regrouped and are using the tattered remnants of their power to prey upon humankind in horrific ways. Not only is a demon demanding human sacrifice in a nearby village, but the world is careening towards a global disaster that not even The Unit can stop.
“You must choose now.”
Captain Fomor’s quiet voice echoed against stone walls. He stood facing Second Lieutenants Gant and Phaella in the long, stone hall of the unit’s barracks. Floor to ceiling windows were spaced along the hallway to admit a pale, wavering light. Dormers at the top of each casement were open to admit fresh air and the sweet scent of the gardens outside. Opposite the windows, spaced widely along the wall, were doors that he knew opened onto meeting rooms and domiciles, and, at the far end, a set of double doors that led to the dining hall.
Outside, the faint sounds of battle drew minutely closer through the flickering light. Gant raked strong fingers through his black curls and turned hazel eyes to assess Phaella’s reaction. They were a matched pair, even calling each other “brother” and “sister,” though there was not, could not be, any such blood tie between them. In truth, their relationship was more like that of siblings than co-workers or fellow soldiers. Created at the same time, they might have been cast from the same mold with similar abilities and talents. Even their thought patterns matched more often than not.
Both sported a compact, athletic build and olive skin. Black, curly hair topped attractive, long nosed faces with strong jaw lines and dark, expressive eyes. The resemblance didn’t stop with the physical. The pair possessed a keen intelligence and were as loyal and steadfast as dogs but with a fierceness in battle that bore greater resemblance to the wolves Sabaoth had created than to those companion helpers of human kind. It pained Fomor to require them to make this choice.
“What you ask is not easy Captain Fomor.” Phaella avoided her captain’s eyes by keeping her own on the floor as she toyed with her long, black braid. After a moment she looked at him, “Sabaoth has not even called us yet.”
“Sister,” Gant reached out to put a gentle hand on her arm. “Would it be better to wait until He summons us into battle, and disobey Him?”
Phaella’s breath sucked in, her dark eyes widening as she shook her head.
Gant turned back to his captain. “What of Sena?”
“Lieutenant Sena waits for us below,” Fomor replied. “She, Volot and Jotun have chosen not to fight in this war.” An explosion, perhaps two hundred cubits outside the corridor, rocked the trio and sent smoke drifting into the wide hall. Fomor ignored the interruption, merely brushing a few strands of black hair out of his eyes before continuing. “Adahna went ahead to find a sheltered area where we can settle in for…” he stopped. It was hard to admit, even to himself, that he didn’t know how long they would need to shelter on Earth. “She asked me to remind you that we are all children of the same maker. It is not right for siblings to kill one another.”
Trouble clouded Phaella’s gaze. “Still, to disobey…”
For the first time Fomor’s pale skin reddened slightly and his voice held a cold edge. “We cannot disobey an order that has not been given. This is the point Phaella. To leave before it is given.”
A trumpet sounded outside, followed by another detonation, closer this time, and the air became dense with smoke.
“Decide quickly, or the call will come, and it will be too late.” Fomor spun on his heel, the fastenings on his boots glinting in the dim light, and shifted, disappearing in a flash of green sparks.
Phaella and Gant stared at one another, misery shared, but not lessened. How did one choose between abandoning Sabaoth and fighting, perhaps killing, fellow angels? It was as if a father were asking his children to fight one another; an impossible choice.
In the end Gant reached out his hand, “I cannot leave Sena.”
Phaella’s smile was dim, but determined. She gripped his fingers with her own, “And I will not leave you, brother.” A third blast struck the hall, raining bits of marble and dust down upon the siblings until the dark blue of their tunics looked gray.
“Well then, sister, time to move?” Gant forced a grin and the two stepped together into the fog shrouded corridors of the Shift. Light and sound from the hall they left behind was cut off as suddenly and effectively as a slammed door. Cold pressed against their skin through the fluid dark, while frigid gray fog probed their faces, pressed against lips and eyes, clinging and trailing behind as they moved through what seemed to be an endless, black expanse.
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