1701, Harima, Japan.
Sariel strode through the trees. To his left, something darker than the falling darkness shook them. He quickened his pace.
A hideous attempt at a human voice gurgled, “Hey!” In a rush, the darkness hurled itself up into the sky like a bird and exploded down on Sariel in a rain of fire. He drew silent breaths and tensed as the poison sparks seeped into him. Coughing, choking, he forced the poison into his stomach and vomited black bile which burned a pit into the ground at his feet. Wiping his mouth, he raised his head and turned his glowing gaze to a nearby hilltop.
There, Iblis, dressed in full samurai armor, his wings outstretched above him, watched the confrontation between three warriors.
Iblis, you’re just playing soldier with these three warriors like they’re…toys made of stardust. The composition of each will never again exist.
Iblis moved his wing so that its pitch black span swallowed the moonlight falling on the men. Then he swept it back to reveal the moon once again. Then back to darkness. Back and forth, faster and faster until the men collided in a strobe of light and no light. His face remained expressionless as he stared at the glistening black blood soaking the horses’ necks. The beasts dropped dead and the men struggled to get free of their corpses. Sariel gazed at Iblis, trapped by light, trapped by darkness.
Iblis’s edge was that he was elemental. Somehow, he’d maintained his purity where Sariel suspected that he himself, after having been torn in half, after falling to this place in search of his hidden self, after his failure to produce a viable Ghost, had become…impure. Unnatural. What purpose do I serve now? I am never going to win. Iblis cannot be defeated. He cannot be destroyed because he is destruction—if I destroy him, he continues to exist.
The night before Sariel began the final transformation to make his last human charge a Ghost, the destined young man Aruku Dyjo had served him as Sariel prepared for hours the ceremony for becoming a Ghost. Over his long years of transforming the chosen humans into Ghosts, Sariel realized that people required a succession of events on which they placed a narrative. Though Sariel saw this succession to be as random as the events of the ceremony itself, he knew it gave Dyjo comfort that all had purpose and that all purpose had the potential to be as important as when the universe came into being.
Sariel had found himself going through the motions of the ceremony, but with no elemental purpose. Frightened, he prolonged the ceremony as he cried like a lost child, for any other angel. His screams tore the inside of his being apart, but couldn’t be heard by Dyjo. Sariel had never allowed himself to reveal his soul to any of his human charges through the thousands of years.
Now on the hilltop, he stared at Dyjo thrusting and parrying with the great sword Shishi-o against Iblis and felt himself drift away from the present, from the now of Dyjo and Iblis battling against one another. There is no again. There is only now, he told himself. But he was lost inside his own mind’s eye. There, Sariel left now and returned to again, to his initial flight and fall into the earth…[CONTINUE READING]
GHOST is an original illustrated novel by Maine artist and author team Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray and Phoebe Reeves-Murray. GHOST is a trilogy consisting of GHOST, NEPHILIM and finally, ARCHANGEL.
Look for the next installment 2/1/2014