My main theme for Out of the Shadows was “A Call to Action.” Throughout the story, especially toward the climax, my characters were faced with having to choose to put what they believed into action. In Chapter 5: Flickering Candles, I wanted to show Maurice, Marcus, Theo, and Davian at their lowest points, when the fire of their faith was wavering so I could develop them throughout the novel until each of them reached their decision point. The chapter is quite poignant–especially considering each character’s struggle to maintain his hope at this point compared to their renewed excitement at the end of A Prophecy Forgotten.
Maurice, tending his tavern, The Treetop Inn, in Elysia’s fallen economy:
[***Spoiler Protection***]’s ten year reign and the terror he brought with it had convinced Maurice the Runes were only old wives tales. He pitied Quantus for risking his life for their prophecies. “Poppycock, that’s what they are,” he muttered. “The only soldier of Ezzer’s caliber was killed ten years ago.”
Marcus and Theo (and Tyce), imprisoned in the quarry mines:
For half-a-second, the visible parts of Picante’s face turned a shade lighter. “It’s a pity you couldn’t rescue him ten years ago,” he snapped. “Not even Davian could survive Enbed for this long.” He turned and marched away.
Theo’s smile faded. He sank to the floor and leaned his head against the limestone wall. “He’s right, Major. Seraph Davian could never have survived ten years in Enbed.”
Marcus grunted. “The Runes say he will.”
Theo closed his eyes. “The Runes are just a fairy-tale, Major.”
Marcus lunged at Theo and pushed him into the wall. “Don’t let me hear you say that again.” He threw Theo aside and limped to the far corner of the cell. He sat down and groaned, hoping Tyce or Theo could not see his own doubt.
Davian, imprisoned in the Dungeon of Enbed:
[Enbed’s] prisoners trudged through the mine’s damp shafts, shackled in chains. Gnomes, fauns, nymphs, sprites—Enbed opened its hospitality to anyone. But only one cherubian toiled there. His long, brown hair was knotted and mangled, and his beard reached almost to his chest. His black tunic hung on one shoulder by a few threads, and his once silver seraph’s kilt was now as dark as his tunic. His sea-green eyes told a tale far worse. Their familiar gleam—their fire—resembled a lone ember flickering for the last time.
A row of gnomes filed past. Not one trembled at the sound of the whip. Not one cowered when a mornacht struck him. Not one turned when another fell to the ground in exhaustion. They were vacuous: soulless walking bodies devoid of personality and will, a condition Davian knew was incurable. When he first entered Enbed, he watched the vacuous prisoners in horror. Now he gazed upon them with envy. None of them felt the whip’s sting. None of them endured the mine’s toil. Davian felt his mind begging to block out the stimuli….
… “No!” Davian cried out, hoping the words might stimulate his senses. His yell sounded faint and far away. He stood up. I won’t let them win, he thought. He tried to recall the one memory that helped him through Enbed’s most painful torture sessions, but he saw only a vague outline of a cherubian woman with brown hair. Nothing more. I’ve forgotten her face, he realized. … He fell to the ground, groped for his shovel, and grasped its neck, intending to ram the spade into his throat.
I will not become like them.
Calling the chapter “Flickering Candles” was also meant to be a slight nod at Zephor’s comment to Sephus the Hawk Master in A Prophecy Forgotten‘s Chapter 3: Rumble in the School Yard:
Zephor remembered how Sephus first approached the job. He did what Elysia required of him, but little else. His superiors said the accident calmed him down, but Zephor knew better. The accident had not calmed Sephus down; it had almost numbed him—sedated him even.
Zephor finally pulled the lad aside and told him, “Don’t lose the fire, soldier. The fire is your most important weapon. It might dwindle every now and then, but make sure you never let it get snuffed out.”
Fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. Weston is also the hose of The Final Cut In Movies radio show that airs on TMV Cafe Monday nights at 8:00 EST. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit www.mbweston.com. To receive notification of M. B. Weston’s book releases click here to subscribe to Dark Oak Press & Media’s e-newsletter.