Storm of Light Excerpt

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Excerpts, Storm of Light

“Then tell us what insights you have gained from Chalad’ar, Wisdom,” Imperius said, his voice mocking once again. “Tell us what to do with the stone. The Council has been divided on this for too long. Or are the rumors among the angels correct, and you have yet to consult the chalice?” Itherael and Auriel turned to Tyrael, waiting for him to offer a solution. He looked at the soulstone on its perch, imagined he saw a beat of blood-red light at its core. The darkness pervades this holy place, he thought. It creeps in unbidden and corrupts everything it touches. Tyrael had come to his own decision. But he was unsure about how his advice would be taken by the others and hesitated for a moment too long. Imperius turned away. “Malthael would have never been without an answer, yet this one is silent once again. I shall speak for him, then. We break the stone at the Hellforge.” A murmur from Auriel brought a fast response. “We should not risk destroying it,” Itherael said. “It was forged by human magic; its destiny is a mystery to me. Even the Scroll of Fate cannot tell us what might result from such an attempt–” “It must be hidden!” Tyrael said. His words rang out, stronger than he might have intended. The others stopped, their attention returning to him. He cleared his throat again, hating how weak it made him sound. A throat made of flesh and blood was not a trustworthy vessel for such a speech. He tried again. “Itherael is right,” he said. “The Black Soulstone’s power is unknown to us. The Horadric mage Kulle forged it using magic the nephalem alone possess. We cannot risk trying to destroy a thing like this; it may even release the Prime Evil upon us once again.” “Hide it where?” Auriel’s tone had grown cautious, as if she knew what he might say. “We have already discussed shrouding it but could not come to an agreement. It cannot stay in the Council chambers forever.” Tyrael looked at his fellow archangels, sadness washing over him. He imagined that they viewed him with suspicion, perhaps thinly veiled hostility. Even Auriel’s aura had changed, her wings pulsing softly with a light that mirrored the taint he had seen in the gardens among the trees. He was not Justice, nor Wisdom, nor was he a man; he was a mortal angel, and this did not fit with the world they knew, or with any other. His vision of peace with the land of men and a new life ending in eternal sleep was swiftly fading. He had never meant for it to come to this. “In Sanctuary,” he said finally. “We must hide the stone in a place where neither angel nor demon can reach.” Order...

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Excerpts, The Reach

PROLOGUE Ten years ago Beyond the frosted panes of double glass, the wind screamed its displeasure. Day had slipped into night with the coming storm. The WKOB weatherman was predicting three feet of snow today, another six inches tomorrow; the worst storm to hit in thirty years, he said. Do not leave your homes unless it’s absolutely necessary. The young doctor was listening intently to the radio at the second-floor station when her pager beeped. She checked the code, slipped quickly across the wine-red carpet to the nearest window, and peered out on a desolate winter scene. The little hospital parking lot wore a sheet of inch-thick ice pinned by mountains of plowed snow. It was mostly empty, the hospital all but shut down in preparation for the storm. Only three patients today, and two of them had come in on the same call, a couple of skiers who got disoriented in the woods and had frostbite. One of them, a pretty young thing, lost the little toe on her left foot. The doctor found it necessary to amputate. Blood. She saw it again as she closed her eyes, bright-red blood coating her gloved hands. The radio buzzed now and then as the wind made the signal come and go. She opened her eyes. The parking lot lights barely cut through the snow as it started to fall faster. Nothing that looked like an emergency, but she could hardly see anything at all. She shivered as the scene below her faded into a writhing white blanket of dim and mysterious shapes. Down at the front entrance the admitting desk was empty. Above the little waiting area with its row of plastic-molded chairs, a nineteen-inch television set flickered from a bracket on the wall. The rug here felt damp and the color had faded in a trail from the waiting area to the front desk. Smelled like cleaning solution, and something underneath like a boil that lingered beneath the skin. The doctor spotted movement through the sliding glass doors. Two emergency techs were unloading a woman from her car. One of them slipped to his knees and cursed, a black man in a green hospital coat and slacks, bare hands and head, tight, coal-black hair frosted with snow. James or something. No, Jack, that was it. Likely to lose his earlobes to the cold if he isn’t careful, and maybe the tips of his fingers too. It could happen in five minutes in this weather. The other one had a scarf wrapped around his neck and wore knitted pink mittens that had been sitting in the lost and found, and he looked warmer, but not much. A country boy, thick and heavy like he might play linebacker on the local college football team. Stewart was his name, or Stan. Young kid. She had only been working there a week and...

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