Hello to all!
I’m really excited to share something with you guys today! I’ve decided to post the full and complete prologue to Of Light And Fire for everyone to read! If you’ve been on the fence about reading this book, check this out!
The story starts off as the main character, Elijah, gets a phone call from a brother in arms and fellow Sicarri warrior. One of whom Elijah just now realizes has been missing. (The Sicarri are lifelong members of the only force on earth tasked with keeping innocent people from both being turned into demons and keeping the demons from stealing their soul fire.) Elijah must then pack up and leave his family behind for his current mission – to find his friend and get to the bottom of things. Only, when it doesn’t go as planned, he’s seperated from his family for a lot longer than he had counted on. When he finally does return, everything has changed. Everything except the demon problem, they’ve gotten more powerful, gained more ground, and now Elijah must fight through fire to save the ones he loves.
Of Light And Fire is the story of a man who battles through pain, death, and the destruction of all he knows to be true, all for one simple thing… love, in all it’s many shapes and forms.
The prologue kicks off as Elijah is journaling about one of his most recent nightmares and he the goes on to explain a little about his life and the world that surrounds him.
The nightmares are back. This time I woke Soren with my screaming. He cried for at least an hour while Vara rocked him back to sleep, singing and humming soft words the entire time. All the while, I sat in the hallway at the front of his door with my guilt cementing me to the floor. After Soren was back in bed, Vara came to me and asked me to write my feelings down on paper—to purge my issues in the hopes that it would keep the nightmares at bay. She thinks that, somehow, putting my memories in ink will act as some kind of catharsis and my head will emerge from the notepad healed and ready to move forward with my life. It’s a good idea, in theory, but I’m not sure if this particular approach is meant for someone who’s seen what I’ve seen. Still, I’m taking her advice. God knows I would do anything for that woman, my beautiful wife. She worries that my emotions will soon boil over, seeping into our lives from all corners and staining the edges. I can’t say that she’s wrong, and I certainly don’t blame her, but I’ve never been good at sharing my feelings. I like to keep them inside, wrapped tight and tucked neatly away where they’re safe from hurting the ones I love. So, I guess she has a point. If putting pen to paper will help my family… well, here goes…
Demons—the reason for all my nightmares. I can see them clear as day whenever I close my eyes. They’re always in my head, looming over me, keeping me on edge. They were once human, though you’d never know when you see them. They’re dark—black even—their skin peeling back with the texture of burnt paper. Sometimes you can even see wisps of embers floating toward the sky, their skin flaking as they move. Their eyes shine like steel, inhuman and malevolent with no pupils. Though they’re strong, really strong, they have a weakness. The one thing that they lust for the most is also the thing they kill for. Fire.
My stomach turns every time I mentally replay the shrill noise that comes from their already burned bodies as I set them aflame. I’m not sure why I do replay it so often, but the sound sometimes seems as though it’s caught in a continuous loop, stuck on a turntable. It’s odd, really. Gaining so much pleasure from such a disgusting noise. But it’s that very same sound that ensures our safety. So, it doesn’t really matter what noise they make when they catch fire; it only matters how many more I will burn. Fire is the only thing we’ve found that keeps them dead.
Fire is our crutch—the one thing we need and the only piece of our lives we wish never existed. Fire holds all the blame for everything that has happened. Our lust for it, our inability to control it, the destruction that comes from it… all of it is the reason I am perpetually unable to sleep without my gnarled and sickening dreams waking me.
Lately, my nightmares have always been the same. It begins with a building burning a few yards in front of me, a distant memory distorted by my twisted imagination. The flames are so close that I can feel the heat radiate around my body. Sweat begins to bead on my forehead, and I get a strange hot and cold sensation like I’ve suddenly come down with a high fever. Without warning, my arms become itchy and I want to tear the flesh from my body to free myself from the discomfort. I look down and see the skin on my forearms burning and peeling back, exposing the muscles, sinews, and bones in my arms. The pain is excruciating and it hits me all at once. It’s so powerful that I become numb and unable to move as I succumb to the agony. The utter horror of burning alive is ingrained in my brain more than my own name. Right before I wake, I see the demons that set me on fire, and hear their disembodied laughter in the darkness that overtakes me.
How’s that for a nightmare?
They’re sometimes peculiar though, my dreams. For instance, sometimes I watch myself burn from a different perspective. Standing on the outside of my body, peering at a man who crumples in torture and misery, knowing precisely how it feels to burn alive. Seeing my own face melt into the gravel like candle wax. I can’t get the visions to leave my thoughts. At times I feel like it’s been engraved into the backs of my eyelids, so that whenever I close my eyes, my burning body floods my mind.
In all this time, I’ve never actually told Vara about my dreams. And I won’t pretend like guilt doesn’t eat away at me for that. She tries to hide the disappointment on her face whenever I avoid answering her questions about them. The truth is, I should tell her. I almost wish she would find this journal so that I don’t have to. Describing them, using my voice to bring life to the images that dominate my sleep, it’s become impossible to me. Maybe Vara was right in suggesting that I write them down. It was easier writing the words than it ever has been saying them.
Maybe I can overcome this.
Maybe the demons won’t win this one.
The war with the demons has been raging as far back as I can remember. I’m not even sure how many of us have been lost in the fight. It’s become more of a way of life now; we live constantly afraid of the darkness in the world and terrified of the light inside of ourselves. You see, there used to be magic. I can still feel it sometimes, lingering like an old friend. There was magic everywhere, and its flame burned bright inside everyone. We are born from it, made of it, of light and fire.
Our magic has always been harnessed from one single bright burning flame; we draw power from the heat source fixed inside of us. Every person in the world practiced with his or her magical flame. Mothers would teach their daughters to restrain the inferno; fathers would train their sons to control the blaze. Schools were brimming with spells, and our daily lessons were the rules of the craft. But, somewhere along the way, things changed. People became greedy, and our magic morphed into something I never could have expected. Humans wanted more, as I found they always do. They wanted it all, and in turn, many people died.
No one liked to speak about it much, when things began to change. My grandmother used to tell me it was rude to stare at the “burned ones,” or so she called them. The ones so twisted and turned by magic that their skin oozed the fire within. The transformation was slow, the burned ones driven mad with their incessant need for more magic, more power.
When I was a little boy, the burned ones haunted my dreams for a completely different reason. I wasn’t afraid of them because of how they looked, I was afraid of what they could do, and afraid of what could happen to me. When a person practices magic, their flame goes from a trickle to a roar, a simple match light to a blazing bonfire inside of them. Using too much all at once… well, it’s easy to become engulfed in the flames. I became fearful of my own magic… we all did. The burned ones were soon sanctioned outside of town, losing their minds to the hunger for the flame. They would track down anyone who used magic, sensing a person’s bright burning flame like it was a beacon calling to them. From there it only got worse.
Seemingly overnight, innocent people began losing their lives. In order to steal an unburnt’s flame, a dissection had to occur. The burned ones would have to dig deep inside the body of their victim, searching for the tiny ball of white hot light, and swallow it down, all while its heat left a burning trail down their bodies. I’d never seen a person survive getting their fire stolen. After the burned ones learned they could steal an unburnt’s flame from within, they would harvest any fire from any person who crossed their paths, and it would keep them alive in a constant state of hunger for more flame and power.
The burned ones’ affliction grew on a global scale. Suddenly, our magic wasn’t safe anymore. Our world changed, and we needed to find a new way to live, a way to become safe again. That’s when my grandfather created the Sicarri—volunteers who learned the skill of fighting and slaying the burned ones—an army of sorts. They kept innocent people safe, relayed valuable information about magic, and became almost like the new military of the world. From there, our forces grew. We created healers—the ones who work in medicine and deal with injuries, and intel for research and information. People who used to teach magic now taught how to resist the temptation of the flame. After a while, we only drew power from our magic when absolutely necessary, and only in small increments. We started referring to the burned ones as demons, since that’s what they became. Soulless, power-hungry, and driven mad.
What else would you call pure evil?
Since then, demons have always been slightly stronger, faster, and just a touch more powerful than regular people. Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve learned to live off of the very thing that consumed them in the first place, soul fire.
We never learned what the catalyst was for all of this, why our magic suddenly became dangerous. Instead, we focus on the things we do know—how to keep everyone safe. Since the demons were sanctioned in small places outside of most towns, people could live more freely and less afraid, able to walk outside of their front doors without getting their flames stolen. Now, there isn’t another person more capable of fighting the demons than me. I was raised to do this, to fight against the evil in the world, and to teach others to fight as well. And I’ve been doing my job damn well since I was fifteen and my father allowed me to join him for my first real fight against the demons. That was the first time I saw the truth of what our magic could do. After a while, it became easier to suppress the flame, and though I could never extinguish it, it grew small enough not to tempt me as often as it used to.
Things have died down in the past twenty years, maybe because the Sicarri learned how to fight back or maybe because the demons are gearing up for something big. I can’t really tell you the reason for the quietness lately. I can’t explain the unease I feel in the very cells of my being. I don’t know what will happen next. All I know is that no matter what changes, it always gets the worst at night.
Want to read more? Click on this link to get your copy –> Of Light And Fire (Burned By Magic Series, Volume 1) – Amazon