You’ve met Simone.
You’ve met Shifrah.
Now meet Jax…
♥ ♥ ♥
I lived in darkness and silence, the child of a marauding fisherman and a restless goddess. In that northern, snowy land of enduring night, the name of our tribe struck fear into the hearts of warriors. We weren’t soldiers. We were murderers, killing every man, woman, and child we encountered. We were thieves, helping ourselves to the hard-won possessions of others. We were evil, every one of us, so I can’t imagine why the angel told his assassins to spare me. I was never better than anyone, yet I am alive, and everyone I knew as a child is dead.
Most of my people had gathered around a fire, stomping to keep their feet warm while they debated if we should raid the town near the sea before the coming snow or after. I squatted near the ground in the shadows, watching, and hoping they would decide to wait. I hated battle and everything associated with it.
When the first man fell, no one realized what was happening. The assassins moved too fast for us to see. When the second fell, it was clear someone was attacking, as we had attacked others so many times before.
A dozen more fell before I saw the killer. He was tall and pale, with a shock of dark hair that fell across his forehead and scarlet eyes that glowed in the darkness. Blood dripped from his hands and chin. A smile danced on his lips. My father shot him three times to no effect before running at him with a sword. The man deflected the blade with his hand, pulled my father into his arms, and drank his blood. Dika’s sword struck the killer in the back. He broke my father’s neck and turned his attention to her. In a moment, she’d been crushed to a bloody tangle of limbs, and he was once again moving among my people; an angel of death.
It was the killer’s woman who found me. She leaped from a rooftop and lifted me to my feet by the front of my coat. Her bloody hands were steel bands on my arms. The darkness of her skin and clothes made her a shadow among shadows.
Tears blurred my vision because I knew I would die, and I’d not done a single worthy thing in life.
But she didn’t kill me.
Her lips moved in rapid nonsense patterns. She set me on my feet and pointed with a trembling hand toward the caves in the distance. I stood, the sweat of terror pouring down my spine, until she pushed me in that direction. Then I ran, stumbling through the snow, grateful my broken ears could not hear the slaughter taking place behind me.
I pressed my back against the stone wall of the cave, sitting with my knees drawn to my chest. While the snow began to fall, I waited. It piled at the door, and I waited. My hands and feet and face ached miserably, but I did nothing to warm them. In time, the ache was replaced with a dull, numb sensation that crept toward my heart. Fear lost ground to mindless sleepiness, and the essence of who I was tried to lift itself from my body.
What a strange thought: that perhaps my true self had little to do with this body in which I dwelt.
What I’d seen done to my people was no more terrible than what I’d seen my people do to others. The violence against them kindled a tiny fire of satisfaction in my dark heart. They’d had it coming. We’d had it coming.
I’d been spared. Why? For what purpose? What was expected from one set apart? Would I be a slave? Would I be killed in some other, more horrible way? And by whom? The two killers I’d seen were like no one I’d ever known. They were undoubtedly not human. Were they ghosts? Gods?
The cold carried me toward sleep. I cared less and less, but in the moment before I gave myself over, thinking I was going to die after all, the woman appeared in front of me again. Her skin and clothes were clean and beautiful. She looked kind and gentle, not at all like one who could bring death to an entire village. Again, her lips moved rapidly, but I could make no sense of the movements. Her man bent down next to her and pressed a gentle hand to my face. He gazed at me with eyes full of concern and, despite all I’d seen, I trusted these two. They were not bad. I was sure of it. They were like me, kind in their hearts, but forced by something beyond themselves to kill. The woman lifted me in her arms, wrapped me in her grey fur cloak, and raced through the storm faster than any creature I’d known. In her arms, I finally slept…
♥ ♥ ♥
There’s little need for anything to be said after that incredible opening of E. A. Comiskey’s latest edition to the Heaven and Earth series, Loving in Heaven and Earth, but I will tell you that the release is scheduled for MARCH 2018 so keep your eyes open for it!
I previously interviewed the award-winning writer about Loving in Heaven and Earth‘s predecessor, Dwelling in Heaven and Earth. If you haven’t already, check it out here.
Without further ado, it’s my greatest honour to present the EXCLUSIVE cover reveal: