A taste

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Today is a fancy special treat for you, my dear readers!  I am spending most of today sitting on an airplane somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, so in the hopes that you’re finding more entertainment than I am, probably, I am presenting to you a small taste of A Demon Saved, which is Coming Soon.  If you check in my Facebook page then you know that I’m having a slight crisis in publication schedule, so I won’t be able to confirm when preorders will be open just yet.  I’m hoping that by the time I get back from vacation I’ll have somewhat more solid details for you.  That said…  you may get to taste the other project that is fighting for first dibs before I announce the release schedule.  So either way you win. I ‘m thinking.

I have to admit though, that I am totally in love with this cover, and I had to show it off as soon as possible.  Add to that some phenomenal notes from my award-winning teacher, top-tier fan and beta-reader Wendy, and I couldn’t help myself from posting this here for you to enjoy while I try to survive the last few hours of being trapped in a small space with my extremely energetic 6 year old.  Enjoy!

“I don’t know who you are but I can’t think of one single reason that a non-human would be anything but an enemy to you.  I will not let you touch Michael, so back the fuck off,”  May growled.

“I am a nefil, and a healer.  I merely wish to help.  If you do not allow me to help then the poison will continue to spread, and there will be no saving him.”  The woman stood quietly, waiting for May’s answer.  “As it is I am not completely sure that I can help anyway.  The poison has been working for some time, if I understand correctly.”

May’s eyes shot involuntarily to the blood-soaked bandage and the lines wiggling out from it.

“How do you know about the poison?”  She asked, not quite ready to trust this woman.  Nefil and demons were clear enemies, and that was putting it mildly.  The few hazy stories that survived in the Temple’s archives were extremely clear on that subject at least.  “You can’t really expect me to believe that you just happened to hear about this injured demon in the Human Realm and came hurrying here to help out of pure kindness.  I don’t care what the reputation of your kind is, I am not so gullible to believe that.  Nefil haven’t been seen in this realm for millennia, why would you return now?  And while the stories claim nefil helped humans, they most certainly did not help demons.”

“No.  You are right.”  The woman put her box down on the chair May had leapt from and opened it with a gusty sigh, carefully placing what looked like surgical tools on the rolling metal stand from the corner.  “I was already here, in this very building when I heard; I was telling one of your Elders about why I am in the Human Realm when the news came and I could not stand idle.  This is, unfortunately, more than likely related to my mission.  As a result of that, I feel that I must take some responsibility for the situation and help this man if I can, no matter what realm he is from.  I believe I know the one who created that poison.  I am not the only nefil in this Human Realm at this moment,” the woman closed her eyes for a moment, pausing in her setup.  She looked up at May, her blue eyes filled with regret meeting the human’s wary hazel ones.  May could feel the weight of the guilt this woman carried as it settled over the room.  “Long, long ago there was a war.  It was brutal and violent and laid waste to all three realms as nefil and demon tried to exterminate each other.  My people’s leaders long ago realized that the war we waged was never going to end, our people are far too well matched by the demon forces.  So they decided to teach humans what they could to be able to defend themselves against the demon realm and closed off the most accessible gateways to our own realm.  It sealed us off, mostly, from the conflict and after a few centuries we had all moved on.  Now not even the oldest of our race remembers the Great Wars, it has been relegated to the histories and is held as a reminder of the evils that violence and aggression hold.  My… associate Milquert, however, became obsessed with the histories.  He seemed to think that we had abandoned humanity to be ravaged and fall to demonic forces.  He travelled through a Gate to…” she shook her head slowly.  “I don’t even know what he plans, but to me this looks like his work. I am afraid of what he may unwittingly start.  I came to prevent him from doing something foolish.  Like attacking the Temple.”

May wavered.  If what this woman said was true, the ramifications…  Michael would know better what to do, he was the strategist of their team.  Things like this were far more political than May was comfortable with, but it was like bread to him.  She looked back at him on the bed and her stomach lurched again.  Michael lay on the bed, so still she almost thought it was too late already.  It was only her sense of him through their bond of Guardianship that assured her he still lived.  The woman was right about one thing, anyway.  There was nothing that the human doctors could do.

“Why do you think you can help?  What do you know about healing demons that we don’t?”  May asked.

“Probably nothing,” the woman admitted, turning to frown at the wound.  “I have never seen one of his kind before, nor until just a few days past had I ever seen a human.  But I do know a great deal about what Milquert knows, and how he works.  If I can draw this poison out of the wound, or neutralize it somehow, your friend will have a better chance to fight the effects.  If I can’t, then it will continue seeping through his body and he will die.”  She stood, finished laying out her tools and a few bottles.  “First I must identify what sort of poison he used.  I have a few suspicions, but I must test them.  Just trying antidotes at random could make things worse.”

May looked over the tray, then over at Michael’s pale form, his demon’s face looking even more alien than usual, even with his huge, seemingly bottomless eyes closed.  A sheen of sweat covered him, but when she reached out to take his hand it was ice cold.

“Priestess, he is dying,” the nefil said, her voice gentle and sad.  May’s lip quivered and her vision swam for a moment before she blinked then met the woman’s gaze.  May nodded.

“What do we do?”

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