Excerpt: Night Spirit: Wings From Limbo
Raven had no idea how long he was unconscious. When he came to, he was no longer in Aby Gates. He also wasn’t on Jerai any longer. He blinked, trying to comprehend where he was. His surroundings were strangely blurry, even after he had shaken off his initial nausea and disorientation.
“Finally, you’re awake. I feared that your soul had been dragged off somewhere else.”
Raven jolted and almost fell over. Floating nearby, with a bored expression on his face, was Ithur. There was no doubt about it: it was the Ashen Angel, and he looked quite alive and not like a ghost any longer. Raven groaned, rubbing his temples and shakily getting to his feet.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to look for a way back into the Void.” Raven sighed and shook his head. “Forget that. What in the name of the three realms of Damnation is going on here?”
“Funny you say that, because we are in one of the three realms.” Ithur got on his feet and gestured around them. “I guess that you haven’t noticed yet. We’re in Limbo. Azrael apparently wants to test not only your resolve to save your friends, but also my resolve to remain passive in this whole mess.”
Ithur began rambling about how he was tired of being tested, but Raven tuned him out in favor of taking in his surroundings. They stood in a room filled with a labyrinth of bookshelves, though everything looked strange, just the slightest bit off. Candles floated in midair, changing shape, size, and even color. It gave him a headache, so Raven focused on the shelves—which was as bad as trying to look at the radically-changing candles. The bookcases seemed to change the material they were made of constantly, and the titles on the spines were rarely anything more than blurs of gold and silver.
Definitely Limbo. There is no other place which appears to be normal at first glance, and turns out to be so messed up at second. Raven looked down at himself and saw he was still wearing the same suit as he had been on Jerai. It was dusty, ripped in places, and looked far less elegant than it had before. He disliked that; it made him feel like he was letting himself go. “Why aren’t you a ghost any longer? Is that thanks to Limbo, too?”
Ithur snickered. “Funny, you know most everything about Limbo, but not that? But yes, it’s due to Limbo. Souls gain a meat suit once more.”
Raven didn’t respond to Ithur’s statement. The memory of his first moments of existence in Limbo still haunted him in nightmares, and he would have strongly preferred to not come back here. Those first few moments were his least favorite to recall, and he wagered that wouldn’t change too soon.
Ithur gave him a long look, as if he was assessing something. Raven backed away just the slightest bit. “Is something the matter?” His voice sounded honestly concerned. “You look like I’m about to eat you.”
“You surely do give me that impression, yes,” Raven blurted out without thinking. “Could you stop looking at me like I was something very delicious?”
To Raven’s confusion and annoyance, Ithur started laughing. “If you think I’m hitting on you, then you’re wrong. I know I have the reputation of chasing men and women alike, but that doesn’t mean I flirt with everyone who crosses my path.”
Raven averted his gaze. He was embarrassed—he felt like he had been caught making an easily-avoidable mistake. He tried to hide his embarrassment by brushing his hair out of his face. Ithur laughed again, which just made Raven’s blush worsen.
“Now, do you want to get out of here, or are you just going to stand there like a deer caught in the headlights? Limbo is not a nice place, and I don’t want to stay here for too long, but to get away from here, we have to get moving.”
“Thanks, that completely escaped me,” Raven deadpanned, glaring at Ithur. Ithur actually stepped back a little. “It’s not like I grew up here or anything.”
“Alright, I just was trying to be helpful. Calm down already.”
From above them came a small chuckle, and when Raven looked up, he saw a long, snake-like animal emerge from a black cloud of smoke. It was the word demon Biblios, who had shown him around in the first few days of his existence. It was thanks to Biblios that he had learned to speak several languages fluently, which had come in handy when he’d finally reached Jerai.
“If it isn’t Raven Hunter, the night spirit.” Biblios floated around him, inspecting him, and then giving a low huff. “Well, you certainly held up well in your time on Jerai. Why have you returned?”
“It was not of my own will.” Raven sighed. “Azrael brought us here.”
Biblios looked back and forth between Raven and Ithur, nodding slowly. “The high lord of reapers is known for questionable humor… I guess that he is the reason why you, Ithur, are back to life? Care to explain?”
Raven lifted an eyebrow and gazed over at Ithur, surprised at Biblios’ familiar greeting. So the two of them already were at least acquainted? It was a bit hard to imagine, given that Ithur was not exactly someone who made Raven think of intellectually-stimulating conversation. Ithur sighed. “You can’t shut up at all, can you, Biblios?”
“No, certainly not.” Biblios shook himself, making Raven think of a wet dog. “You were the one who swore to not come back. What made you change your mind?”
“I didn’t reconsider.” Ithur puffed himself up, as though to make himself bigger and scare Biblios off. “Abukar’s actions brought me back to life, and entering Limbo completed the last neat step of giving me back my body.”
“Oh, just what we all needed.” Biblios snorted. “Still more chaos in an already mad world.”