As many of you are aware, I am slowly republishing stories I pulled from the market so I could revise, edit, craft better book descriptions, and get new covers. In the revising process, I'm streamlining the Draoithe Saga into easier to read miniseries. For example, all the stories concerning the Demon Allies will be in the same miniseries and all the stories concerning the Eagle Lords will be in a different miniseries. So it will make sense to include all the stories involving devils in one miniseries.
Apocalypse Denied originally published as a trilogy. But it never felt right. The ending never quite jived, and the backstory, found in Synner and Sainte, was entirely absent. So if one wanted to enter the dream from the devils' stories, it simply didn't work.
As I thought about this problem, I realized the solution lay in Synner and Sainte, but as the story was, it didn't function correctly. My muse is an evil cackling witch. I swear it.
I wrote Synner and Sainte early in 2019 and published it in December of that year. Only it didn't fit in with any of the other stories I'd written. Like Tantalu, which I later learned is actually more closely linked with Eagle Lords than it could ever be any kind of prequel for the main line series, Sinner and Sainte belonged somewhere else in the larger saga.
So am I glad I took the stories down? Yes. Aside from the need for covers and descriptions, the tales need a thorough edit, rewrite, or revise. The formatting needs to be more professional, but more than any of that, the stories need serious organization. The dream is way too big to have all the bits floating around like disconnected ships. Each miniseries now functions as a continent in the larger ocean of the dream. Each miniseries will also have its own opener tale, allowing more entry points for the dream. Which leads me back to Synner and Sainte.
Apocalypse Denied is currently being overhauled, and Synner and Sainte will streamline to become the opener tale in that miniseries. I've removed all the chapters (which actually belong in the Demon Allies miniseries, which is also on the calendar to be reworked). I'm reworking the story so it tells some events of the dream's past along with the backstory of the main characters in the miniseries, Daniel Leiriu and Amelia Sainte, through the life of their son. Then it will move forward in time and show how a dead hedgewitch laid her plans, manipulated the dream, and wrecked part of Lucifer's blood vengeance spell, Unlikely Kings. She set the stage for her return to the dream, using her son to facilitate that event.
The tale will connect the miniseries to Draoithe with Leon Vadim, the man who would become the elemental crafted red dragon, Flare. It will set up the return of Lucifer to the dream from the void where he hopes to once again find Airlea's soul reborn, and enact his vengeance against those responsible for her loss. Did Amelia Sainte have anything to do with whose soul wound up in the magic almond seed given to Markus Sainte? I'll let you read the tales and judge for yourself just how much a hedgewitch's desire to own a devil affected the events surrounding the Unlikely Kings prophecy.
Did you want a sneak peek?
Synner and Sainte
Markus chased the butterflies into the trees. The net quickly filled with brightly colored insects. His mother would think them beautiful before she made him let them go. Life mattered. He would set them free near her garden so perhaps they would pollinate the flowers of her herbs and vegetables.
When he finally got the big blue and black butterfly into the net, he looked around him and realized the place felt unfamiliar to him.
He turned and walked back the way he’d come, seeking the familiar little log cabin he shared with his mother. He walked a long way, but the cabin didn’t come into view. Markus realized walking aimlessly didn’t resolve the problem of being lost.
He stopped to think about his mother’s instruction. He needed to find the creek and follow it until he found others. Markus remembered he needed to appear as a human boy and hid his wings, horns, and claws with a glamor. People always lived near water. Then he could learn where he was and decide how to get home.
He found the creek when he sought the lowest point and walked along its banks. He found a log cabin and approached it warily. When he knocked at the door, he was relieved to see a familiar face. Roman, the water elemental, was inside.
“Markus, what brings you? Is your mother alright?”
The man always asked after his mother. They were friends, but Roman looked at Amelia Sainte with longing.
“Mother is fine. It is myself who has gotten mixed up.”
Markus held the insects in the butterfly net in his left hand and rubbed his face with his right.
“I wished to make her smile. But the blue one was difficult to trap. I got lost.”
He admitted his failure to the older man.
Roman laughed, waved at a sandy brown haired grey-eyed man inside the cabin, and stepped out with him onto the porch.
“That’s good fortune for me. Come, little devil, I’ll walk back with you. Any reason to speak with Amelia Sainte is a welcome interruption to my plans.”
Markus let the glamor fade. Roman took him back to the path from which he had gotten lost and walked with him home. He spoke to his mother, who smiled and flirted with him.
“Thank you, Roman. I owe you a debt of gratitude. Should you ever need my help in the future, I will aid you.” Roman kissed her hand, asked her again to consider his offer, and took his leave of them.
“So tell me, little one, how did you get lost in your own home?”
His mother smiled down at him. She liked Roman, but she still loved his father. Markus liked Roman too, but he was happy he had his mother all to himself.
He showed her the butterflies.
“Are you angry with me, Mama?”
She frowned at them being in the net, just as he knew she would. But he was careful to only capture and not harm them.
“I don’t like that you’re capturing all the pretty insects of the forest. But I’m proud you remembered what I told you about how to save yourself if you lost your way.”
Markus was full of pride because his mother commended him. Only long years later would he learn that only people his mother trusted lived near them. She cursed all she thought might harm Markus.
He grabbed her hand and dragged her to the garden, promising to make her smile. She followed him, and he let all the brightly colored insects go into the flowers of her garden. She laughed and clapped her hands as she watched the ladybugs, brightly colored butterflies, and even a couple of bees.
He had been careful, and his mother laughed happily. She floated as they walked back to their little cabin.
“You’re a dutiful son, my love. Come. I have some medicine to prepare. I’ll tell you a story of a different lost devil.”
Amelia led him to her workspace in the cave, and he sat on the stool to hear the story as she lit her gas lamp. She worked with some light-sensitive plants.
He loved her stories. They painted images in his mind. When she told the story, it was as if he could escape into another world where only the story lived, and he was the silent spectator.
Markus spent his youth watching her mix the ingredients for specific remedies while she lit his imagination aflame with her tales of make-believe. Only this story was different.
“Long ago, there was a devil called Lucifer. He loved a beautiful Amazon princess named Airlea.”
“Wait, Mother. You didn’t say ‘Once Upon a Time’.”
He interrupted because he thought the story began incorrectly. But she was telling him a different story. Later, he learned to read, and when he gained wealth, he built his library with fiction and nonfiction. As a young boy, however, he hadn’t yet realized some stories could be true.
“No. ‘Once Upon a Time’ is the way fairy stories begin. They are stories that aren’t true. They make-believe. This story I wish to tell you is true. It happened. The devil in the tale was your uncle. He was Danny’s brother.”
Markus sat up straighter to listen. His father had a brother. He had an uncle. His family had just gotten larger. His mother always said family was the most important thing in the dream. That was why she stayed to care for him instead of searching for her beloved Danny.
Markus loved his mother. He was a devil, but Amelia Sainte still loved him. He had to be careful not to show other people what he was. But learning about other devils was something he never tired of. He would listen.
“Watch what I’m doing while you listen. You need to learn how to mix the ingredients properly if you ever need to help someone with a fever from infection.”
He was too young to touch the ingredients. But he took careful stock of how she did it while he listened to her stories.
“It all started with a lie.”
He looked up at her. Lies were bad. Only fools and evil people lied. He didn’t lie. His hand rubbed his ass cheek, remembering the way the wooden spoon felt applied to his backside when his mother caught him lying.
He shook his head sadly.
“Lies are bad. They can cause a world of hurt. You must never lie. When you find out about what Bushyasta did with her lies, you’ll know I taught you correctly.”
“Bushyasta is a demon lady. She had a crush on Lucifer, but he didn’t love her. He fell in love with Airlea. She was human and weak compared to Lucifer. Bushyasta became jealous and tried to ruin the relationship between the human, Airlea, and the King of Devils. She even drew a white dragon into her schemes.”
His uncle was the King of Devils? Well, if his father was a fallen prince, then he guessed that made sense.
Amelia carefully measured the feverwort into a bag. Markus watched, noted it, but interrupted her story.
“Was it Meid Breach?”
“Yes. She was working for the demon lady then. Bushyasta decided if she couldn’t have Lucifer, no one should have him. When he still ignored her, the lies became deceptions aimed at destroying the House of Leiriu. Meid Breach misled your father with her lies at Bushyasta’s request. Eventually, Bushyasta murdered an innocent person, started a war, and many old houses died.”
“She did all that because she lied to herself,” Markus noted.
Crushes were often mistaken for love, but only one person would ever make a person’s world complete. So he had to be careful and guard his heart. That was what his mother did.
“How did it happen, mama? How did she cause so much destruction?”
Markus wanted to know about his uncle and the world of his father.
“It happened in the year 1016. Many old immortals played in the Leaindeail. The ones from the Ainglean met their friends from the Netherworld and dallied with humans from the Domhain. They were all innocent and clean except Asmodeus.” She grinned.
“Phanuel, an archangel, fell in love with Hyppolyta, the queen of the Amazon’s and Airlea’s twin sister. Together, Phanuel and Hyppolyta learned how to give the Amazons control over the magic of the dream. He wanted her for his mate, but she had a responsibility to her people. When Lucifer saw Airlea, love at first sight became a reality. He wanted her for his queen, but she was weak as a human. To claim her, he would have to strengthen her, only he didn’t know how. Bushyasta lied to him and told him she knew of a way.”
“But she didn’t, did she?” Markus asked when his mother looked up.
“No. She didn’t. She had Meid Breach send an amulet that would hide the Chaos magic of devils from those of the Leaindeail, but it didn’t stop the effects. Lucifer was to wear it when he claimed Airlea. His magic would have destroyed her, anyway. Then Bushyasta sent her mercenary satyr warriors after Hyppolyta. They murdered her twin sister Airlea by mistake and things went badly.”
“Why did she do that?”
“Because Bushyasta blamed Phanuel for falling in love with Hyppolyta and introducing Airlea to Lucifer…”
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this prologue tale. I think the little devil Markus Sainte is a cute character. He won't stay that way. Druid magic will twist him as it always twists those who wield it, but this prologue introduces Roman before he comes the ice demon, a central figure in the Demon Allies miniseries. The Draoithe Saga has lots of cameo appearances and Easter egg connections within the stories. If you love a good adult soap opera with veiled hints, immortal characters, and generational storylines with a uniquely crafted harem style paranormal romance element, Synner and Sainte is that tale.
Gotta get some work done. If you read, please leave kind reviews. Nothing bolsters authors more than learning how well you enjoyed a story. Until next weekend,
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