The Rose of Avigdell is the first book in E. H. Kindred’s adult fantasy series, The Alkesh. The novel is currently in progress. You can read the working prologue below.
Let us not forget the Darkness. It is everywhere, and works against everything but itself. The Darkness is our enemy. It is why we are here. If it were not for the Darkness, the world would not need spirits like me. We are drawn out of the ether to each human heart because your world, Earth, is the battleground of the Light and Dark.
The universe is a series of planes overlaid. Every single one is real, whether you can perceive it or not, and whether or not it fits your criteria of what it means to be “real.” Upon these planes are all kinds of spirits, both Light and Dark. At the top is the Great Light, which some cultures prefer to call God or Heaven. At the bottom, as you may know, is the Great Dark, the Traitor, the Devil, Hell. Between these two extremes stretches a continuum of power between the Light and Dark. Earth, and you in it, are the center. You and your world are caught in the incessant tug-of-war that is the struggle of all the Ages. The events of your world are driven by forces you cannot see, perhaps have not even imagined until now.
Humans are bright and fascinating creatures. You are questing always for truth, pushing ever toward Science and Reason— noble pursuits, in themselves— but in doing so, you do yourselves a grave disservice. The greatest victory the Dark ever had was convincing you it is not real, and that your guardians are not either. It is no wonder you feel alone, and no wonder you suffer the struggles of the universe as if they were unique to you.
The Dark came into being many ages ago. Almost every culture in your world has stories to explain it. It doesn’t matter what terms you use or what names you give the players. In the end it is the same: the universe was once all Light and beauty, and there came one in the numbers of the Light’s high servants (the angels, if you prefer) who grew greedy and jealous. The very first seed of Darkness rooted in that heart, and the consequences of it tore the universe apart. The Great Light cast the Traitor out, and he fell. The fabric of everything tore as he plunged downward, as far from the Light as it is possible to be. Earth used to be the root of the universe, the base of all things, but when the Great Dark fell, a hole was pierced through the fabric of being, and into the subsequent pit oozed all the Dark things from the in-between spaces, things that formed from the wreckage, like the smoke and ash after a fire.
The Great Light knew it was not over. Your world was and is in grave danger, for you are the root, and under the surface, in that deep chasm made ages ago, the Darkness writhes and reaches, scrabbling ever upward, seeking a hold to begin its climb back up to take the Light for itself, and in doing so, destroy it.
That is why were made, the spirits. We are the guardians of earthly life, the sons of Light, the soldiers in an ancient war. Each of us has our part to play to keep the Darkness from taking hold. With each passing year, it grows harder because the further you drift into thinking you are alone, the closer you drift to the Dark, and there become easy prey.
I am one of the Luminari, the highest class of spirits outside of Heaven. I am stronger than most other spirits. I can make myself known to my vessel, and through her, reach you. Most spirits are not so lucky, unable to make conscious contact with their vessels. I and the other Luminari are the guardians of the Library, the prize and pride of the Light, and the bastion of hope for all things. The Library contains all the knowledge of the universe. With it, we wage war on the Darkness, and in doing so, guide and protect mankind.
This is the story of one, of Alastair Luminor, and his family— my family. We are an alkesh— family not by blood, but by fate, bound together by love and unified purpose. I am the aldar, the leader of this family, this force against Darkness, and by reading these words, by believing in me, you will help us.