Sunday Snippets: Los Nefilim--Solomon Dying, Guillermo Awakening

I ran a newsletter poll that asked if people would like to read more Los Nefilim snippets and vignettes, and the answer was a resounding yes. After thinking about it a bit, I decided to begin a new, somewhat irregular series here at the blog called Sunday Snippets. This is where I will feature cut scenes and backstory on Los Nefilim as my time allows. 

For those of you who are following Los Nefilim, you know that although they have very long lives, the Nefilim do die, but they reincarnate with the memories of their previous lives intact. Unlike Guillermo and Miquel, Diago has blocked many of his past-life memories due to the traumatic nature of those lives.

Even though Guillermo's past lives were also filled with pain, he prides himself on his ability to remember. He believes memories are powerful tools that will help him avoid making the same errors he made in his firstborn life as Solomon.

From my viewpoint as an author, I want to keep things as simple as possible for my readers, so I have constrained Los Nefilim's primary memories to those of their firstborn lives and their current lives. That way, the reader can draw a direct correlation between who is who in addition to who WAS who.

In their firstborn lives:

  • Guillermo was Solomon;
  • Diago was Asaph; and
  • Miquel was Benaiah.

Solomon and Asaph were once very close friends.

Below is a cut scene from a different work. In this scene, Solomon is dying and reawakens as Guillermo:

Solomon Dying, Guillermo Awakening

In the garden beyond my window, a night bird cried a sublime song while in the distance, a guard called the watch. Otherwise, the palace slept as I, Solomon, third King of all Israel, lay dying with only an angel at my side.

She was a small creature, this angel of mine who cradled my hand, her wings folded demurely at her back. When I was a young man, the tip of her head barely reached my collarbone. Now she towered over my deathbed. She seemed larger somehow, but her greater size was merely an illusion amplified by the darkness and my fear of the dark.

Three pair of black wings descended down her back. The first set sprang from her shoulder blades. Narrow and edged in silver, these small wings shielded her face and stabilized her descent when she flew down from the heavens. The middle pair was by far the largest and gave her the ability to soar through the firmaments. The third protruded from the small of her back—wings not for flying but made narrow like the first. She once confided that these she used like a ship’s rudder to steer her passage through the stars.

The lamplight sent shades of purple shimmering through her feathers. Her gaze shined with preternatural radiance, blue as the twilight and shot through with strands of gold, like twin orbs of lapis lazuli, without pupils, without whites. During our time together, I learned to read her moods by the movement of those ribbons of gold—now the bands of yellow swirled languidly through the indigo. She was at peace.

Her name was Binah; she was one of the Malakhim, the Messenger angels that served the Principalities, and she was my mother. The flames of her essence fired my soul and made me Nephil—a creature both mortal and spirit. In my youth, I was the greatest of the Nephilim, destined to be their king. I possessed angelic powers and commanded the beasts of the field and sky. None equaled me in strength or prowess. Those days were no more. My mortal body no longer sustained my ability to stand. My blood ran sluggish in my veins.

Everything dies, even the angels.

A moth extinguished the light of one of my lamps, and I detected a disembodied face in the smoke. The billowing cloud formed a bulbous head with a large round mouth that extended to the nostrils. Wisps of smoke curled into fangs. A breeze caught the flames of another lamp and gave the image eyes of fire.

Ashmedai the Daimon King growled my name.

My heart beat a staccato rhythm in spite of the braziers and lamps that burned back the night. Sweat dampened my mustache, and I licked my lips with a dry tongue. “Ashmedai has come for me.”

Binah’s fingers tightened around my hand. “Hush,” she said. “You sealed him from the mortal realm. You and Asaph and Benaiah. Your voices joined as one, and you drove your spell into the daimon’s heart. Don’t you remember?”

The memory sat in my mind like a stone. That day of grief when we defeated Ashmedai was the last time we stood together, joined as one. Afterwards, we walked away from one another forever. We thought ourselves gods, but our mortal passions reduced us to men.

The daimon’s visage disappeared, chased away by the haunted memory of my friends. Even in death, they protected me.

My lungs paused longer between each breath and I did not fight, nor did I ring for my servants or physicians. Had they come, my angel would have vanished and I wanted her by my side in my final hour.

She stroked my thinning hair. “Don’t be afraid, Ithiel.”

“I am Solomon,” I said, though the effort wearied me.

She smiled a smile both sad and sweet. “That is but a common name, one that will not be heard among the many.” Those were the first words we spoke to one another, this comforting game of names. “You are forever Ithiel to me.”

Ithiel was my heart-name, a secret name, a name of intimacy and brotherhood. Asaph and Benaiah had also called me Ithiel until I destroyed our friendship. I missed Asaph the most. Although our words turned bitter toward one another in the end, I loved him still. My heart ached for the nights we sat and talked until the dawn erased the stars from the heavens. He had reached out to me one final time before he died, but I had abandoned him to die alone and afraid. With my own death before me, I regretted my treatment of him even more.

Regrets crept around my deathbed, and no amount of light would drive them away.

“Why do you weep?”

My hand trembled beneath hers. I wanted to close my eyes, but the darkness terrified me, for I knew the names and properties of those daimons that populated the numinous realms. And they knew mine. “They plague me.”

“I will protect you.” Her black hair tickled my face as she leaned over me. She spread her great dark wings to shield me. “Now hush.” She hummed a lullaby. “Remember your vow and sleep.”

Lost in the magic of her music, I slept and did not waken, not as Solomon. I let the past drift to ashes except in my dreams where night terrors haunted me ...

I am remembering ...

In my firstborn life, I was Solomon, third King of all Israel; called Jedidiah by Nathan the prophet, called Ithiel by those closest to my heart. For over four hundred years, I kept my promise and reincarnated as common men. As my soul slipped from one incarnation into another, my names faded behind me like whispers in the dark. Only two lives mattered—my firstborn and my current.

In 1348, an angel called Binah passed her hand over my eyes, and I awakened to my memories.

My name is Guillermo Ramírez.

These are my words …