Ich hatte vor einer Weile mal Steampunk mit Engeln versprochen und damit offenbar unter den wenigen Lesern meiner Geschichten eine gewisse Vorfreude ausgelöst. Das hat mich natürlich gefreut, und weil mir irgendwie gerade danach ist, dachte ich, ich biete schon mal eine kleine Vorschau auf das, was da kommt.
Denkt euch das Ganze am besten wirklich wie einen dieser Trailer für Filme, die Monate vor deren Veröffentlichung erscheinen. Der Zusammenhang mit der eigentlichen Geschichte, wie sie nachher im fertigen Zustand aussieht, steht noch nicht fest, und das ist auch nicht der Anfang eines neuen Fortsetzungsromans. Es kann noch Jahre dauern, bis ihr das nächste Mal wieder was von der Sache hört. Ein bisschen wie Duke Nukem Forever vielleicht. Ja, das ist gut. Denkt einfach an den ersten Trailer zu Duke Nukem Forever 1997 oder wann das war.
Der einzige große Unterschied zu einem Trailer ist, dass ihr hier natürlich keine Montage aus kleinen Schnipseln mit den besten Gags und Actionszenen aus der ganzen Story bekommt, sondern einfach nur eine Szene. Aber eine gute, falls meine Meinung da irgendwas zählt. Ach so, und seid bitte nicht enttäuscht, dass das mit dem Steampunk in dieser Szene noch nicht so rüberkommt. Ich hoffe, dass das im Verlauf noch besser wird. Aber da passte es einfach nicht hin.
Ich weiß nicht, wann und ob Angelic Duties hier im Blog erscheinen wird. Aber ich weiß immerhin schon, dass es auf Englisch sein wird. War das zu viel Vorrede? Jetzt geht’s jedenfalls los.
Angelic Duties: A trailer. More or less.
The deep orange rays of the dying sun painted dramatic shadows on the rocky façade of the cliff as seabirds stood in the air or circled, waiting for their prey to show.
The usually calming murmur of the waves breaking on the stone had taken on a subtly menacing edge while Profound Distress contemplated the drop before her. It was more than a hundred Wheels, and she knew that the water would be as sure to kill her as the rocks from this height.
There was no wind at all. Not even a slight breeze. A virtually impossible weather condition for the edge of a cliff facing the ocean. That had to be a good sign, right?
She thought about her past. About the father who had enjoyed beating her even more than he had enjoyed scolding her for killing her mother in birth. About her love to Kimbal which she had betrayed. About running away from home and looking for solace in Horat’s arms, knowing that he only regarded her as petty amusement. When she had argued with him about that, he had thrown her out immediately, as she had suspected he would. She wouldn’t have done it, hadn’t she been more than a little bit drunk that night.
She thought about waking up in some dark, stinking alley, robbed of the little she had possessed, hung over and disgraced, having lost the one friend she’d had left, and that not even a real one.
She thought about the future this world had in store for a woman like her.
She closed her eyes, gritted her teeth, balled her fists, and jumped, all the while hoping that the stories about having to be completely sincere were exaggerated.
Because Profound Distress did not want to die. In spite of the way life had treated her, she desperately, urgently, frantically, very, very badly did not want to die.
Because she still had hope. She had hope that had come with her calling, with her new name. Of course, she had not always been Profound Distress, but she hoped to go on being her for a while.
The relief she felt when she was softly caught in a warm, disembodied, vague embrace and her descent ceased, was a physical thing, a powerful blow overwhelming her and nearly making her faint from the surge of euphoria. Tears welled from her eyes, and a less romantic fluid started running down her nose while she held back and finally uttered a great, heart-wrenching sob. Thank you, she wanted to cry, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you, but she dared not.
The Angel certainly knew that she had not been completely sincere – Angels knew everything – but she did not have to rub it in, did she?
“You’re a strange one”, Lady Sorrow spoke, and Profound Distress stiffened immediately, her tears as forgotten as her euphoria. “I’ve been watching you.”
She was dumbfounded.
The Angels did not talk. They did not need to. They Descended, they Purified, they Ascended again. Divine Proclamations were delivered in writing. Angels did not talk.
Profound Distress had used the years of her apprenticeship to study the Angelic Lore meticulously, and she knew that there were several possible reasons for Lady Sorrow speaking.
If she herself was the only one spoken to, there were basically two:
The first one – which was Profound Distress’ favourite by far – was that she had gone mad and imagined the Angel’s voice.
The second one was that she had been Chosen. This was a dreadful possibility, because Chosen Ones showed a fierce tendency towards a very young, very violent death.
If Lady Sorrow had begun talking to all clerics, there were also mainly two possibilities:
The first one was that a great change was imminent. According to the Chronicles, Angels had started talking to Clerics before the two Transcendent Wars, before the Spiritual Revolution and before the larger invasions from outside the Concord. This was also a very bad possibility, because it meant violent death for not just her, but at least thousands.
The second one – in its own way maybe the worst of all possibilities – was that the Angel had gone mad.
Messenger of the Light had allegedly become quite talkative before slaughtering the entire Hermitage of III Fulminata eight hundred years ago, as had Terminus before killing every single Cleric in IX Perdido in the year 6897, although it was unclear who might have done the original alleging. Maybe there had been time enough for Clerics to tell other people about it before the Angels had begun their Cleansing.
III Fulminata had recovered and was now back to its fearsome vigor. Messenger of the Light seemed to have returned to sanity, or satisfied with the results of Her Purification.
IX Perdido was still vacant, a ghost Hermitage and a dire warning to all that the wrath of Heaven did not even spare Its sworn servants.
Perdido would almost certainly be rekindled, too, after some time had passed. But no one dared testing Terminus’ mood a mere twenty years after the cleansing.
So Profound Distress was more than shocked to hear Lady Sorrow’s voice while she was being lifted back to the edge of the cliff, and she dared not, could not, did not answer, until the Angel’s Presence had evaporated.
There she stood, a newly Beatified Cleric of the Hermitage II Lacrimosa, her dream fulfilled, having just been saved from certain death by an Angel, wondering if it would not be best to just jump again and have it all over with.