Iron Angels – Snippet 01
By Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble
Samyaza was not oblivious to the swelling cincture. No one of his nature could be, not even one who had been shrouded with a name in the hell world. But for the moment, he ignored the danger. The bordure was distant; the marges and purls of the bloating monstrosity still only cirrose. Long before the sprues could lay down their strakes and begin gyving the Nephilim within their reach, he would have phaged again. When he returned, his armature and plexus would blazon. His selve would spume; his labrum, coil into a fearsome torse.
The sprues would flichter away, searching for Nephilim without name or gender. Weak ones, unlike he.
For Samyaza was the greatest and mightiest of them all. Only Armaros neared him in size — but his irresolution made him mascle. Armaros was a mere tressure, almost beneath notice. His luster was vitreous and gyrose where Samyaza’s was fusil and true.
Finally, Samyaza spotted what he had been seeking. A raddling fess that indicated a flue forming in the orle. He swept toward it, his filigree extending and his sensilla straining to detect the apertures in the weave.
The moment, now, yes! He swept through the mesh, lacing the perils with the ease of experience.
Armaros bided while the passagers grabbled the courses and flues of the orleweave. They could not be rushed, being barely more than branchers — and haggards all, of course. There was no chance of harnessing them until they were gendered and named by lorraine heralds in the hell world.
In the distance — great distance; care had to be taken — he averred Samyaza luffing the flues of passage. Envy swelled; roiled; rankled. The slive had grown monstrously great, purpure-swollen and mighty. Yet so dull a sensorium! Duller, it seemed, with each maunch and lappet.
But there was no chance of reducing the pheon now. Not while he was alert and gule-braced. So Armaros returned to his creance.
For an instant, as Samyaza made the passage into the hell world, he was almost overwhelmed by the gule beyond. So much! So much! Enough power here to challenge the cincture itself and drive back its bourns, could he engulf the moictier — or even a tell fractus.
But there was risk also, greater than the dangers of the traverse between the worlds. So great was the gule, and so much of it threaded, sutured or even foamed. The cacophony was half-maddening; if he lost clear sense of the verges, he could easily lose his way — perhaps never to find the skein of return.
And there was worse still. In places — here, there, it was hard to detect surely; the sensorium beset by treachery on all sides — the gule was laced with impurities. All of those deborted estates were a source of flurry and confusion; and some were deadly. Sable and argent both.
Samyaza extended his estoile, searching for the alleluia. Difficult, so difficult! The lorraines dwelt in the most roiling guleries, for reasons unknown. There chaos, there confusion — there peril and plight. But with the tumult came the great savors also. The most purpure gule, the most increscent fleurs. Naiant and hauriant; dulia in full measure.
He sensed the heralds. Weak, their clarions, but still certain. Again, the risk had justified itself. Where there were lorraine heralds, there was sure to be the purest and most potent gule as well. Untainted; unmixed; tierce-ready; immortal-rich.
He swept down, ready — but! The heralds flared! The oblation…
He searched, probed. But there was a great shaking of his sensorium. Vast sommes of gule were passant nearby. Neither dangerous nor ragule, though not gustace either; but so heltered! Disarray, dentilly and dancetty jumbled, everything rayonne and nebuly.
He could find nothing in this shimmery. And might lose too much of his filigree if he remained. Then — lost, adrift in the hell world! Dismay, sure to come; disaster…
Might even be possible.
But the tumult had weakened him. The confusion and skelter, vouchsafed his resolution and wauched his will.
Frantic now, he scanned and pulsed, probed and searched. His whittle swept past mound after mound of gule — but it was inert, hollow, useless. With no lorraines feak or creance, his estoile was growing helminth and addorsed.
But there! Purpure! The unmistakable fume of a saltire of the hell world!
Samyaza engulfed it. An instant for the tierce. Then, the feast.
For a moment, he wondered if the saltire felt dismay, or fear, or despair. But the moment was passing. He was the greatest of the Nephilim. He cared nothing for the girdle of lesser modes and entelechs.