This book teaser comprises the entirety of Chapter 1 of my published book Diangeli Arising: The Immortal Twins
Chapter 1 ~ June 28, 2008 – Bronx Park, New York
Razakel and Lekazar lay on their stomachs on the warm green grass, in the afternoon summer sun. The blue sky was cloudless, except for a few wisps of white now and again that seemed to appear out of nowhere then disappear again. Both only wore jeans, their upper bodies and feet bare. Their long white hair hung loosely down pale backs and shoulders that showed no sign of tan or sunburn. Even though it was almost ninety degrees and humid they didn’t sweat, as heat and cold meant absolutely nothing to them. Most mistook the twins for normal human albinos, but they were not human.
Muscles rippled across their toned bodies as they stared intently at one another with their blood red eyes, right hands interlocked in an arm-wrestling match. In their left hands underneath the canopy of their right arms, they held between them a dragonfly, each holding a delicate wing. It was as much a test of control as it was of strength. Whoever could best the other in the arm-struggle without tearing the wing off their half of the struggling dragonfly would win. Neither boy cared about the suffering that the panicked dragonfly might be enduring or would certainly endure if one or both of its wings were torn off.
The boys appeared to be around seventeen years old but in fact were seventeen hundred years old or would be in a few days’ time. Each year that they aged in mental and physical appearance was equivalent to a hundred physical years lived. They would continue to age that way until they turned twenty-five–equivalent to twenty-five-hundred years lived, and then their physical aging would stop. They were immortal beings and would live on forever, and they were unique… or rather two of a kind, as they were identical twins.
There were others–Human Diangeli–with a similar nature such as theirs, but Razakel and Lekazar were the only pureblood Diangeli in existence. Human Diangeli also lived very long lives and were considered non-aging immortal, as they could be killed, though not easily. Also, Human Diangeli did not have all the strengths and abilities of the pureblood twins.
Razakel and Lekazar were the offspring of a demon and an angel, something that was strictly forbidden, at least by the angelic side. Though even the Demonic Council strongly frowned upon it, as it created an immortal being that could exist on the mortal plane but which could not be killed.
Their angelic mother, Ariela, would never have broken the rules had not the demon Belial tricked her. She had been a very young angel and naive and had fallen for the illusion Belial had placed over himself, feigning to be a handsome human male.
It was allowed to create Human Diangeli if a demon or angel wanted to mate with a human, as they were able to be removed if they proved too troublesome. And so Ariela did not think she was doing anything wrong when she fell for the seductive “demon in disguise”, but once she conceived the twins it was too late. Their immortality began at their moment of conception and they could not be aborted.
Regardless of her ignorance, she had been sternly chastised by the other angels for her weakness, as it was rare for an angel to even create a Human Diangeli because it was considered a sign of extreme lack of control to do so. Most Human Diangeli were created by demonkind, as Diangeli were vampiric in nature, which meant feeding off the blood of humans; something the angels did not look upon lightly. A Diangeli could survive off animal blood but it was not as fulfilling as human blood and those who did tend to be weaker than their human-fed brethren. So, angels, in general, saw no reason to risk creating a being who very likely would drink human blood.
Upon the twins’ birth, an argument ensued as to whom should raise them. Some argued that they should be split up and one be given to the angels and one to the demons, but the Demonic and Angelic Councils finally decided that the boys would be kept together and each parent would have an equal turn of raising them, each being given an equal chance of impressing their natures upon them. The boys would be raised for five hundred years with their mother and father each, and then released to fend for themselves when they turned ten years old–one thousand physical years.
The angels quickly claimed the first five hundred years, hoping to imprint their angelic nature firmly upon the boys before the demons got their hands on them. The boys, when turned over to their demonic father at age five, went through an extreme culture shock, to say the least, though they apparently endured the horrors of it, as far as any could tell. But it was still under debate as to whether the twins were good or evil, neither showing any particular inclination for one over the other, but instead acting according to their whims moment to moment.
So, the dragonfly’s life held no more meaning to the twins than any other life. For what is the life of a mortal being to someone who is not aligned with either good or evil and who will never know death themselves? However, their intent in this particular situation was not to inflict cruel torture upon the dragonfly, but merely to use it, in their test of strength and control; surely not a distinction the dragonfly would appreciate should either boy lose control but it was a distinction nonetheless.
Anyone observing the twins would have thought that they had not yet begun the contest–they were so still, where in fact, they had been at it for over an hour; their only movements indicative in the rippling of the muscles on their arms and backs and just the slightest movement of their left hands to make whatever minute adjustments were needed to keep the struggling dragonfly from tearing its own wings off in their grasp, in its effort to escape.
As always, Razakel’s and Lekazar’s senses were finely attuned to their environment. They were both acutely aware of the occasional light breeze that blew across their bodies and lightly rustled the leaves on nearby trees and bent the blades of grass in front of them. They knew there were a half-dozen humans in the near vicinity, not merely by sight but by smell and sound, not to mention their thoughts and emotions.
They could smell their sweat and their blood, their perfume or cologne. One of the humans had a new shirt on that had that new shirt smell, another had a dog who had just taken a dump and who was in dire need of a bath, as it apparently had a habit of rolling in the garbage.
They could smell the grass and the dirt beneath it and hear the noise of traffic and even smell the fumes from the cars, even though they were a fair distance from the street. The trees were filled with the sounds of chirping birds and they could hear a couple squirrels chasing each other through the branches, and the air was filled with the sound of insects.
The twins could hear the low voices of the humans talking, though neither was paying attention to any of their conversations. They could even hear what music one of them was playing on their iPod through headphones as he had jogged past.
But none of that distracted either boy. Their brains were able to handle the massive amount of input that they took in and still focus on the task at hand. And so, when someone suddenly appeared out of nowhere into their perimeter of senses, Lekazar and Razakel were both instantly aware of it. However, they were also aware, by the scent, that it was not human.
A slight look of annoyance crossed both boys’ faces as they recognized the smell, but they each quickly readjusted their expressions to one of neutrality. The twins were not afraid of their father, but they both naturally were wary, as any sane being would be around a demon, related or not.
Belial smiled as he approached the boys and stopped a few feet away, just admiring their beauty for a time. Razakel and Lekazar could feel the sphere of illusion the demon had around him as it came to envelop them both. Though the twins could still be seen, no one but the twins or someone with True Seeing could see or hear Belial.
“Ah, my beautiful, beautiful sons.” Belial crooned as he crouched down, intrigued by the boy’s competition. “Don’t let me interrupt your little contest.”
“A little late for that, Father,” Razakel said scoffing, though he maintained his focus.
“One would think that you are not happy to see me, Son.” Belial directed at Razakel in mock surprise and hurt.
Razakel did not answer. So, Belial watched awhile longer before speaking again. “You make the contest too easy. I could make it more interesting for you.” Grinning evilly, Belial suddenly produced a glowing red whip. He held it coiled in his hands as he remained crouching nearby and watched to see if there was any reaction on either of his sons’ faces. Though neither showed any outward sign or acknowledgment of it, Belial knew they were aware of it.
Razakel knew his father could not permanently harm them with the whip, though it would cause pain if he used it on either of them. They might be able to instantly regenerate, but they still were as vulnerable to pain as anyone else.
Belial smiled and stood up and suddenly cracked the whip in rapid succession near each of the boys’ backs, coming within a hair’s width of touching them. The movement was so fast, it almost appeared that he had struck both simultaneously. Razakel did not lose his focus when the whip came near his own back, but when he saw the strike toward his brother a nanosecond later, it triggered a natural defensive reaction for his brother’s safety and his right hand moved a fraction of an inch to the right.
Razakel and Lekazar both stood up simultaneously. The contest was over. Lekazar had won. Neither could ever expect to fully pin the other’s arm, as they were too evenly matched, so it had been set for the barest of movement.
They both released the dragonfly together. But a moment’s hope at escape was snatched away as Belial snatched it from the air and slowly tore each of its wings and legs off before carelessly tossing the body and dismembered appendages aside.
Their father’s actions did not faze either twin in the least, as in causing any empathy for the creature other than an awareness of the fear and pain that it had sent out before it finally died. However, Razakel glared at his father for ruining his and his brother’s arm-wrestling contest, his volatile temper dangerously rising. “We already had the rules set, Father. We did not need your interference!”
“Adjust your tone and temper, Son, before I adjust it for you.” Belial’s smile disappeared as he spoke sternly to Razakel and lifted the boy’s chin slightly with the once again coiled whip.
Even fighting together, their father still outmatched them in strength and skill. Belial was an ancient demon and Razakel and Lekazar were merely children to him. Though Razakel knew there would come a time after he and his brother had lived for many millennia themselves, that it would no longer be the case. One day, as a team, they would be stronger than their father. But that day had not yet come. So, prudence won over Razakel’s temper today, and he took several deep breaths to calm himself down.
Belial nodded in approval and smiled again as he ditched the whip, causing it to disappear with a flourish of his hand. “No need to get our tempers up today. I came by to ask what you boys wanted for your birthdays. You will be seventeen in a few days.”
Razakel looked over at his brother who so far had remained silent throughout the interaction, and then back at his father. He shrugged and asked in all earnestness. “What can you give us, Father, that we do not already have?”
Before his father answered, Razakel suddenly became aware of another being approaching, another he recognized the scent of. It was De’Marcus, a Human Diangeli that belonged to the New York Coven.
De’Marcus had lived nowhere near the years that Razakel and Lekazar had, though from all outward appearance he was merely a year younger, at sixteen. Human Diangeli did not age the same as purebloods, but aged year-for-year as humans did until their twenty-fifth birthday, at which time they stopped aging like a pureblood. De’Marcus was about three inches shorter than the twins, standing about five-foot-eight and he had dark, wavy hair that just brushed his collar.
De’Marcus slowed as he saw the twins interacting with what was very apparently a demon of some sort. With his special ability being True Seeing, De’Marcus was able to see through the illusion Belial had cast to hide his presence. He noticed that the demon stood about twelve feet tall and he wore only a codpiece, covered by a fringed leather loincloth, revealing a well-muscled body with dark red skin. Long black hair hung loosely about his shoulders, similar to the twins, only varying in color. And he had black horns on his head, a barbed tail, and large, black, bat-like wings. De’Marcus could see the demon’s vicious fangs as he grinned at the twins and his fingers and toes ended in black claws.
De’Marcus froze in place when Belial’s blood-red eyes suddenly turned toward him. The demon’s smile faded and a low growl emanated from his throat, as he realized that the Human Diangeli could see him. “Begone, half-breed!”
Razakel intervened and spoke authoritatively in De’Marcus’ mind, though never taking his eyes from his father. He already knew what De’Marcus wanted, having read his thoughts upon his approach. “Lekazar and I will be home later. We will discuss the matter when all are present. Gather the others and wait for us there.”
De’Marcus bowed his head slightly in response and out of respect for the twins who ruled their coven. He then cautiously backed away, not wanting to turn his back on the demon who was still eyeing him with a deadly stare.
A woman sitting on a bench a distance away watched the odd interaction, as she saw the albino twins facing away from her, and then the other dark-haired boy approach, stop a distance away from them, bow his head then slowly back away again for quite some distance. Though no apparent interaction had occurred between any of them.
De’Marcus finally turned on his heel after he felt he was a safe distance away, which really was merely a hopeful delusion on his part, had Belial decided to attack. He then hurried off to find the others of their coven to pass along the message.
The woman watched the dark-haired boy leave and then returned her attention to the unusual twins, wondering what they were staring at.
De’Marcus breathed a bit easier once he was a few blocks away. He had never seen a demon before and the sight was daunting. He hadn’t even had the privilege yet of seeing the twins in their true forms, though he had heard stories. Even though he himself most likely had a demon father, he had never met him. There was always the off-chance his father might have been an angel, but from what he understood, that was highly unlikely. Most of his kind who were born to human mothers, as was his own situation, were born of demon fathers and stolen from the hospital at birth and raised in a coven. Or many times they were just killed if no one wanted to take responsibility for them.
Every once in a while, you would read in the tabloids about a “vampire baby” being born, but other than the initial story, nothing ever came of it. No one really ever believed that sort of nonsense anyway, and the nearest “coven police” quickly intervening, took care of the matter before rumor turned into fact.
Human Diangeli born of demon females, however, typically were raised by their demonic mothers and were usually the most vicious of their kind and typically remained rogues who chose not to join a group.
The New York Coven De’Marcus had been raised in, serviced the entire eastern seaboard with the Diangeli and a couple vampires ranging the entire coastline from Florida up into Canada and as far west as Ohio for prey. De’Marcus had been told that there were other covens scattered throughout the world, but he had never visited another, having spent his entire life in New York, only ranging as far North as Vermont and south down to Virginia. He was still much too young to range too far from the safety of home, and even his trips out of New York were not yet done alone.
Once De’Marcus had left, Lekazar looked at his father with an expression of boredom and continued their conversation as if De’Marcus had never interrupted it. “You know we can get anything we want, Father. So, unless you have something important to say or something absolutely amazing that you can give us, I don’t see any reason to continue this conversation.”
Belial’s face turned less civil toward the twins at Lekazar’s response. “I see no need to be so outwardly rude toward me. If you cannot be creative and come up with a suitable gift you would like, I will make the choice and surprise you. It doesn’t matter that you can get something for yourself, a gift is something that is meant to be heartfelt.”
Belial grinned a sardonic sort of grin which made Razakel laugh, but then disdain crossed his face. “If you had a heart, I might believe that was your intent. I would think it is probably more of an effort to either impress us or bribe us. And since you have already impressed yourself upon us quite enough when we were younger, when we were forced to live with you, I highly doubt you have anything new to show us in that regard, that we have not already seen. So that leads me to believe it’s a bribe.”
“What do you want, Father?” Lekazar added with impatience.
“Such suspicious natures you both have. It’s really quite endearing and makes me proud.” Belial placed a hand over his heart in mock sentimentality. “However, I want nothing in return. It merely pleases me to see my sons nearing adulthood and I wish to reward you in some way.”
“How can we do anything but near adulthood over time. We are immortal and cannot die, it’s not like Razakel and I are at risk of not reaching adulthood at some point, that we would need to be rewarded for it.” Lekazar countered, rolling his eyes.
Belial chuckled but then shook his head, surrendering for the moment. “Very well. Suit yourselves. I’ll stop back in a few days on your birthdays with an offering. It will be up to you to accept or not. I won’t be offended either way.”
Both twins gave their father the finger and turned to leave. Belial scowled at the gesture and called out to them, “Oh, just one more thing, boys.” Belial then reproduced his whip and struck Lekazar a half-dozen times across the back with it before the boy could even turn his head to look back in response.
Razakel growled, fury crossing his face, as he launched himself at his father. Belial laughed and easily deflected his son’s attack and then struck him with the whip in a like manner as his brother before disappearing, only his parting words and laughter lingering. “Insolent pups!”
The wounds had already healed on both boys’ backs before their father had ever left, but the searing pain remained. Razakel took a few deep breaths to calm himself down again and then walked back over to his brother to see if he were okay.
He knew Lekazar wasn’t really hurt physically though he would be in similar pain. However, the pain from a mere six lashes would subside in less than an hour for them, and even now it was not debilitating to where they could not function. It would take much more than that to slow the twins down. Of course, Razakel knew his father knew that. The lashes had merely been meant to be a light reprimand for their insolence, no more than a slap across the face would have been to a normal human.
Razakel put a hand on Lekazar’s shoulder. “Come on, Brother. Forget about Father. Let’s head home. We got that little problem to address with the others.”
He then changed the subject. “You know, you would never have won that arm wrestling contest had not Father shown up and interfered. I admit I was weak and reacted when I saw the whip go toward your back. I know that it can’t hurt you any more than it can hurt me, but you know how I hate to see you suffer even the most minor of pain at that bastard’s hands, and you know how hard it is for me to control my temper. But that’s the only reason you won,” Razakel said laughing.
“Nah, you are weaker than I. You would have lost anyway,” Lekazar countered smirking. He then punched Razakel in the shoulder and added. “You were always the weaker one. It’s been that way for a few millennia now. And it will always be that way.”
“That shows how delusional you really are Lek, and how much you exaggerate. We’ve only been alive seventeen hundred years, less a few days, not a few millennia.” Razakel continued laughing and punched his brother back.
The woman on the bench continued to stare, trying to figure out what the heck the twins had been doing. They had acted so oddly; turning as if to leave, then one twitching, then the other turning back and rushing forward a few paces, falling slightly off balance, and then twitching in a similar manner, then the two walking off like normal again. She wondered if they might be on drugs or something.
Razakel noticed the woman on the bench staring at them and heard her thoughts. Grinning at his brother, he elbowed him in the ribs to get his attention and then rushed toward the woman, screaming like a mad banshee and for a fraction of a second changing his form to his natural form then quickly back to human.
The woman shrieked in terror and ran off, leaving her purse and book behind. The twins roared with laughter as Razakel casually went through the woman’s purse. It wasn’t like he needed anything from it, but he was bored and curious what she had on her.
Razakel tossed his brother a tampon. “For when you’re on the rag, Brother.”
“You’re the little pussy between us, so you keep it.” Lekazar laughed, knocking the tampon back toward his brother who simply let it drop to the ground after letting it bounce off of him.
Razakel pocketed an iPod, a few music discs, and the cash and then tossed the rest aside. He then looked at the worn book–The Stand, by Stephen King. He had already read it years ago, so he left it and caught up with his brother who had started walking again.
Razakel put a brotherly arm around Lekazar’s shoulder as they walked along, musing how much he had enjoyed their little arm wrestling competition, up until the time their father had shown up. Lekazar looked over and smiled at his brother and put an arm around his shoulder in turn.
As long as Razakel could remember, he and Lekazar had been competitive, but in a fun-loving way, never petty. But he knew in most part, that had to do with the fact that they had begun their lives with their mother and the angels. Had it been otherwise, they most likely would have been extremely vicious and competitive with each other. But by the time their father had gotten a hold of them, their love for one another and brotherly bond was too strong to be broken.
Their mother taking notice of their competitiveness early on had once told them that they had both tried to come out of her womb at the same time. But when they had asked which had really been first, she had merely smiled and said that they were equal in everything and had emerged together, embracing one another. Neither twin had ever really been sure if she had been kidding or not as Ariela hid her thoughts from them on the matter. But if she had been joking, she never let on which one might have been born first.
As he and his brother walked along, Razakel’s thoughts went to the time they had spent with their mother. It had been a very nurturing and happy time for them. They had spent five hundred years with Ariela and the angels, spending time both on earth and in the angelic plane. Though the twins could not travel on their own to the angelic or demonic planes, they could be brought there by an angel or demon. Their realm was here on the mortal plane, and here they were gods.
It took a pureblood much longer to develop than a Human Diangeli due to the complexity of a brain that allowed them to develop the sensory integration that was required to process the massive amounts of information they were constantly bombarded with. It also allowed them time for the full development of unique internal organs that supported their many skills and abilities. So, even though they had lived five hundred years, their physical stature and mentality, at the time they were handed over into their father’s care, were only that of a five-year-old.
Everything changed then for Razakel and Lekazar. The twins never having once experienced more than a mild reprimand from their mother or the angels, were suddenly subjected to pain and torture that was unimaginable. However, they quickly adapted as children do, and the twins took their new education in stride. Though they by far never developed any loving feelings for their father, as they had for their mother. Razakel and Lekazar both hated their father, though they tried to maintain an air of indifference around him. They did not outright fear him anymore, but both had a natural wariness for a being that could potentially, and often did, cause them pain.
By the time the twins were released into the mortal world to fend for themselves at ten years old, one thousand years from their birth, Razakel and Lekazar had decided that good and evil, right and wrong, were ideologies that applied to mortals or were the concern of angelic and demonic beings that were the physical manifestation of such. The twins realized that it changed absolutely nothing if they killed with mercy or with cruelty. The end result was always the same. They were fed–the mortals died. Even if they were to feed and not kill, eventually the mortal would die at some point, either from old age or some other tragedy. The burden of good and evil lay on mortals’ shoulders, not theirs.
Neither twin had a promised afterlife of reward or punishment based on whether they were good or evil that they needed to concern themselves with. They were immortal. They were gods whom others should base their ideologies upon. They were not subject to such mundane matters themselves, or with death and afterlives. They would exist until the end of time itself. As long as the mortal plane existed in some form or another, they would exist as well.