between good and evil, humans don’t stand a chance—not on their own.
every living soul, there is a Firn: a spirit assigned to guide and defend
humans from demonic beings like the Aropfain. But earning a place in the fight
is a process that requires several lifetimes—of service, experience, and
from her most recent life as an Ancient Roman martyr, Anaya is only one step
away from achieving that goal. And if she succeeds, she might become the Firn
with the most important mission: guiding the human that will either save—or end—the
with the notoriously difficult Jordin, her chances of success suddenly start to
slip. Because Jordin isn’t like other souls. He’s strong, volatile—and a prime
target for the Aropfain. And he almost immediately falls for an Aropfain ploy
that could not only jeopardize his chances of becoming a Firn, but also
endanger the entire world.
is the only one who can save him. But will she succeed? Or will she fail—and
take the world down with her?
my soul shakes off its physical limitations in favor of a higher vibration.
Instead of centurions and weeping family, I’m now surrounded by snowy white
noise and quiet.
I was only twelve.
view before me, then straightens with a blithe sort of smile. “Welcome back,”
he says in an excessively soothing tone. He wears glasses I know he doesn’t
need, and behind them, his unearthly blue eyes trace my face, looking for signs
Advokat. Here to help me adjust to the trauma of crossing over from life to
In life, they were brown, but here in death I’ve always imagined others see me
with crystal blue. I guess it would depend on how much they like me. Appearance
is entirely based on impression here. We see what we feel. Feelings are real,
vision an illusion.
he’d been here for any length of time, he wouldn’t be using the sappy voice
they put on for the newer souls. The ones who don’t understand how it works.
He’d know that I’m something of a regular in the transition between life and
death—that I’ve lost count of how many of these interviews I’ve had to sit
through. I’m sure I know the process better than he does.
to break through the fog of earthly business still clouding my mind. I don’t
remember him. And I can see that he doesn’t know me.
book. I groan.
was one of anxiety and not disdain. “Try not to panic.”
instead. I understand it’s his job to help me recover from the shock of death,
but honestly, I’m fine. So I died— so what? There are many things worse than
death, and one of them, if anyone ever bothered to ask me, is living. I’m
actually thrilled to be back here—and I don’t need an Advokat to counsel me
through the transition.
attend to, even higher vibrations to achieve. I’m so close now, and he’s the
only thing standing in my way.
recognize me and give me an opportunity to walk away from this unnecessary
echoes through the white expanse around us. Clearly, all other souls are
keeping their distance to allow me to transition without any added shock. Or—I
narrow my eyes at the Advokat—he’s followed protocol by requesting they give us
nothing but static white. But I smile, and my shoulders relax—because this is
my true home.
Agnes. In this life, anyway.
them all, just one feels like home.
memory. “Anaya.” My first word after death. The truest word I know.
write anything down, and I know about that, too. The answers are in his mind,
ready when he needs them, downloaded into his head from the source of all truth
on the highest plane of vibration there is: El Olam, our master and creator. He
sits so high none of us can reach him, above laws and structure. The world is
as he makes it, and we are simply stewards of his creation, here to serve.
becoming a defender of creation. I’ll become a Firn.
interrupts my thoughts with yet another question. “Good. And do you know where
fourth century. I rejected a boy, and he sold me out as a Christian. It took
them forever to kill me—first with shame, then with flames. But all I gave them
was a blank stare through the numbness. They couldn’t shame me. I wouldn’t burn
when they strung me to the stake and lit the fire—even the flames knew not to
touch me. But the Roman officer’s sword through my throat did the trick in the
end. I was gone before I felt anything. So I guess the joke’s on them. There
was darkness, then a burst of light—
free here. Because no one can shame or kill the dead. I’ll be safe as long as I
world.” And I have no intention of ever living again.
stiffens. He swallows and his eyes shake as he looks me over for a second time,
now scanning for any truths beneath the surface, anything I’m hiding from him.
If souls could sweat, he’d be a mess as he prepares for the most important
question of the interview.
answers from here on out will decide my final destination.
the nerves. I will be his enemy if I answer poorly, but he has to remain
objective. He’s a professional, after all, and he doesn’t know whose side I’m
on yet—what changes this most recent lifetime might have made in me.
they should. Martyrs go into life as warriors for El Olam’s cause … but don’t
always return feeling their suffering was justified. Some turn against him and
defect to the one who seeks to depose him.
Have I changed my mind about who to serve? And how dangerous does that make me
to the fragile balance of the world? That’s what the Advokat needs to find out.
But which is which? Is El Olam good … or is he evil? Are Narn’s plans for less
service to living souls and more dominion over them more appealing? Are they
justified? No soul chooses evil.
hunched shoulders. If he’s new—and he wants to stay—he’ll need a stiffer a
spine than he’s got now. I might as well be the one to give it to him.
little less threatening.
neck as he braces for my response to his final question.
behind his bright blue eyes. He doesn’t want any trouble, but his other hand
twitches at his side, ready to summon the support of a slightly higher
power—just in case I came back tainted.
and want to serve the one trying to turn it upside down.
enough to bore me. I have business to attend to, and honestly, after fifty
lifetimes, a soul should be able to just skip this process. “I chose El Olam
lifetimes ago. I’m bound to be a Firn. This was my last run.”
Narn, the Advokat and I would have had a few issues. Because it would have
meant I was a soul with eyes toward flipping the script, turning the world
upside down—force living souls to do as we say, and ruling over them as gods.
second-highest authorities—a Malekh, El Olam’s archangels—to deal with me. And
it wouldn’t have been pleasant. The Malekh don’t like jokes. Most of them,
back of his neck to clutch his chest, steadying the phantom sensation of a
seniority if you can’t mess with the rookies?
accelerating as they are.” I perk up at that.
my speed—though it gives me less time to meet the final criteria for joining
the Firns’ ranks. “The living souls need all the protection we can give them,”
the Firns stand and serve El Olam. Without Firns to guide living souls and
protect them from temptation and harm, Narn would flip the script. And humans
would walk right into their own slavery.
if I impress the Malekh and El Olam enough in my next job as a soul collector,
then I’ll become a Firn, and one day I’ll be even more than that. If I perform
well enough, I’ll be chosen as the Firn who oversees El Olam’s plan to defeat
Narn once and for all. It has to be one of us, so it might as well be me. And I
won’t stop until I see it happen.
to you. I hope you make the cut.”
heard of me, then. I may not be a Firn yet, but I have made a name for myself
as the one to watch for earning the coveted position in El Olam’s plan.
enough to knock him off balance. “But I really don’t need luck.”
KristaLyn is the internationally
published author of seven books and one short story, including the upcoming
Prelude of the Reyn Gayst series releasing in 2018 from Glass House Press. She
graduated in 2011 from Susquehanna University with a degree in English
Literature and began traditionally publishing her novels the next year.
KristaLyn is also a certified health and life coach and enjoys infusing her
stories with motivational themes andcharacters from all walks of life.