Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ssh... secret sneaky peek.

I've been having a Twitter conversation about titles, so I'm *officially* posting this here as a continuation of that conversation- but I'm also posting here because I thought some of you would enjoy it.

Disclaimer: This is a draft of a novel in the middle of revision.  The final version may vary significantly.

Without further ado, the Prologue from Mancer 2: Of the Divine.  Yes, it deliberately parallels the prologue from Mancer 1: Of the Abyss, which I highly recommend reading before Of the Divine (which won't be out until this fall anyway):


             The ocean that covered most of the Numen’s first level was clear and sweet. It lapped against diamond sand where tiny long-legged birds spread wings the color of honey as they raced back and forth, plucking drifting seeds from the air. The Numini—those perfect, beautiful sentinels who ruled the divine realm by might and decree—watched the birds’ antics with gentle amusement.
              One Numini looked past the white sands and crystal waters below to a realm where the ocean was cold and tasted of salt, where verdant green cascaded across rich earth, and where the mortal creatures lived.
              Soon, she thought. She was one of the three arbiters who ruled the Numen, second only to the high justice of her kind.
              “I am concerned about the Abyssi,” remarked one of her brothers, a lesser judge. “We have worked for generations to nurture these lines of power, and now they could all be—”
              “Have faith,” the arbiter assured him.  “Abyssi scrabble at the mortal realm like dogs at a closed door.  They always have.  They lack the wisdom or discipline to do more than that.”
              “But do the mortals have the wisdom to keep the door closed?” the judge challenged.
              “Faith,” the arbiter said again.  This time it was a clear chastisement.
She knew their children in the mortal world were defenseless. Humans had minds barely capable of comprehending their own existence, and as a consequence lived short and brutal lives. They needed their divine guardians to guide and nurture them.  The Abyssi—vicious, mindless beasts of the infernal realm—could fight for sovereignty all they wanted.  In the end, it wouldn’t matter.
In the mortal realm, all things served the divine.


  1. So, I know you've been lamenting a lack of gender neutral pronouns, and to that end, maybe do something more neutral than "brothers"? If the Numen aren't gendered, maybe reference them all as female? Or is there a reason this one gets "she" and the other is "brother"?

    Also, SO EXCITED FOR MANCER 2! *end fangirl*

  2. When they manifest physically, they can choose their form, so I've gone with the pronoun that matches their current form's gender presentation.

    Numini don't breed the way humans breed, so any biological definition of sex goes right out the window, and gender is kind of a non-starter- it's meaningless among them. That's a thing humans have. That said, it doesn't make sense for the Numini to have a drawn-out discussion about using gender-neutral pronouns among themselves (I have a civilization developed in another book, Ilban, which has multiple gender-neutral pronouns and a very different view of gender from the socially conservative Kavet) because it's not a concept they recognize. They have preferred forms and less preferred forms.

    The Numini here recognized as "she" could manifest as male if she wanted to, and it would not be disturbing to her to be perceived as male, because she has no gender identity. If she manifested to an individual from Ilban, she might manifest without clear sex characteristics, matching that individual's concept of twim instead of male or female.

  3. Minor spoiler, in Mancer 3 there's an entire conversation as the characters realize one person has been using "he" and someone else has been using "she" to refer to the same Numini, each based on what that person saw.