The House of Scales by Gavin Neale

Noah slept fitfully in his cot; the pain from his flogging meant that every small movement sent a wave of pain across his back and woke him again.

“Get up you worthless lumps of flesh,” shouted Riccard, dragging the dormitory from their beds, “Time for prayers and then let’s see if you can amass some worth today.”

Noah eased himself out of the cot, muttering a prayer to the old Gods before moving with the rest of the children to the main hall. They lined up in the neat rows that mattered so much to Pastor Cromwell and recited the morning prayer, heads bowed as the pastor watched from the corner.

“All boys between ten and thirteen are to remain in the hall,” announced Riccard, “The rest of you get on with your chores. Get to it!”

Noah stood amongst the confusion as boys debated or guessed their age but eventually a group of thirty or so stood in broken lines spread across the tiled floor. No one dared to look around, but Noah could guess what was being thought, the next slave market wasn’t for another two weeks, so what was going on?

“Gather round,” said Riccard with a sneer. “You’ll be about your chores quick enough, but sometime this morning the visitor bell will ring thrice and you’d better come running. We have an important servant of the Lord coming, so make sure you’re smart about your arrival. It wouldn’t do to upset this man.”

“Yes, sir.” they all replied, Riccard expected a quick response.

“Now get about your chores.”

Noah and the boys began to leave the room when a voice called out, “Noah the flogged, come here.”

Pastor Cromwell was a stiff man who liked to think his soul was as pristine as his clothing. He watched very carefully as the boy approached from across the room. It took all of Noah’s concentration to walk slowly and keep the anger off his face.

“Have you learnt your lesson Noah?” the pastor asked coolly.

“God willing, Father,” replied Noah dutifully, staring at the pastor’s feet.

“Just remember, He is watching you even more carefully that I am Noah. Now to your chores, idle hands turn works for Chaos.”

The factory floor was an assault on the senses that still unsettled Noah every time he entered. The machines banged and rattled, demanding their ministrations as operators spun and weaved whilst children scampered in attendance. Thankfully it was still cool, but that would soon change as the day wore on. It would be no surprise if the heat slowed someone until they were caught by a belt, or worse. The last death was still engraved on Noah’s memory. The girl had been no more than seven and he was the only one prepared to crawl to her when she had been impaled. He’d applied pressure to the wound whilst the supervisor had arranged for the men to dismantle a path to her, but they would not damage the machine to allow her proper removal. He had warned them, but they had pulled her off without a care and made him carry the bloody body away.

“You’re late Noah. Want another whipping?”

“Sorry,” Noah said to the supervisor, “Pastor Cromwell wanted to speak to me.”

“I’ll check that. Now get to work. You’ll be on number three today; it’s filthy and needs greasing as well.”

Noah hated greasing the machines. The pig fat left him stinking for days and it was a dangerous dance to grease moving parts and keep your fingers intact. It was a job given to the most dexterous and those who needed punishment, even though crushed hands would affect their value in the slave market.

Noah grabbed a pot of grease and made his way to number three wondering why it had not been cleaned properly last night. The blood stains answered that question and he knew that the extra cleaning would be his at the end of the day. He began the greasing and was soon lost in the repetitive work; paying no attention to anything other than the machine. He was still working his way round when the loud ringing of the visitor’s bell sounded. Thankfully Noah was bent over, his rags stuck to his back by the blood weeping from his wounds when the first bell sounded so there was no danger to his limbs. He returned the pot of grease to stores and made his way back to the main hall.

***

Master Scales walked down the crowded street, peering out from under his ceremonial cowl. Even in these busy streets people managed to avoid coming into close contact with the grey clad figure that walked amongst them. Fear of the Fall would do that for you. A sergeant of the militia knocked a delivery boy into the street in his haste to avoid the Master and it was sheer luck that the boy managed to avoid getting run over by a passing hansom cab. Collecting the tributes from the workhouse was looked upon as a waste of time by the other Masters, but Scales saw it as a chance to get a first look at this year’s tithe, even if the chances of there being someone worthwhile were limited. They would have to spend the next few months returning the boys to health, and he did not understand of what benefit it was to Sir Richmond’s business to weaken his free labour so. Hiding behind their associated debt was no excuse as far as he was concerned, but then he was a simple member of the Brotherhood of the Fallen. He had achieved the title of Master through the mastery of his chosen path, but such worldly matters as economics were beyond his cloistered experience.

Master Scales reached the workhouse and paused before the imposing building, taking a lungful of the dirty city air before reaching up and knocking. The shiny black door was opened by a uniformed youth whose perfumed scent overwhelmed even the stench of the city.

“Pastor Cromwell is expecting you, Brother,” he said quietly. “If you would follow me.”

Master Scales grunted his agreement as he stepped through the door, which was promptly shut behind him with an echoing thud. The entrance hall had been originally designed to impress with its high vaulted ceiling and wood panelling, but the original colour scheme and gilding had been buried in layers of white paint. The Master followed the slaver’s servant across the hallway to the entrance of the mail hall. They entered to find three rows of boys standing neatly in front of Riccard and Pastor Cromwell.

Master Scales walked over to the children, making a point of ignoring the adults, and started to inspect them. Most were in reasonable condition considering the amount of food they were getting, but his attention was grabbed as he walked behind a particularly scrawny boy with dishevelled black hair, striking green eyes and thin lips that were set in a carefully neutral expression. He wandered casually back to the child, saw the way their filthy shirt was stuck to their back and plucked at the collar with his thumbs, partially revealing the weeping wounds beneath.

“What’s your name boy?”

The boy looked to Pastor Cromwell for approval before responding, “Noah, Sir.”

“And what earned you a flogging before you’re of age Noah?”

“He was praying to the old gods,” interrupted the pastor, “He’d have brought demons amongst us.’

“Thank you, Pastor, but I asked the boy,” replied Master Scales, glaring at the man before returning his attention to Noah, “You were taken from one of the lost villages?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I see,” said Master Scales, “I am ready, Pastor Cromwell”

“When the gentleman lays his hand on your shoulder, you will line up over there in two rows of five,” said Riccard with a sneer, “I hope you enjoy your work with the Fallen.”

There were gasps at these words but there were others, who like Noah were not from the city, that remained silent and watched as the strange man walked amongst the lines laying a hand like a burden on each child. Noah counted each selection hoping to feel a hand on his shoulder, not knowing what would await him, but eager to escape the ministrations of Pastor Cromwell and the waking hell that was the workhouse. However, he dare not try to catch the master’s attention in case he angered Pastor Cromwell and was left behind. Already seven had been selected and then he felt a hand on his shoulder. Noah looked round stunned to find the strange man hidden amongst his grey cowl stood behind him with a stern look on his face. He walked across the room in a dream as the master selected the final pair of boys. When the boys were lined up in pairs, Master Scales walked to the head of the line and spoke the ritual words whilst staring at their faces.

“The Brotherhood of the Fallen thanks you for your tribute, may these children grow and learn in the Lord’s care as they do his work, whether spared our worldly concerns or put to long service.”

“Amen,” replied Pastor Cromwell.

“Come, your new life awaits boys,” said Master Scales.

With that, Master Scales swept out of the room. Riccard herding the boys out after him. They walked out of the main hall and crossed the courtyard, heading to the main gate where a pair of supervisors manacled the boys to each other. Once all the boys were secured the main gate swung open and the boys followed Master Scales out into the city. Once more he cut a swathe through the crowd, but this time the softer hearted citizens looked on with pity for the boys following him.

***

Master Scales led the boys across the large compound to a rickety wooden shed. The pungent smell of herbs drifted on the air as he held open the door and said, “In here.” After the last boy had entered, he shut and bolted the door before walking to a workbench and addressing the boys, “Who here knows of the Fall?”

“It’s the Lord’s test,” said one of the older boys.

“So some say,” replied Master Scales, lowering his hood so he could better see the tributes, “It is also a highly contagious illness that is often fatal. In this place we care for those that fall, easing their way to health or passing. The Matriculation is a ritual that examines your aptitudes and tells us what path to start you on, but until you are of age this placement is not binding. I should warn you that many a brother has suffered the Fall, but if you do as you are told your risk should be minimal. However,” and here Master Scales looked at each boy in turn, “I would be lying if I promised that all of you will still be here in a year’s time.”

Master Scales now had every boy’s attention as he held up a glass bottle containing a clear liquid and asked, “If I said that this liquid is possibly the most important thing you will use in your time here, what would you think it is?”

“Magic, sir?” asked a small voice.

“Magic is for Elves, and potions for Wizards, we don’t meddle in the works of Demons,” replied Master Scales. He removed the stopper of the bottle.

Noah looked at Master Scales, realising there was another smell hiding amidst the herbs that reminded him of home, and when the gruff man met his eye Noah spoke, “Vinegar and salt, Master?”

“There may be hope for the future after all. There are other ingredients, but that is the base of the solution. We use it to clean wounds and cleanse our hands before and after we see each of the Fallen. The pain it causes us also acts as a reminder of our duty to God and the penance we serve. There are only three things that you have to remember for the Matriculation. One, obedience. Two, cleanse your hands before and after dealing with the Fallen. Three, remember that despite our sins, we are the Lord’s servants.  Now let us tour the Citadel.”

***

The rest of the day was spent touring the Citadel from the wards full of the Fallen to the herb and vegetable gardens. There was a tension amongst the tributes that could not be ignored, but Noah was sure that the others were hoping they would be placed amongst the recognisable trades that flourished alongside the main work of the Brotherhood. Their mood had also been improved by the meal they had been given at midday that was the best any of them could remember having had for a very long time. It was a simple stew with bread to mop up the remnants, but to have even the small bits of meat and the array of vegetables was a treat for them, as they had become so used to the thin gruel that had been served at the workhouse.

In fact, Noah would have been in heaven had he not heard the whispered conversations between the tributes regarding the Fall, the Lord’s test, or God’s punishment depending on who you listened to. Noah was a stranger to everything in this city and all the hushed discussion was making him nervous. There were many ill in this place, but he had not seen a single one of the Fallen that had anything worse than something that he had seen in the village. And yet there was palpable fear amongst the tributes, even though every member of the Brotherhood they had seen had been quietly getting on with their work amongst the Fallen.

This nervousness was much in evidence when the tributes were made to stand outside a large stone hall as first members of the Brotherhood and then a series of elder boys walked past them and entered through a grand door. It did not help that the gruff Master Scales had left them in the care of a silent Brother who stood in front of them without moving, waiting for some signal that the tributes were not privy to. His silence rebuked them into quiet until finally, as the summer’s daylight began to fade, a frail old man opened a side door and smiled at the tributes.

“It is time for the Matriculation,” he announced, and motioned for the tributes to follow him.

The ten boys stood in a cold stone chapel, they were lined up facing a row of men, each wearing grey robes, and the frail old man greeted them.

“My name is Father Milligan. We of the Brotherhood of the Fallen welcome you to the Lord’s service in this House of the Fallen. I will be your mentor for the Matriculation, which takes place this evening in front of the Guild Father. Each of us has gone through this holy ritual and I would like to lead us all in a period of reflection, so we may remember where we came from and so you may appreciate the beginning of a new life.”

Father Milligan bowed his head and the rest of the brothers followed suit. The boys stood in silence, unsure of what was expected of them, but months of obedience at the workhouse prevented them from showing any confusion. Time stretched on as the cold seeped into their feet but Noah was able to accept the discomfort and wait without moving. It was the only skill that his father had tried to teach him that had actually taken. His father wanted to teach Noah everything he knew of the forest, but Noah was no woodsman and his father could never understand his reluctance to kill. It was because of this that his sister and father had been away hunting when the attack came. He thought of his little sister so fierce and yet patient in the hunt and of his father’s pride. They had to be alive.

“Through our efforts we hope to find God’s grace,” said Father Milligan, “Now, please follow me.”

The boys followed Father Milligan through a narrow doorway and the first thing to hit Noah was the scale of the room they had entered. A series of geometric arches took his breath away as they led his eyes up into the rafters. The chapel had an intimate and simple beauty, but there was something in the scale and quality of the stonework here that was both astounding and fundamentally other. As Noah’s eyes adjusted to the gloom he began to pick out the characteristic angular runes of dwarves carved into the stone and he understood the difference.

“Come on boy,” said Father Milligan in a friendly voice.

Noah lowered his eyes and quickly joined the rest of the tributes as they followed Father Milligan to a table where two brothers awaited them. First they were lined up, and measured, height and weight as well as length of feet and limb before all of this was recorded in a leather ledger, each boy receiving a new page. Noah was last in line and so whilst the others were being examined he used the time to look around the enormous hall, trying to take in as much of the detail as he could. Along one side to his right there were a number of tapestries of various designs hanging on the wall, some of these symbols seemed to remind him of places he had visited that afternoon whilst others were complete mysteries. Under each tapestry were varying numbers of boys stood in groups. The only exception to this was a tapestry that stood out in its simplicity, a human skull set against a black background that was picked out in grisly detail. Somehow it seemed appropriate that no one stood underneath it. Opposite to where the tributes waited stood a dais where an old man sat behind a cluttered table with several brothers in attendance. In front of the dais and ranging to the left were a number of areas, each marked with a small version of a tapestry from the right hand side of the hall, but from where he stood Noah could not get a good enough look at these testing areas to get a preview of what was to come. He tried to get a better view, but before he could discover anything it was his turn at the measurement table.

“Name?” asked the brother in charge of the ledger.

“Noah, sir.”

“Do you have a surname, boy?” asked Father Milligan. Noah stood in silence not knowing the answer until Father Milligan asked, “Master Scales said you were taken from one of the lost villages?”

“Yes sir.”

“Noah Anima Damnata,” said Father Milligan to the brother in charge of the ledger. Before Noah could ask what this meant he was being measured with a tape by another brother, who called a sequence of shorthand and numbers to the man behind the desk who scribbled them across a fresh page of parchment. Then they were done and Noah was sent to stand with the others.

Father Milligan took his place in front of the tributes and called out in a strong voice that seemed to belong to another body, “It is time for this year’s tributes to face the Matriculation. Each year until you come of age we will assemble in this hall to record your progress and search for your place. During the year you will try one of the many paths that the Brotherhood walks. Some paths will be suggested to you as you progress, branching as they do from earlier paths, and others may be denied if you do not have the skill. You may try any of the tests from the first row in front of you. A Master may call you to his test and, if you pass, may claim you as his apprentice. This is a great honour, but you may only leave this apprenticeship and walk another path with the Guild Father’s consent so think carefully before you accept.”

The boys tried to take all this in as Father Milligan turned to face the Guild Father and bowed stiffly.

“Guild Father, I present to you the tributes from the workhouse. Alas, there were no volunteers this year.”

“Thank you, Father Milligan,” said the old man on the dais in a thin voice. “Proceed.”

“Brothers, may I present Arthur Goodacre,” said Father Milligan, and waived the first in line forward.

Arthur took a hesitant step forward, aware of every eye watching him and then bolted toward a ruddy looking brother stood by a patch of earth in a raised bed that held a shovel standing upright. Following the instructions of the brother, Arthur turned over the earth competently and then carefully planted a row of seeds. The ruddy brother nodded his approval when Arthur had finished. Without even considering any of the other available tests, Arthur bolted to the corresponding tapestry on the right hand side of the hall to stand with a pair of large boys.

The tests continued and Noah watched as his fellow tributes passed and failed the brothers’ tests. He finally began to relax, as even in failure the boys were accepted into one of the groups. Then nine tests had been completed and it was just Noah left.

“Brothers, may I present Noah Anima Damnata.”

Barely had the strange syllables of Noah’s new name faded from Father Milligan’s lips then a familiar gruff voice called out, “I, Master Scales of the Path of Death do call Noah Anima Damnata to my test.”

The hall had been silent throughout the previous tests, but there was an audible intake of breath at the claiming of a tribute.

“You must take his test, Noah,” said Father Milligan sadly, placing a gentle hand on Noah’s shoulder and giving him a gentle push forwards.

Noah walked past the first row of tests, and stopped to look for where the voice had come from. His heart seemed to pound against his chest. He spotted the pale skull in the shadows of the far left corner and reluctantly began to walk towards it. As Noah approached the grinning tapestry, he saw that it seemed to stand apart from the rest of the tests and was actually closer to the dais. It was all he could do to keep walking towards Master Scales, who was standing behind a stone table with a body resting upon it. Noah was nearly there when he saw the other body.

“Come on Noah,” said Master Scales, just loud enough for Noah and the brothers on the dais to hear.

Noah realised that he had stopped and, carefully stepping round the fallen body of a boy of fifteen or sixteen dressed in rough brown robes, he made his way to the stone table. He looked at Master Scales and then at the body in front of him, which was covered in a weeping mass of infected wounds but had not started to decay yet.

“You will clean the wound on the arm in front of you,” said Master Scales quietly. “Everything that you require is on the tray at her head. But be warned, not everything is as it seems on the path of death.”

Noah looked at Master Scales for a moment, who stared straight back at him, and then Noah moved cautiously to the head of the body. The young woman looked like she had been beautiful before the ravages of the Fall had taken her, and in death she had a snarling smile on her face. Noah looked at the tray of items he had been supplied. A familiar glass bottle and several phials stood alongside a bowl and a small but sharp looking knife. Noah removed the stopper from the bottle and was about to cleanse his hands as he had seen the brothers do in the wards that afternoon when he stopped. There was no smell coming from the bottle. He lifted the glass bottle to his nose and confirmed that the clear liquid inside was odourless. Noah’s thoughts immediately turned to the young brother lying behind him. Carefully setting down the bottle down, Noah put the stopper back and considered the tray before deciding to examine the phials.

He picked up the green phial and removed the top, making sure not to spill any of the contents. The warm scent of a woodland autumn greeted his nostrils, but as pleasant as that was it gave no hint as to what he was meant to do with the body. Noah could think of nothing else to do but look at the rest of the phials. The next one he examined was black and stank so strongly of rotting flesh when the top was removed that Noah retched and quickly set it down again with a shaking hand. Having learned a lesson, and once again thinking of the body behind him, Noah merely looked at a clear phial that seemed to contain a sample of blood. Finally, Noah reached out for an azure phial. As his fingers brushed the impossibly coloured glass a powerful vibration set his fingertips tingling and Noah pulled his hand away in surprise. He reached out again and confirmed that his senses were not lying to him. Now that it was no longer a surprise, the tingling sensation was almost pleasant. Noah took hold of the phial and lifted it up to examine it properly.

For a fraction of a second the phial buzzed audibly in his hand, and then a strange shivering sensation swept over his body. The world was different, made up of differing versions of the same energy. All colour faded from the world except for varying shades of blue and when he looked down at the tray it was all he could do not to scream. Etched in the sky blue of the tray were fiery lines of midnight blue clearly describing how many drops of which phial’s contents should be placed in the glass bottle and in what order.

Noah looked up at Master Scales and this time he did gasp. The master’s face and body looked totally different now that they were only partially hidden by his ceremonial robes. His skin was now translucent, revealing the master’s skeleton, muscles and organs. Noah was equal parts fascinated and horrified as he watched the master’s blood flow through his veins. A curt nod of acknowledgement from him was a symphony of contracting and stretching muscles tugging at bone and sinew.

Noah dragged his gaze away from the master’s biology and removed both the stopper from the glass bottle and the top of the azure phial before warily holding the phial over the neck of the bottle. He could see the solitary drop of liquid inside flow sinuously down the side of the upturned phial and hang teasingly for a moment at the lip before dropping into the glass bottle. The shining drop of liquid instantly began to dissipate in the liquid, and as it did so colour and mass flowed back into the world. Noah was, however, left with a clear set of instructions for what to do with the phials imprinted in his memory, and so began adding the required ingredients to the glass bottle. The penultimate instruction required Noah to nick his thumb to add a drop of his own blood. Then, with reluctance, he once more took the black phial, took a deep breath, and quickly added a drop of the foul liquid to the glass bottle. It was done. Noah let out his breath and as he breathed in again he could smell vinegar, salt and various herbs. He poured the fluid into the bowl, cleansed his hands, wet some linen, and then turned to look at the arm and plan how to clean the wound as instructed.

Noah’s hands shook as he unwound the dirty linen bandage, carefully easing the layers apart to reveal the infected wounds beneath. Taking a piece of clean linen from the tray and applying some of the cleansing balm he had just mixed, Noah carefully cleaned the pus away from the wounds as best he could.

“You have done this before, haven’t you boy?” said the Guild Father in his thin and reedy voice that matched his spidery frame, “Bring him here so I can see him.”

The strong hand of Master Scales grabbed the boy’s arm and dragged him from the cadaver to the dais and thrust the boy in front of the Guild Father. The light of the few candles burning on the table cast deep shadows into the old man’s face but Noah did not look directly at him. That was how you got into trouble.

“Tell me Noah,” said the Guild Father, leaning stiffly forward, eyes ablaze, “How does a slaver’s gift have the healing touch?”

Noah kept his eyes fixed on the table in front of him, too anxious to reveal the truth.

“He’s from one of the lost villages, Guild Father,” said Master Scales, as if this was explanation enough.

“Yes, and somehow this uneducated boy has succeeded where one of our brightest novices failed,” replied the Guild Father, almost in a whisper.

“The Lord moves in mysterious ways Guild Father, and your novice will recover.”

“Indeed,” said the Guild Father, “It is has been decades since a tribute has been taken as an apprentice, and even then they were always taken from another guild.”

“He showed promise during the preparation.”

“He must have. You can keep him for now Master Scales, but I am watching you and him,” said the Guild Father pointing at Noah who flinched. Master Scales nodded, and led Noah away to the large skull tapestry at the side of the hall, and returned to his test area.

“The Matriculation is over,” announced Father Milligan in response to a signal from Guild Father. “God willing another year of service awaits us all.”

“Amen,” the assembled brothers replied.

“Tributes, it has been a long day for you and tomorrow you will begin your time as novices. I will lead you to your dormitory.” Father Milligan looked across at Master Scales who shook his head. “Noah, you will help Master Scales.”

***

The room was dark, but as Noah’s eyes adjusted he made out shelves full of books and rows of specimen jars, the contents of which Noah did not want to investigate too closely. He had tidied up the tray of items from his test as Master Scales had seen to both bodies. Noah had then followed the master down into the cellars under the wards for the Fallen and, having returned the test tray to a large workroom, had entered the dark office at Master Scales’ behest.

“Take a seat,” said the master, pointing at a chair whilst he sat himself behind his desk, folding his hands together on top of a pile of papers and leaning forward, “Do you know what science is Noah?”

“No, sir.”

“It is knowledge of the world that is proved by test. If it cannot be tested then it is not science. If it cannot be proved it is not fact. You need the right kind of mind and courage to do science, particularly in times like these. You are the son of a village Mother?”

“Yes, sir.”

“One of the reasons I want you to understand about science is that we are not bound by dogma in this room. In here you may speak the unspeakable, what you have learnt not to say in front of the Pastors. I promise you that what we share in here stays between us. For instance, no Godly man would dream of flogging a boy for repeating what he was told by his parent.”

“Sir?” asked Noah.

“I need a novice Noah, it is expected of me but I don’t need one of the Guild Father’s puppets. I think we can help each other. Tell me, did your Mother show you much?”

“I… I helped her, Master Scales. My father…” Noah trailed off, not knowing how to talk about them. The memories were still too raw and thinking about his mother brought tears to Noah’s eyes.

“I understand, Noah,” said Master Scales, “You can build a life here. The Guild will be your family, like it is for me.”

Noah looked up, wiping at his eyes embarrassedly.

“I was a tribute, too, many years ago, although I never knew my parents. I have known no other life. You don’t have to tell me everything now, but just answer me this. Did they execute her when they took the village?”

“They burnt her as a witch,” whispered Noah, bursting into tears.

***

The smell of death hung on the cold morning air. Noah shivered as he stood in line with the rest of the survivors. His village smouldered around him and the smoke stung his eyes as the Pastor took his place in front of the assembled crowd.

“We have cleansed this village and we shall rescue its residents from sin but there is one who cannot be brought into the Lords lights through penance alone. To save her soul we must cleanse it with holy fire. Bring out the Witch.”

Noah sat upright in bed, screaming and sweating profusely. For the first time in months he did not have to worry about the reactions of others around him, alone as he was in the workroom of Master Scales. He looked around him and although the shadows of the specimen jars were not a relaxing sight in the early morning gloom, anything was better than working in Sir Richmond’s factory. He had been surprised at how gentle gruff Master Scales had been with him when he had dissolved into tears. In Noah’s short time at the workhouse he had come to expect the lectures on emotional restraint and how his mother’s soul had been cleansed in the fire. Master Scales had simply allowed him the space to grieve and pull himself together before giving him a novice’s robe and showing him where he would sleep in the workroom.

As he tried to settle down on the straw covered pallet, Noah’s mind ran over the events of the day. It all happened so fast that he had barely time to take any of it in properly, but now that he had some time to himself, all Noah could think of was the strange experience in his test.

“Magic is for Elves and potions for Wizards, we don’t peddle in the works of Demons.”

The master’s words rang out in Noah’s mind and yet he had no other explanation for what had happened to him that night. Was there room in this new idea of science for magic and what had happened to Noah when he had picked up that azure phial? Noah didn’t know but a whole new range of possibilities was opening up before him and he began to think that whilst it may not be home, perhaps he could find a place for himself here amongst the Fallen.

____________________________________________________________________________

When not tinkering with words, Gavin makes an actual living fiddling with computers and in his spare time enjoys hitting things with sticks in a percussive manner. A music obsessive and bibliophile, he can often be found walking the Leicestershire countryside dreaming of new story ideas and missing the wildlife until his partner points it out to him. He can also be found on twitter @drummerGee.

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