My NaNo Project | Heaven Bleeds Fire


Hey, young bloods!

This month was my first time trying out NaNo - and, although I didn't finish, I did get a huge amount of writing + plotting done that wouldn't have happened otherwise. In a blog survey I recently put out, several of you seemed interested in learning more about my WIPs - so today I'll be introducing you to my NaNo novella Heaven Bleeds Fire! Snippets, character profiles, and synopses lie ahead - so let us begin!

(Note: I copied and pasted a lot of this from various Google Docs, so my apologies if some of the formatting is off.)


Behind the Scenes

I'll be brief here, but: HBF is an intensely personal piece for me to write. I started out telling this story because I wanted to talk about these characters, this world - but over time, it became more of a story I was telling because I wanted to communicate several important themes. I wanted to warn against the dangers of self-righteousness and persecuting or abusing those you look down upon. I wanted to warn against believing that those you look up to are infallible. And I wanted to show that the people on the other side of the argument aren't usually evil or out to make everybody miserable - they're merely people trying to do what they think is right, just like us.

To summarize: his story is less of a story told for entertainment and more of a contemplation of the above ideas through the vehicle of a story.


Summary

The Second Heavenly War is not going well. At least, not for Safildor.
Heaven is getting restless after an eternity with Michael as God's favored angel, and a revolution soon arises with Gabriel as the figurehead. Caught in the crossfire is Safildor, an angel just trying to live out an ordinary life in Heaven. But when he's kidnapped by a band of demons, Safi is used as a pawn in their quest for vengeance against several angels Safi once knew. Between hair's-breadth escapades and chatting up the Grim Reaper's secretary, Safi's perceptions of right and wrong are turned upside down as he learns to see the evil side of those he once worshipped and the good side of those he once thought impossible to save - just in time to find out he might lose them all.
Angelic anarchy.
Demonic desolation.
Did you know that heaven bleeds fire?



Characters





Can you tell that I really ship Safi and Zaphrim because I really ship Safi and Zaphrim. YOU DON'T KNOW THE AMOUNT OF SELF-CONTROL IT TOOK TO NOT MAKE THEM CANON.

(EDIT AS OF TWO DAYS LATER: they are now canon. fml.)

Snippets

“The Bible says homosexuality is wrong,” Viola pointed out. It was not in a negative way, simply in an interested way. She was gauging Safi’s reaction.

“Yes, well.” Safi shifted uncomfortably. “I - uh. Certainly the Bible says that, and the big police-y angels, Gabriel and Michael among them, always make a point of enforcing that law. But, well - I know some angels who are homosexual. And the Bible also says you’re not allowed to eat shrimp, and I don’t see any mass protests outside seafood eateries.”

Viola laughed, her hair shimmering.

Safi sighed. “Is it that obvious?”

Viola tipped her head up to the ceiling, a grin splitting her face. “Safi,” she said. “I’ve never had good ‘gaydar’ by any means. In fact, I’m notoriously bad at it. But even I could sense your bisexuality from a mile away.”

“You might as well walk around with a neon sign,” added Khadir.


---

When unfolded, demon wings were vast and terrifying voids of darkness, so black the individual feathers were almost impossible to make out. And here they were, folded neat and compact like bedsheets at the Lavender Lady’s back like it was the most natural thing in the world, and somehow that terrified Safi even more than the wings themselves - the fact that something so huge and horrifying and evil, something he had been brought up to fear since the Fall, the symbols of everything that was wrong with the world and the sinful darkness swallowing humanity - that these things could be so nicely folded up to look like small, innocent little things. Like cherub wings that were merely discolored. The fact that something so intrinsically evil could be disguised as something so innocent and ordinary.



---

They stood on an outcropping just about five feet above a huge pool of violent green waves, the tempest flinging cool white spray onto Safi’s face. Several feet away, a huge waterfall roared down a jagged grey cliff and crashed into the water below. But what made Safi gasp the loudest was the view of Eden stretched out before him - the misty, luscious green forests, filled with trees so tall they seemed to touch the sky; the fields overflowing with purple and red flowers, a perpetual snapshot of the idyllic afternoon day; and the canyons, cliffs of jagged, sharp beauty, the kind of beauty you feared as much as you loved, beauty colored in strips of purple, pink, and orange - a sunset immortalized in stone.


---

The entire world was dark.

Not silky, thin darkness, the kind that merely veiled the sunlight and could be brushed away with a sweep of the hand. Nor was it cool, calming darkness, the kind that clung to you like damp clothes and wreathed the stars in crowns of night. No - this was thick, heavy darkness, darkness that threatened to choke Safi, darkness that made him gasp for breath. This was darkness that weighed down on his chest and almost crushed him, darkness that blinded him to the fact he had ever been able to see and made him reach out blindly, desperately groping for some salvation.

He could not remember that he had ever been anything outside this void. The very concept seemed foreign to him.

Sound seemed to whisper along the edge of the void, and then he could remember no more.


---

“Okay, first of all,” Viola said, “we’re not in the middle of nowhere, we’re in Montana,” She flung out her arm to gesture to the land around her.
“And the difference is…..?”


---

It was at this point that Safi realized he hadn’t seen Zaphrim look at the menu this entire time.

“I’ll have a ham and marmalade sandwich,” Zaphrim announced, drumming their fingers on the tabletop and staring idly at the pepper shaker.


The waitress did a double take.

“I’m sorry, sir, I-”

“You did hear me correctly,” Zaphrim stated. “Ham and marmalade. Oh, and an oreo milkshake, too.” There was the sound of a loud thump beneath the table, and Zaphrim winced and sucked in a bit of breath. “Please.”

“Ham...and...marmalade? I’m sorry, sir, that’s not on the menu.”

For the first time, Zaphrim turned to look at the waitress. She shifted and inhaled slightly under their piercing gaze.

“Do you have ham?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you have marmalade?”

“I believe so, sir.”

“Have you ever had a ham and marmalade sandwich?”

“Me, personally? Er, no, sir.”

“Then do you have any right to judge my sandwich choices?”

“Um.....no….sir….”

“I will have a ham and marmalade sandwich,” Zaphrim reiterated, turning back to the pepper shaker.

Viola was trying very hard not to laugh.

“All right, sir,” the waitress said, shaky and dubious. She picked up the menus and walked off, heels clicking on the tile floor.

“And don’t forget the milkshake!” Zaphrim called.


---

Lonely - what a strange word to an angel. In Heaven, he had been in the vicinity of God the Father at all times. He had known a total completeness, a joy, a feeling of being incomprehensibly filled to the brim with love and happiness. Even when he got into fights with other angels, he always ended the day feeling happy and warm because God was here, where he was, and Safi knew he would be taken care of. The sublime joy of Heaven, the company of other angels, and the oversight of God had kept him feeling cared for and protected at all times, but now he was out in a cold, dark world, a whole other physical plane, where he was empty and hollow and felt like a piece of his soul had been cut out and thrown away. He longed to reach out into the darkness, grasping and straining like a blind man, to grab onto his Creator’s hand or even Gabriel’s and be told that everything would be okay, that he was going to be protected - but he knew that if he reached out his arm, he would be greeted by only the cold of unforgiving night. There would be no one, there could be no one, he was cut off entirely from Heaven, and he doubled over in an attempt to warm and fill the hollow coldness inside him. It didn’t work.

He had begun this day in the light of an orange sunrise on the outskirts of Eden, foolishly eager for battle, for the chance to fight for a better world. And he had been stripped and beaten and bled and wrung out until all his angry energy, all his happy energy, all his anything was gone. He would have cried if he had any tears left. He felt like a fruit which had shriveled up in the sun and now had no more taste to it - he was just a limp pile of flesh and bone. Even the ability to feel was stripped from him, and so he laid exhausted and depleted and miserable and mourned silently in his head for the memory of emotion.


---

“Exit 36 in one mile.”

“No.”

“522 miles to St. Paul!”

“We’re not even going there, Khadir.”

“Please keep left of work site.”

“Shut up.”

Safi added one more thing to his mental file on Khadir: When bored on a road trip, the demon likes to read road signs out loud in various horrible accents.

“Buckle up, Missouri. It’s the law!”

“What was that even supposed to be?” snapped Viola.

“Russian.”

“It sounded like you were dying.”


---

Zaphrim opened their eyes, tilted their head back, and appeared to consider the sky. “Have you ever stood on a mountain-top and watched the sunset splash across the landscape below you?” they asked. “Have you ever roared down a country road at top speed; have you ever done whatever you wanted to do, whenever you wanted to do it, simply because you could? Have you ever felt the breeze on your face and the ocean on your skin and thought to yourself, this world is mine? Mine to explore, to seek out all the hidden treasures and nooks and crannies, to make friends with the greatest tigers in the jungle and the meekest fish in the sea? Have you ever looked the stars in the eye and cupped your own destiny in the palm of your hand, yours to shape and bend as you wish?” They smirked at the expression on Safi’s face. “No? Then you do not know what it is to be free."


---

Forget iHop, Safi decided. Denny’s was in a jiffy.

(This was a phrase he had learned from Khadir. He wasn’t quite sure what it meant, so he’d been using it in different contexts and judging the others’ reactions. He was fairly sure that this time he’d gotten it right.)

---

Well, that's all for today! Which snippet was your favorite? Which character do you think you're most like? (I'm totally Viola.) Comment below, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles. <3

Namarië,
Ellie

10 comments:

  1. This sounds like an epic story- I had so much fun learning all about it. Your writing is superb! Do you have a wattpad? Because I would be interested in reading this if you publish it anywhere!
    -Vivian

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! :) No, I don't, sadly :(

      - Ellie

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  2. OH MY GOSH I LOVE SAFI. Your descriptions were AMAZING, I especially loved Safi's contemplation of loneliness and the description of darkness. And both the Zaphrim scenes (the funny one with the waitress and the one where they describe freedom) were AWESOME. I love your writing style, I don't normally love third-person but I think that it really works for this. NOW I WANT TO READ THE REST OF IT SO BAD.
    Safi's my favorite character and I totally relate to him, especially using expressions he doesn't actually know the meaning of oops ;)

    -Ashley

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH AGH. Yes, the waitress scene was definitely my favorite to write. :)

      - Ellie

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  3. This looks like it's going to be so. funny. What're you going to do with it when it's done? Are you going to do the Kindle self publishing thing, or are you going to put it up on Wattpad or Figment, or what?

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    Replies
    1. I honestly don't know? I'm actually looking at a couple other projects for my debut into the world of published writing, so this one will probably sit unpublished for a while. (Maybe Wattpad, though?) I actually don't know how publishable it would be - it's chock-full of dense philosophical bits that I doubt many people would enjoy. I can edit those passages to make them smoother and faster to read, sure, but I can't do away with them. So this might have just a very specific, small audience.

      - Ellie

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  4. Marmalade and ham?!?!? ROTFL! Totally sounds like something a certain brother of mine would order!! XD

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! XD

      - Ellie

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  5. AHHH I LOVE THESE SNIPPETS GIMME MORE!

    (Also, high-five for genderfluid representation! I haven't seen a lot of it in fantasy novels so it's really cool you included a character like this :))

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    Replies
    1. AHHHH OMG THANK SO MUCH. :D

      - Ellie

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