A House of Angels: Chapter #4They followed the surging mass of humanity, like trout swimming downriver; a part of the current, but not of the water. Eyes blue and brown studied the people, noted eager smiles and nervous laughter, the clean clothes which seemed a shade too fine for everyday use, the way hands strummed strings and twisted moving parts on the musical instruments everyone was gathering. Also, they noted the absence of children from the throng. Young adults, certainly, but no little children.
The crowd came to a halt, even though individual people were still struggling to get forward or just maintain their position. Over the peoples' heads, the façade of a three-storey palace of wood rose to blot out the sun. It was not a hugely refined structure, but it possessed a barbaric splendor and some opulence; parts of the building had visibly been gilded!
People all around were muttering to each other – and doing voice exercizes, such as one might do before getting down to some very serious
A House of Angels: Chapter #3Loose, shifting desert sand turned to soil, held together by the roots of scrub grass.
Soil turned to rich, dark earth, nurtured by manure and copious amounts of precious water.
The women's footsteps turned from crunching, sliding noises to dull thumps as they penetrated deeper into the lands surrounding the impossible city -- impossible, because if there had been enough water buried beneath the earth to feed this large a settlement, someone would have dug for it when everything went wrong and the desert started to grow.
A rich scent filled the air; the smell of green things growing and fresh manure, of dark earth and the sweat of the workers toiling in the fields. There were sounds on the air as well; the bleating of goats, the calls of farmers to their fellows, the screams and laughter of children at play. Put it all together, and you had the symphony of urban life, a kind of urban life that neither woman had expected in this place, this age.
The city's gates -- made of wooden poles
A House of Angels: Prologue"I want to make a bet with you."
"Your good works, your heroic deeds. Let's see who can do the most good deeds!"
"Nonsense. I am not a hero. I am no one's saviour. I am a wandering scourge. I am death walking. Where I do my works, the chance to do good has already passed."
"Then your kill-count. Let's see who can strike down the most victims!"
"My past may be written in blood, but I have not yet lost all decency and sanity."
"Then... let's see who can make the other fall in love with them first."
"I do not love."
"Does that mean you're afraid to take the bet?"
"I was not afraid before. I was unwilling."
"Are you afraid to take the bet now?"
"It is nonsense. I do not love."
"Then it should be an easy win. Shouldn't it?"
"Limited only by victory."
"You would force me to tolerate your presence until the absurd happens or one of us dies."
"Are you afraid to take me on? Is there some chance that you might lose?"
"Do we have a