#ThisIsHowINovel: Character & Worldbuilding of the Awakening Series

I don’t remember when Charouth started talking to me. Back in 2010 I was reading a ton of romance and wished there were more angel stories. The few that I found always focused on an angel/human pairing. I wondered what would happen if a story focused on the angels. No humans involved.

Mr. Man bought me a big book of angels for Christmas. For a few weeks I flipped through it looking for inspiration. The beginning of Angel’s Awakening began to form. This would be a love story between an angel from Heaven and a Fallen.

The following is the second character interview I did with Charouth. Our first meet didn’t get very far. This time I ended up with half interview/half stream of conscious. It helped to understand Charouth and also understand the world she lived in. A few details were changed. Like how Charouth wasn’t burned at the stake in Salem, but in Germany. And how regular humans don’t see angels in their natural state. Most of the contents of this interview made it to the final version.

 

Interview with Charouth – Dec 2011

We’re back in Costa Rica. It’s been a year since the first interview. I’m more nervous this time. I feel like Charouth expects more progress. We’re at the same sushi restaurant as before. The town has grown a bit, but still maintains its seaside small town feel. She’s already seated with a plate of sashimi before her.

“Sorry I’m late.”

“No worries. I’ve been here most of the afternoon. Great people watching.”

“Agreed.”

I settle in and order some fish. A man in a wind worn boat is pulling into shore with a fresh catch. I’m having some of that. Charouth agrees. I smile.

“I’ve missed you. It’s been a while. I got busy with some other things and—“

“No worries. I’ve got time. Your Watcher filled me in.”

“Someone still watches me?”

“Someone always watches you. You’re the only one telling our story so we have to keep an eye on you.”

She’s wearing a white sundress. How she keeps it clean and free of sand I have no idea. I struggle to keep a pair of jean shorts and tank top clean.

“So what’s new?”

“You seem to be stuck.”

“I am.”

“Why?”

“I feel your story is done and yet it’s not done. I feel like there’s something I’m missing so I’ve gone back to the beginning.”

A wistful smile crosses her face. “A beautiful time. You speak of the very beginning. When Azazel and I met?”

“Yes. It was very romantic.”

“Quite. I was so young.”

“You are what? Fifteen thousand years old?”

“Do you know how much of that I spent as a bubble?”

“Huh?”

“Watcherhood. It’s completely incorporeal. We exist as nothing but pure consciousness. It helps with the interfering with humans thing.”

“Can you explain something to me? Can you tell me how you exist for thousands of years when Christianity is only a few thousand years old?”

“The gods. All of them. We exist at the same time. We have always existed. We have always had worshippers. You put names on things but it all comes from one place. The Creator.”

“So your Maker, Remiel, the other archangels, are above all other pantheons?”

“Yes. The archangels aren’t Christian. They have existed always. We all have existed always.”

“I’m confused.”

“Just because you started worshipping us doesn’t mean we didn’t exist before then.”

“Well what did you do before us?”

“You think you are the only ones?”

Realization dawns on me. “Oh.”

“Yeah. Watcherhood wasn’t just humans. I mean mine was but not every angel Watched humans.”

“So we’re not alone?”

“Can neither confirm or deny. Not these days anyway. I’m out of the loop.”

“But there have been other sentient races? On other planets?”

“Yes. Most definitely.”

“But they’re gone now.”

“I told you. I can’t say. I’m not Elite anymore. I find out things the hard way just like you.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“It’s true. I can use members of the Otherworld…vampires, shifters, demons to get information. I can go to the demon marketplace. Now, as Fallen, I can enter Hell, but that still puts me at a disadvantage. I still don’t know things the way I used to in Heaven. It’s different now.”

“You can go to Hell?”

“Yes, but I haven’t been yet. Not looking forward to it either. I mean, look at what happened to my man last time he went? And he was thousands of years Fallen? Me? Only Fallen for a few months? They’ll rip me apart. And there is no regeneration chamber for Fallen. I’ve died twice now.”

“Really? When was the first time?”

“Back during the witch trials. I got mixed up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Care to explain?”

“See, I was doing some recon involving demon activity in Massachusetts. Light stuff. I kept to the shadows. Only came out at night. When I did go about during the day I would keep my head covered as to not attract too much attention. Of course one day I went out without head covering. A villager noticed my blue hair. Anything different at that time was considered demonic. Especially in Salem. So they rounded me up with two other girls. They thought we were witches.”

“Oh, I can see where this is heading.”

“Yeah. I ended up burned at the stake.”

“But you’re so powerful. You were an Elite at this time. How did you get captured?”

“Having power and being able to use it are two different things. Back as an Elite I could do anything. The energy of the universe was available to me with just a thought. But of course I couldn’t use it. Not against humans anyway. There are rules and consequences and most of it would make your head spin. Oh, I know why the rules were in place but…well because of those rules I ended up dead. Twice.”

“So back to the burning.”

“So, I’m tied to the stake with these two young girls. They were innocent. I mean, they had some small amount of magic to them but nothing harmful. Hell, one of the most powerful witches in the community is the one who lit us on fire.”

“No!”

“Oh yes. Humans are like that. Come on. You’ve seen it even in your lifetime. The ones screaming loudest against something tend to be in the group they scream hatred for.”

“Oh, I’ve seen it before. You’re right.”

“So the witch sets me on fire. Now I’m immune to human magic. For the most part. But this woman wasn’t using human magic. Regular fire would’ve hurt, but wouldn’t have killed me. Hellfire, oh that’s pretty much lethal. So I protect the humans best I can by killing them instantly. In that case it was the kinder thing to do. I continued to burn. Then they threw my corpse off a mountain and into the ocean.”

“How horrible. You were conscious through this?”

“Sort of. It was like I was non corporeal again. Like during Watcherhood. I floated along for a long time before Oethra found me. The ocean is her thing. She’s in the water 24/7 practically. She communicates with spirits and demons that are water dwellers. So she found me. Took me back to Heaven. Remiel gave me form again. They shoved me in a stasis chamber for a hundred years. I woke up good as new.”

“What about trauma?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like memories of what happened. Are you afraid of fire?”

“No. I didn’t care for humans much after that and the Seven kept me away from them. I ran errands for them between the Pantheons. Which is how I got mixed up in this Titan vs Norse shit. It really is all the humans fault. I wouldn’t be Fallen if…well. No. That’s my own fault. Can’t blame everything on you guys.”

“What was it like being an Elite?”

“The upgrade from a regular angel to and Elite is indescribable. I mean one minute I’m cowering in front of my Maker and the entire Seven. I’m hoping they aren’t casting me out. I thought for sure it was the end of me. I’d been cavorting around with Azazel behind their back. I should’ve known that they knew what I was doing. That they knew I would do it and they could use that to their advantage. I wasn’t as jaded back then. I was so concerned with doing the right thing and not offending them and making them happy. I was so out of touch with myself.”

“How so?”

“You have to understand. As an angel your entire existence is to please your Maker and the Creator. You don’t think of anything else. They are the whole reason for you being here. Their needs are your needs. There is no you without them.”

“So this was how you’d lived for thousands of years before meeting Az?”

“Yes. I spent about five thousand as a Watcher. Then three more as a typical angel. I belonged to Zagzagel much of that time. Others didn’t like him but I liked working in the Library. You learned all sorts of things that others didn’t know. Didn’t bother with.”

“You wanted to work with him?”

“Yes.”

“And did you ask Remiel to be assigned to him?”

“No. Rem just knew. That’s what makes him a good Maker. We didn’t have choice, but that didn’t mean our Makers went about trying to make us miserable. He tried to place me with angels that would make me happy. Makers don’t want miserable subjects. Sometimes they make us do things that we didn’t want to but for the most part, they like us to be happy. Heaven works better that way. There are millions of us. We all come from the Seven-“

“Not all of you.”

She frowned. I’d touched on a sore subject. No one talked about the ones Lucifer made.

“Why do you have to bring that up?”

“They exist. They were created by an archangel. Not all of Lucifer’s creations followed him when he Fell.”

“Correct.”

“So. What happened to them?”

“I don’t know.”

“Liar. Come on Charouth. This works because you and I are completely honest with each other. No bullshit. So tell me now. What happened to the ones that Lucifer made that didn’t Fall?”

“That’s for him to say.”

“Can you at least tell me how he ended up in Hell for 2000 years?”

“Poor impulse control.”

—–

This interview showed me a world that was much bigger and complicated than I ever imagined. Lucifer wasn’t Satan? Angels watching aliens? Mind was blown. It’s been five years since Charouth first came to me. Though she visits rarely these days, I’ll always have a special place for her in my heart because she was the first.

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