Prologue

 

In life I was known as Phaethon, son of Eos, Goddess of the Dawn; my father was Cephalus, head of the great founding family that produced the likes of Odysseus. While still just a child I was spirited away by Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and tasked with guarding her sacred shrines. I grew up among the holy temples, spending my days learning about the people who came to honor and worship the great Goddess while my nights were spent protecting the shrines, safeguarding them against those who would do violence to her holy places.

I lived a life of cautious abandonment, always aware of my dual character as offspring of the union between human and divine.

My life as protector of the shrines was a precursor to my after-life, the proving ground for what I would become upon my death. Yes, though I was a mixture of both god and man the human part of me, the part that was flesh and bone, body and blood, remained alive only for a time, the exigencies of life moving me ever forward toward a time of physical degeneration.

The spiritual part of me, however, was not something that gave itself to corruption; and, because of my mother’s divinity, my own divine character secured a life of immortality only dreamed of by mortal man.

This immortality was supposed to have been spent in humble, loving service to that race birthed by my noble father. I was supposed to command the lesser spirits, guide and guard the children of Man and stand forever as the intermediary between human and divine.

Thus in death I, Daemon, would be born: champion of the lesser, forever enthroned upon my own divinity, loved and respected and never, ever feared.

The gods, however, had other plans.

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           “You’re beautiful,” the young mortal girl whispered, laying one slender hand against Daemon’s cheek. The demi-god grasped her wrist gently but did not remove her hand.

“It is a ruse, dear young one; a mask, a mirage. I am unspeakably horrid beneath it. You would do well to stay away from me.”

The young girl smiled. There was a sadness to her smile and it only added to her own beauty. “I shall do nothing of the sort. We were meant to be together.”

She gently removed Daemon’s hand from her wrist, turned and headed for her bedroom door. She stopped in the doorway and turned. “I’ve accepted this. Why can’t you? Or is it that you simply won’t?”

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