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The Number of A Man:

The Angel of Death

Adrian James brooded before his fireplace, staring at the trident that rested atop the hearth.

Adrian was tall, taller than his mother had ever hoped to be, and he was beautiful. Not handsome, for his features were not masculine except for the beard he stubbornly grew. Were it not for the goatee, Adrian would look like a lean, model-tall girl or an overgrown teenage boy, though he hadn’t been a teenager in a long, long time.

Not since he’d come of age in a place that was timeless and haunted by the wailing specters of men who had died without a prayer had he grown, not that he needed to be much taller at a looming six foot five. In the end, Adrian had escaped from his hellish childhood and ascended because of his mother. All the powers of his father had not prevailed against her prayers, the prayers that had changed him.

Adrian chuckled as he leaned back in his red velvet-lined chair. Well, it had been his mother’s prayers and her dare to descend once more into the depths of the City of Dis in dreams that had saved him. Well had she known the way, for had not his father dragged her down there to give birth? Yet that was not the only thing.

Over the fireplace was the true key to Adrian’s freedom, the Trident of Earthquakes. Long was the Trident, seven feet of blackened iron tipped by three golden tines. Old was the Trident; not even his father had known who first wielded the aged weapon. Potent was the Trident, for in it was the power to defy the Accuser and drive him back to his realm.

With the Trident, one could twist the Earth itself to do one’s will, though such a use made the wielder weary. With the Trident, one could raise the damned or banish them to Heaven or Hell. With the Trident, Adrian could channel the power of the flames that he’d been born of, and drink the souls of the creatures the Trident slew.

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