On Fallen, and Hedaira

fog lolly When I woke up this morning–sweating from bad dreams–it was clear, but the fog moved in soon after. Veils and bands of cloud drifting silently over pavement, fingering every surface before wrapping itself tight. It has since burned off, and the huge yellow eye in the sky is watching us with a great deal of benevolent non-interest. I have to get out for a run before every scrap of mist is gone, so this will be short.

Someone got here recently by searching for “A’tai, hetairae a’nankimel’iin. Diriin.” Which is, of course, the almost-prayer Japhrimel recites at several points in the Valentine series. He never quite tells Dante what it means, just like he never clues her in on some of the traditional prerogatives a hedaira could expect from her Fallen. In his mind, he has plenty of time to do that later, once she’s grown accustomed to trusting him.

Danny, of course, does not agree. In her mind, Japh should have laid everything out for her clearly from the start. Japh would argue that doing so would give her the means to hurt herself. For example, if she had known during the events in the series that a hedaira can ask what she will of her Fallen as a gift and the Fallen is bound to comply, things could have gone very differently indeed.

You can imagine the fireworks when Dante finally finds out. But that’s part of little Lia’s story, the Hell-on-Earth trilogy I don’t think I’ll ever have the chance to write. One gets a glimpse of it in Coming Home, in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. Lia Spocarelli and Lucas Villalobos have a story all their own, and demons get involved like they always do around born Magi.

Poor Lucas. He never can catch a break.

Anyway, I did say what Japhrimel’s almost-prayer means once, but I should probably say it again. It translates out to something like: Here I stand, hedaira, your Fallen. It is done. The phrase is held to be what the first Fallen said to his hedaira at the very beginning, and was traditionally a promise that a demon had Fallen and would transform his leman as well as restated periodically when a Fallen performed some work, wonder, or act he perhaps did not wish to but knew would please his hedaira. Not only that, but each statement of it was a renewal of the promise, and reassured the hedaira that while a demon could be fickle, a Fallen was ever faithful–in his fashion, Cynara.

Such a reassurance may or may not have been comforting to the hedaira in question, but in any case, the process was irrevocable.

Transforming a hedaira was not, traditionally, done privately as Japhrimel did. Danny sees, in the White-Walled City, the chains used to hold demons during the act so they did not unwittingly injure their chosen one. Dante has no idea how dangerous the process was, and how…well, the best word I can think of is frightened Japh was, though Japh doesn’t really feel fear the way humans do. How much of a risk Japhrimel took in engaging in it alone. There was a very real chance of her being crushed or eviscerated during the process before she was part-demon enough to withstand such physical damage. It’s a mark of Japh’s control and absolute desperation, I suppose.

I often get fan emails asking about the finer points of the relationship between Fallen and hedaira, but I rarely answer them because it is complex. I didn’t get the chance to explain much in the books, mostly because they chose first-person and that POV has its own strictures. I knew exactly why Japh was behaving the way he was all the way through, but Dante didn’t, and the glimpses the reader can catch are all filtered through the lens of her perceptions. For better or worse, that’s the way the series wanted to be written, and I think it’s best. It is, after all, Dante’s story from first to last.

And yes, I know what happens to each group of characters after their series ends. Sometimes I halt a series or a book at a particular point, like the Society books, because in order to continue I’d have to watch a particular character die, and I don’t want to. Besides, some things in the worlds I create are private, and meant just for me. There are mysteries I won’t ever clear up, because the reader’s individual answer is the most important one–and because I reserve some bits of the magic I create for my own sole use and enjoyment.

Now you know a little bit more about Fallen and hedaira, and it’s time for me to head out to chase the last bits of fog.

Over and out.