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Writing Book II: The Father of Lights

Published July 19, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

I’m not sure exactly when the love of fantasy and myth captured my heart and lassoed my imagination, but I am sure it was around four or five. My dad always seemed to be watching either an old Western, a war film or anything Ray Harryhausen. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonautsgargoyles, cyclops, three-headed hounds and baboonsthey all entertained me throughout my childhood. And I will still watch films like Excalibur, Krull, Star Wars and Neverending Story to this day because of their awesomeness and my fateful nostalgia. I remember looking forward to the moment when my dad would turn on the “tube” or popped in a VHS tape as I entered the domain of impossible worlds and fantastical creatures. And for those of you not born in the 80’s, that means “video…home…system”…ahem.

Working on the second book in the Archangels Trilogy, I cannot help but think of the movies I grew up on and attempt to bring that same kind of wonderment into the unseen world of angels and demons. The conflict of the bad guys, the struggle of the good guys, and on and on it goes.

Image (Concept Art: Scott Edward)

Here’s an excerpt to Book II: The Father of Lights © 2013. Coming soon…

“Father…why have you forsaken me?”

   Ash gently falls from the gray, smoke-filled sky. The colorless flakes swirl and dance all throughout the ebony domain, landing softly and gently on his scale-ridden face. He doesn’t even notice the brimstone powder as it collects on his deformed, reptilian visage. Like a magnet, his one reptilian eye and one cerulean eye are locked onto the malevolent waves of the Lake of Fire before him, watching as they rise and fall. Up and down…up and down. And with each roll of magma, the whispers of his fallen brothers summon him; brothers whose existence ended the moment the lake opened its mouth to receive them in, swallowing them whole as they were hurled down from heaven by God’s mighty hand.

   He hears their last words, words spoken in a patterned framework like that of iambic pentameter—rhythmically, knowingly—they utter a single name. And the closer he listens, the more he understands the tone as the name is spoken. It is a name that was once heralded across the seven realms of heaven with the undertone of power and conviction. A name that no longer holds the same meaning it once held when it was sounded in the light. And as the whispers rise and fall, they continue their moaning as they speak, “Lucifer…Lucifer...”

   He winces slightly as if the sound of his own angelic name wounds him with every consonant, every vowel, as the beat of its echo thumps across his memory, pounding against his blackened heart. And even in the thrumming of his mind, he hears her voice, clear, strong and utterly right in all its utterance thundering over the beat, “You should have listened to me. If you had, you would have never come to this place…”

   This place.

  The prince of hell stares at the malevolent waves, unable to tear his eyes away from the rolling lava that pours forth the memories of yesterday, a millennia ago, and the moment just past. He plays them over and over in his mind.

   “You miss Him, don’t you? You miss heaven, God, the light.”

   He tries to shut his eyes, but wide they remain, as he sways with the rhythm of the waves, his tail slithering within its coil. The rhythm. The beat. He feels the angst and the yearning rising, rising like the smallest of seeds that fights to rise up from beneath, grasping for the sunlight. A seed amongst the thorns.

   “I sometimes miss…the light. But what I miss most…is the music, the music, the music…you know I do.”

   The melody. The song. The voice of his true heart.

   “Lucifer…Lucifer…”

   Hearing their mournful chant of stricken grief, he is locked in a place in time where the shout of his name once brought him joy, for the sound of it thundered throughout the heavens—a cacophony of echoes rumbling across the realms of the seven skies. The whispered melody brings on the memories of the past, and he remembers it; standing on the throne to the kingdom of heaven, the entire Angelic Host calling his name over and over again.

   Moving to the melody of whispered tongues, speaking the old language with voices he has long forgotten, he remembers how his name once sounded—triumphant, supreme—the chant of a victor. But the whispers he hears now all throughout perdition are the cry of a victim, invoking vengeance, justice, wrath upon the one whose name they speak, “Lucifer…Lucifer…”

   He cannot tear his eyes away from the phantoms in the waves, for the desire of his fallen brothers is strong. “Destroy. Pay. Amend. Avenge…me.”

   No matter how long he stares at the rolling magma, he cannot will himself to turn away from their curses—especially after what the witch had told him.

   These waves. This place. This lake. My destiny.

   “Lucifer…Lucifer…”

   Satan lifts his horned head to the ashen sky of the inferno, but instead of darkness, he sees the light. Heaven. A small sigh escapes his blackened mouth as he thinks on his long forgotten home. He sees its incomparable beauty across all space and time—its own quantum dimension; the ever-changing sky of his home as the color of its canvas dissolves from blue to violet to green as the heavens moved across and within each other, rolling over one another like the waves before him now.

   “Lucifer…Lucifer…”

   Gone are the blackened mountains replaced by ivory cliffs of the second realm. Gone are the cries of human souls wailing throughout his brimstone kingdom. And as he longingly searches for the memory of his paradise lost, he hears it, the softest of sounds. His breath catches as he clings to the faint echo of melody. He clutches the memory, grasping for it, focusing all his will onto it so that it cannot escape him like all the times before. The rhythm. The beat. Satan’s horns bend to the sound of fire, frantically listening for the harmony that plucks at his heart—and then it is there. First softly, then gradually the pulse of its sound rises. Like the dawn. Like that of the Morning Star…

   The drumbeat. The rhythm.

   A cold wind suddenly swirls all around him, viciously swiping at him, cutting off his thought. It lashes out at him, whipping the words down upon him, “Not worthy anymore…”  

Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

(Property of NeverMore Publications, LLC. © Copyright 2013)

Buy Archangels: Book I

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The Archangel Raphael

Published July 1, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

Writing the character of Raphael in Archangels was one I looked forward to every time I picked up pen to paper. When I began the rigorous journey of conducting research on the nine divisions of angels written about, philosophized upon, and debated over and why, the ninth division of angels: the archangels–the warrior angels made up of seven Seraphim–didn’t have equal amount of information on all seven angels as I had originally thought would exist. Michael and Gabriel dominated the research I poured over through the three main religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Uriel was pretty dominant in Kaballa; Sariel, Raguel and Jeremiel had very little information; while Raphael, however, popped up solely in the Book of Tobit–one of the Deuterocanonical books that was originally in the official Greek translation of the Old Testament, but was eventually left out over time.

“So the prayers of them both [Sara and Tobit] were heard before the majesty of the great God…and Raphael was sent to heal them both, that is, to scale away the whiteness of Tobit’s eyes [for he was blind], and to give Sara the daughter of Raguel for a wife to Tobias the son of Tobit, and to bind Asmodeus the evil spirit….”

– Book of Tobit (3:16-17)

While reading the Book of Tobit, I quickly jotted down notes as to how to utilize the tidbits of information revealed about Raphael and how he could be recreated in both the screenplay (and later the book) to be someone “relate-able.” I didn’t have to dig too deep since Raphael made himself relate-able to mankind in this book by transforming himself into human form:

“And Tobias left and ‘went to seek a man, he found Raphael that was an angel, but he knew not.'”

– Book of Tobit (5:4-5)

The passage goes on to describe how Raphael appeared to Tobias in the form of a man named Azarias. He travels with Tobias to a town where he meets Sara, his future wife, who had “been married to seven husbands whom Asmodeus the evil spirit had killed, before they had lain with her” (Book of Tobit 3:8). Raphael advises Tobias on how to rid Asmodeus from strangling him on his wedding night, and once he follows Raphael’s instructions:

“Asmodeus fled into the utmost parts of Egypt and the angel [Raphael] bound him.” 

-Book of Tobit (8:3)

Image(Property of RowanMeir Films. Artwork of Asmodeus by Stefan Gutierrez)

So I thought Raphael, who seems to like transforming into human form to perform works for God, could easily do it again. In Archangels, Raphael is a professor in linguistics at Oxford University, conducting research alongside one of the main characters in the story–Rachel Devereaux:

Both Raphael and Rachel share the moderate-sized office at the university, for they are colleagues—professors in linguistics—working jointly on researching the evolution of language amongst common species. He is an extremely handsome man in the classical sense: a paradox of beauty marred by an overly analytical brain that gives him an air of intimidation. And Rachel might have been attracted to him if it weren’t for the fact that his obsessive-compulsive behavior regarding tidiness, efficiency, and his incessant need to organize everything his eyes fell upon, didn’t drive her insane. The current look of horror on his face as he looks around the current state the office is in is confirmation that a love between these two will never be.

(Excerpt from Archangels: Book I © Copyright 2013)

As the friendship between Raphael and Rachel progresses throughout the story, there was a line in the Book of Tobit that was essential to the “great reveal” when Rachel soon discovers that her best friend is not as mortal as she thinks he is:

“I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.”

– Book of Tobit (12:14-15)

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(Property of RowanMeir Films. Artwork of Raphael by Stefan Gutierrez.)

I referenced that line as well when Rachel’s eyes are opened to who Raphael truly is:

“How? How can you possibly read this? You fought that thing. It knew your name!”“No, wait! Wait…you said the scroll was written in angelic language. Yet, somehow, you can read this.” Rachel starts to back away from him until she is at the opposite end of the office from where Raphael stands. Rachel can barely speak. Read the rest of this entry →

He Who Is Like God

Published June 19, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

Moloch’s red beady eyes narrow in lustful desire of what he will do to these humans once their souls come to his lair. For he hates. He hates. He hates. He hates them. It is then that he feels the cold wind blow through the street as his master whispers to him a name—a name that means warning, “Michael…Michael…”

Michael in the alley

Graphic Novel Design by Scott Edward

   Moloch whips his sword from his sheath and caws loudly to his brood. The fallen angels go silent; they quickly reach for their weapons. Their goat-like eyes search the sky, the shadows, the rubble.

   Michael.

   It was bad enough when Gabriel was here, but Michael…Michael will annihilate them with a single swipe of his adamantine sword. But why this street? Moloch continues to search the landscape for the archangel. “We feel him…we curse him…we know…”

   He does not call out to Michael, for to speak his name is a battle cry in the name of God. And no fallen angel would want him here. This can only mean one thing…someone here did.

(Excerpt from Archangels: Book I © Copyright 2013)

Moloch

 Moloch Artwork by Scott Edward

When I was first writing the character of the Archangel Michael in the screenplay—followed by the book adaptation—I often wondered if Homer was thinking of Michael when imagining his mortal Achilles. I mean that in the warrior sense, not the core character of the person for that matter—an unbeatable champion…but without a weakness. For I find that in writing about the archangel himself, there is no flaw—not even to curse the very presence of evil:

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”

– (Jude 1: 9-10)

A being where there is no imperfection; no ounce of pride, only humility:

I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing [the visions] to me, But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

– (Revelation 22 8-10]

A being where there is no compromise on the will of God—only duty and purpose offered by Him to carry His messages on the wings of eagles:

“Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…’Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.’”

– (Daniel 10; 13-14)

A being whose moral compass is so firmly rooted in power and strength under the reign of God, that his sole purpose is to protect mankind from evil suffrage:

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will rise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.”

– (Daniel 12: 1-2)

Michael 2

As part of my research, I poured over scripture stemming from Judaism to Christianity to Islam to Kabala. And the one single thread that connected all mentions of the powerful archangel together was simply this: he is the champion of the people. His name is a battle cry in the name of God, for his name means “He Who is Like God.” Even various art pieces depict the inscription of his shield bearing the words, Quis ut Deus, bearing the brand of his very name. And with every mentioning, there came a sort of peace in the understanding of what this being exists for and fights over. There is a great comfort to it—if you believe in that sort of thing—which I do. So how does one begin to write a character such as this and incorporate the spiritual essence of such a being in order to force a moment of change—especially when there is no story that lacks a hint of triumph? For the archangel Michael is the moral compass in spiritual form.

So I thought of all the reasoning and arguments that deter people away from their destined paths, their religion, their families, their friends. They don’t feel welcome. They feel judged. They’re misunderstood, etc. Most (but not all) of the time hurt feelings, fear and anger are felt because one is speaking the words of their story and the other is not listening to the footsteps of the other’s paths—or so they believe, and on and on it goes. There is a lack of understanding, often at the fault of stubborn will, pride, denial, or perhaps merely a firm disagreement in the other’s actions. Or perhaps—someone isn’t really listening. Both feel they are right in their reasoning. One could be wrong. But who’s to say who should compromise or if something comparable should be considered? Each person has their own version of their kind of truth—often called perspective—that in either agreement or disagreement of that version, understanding or lack thereof, keep people apart. Whatever that argument or reason may be, throw that deterrence into the lap of the archangel Michael and a connection to the character can be made. Thus, take the black and white and hurl it into gray:

    As he caresses the feather between his fingers, he searches for the answers to his questions as to how her feather came to be there and why. From the far recesses of his mind a memory comes forth. A memory so long forgotten that Michael’s breath quickens at the suddenness to which it has revealed itself—as if this memory alone wanted to be remembered, shouting that it should never have been forgotten. And it is of Gabriel.  As soon as he remembers it, a feeling of dread consumes him. There were demons on this street when he arrived. Had Gabriel been here, that would not be. The people here were defenseless when he stepped out of the alley and onto the street. Had Gabriel been here, that could not be for she would have summoned a squadron of angels here to protect the humans as she has always done since the birth of mankind. But she knows…and the evidence that she knows is like a slap in the face that she had been here and done…nothing.

    Looking at the fire raining down around him, gripping her feather in his hand, Michael fights the thoughts, would she help him? Would she do this? But the answer does not come. Tightening his fist around her feather, he forces the doubt from his mind. No, she would not do it. Not for him. Not after that moment. Not after what Lucifer had done, for Michael remembers it. But then, in the remembering he thinks on the things that once were before they turned into the things they had become. Therein lies the doubt and the thoughts come again. Has she helped him when she should not? Has she broken the chain of command and sought escape in the shadow, away from God’s light?

    “To entertain the idea, Gabriel, of going against God’s plans is an abomination and disgrace to the word ‘angel’.”         

    Michael looks at the bloodied ground scorched in fire. Feeling the coarseness of Gabriel’s feather between his fingertips, he closes his amber eyes and breathes in long and deep. There is only one way to know the answer.

(Excerpt from Archangels: Book I © Copyright 2013)

 Graphic Novel

Graphic Novel Panel by Scott Edward

What is one to believe? What is one to know? What is an archangel to do when his second-in-command does not reveal the reason for their action and throws the world into chaos allowing the doorway of hell an opportunity to pass through? Thus lies the conflict created for the archangel Michael in this screenplay and in this book. For even in the perspective, there in only one truth–and He Who Is Like God is the one who will see the light in the darkness, see the purpose, and see it through till the end.

-Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

Michael 1

The Bible: The Epic Miniseries

I, Gabriel

Published May 5, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

“Whaddayamean Gabriel’s a girl?!?”

That is, without a doubt, the number one reaction I get when discussing the screenplay and book to Archangels: Book I (© Copyright 2013). It reminds me of that line in the movie Roadhouse when Patrick Swayze’s character is often told, “I thought you’d be bigger.” In other words, I have come to expect this response, and I don’t blame a single person for it, for throughout all of history, Gabriel has always been depicted as a man.

The archangel Gabriel—whose name means “strength of God”—is the most well-known angel ever mentioned in scripture. He is the “Great Messenger” often depicted as the angel that will herald the seven plagues of Armageddon with the sound of his trumpet:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

In the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to interpret his visions. In the text, Gabriel is described as a “man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude” (Daniel 10: 6).

In the New Testament, Gabriel is mentioned several times, first appearing to Zechariah:

“I am Gabriel. I stand n the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell this good news.” (Luke 1:19).

Then to the Virgin Mary:

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:28).

And finally, to the shepherds:

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them….’Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people…” (Luke 2: 8).

Theologians have also argued that Gabriel was one of the three visitors that appeared to Abraham and Sarah to reveal to them they will bear a son within a year’s time (Genesis 18:2), as well as the angel that visited Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort him the night of the Passion:

“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22: 43).

But outside of Judaism and Christianity, Gabriel is of extreme importance in Islam. It was the angel Gabriel (Jibril or Jibrail) who recited the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammed in a cave, Hira’a, near Mecca.

Taking into account all the descriptions of Gabriel throughout history, why is he a girl in Archangels?

 Gabriel-SE

(Follow AngelsandtheAnguished )

As an actor and writer, it is the relationship between the characters that, in my mind, drives a story and keeps the audience interested in the tale you are trying to tell or in the character you are playing. When writing the screenplay and then the book, the relationship between good versus evil is a dominant theme between the idea of Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, and free will versus imposing one’s will over another. In order to capture that idea, I felt it was a necessary element to elevate the relationship between Gabriel and Lucifer into one that many people can relate to: that between a man and a woman.

How often have we read, heard or seen stories of mothers weeping over their sons who made horrific choices, or women staying in abusive relationships either with a boyfriend or husband, or even bearing witness to addictions in your brothers or sisters or very best friends? Love is a dominant theme in Christianity, and women have often been the bearers of love in the world. So what happens in a woman’s world when the one they love—whether it be a brother, husband, father, son, boyfriend or friend—makes the wrong choice, the one where you see the doom at the end of the tunnel and you try with everything within you to get that loved one to choose the light instead…and then they don’t? That relationship and understanding could only best be told, in my mind, when looking at the relationship between a male and a female—Lucifer and Gabriel.

May this choice be one others can relate to—as I know it has for me.

-Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

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