The Swords of Heaven, The Flowers of Hell

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A graphic novel in the Erekosë series, sequel to Phoenix in Obsidian.


Publishing History

  • Paperback, HM Communications, 96pp., ISBN: 0-930368-47-9, 1979, Cover by Howard Chaykin
  • Paperback, Star, 96pp., ISBN: 0-35230681-5, March 1980, Cover by Howard Chaykin

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Synopsis

* * The following section may contain spoilers * *

Urlik Skarsol is drawn from the Southern Ice (at the end of Phoenix in Obsidian), through Limbo to become who he learns is Clen of Clen Gar. Before he learns this he saves an 'Angel' from some of the barbarian inhabitants of Hell. These are scared off by Captains of his guard, Orana and Onara, twin sisters. The party are forced to shelter for the night where Clen learns that an acid rain falls every night on Hell. Clen is told that it is 'Heaven pissing on Hell'. In the morning the sisters lead him to a nearby shore where they are picked up by a ship and taken to the Dream Marches, his home, which separates Heaven from Hell. Once on board the ship a storm blows up, which the captain, Bakthi, attempts to quell with the sacrifice of a cow. When the cow is thrown overboard, and Angel swoops down to pick it up and the storm subsides.

Upon reaching the capital of his land, Clen meets his fellow knights of the Dream Marches, who have names reminiscent of the Commedia del'Arte. The Knights tell him that the inhabitants of Hell are going to attack Heaven and the Dream Marches will be the battlefield and unlikely to survive.

Clen decides to travel to Heaven to ask the ruler, Fevror, for help in defending Heaven from the barbarian horde. Fevror refuse him aid, dismissing the threat, and releases a demon which attacks him. He escapes with the help of one of Fevror's courtiers, Lark, who leads from the city and into a swamp. This however is a trap and he is attacked by another demon, Lark's husband, whom he slays. Fevror reappears riding a monster he calls 'my son', and captures Clen. Taken to a clearing, Clen is bound to a stone. He is to be a sacrifice to the Angels, who are summoned by Fevror with a tune played on a pipe.

The Angel, however, rescues Clen in return for saving the Angel from the barbarians. Once clear of Heaven, the Angel lands and transforms into an insectoid being. This being explains to Clen that they came to this world from another plane and are now trapped here. Although they wish to return to their own plane, they are unable to do so. He also tells Clen that when in their flying form during the day they have to take in water from the air to use as ballast. It is this which is ejected at night and forms the acid rain. Clen asks for their help against the invading inhabitants of Hell, but is told that the Angels do not get involved in human affairs, only wishing to go home.

The Angel returns Clen to the capital of the Dream Marches, where it is clear that the invasion from Hell has begun. Lord Clen leads an attack outside the city which kills many, but at the day's end the army of the Dream Marches is forced to withdraw back to the capital. Later that night Lady Gradesmor shows Clen a portal which was found by Argraval, who has perished in the fighting. This portal allows travel between the planes. Clen realises he may be able to get the Angel's help after all. Once he has helped defend a breach in the walls and repel the attack, he sets out once more for Heaven. Locating Lark, he kidnaps her and forces her to take him to the clearing in the swamp where he was offered for sacrifice. Just as Clen finds the pipe which summons the Angels, Lark is attacked by a hawk released by Fevror, who has followed them. The two men fight, with Clen slaying Fevror. As he does so, another of Fevror's monsters, a giant homunculus, attacks him. Fleeing through the swamp and blowing the pipe, he cannot escape the demon, who is not impeded by the terrain, and falls into quicksand. The Angels hear the pipe and swoop down to rescue Clen just as the demon is about to strike. Travelling back to the Dream Marches, where the final assault has begun on the capital using captured siege engines, Clen tells the Angel about the portal.

When they reach the capital, the Angels release their ballast, dropping lethal rain on the barbarian army. Those that aren't killed are chased from the Dream Marches by the Angels. Returning to the capital, Clen names his successor as leader of the Dream Marches and he and Lady Gradesmor lead the Angels to the portal. Clen says goodbye to Lady Gradesmor and follows the Angels through. The Angels ask if he will go with them, but he sees a ship approaching and a boat put out to pick him up. It is the Ship That Sails Between the Worlds, and Clen is convinced it will take him to Tanelorn and Ermizhad.

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