All That Lore and More
The very first image that ever popped into my brain in regards to The Dark In-Between was this giant, white marble statue shattering into a million crystal pieces. I know, dramatic! The thing that stuck out to me the most when I thought about it was that the statue had giant, feathery wings. It was an angel.
So, this was going to be a book about angels, I thought.
Well, not quite.
But after a few months of writing, it was definitely a book with angels and that required some research. I dove into stories and descriptions, pulling from old lore, drawing inspiration from different cultures, and in the end, was most influenced by the idea of archangels, or the higher ranking angels. Now, different belief systems and cultures hold different angels in high regard, so I considered what would work for the story I wanted to tell.
One of the biggest parts of my revision was that I needed to sort out the magic system that existed in my book. Basically, Red, being a fallen angel, has access to angelic gifts. He is able to borrow the affinities of the archangels, giving him different abilities and strengths.
In order to streamline this magic system, I focused on four different power groups that I wanted Red to be able to access and after some research, I found four angels that I thought might suit these abilities.
First we have Michael, the angel closely associated with strength and protection. In The Dark In-Between, Red draws his fighting abilities from this angel. He is sent to earth to help Casey and part of that requires that he defend her from the obsii—dark, other-worldly creatures that prove to be especially dangerous. Red’s superior fighting skills and his inhuman strength are both abilities he borrows from Michael.
The second of these all-powerful angels is Raphael, who in some stories, is closely associated with healing. In The Dark In-Between, Red draws the strength to heal wounds inflicted by the obsii from Raphael. He is able to repair damage to both himself and Casey following battle. Borrowing this ability requires more skill and would have taken Red a longer time to learn to control. Being a nurse myself, I felt like this was one of the cooler skills Red got to borrow!
The third angel, Gabriel, is known as a great messenger, responsible for delivering important news. For this affinity, I got a little more creative with the powers Red was able to borrow. One of the tasks Red has in the book is securing the way to and from Limbo. He uses old symbols to protect their path, preventing the obsii from slipping through into the human world. These symbols are part of an ancient angel language used by Gabriel. Red borrows this knowledge in order to complete his tasks. Through Gabriel’s gifts, Red also has access to the veil, a special ability that allows him to essentially go undetected on earth, which is necessary for the all mischief he and Casey get up to!
The final angel that is mentioned in The Dark In-Between goes by the name Uriel. In different lore and beliefs and cultures, Uriel possesses varying gifts. Sometimes, Uriel is known for wisdom, or for light, or finding inner power. In The Dark In-Between, Uriel’s gifts are connected to the elements—earth, wind, water, and fire. As far as the book goes, these are the most difficult of all the gifts Red must learn to utilize in order to do his job as an angel on earth. When Red and Casey first meet, he still hasn’t mastered the skill level needed to borrow these abilities.
When Casey first learns about Red’s world and his ability to borrow gifts from the archangels, they are holed up for safety in an abandoned church where a statue of Michael resides. According to the book’s lore, archangels are the strongest of angel-kind and every legion of angels has been trained in their likeness in order to maintain the balance between good and evil. As Red tells it, statues, much like the one I envisioned when I first dreamt up the story, are the placeholders for the archangels on earth. Waking an archangel is done by destroying their statue, shattering it into a million, tiny marble pieces. That’s only for extreme cases though, like when Casey goes rogue and accidentally sets in motion a battle for Liddy’s soul!