In my new urban fantasy trilogy, Demon Spring, I have five very different kinds of demons. Each of them, I wanted to represent an ancient people from around the world. For Bael, the king of the underworld, I wanted to give him truly terrifying powers. And what could be more terrifying than the ability to slow time? Athtar demons, then are some of the most dangerous demons out there.
Athtars and the Ba’al Cycle
Bael is based loosely on the Ba’al cycle, an ancient Canaanite tale that was used to describe the winter and summer seasons. Much of the names and plot come from this specific tale, including belu, athtar, Anat, Mot, Zephon, and more. Ba’al himself pops up throughout human history, eventually morphing into Baelzebub, one of the seven princes of hell in Peter Binsfeld’s classifications of demons written in the sixteenth century. In researching Bael, I came across the idea of assigning him and each of the belus a so-called “original sin,” although I only used five instead of seven. Baelzebub was the prince of gluttony; for my purposes here, I opted to go with pride.
For Bael’s power, I had already trended toward the five elements in Japanese philosophy (water, air, earth, and fire) unknowingly. So it was pretty fitting to assign him a void-type magic, effectively slowing the movement of the universe. And that also made him a hell of a lot more terrifying. As one of the demons says in the book, “How can you defeat someone who can stop time to slice your head off before you can even lift your sword?”
Athtars: If you see one, run
In Demon Spring, athtars are the rarest demons, mostly because they live in the Underworld with their king. They only really emerge during the quadrennial schisms between the worlds. Unlike most of the topside demons, they don’t transform others. In fact, every athtar in existence was directly created by Bael himself, and there’s only four hundred-ish of them. And how wonderful that they all share his disdain for human life, too. So in Resurgence, when Jack and Cam think their mystery lady is an athtar, there’s more than a fair amount of nerves.
Demon hunter Jack Grenard’s life changed three years ago when his wife was brutally murdered by the very demons he’d been hunting. At the urging of his partner Cam Macarro, he’s starting a new life in Atlanta, hoping he’ll find the man he used to be. But on a routine hunt, they come across a new type of demon–one that saves instead of kills.
Meanwhile, demons across Atlanta are preparing for the quadrennial uprising of their Underworld brethren. Worse yet, there’s a rumor the so-called king of the demons, Bael, will appear for the first time in over a century. Jack and Cam must uncover the truth about the mystery woman before all hell–literally–breaks loose.
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