The First Dome of Souls Novel
Jove Hendricks wishes he had never moved to Shangbei: it’s too hot and humid and the religious conflicts are even more intense than in his hometown Hamberwa. Soon war looms in this post-robot-apocalypse world of church politics and intrigue.
Jove’s boss, the Grand Priestess of the Good Faith sect, teams up with her allies against the Mukol doomsday faith, which promises relief from worldly misery by destroying the cause of all human suffering: the earth itself.
On top of the political bickering, Jove suffers from a recurring nightmare in which he sees a place he dubbed the “Dome of Souls” – a giant hall where he lies immobile and suspended in thin air among billions of people.
One night, the Dome gives Jove a four-word message that can save the world. Trouble is, he doesn’t understand what “Lenny escaped and survived” means. The only one who does is Grand Priest Shavendra, the head of the Mukol doomsday cult that wants to destroy the planet.
Publisher: Independently Published
Vana led Jove down black corridors.
“I have to see Shavendra. I’m sure he heard and is terribly worried.”
“What about me?”
“Come along. He’ll want to thank you.”
“How many enhanced spies does he have?”
“Not many, it’s forbidden after all. But Shavendra insists that I take one along when I go out.”
“Wise decision. Without him, we wouldn’t have made it.”
“Without you either. What’s that - ”
Shavendra came around a corner and jogged towards them. Vana picked up speed and flew into Shavendra’s arms.
“Oh darling, are you all right?” Shavendra asked.READ MORE
He looked at her and, after she nodded, he kissed her long and deep. Jove stood behind them and had to watch, jealousy burning in his chest like a charcoal fire.
“You shouldn’t go out so often,” Shavendra scolded her.
“I’ve lived in a cage all my life, I - ”
He put a finger over her mouth.
Shavendra was different than Jove expected. He saw pictures of him, but he imagined him to be far crazier, stranger, more inhuman than the concerned and worried lover now in front of him. His long black hair was bound into a ponytail, with one single loose lock falling over his timeless Indian face down to his chin. He was attractive and seemed anxious about his appearance but managed not to appear vain. Shavendra looked at Jove and smiled. He had a damn nice smile; he had charisma, he came running down the corridor to meet his lover. Vince never did things like that.
“Hello Jove. It’s a pleasure to meet you. A much greater pleasure than I thought it would be. Thank you for saving Vana.”
Shavendra approached him and offered him his hand. Jove took it with a smile.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Grand Priest Shavendra, you should also thank your enhanced guard. Without him they’d have got her.”
“I’ll do so. Come let’s sit down somewhere and catch our breaths after this craze.”
He took Jove by one arm and Vana by the other and led them down the corridor. Vince never touched commoners.
“I’m surprised that you carry an illegal stunner, Jove,” Shavendra said.
“Yes, what’s that thing that you have there?” Vana asked.
“As Shavendra pointed out, it’s illegal. Very illegal. The thing’s pretty wicked.”
Shavendra led them into a luxurious large room with three black sofa arrangements. “Please sit down, let me get you drinks. Is rice wine fine?”
“Yes, thank you, honey,” Vana said and Jove couldn’t believe his ears. Shavendra would serve them? Vince snapped her fingers and a servant would rush to fill her and her guests’ glasses, in that order.
Vana pulled Jove onto a sofa while Shavendra poured them drinks.
“What does this stunner thing do?” she asked.
“It interrupts the electric impulses between the cells of a body,” Jove said
“For how long?”
Vana’s eyes widened, while a grinning Shavendra put drinks in front of them and sat down himself.
“You mean those two constructs are dead now?”
“Sure.” Jove found it cute that she thought they had only been stunned.
“The quickest and most pain free way to kill someone. Death is instantaneous,” Shavendra said. “The disadvantage of this weapon is that you have to apply it directly to the body. You cannot trigger it from afar. You have to be in physical contact with your victim.”
“Correct.” Jove nodded.
“Why do you carry a stunner and how did you get it, Jove?” Shavendra asked and looked at Vana. “If security guards caught him, he’d go into prison for life for having a stunner.”
Vana stared quite overwhelmed from one to the other.
“My Grand Priestess requires her assistants to wear this thing. I don’t know where she got them from.”
“Oh, so you’re also her bodyguard.”
“Of course she has also official bodyguards. But there are situations where she doesn’t take them along but only one of her assistants.”
“Interesting. Vince Gibbons trusts her assistants quite a bit.”
“We’re no threat to her office, we’re not priests. It’s in our interest to keep her alive. She’s paying and thus feeding us.”
Shavendra chuckled, nodded, and took his glass from the small table between them for a toast. “Thank you for saving Vana.”
Vana also took her glass and held it towards Jove. “Yes, thank you.”
“To Jove,” Shavendra and Vana both said and they all sipped their drinks.
“Hm, this is excellent.” Jove never tasted such incredible rice wine before.
“Yes, it’s from Mukol, from a rice field inside the main temple. It’s real, not synthetic,” Shavendra said.
“Oh, that’s why. It’s exceptional.” Jove sipped again.
“Well, you have an appointment with me tomorrow morning. If you don’t mind coming back, I’d like to keep that appointment as it is and offer you some entertainment tonight instead.”
“Oh, that’s very generous of you, Grand Priest, thank you.”
“I should be able to provide you with a very special entertainment tonight,” Shavendra said with a wicked smile around his lips.
Jove had no idea what he meant. Vana looked as questioning at Shavendra as he did.
“You know - ” Shavendra started but a knock at the door interrupted him. “Ah, maybe that’s it; please excuse me for a second,” he looked at the door. “Yes.”
It opened and a black-robed priest entered the room. He looked at Shavendra, then at his guests. Shavendra waved him closer. The priest bowed down to him and whispered into his ear.
Shavendra started to grin broadly. “Very well,” he said and got up. He smiled at Jove and Vana. “I’ll be back in a few moments.”
“Sure, honey,” Vana said, as he left together with his priest.
“What’s going on?” Jove asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Really, I swear.”
Jove nodded and drank from his rice wine.
“I hope you won’t get into trouble with Vince because you used the stunner.”
“I’ll be fine. She ordered me to speak to Shavendra and I followed her orders and saw to it that my contact to Shavendra remained unharmed. I acted in her interest.”
Vana smiled broadly. “How cold.”
“You know that I would’ve done that also without - ”
She didn’t let him finish his sentence but put a finger over his lips. “You’re cute, sometimes you don’t know when I’m teasing you.”
She leaned towards him and kissed him again. It was fantastic and he didn’t know why. He never felt like that with anyone before, not even with Sabrina and, for a while, he had seriously thought that he was in love with her. He pressed Vana to him and, without even knowing it, his hands wandered over her body. He sucked at her like a vampire, totally beside himself. After an endlessly short moment, she wound herself out of his arms and shook her head.
“This is bad, you’re about to fall in love with me.”
“Too late,” he heard himself whisper.
She smiled without looking at him. Jove wouldn’t have minded to die at this moment and for this smile.
The door opened again and Shavendra returned. Not alone, but with ten black-robed men, women, and hermaphrodites. They all looked and behaved highly drugged. They giggled, swayed like they were drunk, and some of them had their robes barely wrapped around their bodies.
“I hope you don’t mind a little orgy,” Shavendra said with an evil grin.
Jove felt his feet grow cold. He looked at Vana, relieved to see shock in her face too.
“Shavendra, what are you doing?” she asked.
“You’ll see in a moment. Retreat with Jove over there. Watch, but don’t intervene. I don’t want you to spoil this.”
Jove got up, taking Vana’s hand, more than glad that he was allowed to retreat.
He pulled her with him to the third sofa arrangement in the back of the room that lay farthest away from the entrance. Shavendra bade his followers to settle down on the sofas closest to the door. Due to the darkness in the black room, Jove could barely see the entrance anymore.
“Come my darlings, lie down, do whatever you feel like doing. Don’t be shy, but don’t touch me, I need to focus,” Shavendra instructed them.
They did as he said. Giggling, they sank into each other’s arms, some of them started kissing and fumbling, white and brown skin appeared from beneath the black robes.
Shavendra sat down among them and to Jove’s astonishment they indeed kept their fumbling fingers away from him. Shavendra touched his communication bracelet and whispered something into it, then he leaned back and waited. Soon the door opened and two guards showed in a completely deranged and raging High Priest of the Good Faith: Xiang.
Blood, excrement and vomit covered his formerly sand-colored robe. His face had frozen into a mask of rage, pain and madness. More blood and vomit stained his disheveled white hair. The two Mukol guards held him left and right under his arms.
“You monster! You abominable monster! Curse you, Shavendra! Curse you! He’s dead and you killed him!”
Jove couldn’t help it, his jaw dropped.
Vana drew in her breath sharply, then held her hand in front of her nose. Jove could smell it too, the stench reached them even in the back of the hall.
“No, Xiang, you killed him, not me,” Shavendra said.
“What?” Xiang only screeched.
Shavendra’s followers ignored Xiang for the moment and continued caressing each other.
“You killed him the moment you raped him the first time. I relieved him from his misery. His soul is grateful for what I have done.”
“You fucking monster!”
“You are the monster, Xiang. Rape is worse than death. Rape kills the soul, not the body.”
“He died a horrible death and - ” Xiang couldn’t speak anymore, he sobbed.
“And you killed him, Xiang,” Shavendra said, ice cold.
One of the winding bodies on the sofa turned her attention to Xiang.
“Why is this man crying, Shavendra?” she asked, so innocent, so pure.
“Because he killed someone.”