The third and final part of my short novel "A Phoenix in Darkness," has now been published at Black Gate. This is where the Domini have their climactic battle with the Necromancers, and the question of who truly wins is resolved.
Originally, this part of the story was a lot more anti-climactic. That's because it ended at chapter 5, and didn't include the final showdown in Chapter 6, though it did include something similar to the current epilogue, though much more ambiguous. Why did I end it that way? Because that's how I originally saw it ending--the story wasn't about the climactic final battle, so much as the tensions between the Domini. That was what originally inspired this story: a throwaway line in my novel, now called Heirs of Fire, revealing one of the sources of the conflict between Aulus and Kulsin. It was John O'Neill, the editor at Black Gate, who pointed out that a Black Gate story needed a more action-oriented climax. I thought about it some, went back over the story, and realized that there was a significant plot hole. It was not the sort of hole a reader of "A Phoenix in Darkness" would really appreciate, not unless he knew as much about the Necromancers as I did. In which case it became glaring. Thinking about that, I told John that I could write a new ending, which would fill in that particular plot hole, and end the story with something exciting. So that's what I did.
Which is also how my 35,000 word novella grew to a 50,000 word short novel. But I don't regret it in the least. So, go ahead and read it, and enjoy the new, more exciting ending of "A Phoenix in Darkness."