In her unreleased novel The Crosses of Tarsus, a Christian fantasy, Karyn Cantees Stagg unveils a world of angels and demons, and how these heavenly and netherworld spirits could be working in our lives. Demons goading harassing, tormenting, and forever taunting us, while angels prod, comfort, and endlessly toil to save us from ourselves and our demon foes.
The battle for eternity begins in this first book of a supernatural trilogy where graphic descriptions of the netherworld are woven through a story told by BAHAR, a 4,000 year-old spawn demon, who once lived on earth.
Bahar is tapped by SATAN to lead a historic mission and to solve a riddle that even Satan can’t solve. The riddle, Bahar discovers, is linked to two crosses smuggled out of Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution: one wooden and one made with gems reserved for the famous Faberge eggs. Are these the legendary Crosses of Tarsus, he wonders?
However, the little spawn jeopardizes the assignment when he becomes enamored with jeweled cross heiress CASEY SIMPSON, a kidnapped sacrifice for Satan, who reminds him of his earthly daughter. More than anything, Bahar wants to know if his daughter is in heaven or hell. ARCHANGEL MICHAEL uses his knowledge of the daughter’s destiny to obtain Bahar’s help in saving Casey.
The secrets surrounding Bahar—why angels know him and why a lowly spawn leads a historic mission—are as puzzling as the riddle.
As the race to solve the riddle and unlock the mystery of the crosses ignites, an apocalyptic battle between warring dark and light angels ensues.
Meanwhile, humans and their netherworld adversaries realize the crosses will not only save Casey’s dying grandmother, but are catalysts that will usher in the End Time for Christ . . . or Satan.
The Miracle of the Riddle
by Karyn Cantees Stagg
Many miracles surrounded the writing of The Crosses of Tarsus, beginning with God’s directive to write it. But no miracle was so great as the writing of the riddle, and then, writing a book around a riddle I barely understood!
Somehow I sensed the book should have a riddle. Since it was completely intuitive, I sat on the side of my bed, pen and pad in hand, asking God to give me the words.
Very soon and with little effort, I wrote, “Its path lay north south east and west, A path no demons foot doth press.” I knew exactly what it meant, given my start with the book. Hurrah!
It took longer to write the next two lines, “Its colors pierce the darkest night, but the dullest hath the brightest light.” I knew how ‘its colors could pierce the darkest night,’ but, I had no idea how ‘the dullest could have the brightest light.’ After I wrote it, I just kept pondering, “How could that happen?”
It seemed forever before the next lines came: “Water flows o’er glistening rocks, Refreshing one of Yahweh’s flock.” I wrote it, but I had no idea what it meant.
Thankfully, the next two lines came quickly: “Seven times two for all to see, strips Satan of eternity.” Except, oops, that isn’t exactly what ended up in the book. I sort of knew what these two lines meant, but I was unclear what the “seven times two for all to see” line could mean to the entire trilogy. Two years later, when things were clearer, the line was changed to “Pairing the trinity for all to see.”
Most of my writing is done on the computer, but the riddle I wrote longhand. There were many starts, and the whole process probably took three or four hours. I had a couple of pages of notes as to what I thought different words or lines might mean. I wasn’t right about at least two of them. Those notes were unfortunately lost or tossed.
So, okay, at that point, I had a finished riddle, but only a few chapters in my novel. The rest of the book would center around a riddle that, quite frankly, puzzled me! I had to trust God that the riddle would lead me where I wanted and needed to go. This is what living the supernatural life is all about.
Sometimes I’m sorry I deviated from the “Seven times two” line, but it didn’t change the book in the least. With divine guidance, I followed the path to a finished novel.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the riddle means. That would ruin it! My hope is that you’ll buy and share the book with friends and family, telling them about the miracle of the riddle and encouraging them to look for miracles in their own lives!
Its path lay north south east and west;
A path no demon’s foot doth press.
Its colors pierce the darkest night,
But the dullest hath the brightest light.
Water flows o’er glistening rocks
Refreshing one of Yahweh’s flock.
Pairing the Trinity for all to see,
Strips Satan of eternity.
The Crosses of Tarsus:
In this excerpt, Satan and his ten favored dark angels, Those Forever Within Range of His Voice, dominants of Hades, are seen through the eyes of spawn demon, Bahar.
The sun completely vanishes and Master appears on the horizon with Those Forever Within Range of His Voice. I look longingly at them. Breathtaking! A sweet hysteria builds in me knowing heaven’s history is written on their backs—these angels who refused to worship at the feet of Jehovah, who challenged their Creator and became the dominants of Hades. And Lucifer, their leader, the most glorious of all, architect of a new light, or darkness, if you will, for the third of heaven’s angels who followed him into his own creation. I must calm myself, but the sight of Master and his favored Ten looming in the distance, moving slowly toward us, overcomes me and I bow low, as do all. But as they approach, reality supplants my giddy delirium and I shudder.
Tiles rattle and the roof shakes as the dark angelic troop arrive like gothic giants dropping from the sky in one seamless motion, a masterpiece of demonic precision. A deathly stillness fills the air even as the mighty eleven move toward us and the concerto builds to Master’s voice: “Everyone rise, except Bahar!”
Everything stops and I stay low, happy my time in his presence will be limited. I cannot see, but I know there are no pleasantries. Silence engulfs the moment like a great fog. Finally, Master moves. I know it is him because no one else would dare.
In this excerpt, spawn demon Bahar explains that he and five warrior demons are surrounded by light angels
As we soar, I lag behind the warrior’s skillful ascent and am hopeful, for many reasons, that the Supreme is erroneous about warring spirits. He is not. I see them first; seven angels scatter about the sky in front of me like wayward stars. I halt my ascent and look behind me: seven to my left, seven to my right, seven in the rear. We are surrounded. Up ahead the warriors suddenly stop. They turn to see what has come to war with them.
My heart beats as fast as it did when we entered this salt-laden, antebellum area, except this time, the cadence beats fear, not anticipation.
Never in three thousand years have I seen twenty-eight angels, and it is a cosmic moment. The earth should glisten and swell like the whole of heaven in their presence. I want to clasp my hands together, but dare not. Who could declare that they are not majestic?—the white, shining version of Master with his dominants. Their heights vary, but they are tall, at least eight or nine feet. In the darkness, they are as beacons of light. Their breastplates, called righteousness, look like white feathers. Faith or fides is written in Latin across their shields. Around their helmets lie a crown of thorns. I’ve seen one or two angels from afar, and Gabriel through blurry vision, but this—stunning! The imagery, the metaphors! I thought it nonsense when I read through their Bible, especially that verse in Ephesians 6. Yet, here they are, glorious! Converging like a miniature Milky Way.