The Sinister Twins

The following is an early unedited chapter from Book Two of the Phantammeron, the dream-like section called the Anakrasitra.

As Ana returned to restful sleep something malicious beyond that ancient sea had begun to stir from its own tortured slumber. In the murky depths beyond all worlds, where morose mists crawl and vile vapors creep, two dire spirits in the deep trapped in tormented sleep had heard the weeping of that ocean-mother and sore of spirit awakened.

The Nothingness

Two vile beings called the Nothingness and Emptiness had awoken within the groaning depths that now enwrapped the world. The quiet footsteps of these Fiends of Time had long ago grown silent. Almost forgotten, their mother, the Evil One, once held within her glassy heart their sad memory. Now shattered and scattered upon an empty waste she had surrendered the last of its beat to the cold winds long ago when her vile sons were set free from her flesh.

For long ago before the birth of all worlds her heart once beat boldy within the ethereal spaces, echoing out its painful cries for another. For she was enslaved to Time, her lover, whose thousand cursed clock’s endless cogs forever turned and churned, tuned to the rhythm of all things as that Beast of Change commandeth. But freed from her dark heart’s cruel embrace, Time long ago had cast Evil Age upon the world in such fashion that even the forest of Phantaia and its many tangled roots would forever shake and shrivel in fear of his venerable breath.

Their violent and vengeful children, the Nothingness and Emptiness, now freed had arisen from frightful sleep in the Great Beyond. For untold eons they had waited for this time when the cries of the prophetic child of the Dreaming Seas freed from her own watery prison would echo out upon the ethereal winds faint whisperings of the world’s sad fate. These words they alone would hear and hearken to. For it was the destiny of these sinister twins they forever after awaken to the Sorrows of the World upon the western winds.

The gray spirits of the evil twins began to stir again within the hazy hollows of that horrid realm of fog and mist. For they had as immortal spirits dwelt together as cursed brothers within that domain of doom since many worlds prior. That infinite place of sadness and gloom lay beyond the Lands of Midnight, a black land that since the world began encircled the sleeping seas in its singular suffocating shadow.

But this endless abyss few living beings had ever seen. For it was a foreboding and forgotten place where neither light nor darkness might ever tread, but see its own shade fall away quickly within its gossamer mists. Filled with swirling greenish-gray fog, its foul vapors forever churned in the twisted shadows below Oblivion’s jagged cliffs. For this savage place lay filled with the last cries of the living, a vacuous void born of weeping souls and withering spirits whose morose mists had long ago trapped the last hopes of the doomed and the dying within their foul midst.

Those fated fogs eternally raged so in the distance, their strange currents bearing fleeting ghosts of the living that had perished in countless cruel endings long past. For their violent storms ever bore up from the depths the dust of a million elder worlds long shattered, those tortured clouds ever-wafting upon the foul breath of some unseen evil hidden in their hollow depths. That great being would ever wait in the shadows to trap them in its gaping maw. For it bore a pitiless hatred for Phantaia and all the living.

Yet the Great Beyond was but a prison to those foul beings. For they had wrapped its dense fogs about them as a cloak such that the Sacred Light of the candle that dwells in the living might not ever burn nor blind them. And so in fear they had cowered there in those fogs at the remaking of the world. But though the Sacred Light and his golden rays had long departed its spiritless holds, within this strange world yet shone out boldly the silver rays of the Spirit Divine whose living lantern beamed forth from the forested depths of Phantaia with its lasting hope to challenge them still.

But hearing An and Ana’s angelic voices upon the rocky shores of the Dreaming Seas, the Nothingness had risen forth in the gloomy fogs from a nightmare unfathomed to stir his bloated and famished brother, the Emptiness, from his eternal slumber. For in eldritch days of the world the Nothingness had devoured the spirit of the living, while his brother’s wide vampiric maw had taken into him the flesh of the dying and the blood of the fallen in endless streams. For together in evil partnership would nothing remain of this world.

Now fully awakened their great clouds billowed forth in the Great Beyond as vast storms filled with webs of white lightning that boiled with hate and hunger. With commanding voices they then summoned many servants to their side. These violent children, the Magra forged of nightmares unfathomed, gathered before their master’s crimson clouds in great throngs. The sinister twins then sent them flying forth as many storms, spirits, and horrors born of their vast mind’s cruel imaginings to find the source of that shrill voice that had stirred them from their rest.

Those spirits in time came before the lonesome shores of Phantaia’s wood, that land of many ancient trees that lay beyond the Dreaming Seas lashing shores. They crept about her fringes, hiding within its secret shadows, seeking the forgotten gates that once led into the forest’s own wilder depths. But those servants born of night’s eternal darkness had plotted ages ago to find the source of Phantaia’s infernal lights which they had once seen upon the distant horizon.

In vain they had tried to find its secret source and extinguish its hateful flame. For in former days it had singed their shadowed wings and blinded their black eyes with its salient lights. But in this strange new age of change only a faint moonlight now tinted her leaves. But hearing instead the faint cries of the forest’s fair spring that bubbled forth within its depths they grew yet uncertain. For they had known of the Sacred Waters return and so feared it greatly. They then returned to their masters’ abode, telling them of the pool’s strange whisperings from within the darker woods.

But the matrix mind of the Nothingness saw many things in the sound of those mysterious waters. Hearing the moaning of the seas and the cries of the waters within Phantaia again was his devious soul awakened to a greater truth he had long feared. For he had known that a child whose precious waters the seas once held would someday bring forth the very spirit of creation again within Phantaia. And that hateful being had waited in the abyss of the Great Beyond with his ravenous mind to hunt down that child again, the waters secret source, and so take her away. 

He had known that Phantaia would be remade as it had many times before to defy them. But those evil beings had plotted long ago when the world was made to rip Phantaia by its roots from its eternal clay, that which now moored it to the firmament below, so they might consume it. For it remained the last bastion of the living that they had hungered for since time immemorial. And yet the Nothingness still feared that which his vast powers could not yet understand nor bestill.

Fearful of the Sacred Waters whose spirit now sustained Phantaia, the Nothingness drew himself away from the sound of the waters strange calling. For he knew not yet what they said. But the source of that wellspring had been found by his servants many times before.

And so he waited patiently in the cold depths for his time when the child of the spring that bore them would be sundered from the rocks and the pool destroyed, once again. Then would the world and its children be consumed by his him and his foul brother. That innocent spirit of dreaming child would then be carried away from her kind and drowned in the black waters of the world.

And so with great determination those evil twins sought to find the grave of the sleeping maiden-of-the-mound once more and obliterate its keeper. But Phantaia by its own foresight had now hid that mysterious girl far from their black-rimmed eyes. For with the flowering of that well again had the stain of darkness within the Phantaia been miraculously cleansed once more. The vile spirits of their servants that crept about the garden’s fringes now fled with the rise of the One Tree’s silver beams, back into the shadows of Avaras’ hateful lands. For the pool’s own twilit powers that stirred all things had deemed it so.

The machinations of the sinister twins were thus held back in the shadows of the world where only darkness held sway and evil spirits born of ages past still lurked about unchallenged in the bowels of the earth. And yet within peaceful Abrea the Sacred Waters yet haunted Ana’s memory as they, something she too was forbidden to fully comprehend.

Though many now sought the water’s true source, none knew their real meaning nor power nor purpose. For those mysterious waters had defied many others in worlds long before this one. And they would do so again.

the Author

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