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 where morose mists crawl and vile vapors creep two dire spirits trapped in tormented sleep had heard the weeping of that ocean-mother and sore of spirit awakened.

The Nothingness and Emptiness that dwelt in the gray fogs of the Great Beyond had arisen from their prison. For untold eons they had waited for this time when the voice of that 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 fate and future. These words they alone would hear and harken to. For it was the destiny of these sinister twins they forever after awaken to the sorrows of the world.

Their gray spirits began to stir again within the hazy hollows of that horrid realm. For they had as immortal spirits dwelt together within that grim domain of gloom, that infinite place of sadness and doom that lay beyond the Lands of Midnight that had since the world began encircled the sleeping seas in silken shadows.

This endless abyss few living beings had ever seen. For it was a foreboding and forgotten place where neither light nor darkness might ever travel but die quickly within its gossamer mists. Filled with swirling green and gray fog, its foul vapors forever churned in the twisted shadows below Oblivion’s lost chasms.

It was a savage place filled with the last cries of the living, a vacuous void born of weeping souls and withering spirits whose morose mists held the last hopes of the doomed and the dying within their midst. Those living fogs raged so in the distance, their strange currents formed from the fleeing ghosts of countless cruel endings. For their violent storms bore the dust of a million worlds long shattered, their tortured clouds ever-wafting upon the foul breath of some unseen evil hidden in the depths.

Yet the Great Beyond was a prison to those vile beings. For they had made it so that the Sacred Light and the candle that dwells in the heart of the living might not ever burn nor blind them. And so in fear they had cowered there at the remaking of the world. But though the Sacred Light and his golden rays had departed, within this world still shone the silver rays of the Spirit Divine, that whose living lantern still beamed forth from the depths of Phantaia with hope to challenge them.

But hearing An and Ana’s angelic voices upon the shores of the Dreaming Seas, the Nothingness rose forth in the gloomy fogs from a nightmare unfathomed to stir his bloated and famished brother, the Emptiness, from his eternal slumber. In ancient days the Nothingness had devoured the spirit of the living while his brother’s wide vampiric maw took into him the flesh of the dying and the blood of the fallen in endless streams. Now awakened their great clouds billowed forth in the Great Beyond as vast storms filled with webs of white lightning that boiled with rage.

With commanding voices they summoned many servants to their side. These violent children forged of nightmares unfathomed gathered before their master’s bloody clouds in great throngs. The sinister twins then sent them flying forth as many spirits and horrors born of their vast mind’s cruel imaginings to find the source of the shrill voice that had stirred them from sleep.

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

They had tried in past ages to find its secret source and extinguish its flame. But hearing instead the faint cries of the forest’s fair spring that bubbled forth within its depths they grew fearful. For they had known of its returning and so feared it greatly. They then returned to their hateful masters’ home, telling them of its strange whisperings from within the dark woods.

But the matrix mind of the Nothingness saw many things in the sound of those mysterious waters. And so hearing the moaning of the seas and the voices of the waters agaun was his matrix mind awakened to a great truth he had long feared. For he had known that a child whose precious waters she had 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, the waters secret source, and 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 to rip Phantaia 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 feared that which his vast powers yet could not bestill.

Fearful of the Sacred Waters whose spirit now sustained Phantaia, he instead 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 foul servants many times before. And so the Nothingness 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. Then would the world and its children be consumed by his him and his brother. The spirit of dreaming child would then be carried away to be drowned in the black waters of the world and devoured.

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. The vile spirits of their servants that crept about the garden’s fringes had then fled before the One Tree’s bold beams once more, back into the shadows of Avaras’ hateful lands. 

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, something long ago she was forbidden to ever comprehend. For though many now sought the waters true source, none knew their true meaning nor purpose nor powers.

For those mysterious waters had defied many others in worlds long before this one. And they would do so again.

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