Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
As the Keeper of Domhan wakes to a morning of hope and satisfaction, the perpetrator of the lie in the inner Garden is made to answer for his contrivances. Whose will is greater and what will become of the newly prepared soul of As’me, waiting patiently to find new life in existence-a second chance at happiness in the physical world…
Ar’tine roamed the desolate corners of Domhan Eile, satisfied with his night’s work, and contemplated things to come….the epitome of delusion, he began entertaining the idea of revisions to his dismal home, perhaps a bit more light. Yes, of course, he reasoned to his captive soul, that if perhaps he could mimic some of the obvious beauty of Domhan, his Daughter reborn might choose a life once more with him instead of being trapped within the web of deceptive light and hope which he saw as the curse of Inion’s world. That would pave the way for his next creation…..
Ar’tine’s actions had proven them gravely mistaken about the future of As’me if trusted to the care of the Garden couple. If he had been so bold as to enter M’na’s world without a thought, without a question, and she had not seen through his guise; then what would prevent him from entering that sacred place with a darker agenda? He was still, unfortunately, a volatile, unstable soul in the seat of Creation. There was so much to consider…
When the goddess entered the gray mists of Domhan Eile, the righteous indignation that filled her Essence sent sparks flying across its surface, splinters of sharp light that cut the wet surface, sending vapors hissing towards the velvety sky. Still, they were nothing compared to the flashes going off within her conscious thought. She felt betrayed, misled, and miserably disappointed with him in whom she had placed such sincere faith.
(From deep within her core, the voice of Mor spoke to a deafened Goddess, “This is not about you and what you need, my child. You are whole without the love of any other being. This must be about Ar’tine’s lack of true Love for Himself.”)
Alas, Bandia could not hear anything above the roar of angry voices that had become the vengeful chorus of her soul. When she found Ar’tine near his glistening pool of visions, the wavering images of the innocent upon Domhan floated on the surface, unaware they were being used to feed his hunger. Protective rage arose within her bosom that she released with full force upon the troublemaker.
“How dare YOU!” she cried. Taken aback, Ar’tine faltered in a moment of genuine confusion; but the mind of darkness is all too aware of its workings and he quickly rose to the occasion of self preservation.
“Wait…”, he began, extending his hands in a futile gesture of supplication; for Bandia was overcome with anger, her fragile ego wounded in that moment. She wanted only to release all of the pain she felt, and to have him explain his betrayal in the face of her generosity, her Love and support of him. Surmounting her petty indignation, the hurt of broken trust surfaced as she began to plead with Ar’tine.
While Ar’tine’s conscious mind was clicking rapidly along to keep pace with the accusations, his subconscious worked wildly to concoct a plausible story; and he knew he had to stall the wild goddess.
“Why, whatever are you ranting about dearest one? What, exactly, is it that I have done to incite you to such fury and disappointment?” He feigned a jovial mood that he did not in the least bit genuinely feel, even if it had been present only moments before her dramatic entrance. Ahhh….the peace of being alone with his thoughts….
“Are you going to try to deny that you disguised yourself as the Daughter of Mor in order to enter her world and toy with the mind of my Daughter, M’na? Did you not encroach upon the safe haven of my Sacred Garden and tempt her there with deceit and desire in order to serve your own personal agenda?”
Ar’tine was indeed clever; but he was also speaking from the most honest place he knew when he produced his cunning reply. “My dear Bandia, indeed I did visit your daughter, but it was she who called out in her sorrowful prayers before sleep. It was she who hoped that her Mothers would hear her desperate plea for another child. I have seen her weeping secretly as her son moves away from her to be with his Father. I understand the pain of loss in being separated from one’s own creation.” He paused, perhaps for effect; or perhaps to deal with the sharp, clear pain of remembrance. Would it always seem so fresh, he wondered. In the next instant he twisted the blade that he had plunged into Bandia’s tender heart. “If you all had not been so consumed with deciding when my own As’me would be reborn, you would have heard-and answered-your precious daughter yourselves.” Bandia was stricken with guilt, a fresh pain that smothered her former anger. Ar’tine’s demeanor was solemn, but his withering soul was giddy with the satisfaction that he had struck a nerve. He could feel heavy guilt rising above the goddess’s indignation.
“Mac an Mor,” she finally began, taking a breath and hoping this use of his preferred name might ease the blow that was to come. For she now understood the magnitude of his desires. “It has not yet been completely determined if..,” she began.
“Can you not all see how important it will be for her to be under the influence of such a perrrfect brother as our young…. Amhain?”
“Ar’tine, I am more pleased than anyone that my daughter has received the gift she so longed for. It will be my greater happiness yet to see As’me alive in the physical once more, surrounded by the most full cocoon of love and guidance she could ever hope for.” Now was the moment she needed to go, before he could produce any more difficult questions or argument, so she hastily began her retreat. “I must go to the others….and explain your role in the events that took place on Inion’s world while Eternity slept, for they will be confused unless I do. It is imperative that I go quickly. There will be questions….and you know I have always been your…ally”
Ar’tine seemed to be satisfied with this declaration, a crooked smile working its way across his face. She didn’t know if that smile made her more sorrowful at his blatant self absorption or completely devastated that all her Love and devotion seemed to have made no difference to his core Essence.
When she left, the god was confident that his plan was ticking along nicely, although a small voice within him acknowledged her use of his dark name before leaving, something she normally avoided. The rest of him chose to ignore the voice. He was too full of his success to be sidelined by such a trivial occurrence. It was but a small crack in his plan, after all. He hadn’t yet realized that small cracks can be the beginnings of great undoing. Waiting was fine for him as long as the end result was the same. He thought only of rest, for He had been weakened by the long journey to Domhan. And the energy around the damned place was so heavy.…