Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Pennington
As the circle of friends in the Land of Laoch rest peacefully, the Keepers of Domhan also find sleep. But one will not sleep easy; for the vein of dark possibility pumps its poison into the minds of the innocent at every turn….
“I wonder how things have gone for our friends in the land of the cliffs.” M’na gazed at Fireann’s broad back with wide, brown eyes as they lay in the comfort of night, gently running her fingers over his warm, smooth skin. She never forgot her role, nor the burden of being the Keeper of all that lived on her world, even in her bliss. She was its original Creation and understood that all events sprung forth from the moment of her birth. Earlier, she tried to connect with them through her blue stone window; but it seemed too difficult to concentrate or to feel their energy once they moved beyond the land of Foirfeachta.
Fireann, who was absentmindedly watching a bit of light that peeked through a break in the grass roof, decided he needed to repair it and wished his beloved could find peace within her being. It seemed to his male intellect that with so much life on her world already, and with more being added every moment, that his sweet mate might never find rest from worrying over their well being. He rolled over and faced the mother of his son, brushing away the loose wavy strands of hair that draped across her eyes. Tilting her chin up towards his face gently, he looked deeply into those eyes where, even in the dark, he saw the flicker of Eternity. She was his treasure and possessed many gifts, some yet to bestow upon her world. At times he felt so small in her presence, so inadequate to lift her from her burden of Motherhood. She smiled at him sweetly; and he knew that in spite of the worries, the sometimes fear which gripped her heart, she was made for this. Being Mother, giver, friend, and keeper of this world was what gave her life. Now that they had become frequent physical lovers, the bond between them was strengthened in ways they hadn’t thought possible. When she was near, his body came alive with longing and sang beneath the touch of her fingers, those fingers that now traced the lines on his chest.
Fireann started down the hillside with his arms full of treasures for his family, not at all disarmed by the changes on his world or the red ball of curiosity hanging over his head. Until it called to him. “See me,” came the hissing whisper. Something tugged the center of his chest, urging him to look up at the moon again. “See me,” It seemed to call his name from within his own head in a bloody, red, oozing voice. The red orb shone brightly hanging against the black night; but as he stared at the moon it began to shrink-smaller and smaller as it began to fade. Dimmer, fainter it became as he watched in amazement, frozen to the spot on that grassy hillside; but before it disappeared completely, the red dot split! Now there were twin red moons. They blinked at him! His heart began to thump in his chest; and he dropped everything right where he stood, his treasures now tumbling ahead of him down the hillside; and the moons began falling from the night, ever faster as he watched, transfixed from his hillside. From behind them arose a dark mist, swirling and enveloping them as it began to take shape. Steadily the apparition descended from the black to the ground below. There came a ghastly roaring as the misty creature it had become opened newly formed jaws to reveal razor sharp, white teeth-teeth that were floating, flying towards him from the distance. In another instant, it loomed in front of his face, grinning wildly at him. Fireann raised his arms in front of his face defensively and struck out at an invisible enemy, those arms swinging at the empty, dark night. His fearful mind flew to his innocent loved ones below.
Breathless he slowed as he neared the pathway to the forest surrounding the Garden. The heat singed his body even as he looked upon the devastation that was once his home. The beast swiftly and effectively set fire to all in its sight, like straw for kindling. Fully formed now beyond its hideous smile, the creature lashed a misty dark tail angrily as it continued burning, burning, burning up Fireann’s world. The thing saw him, saw his fist raised in anger; and before he could draw his weapon from his side, the grim nightmare reared its body upward and raged at him. “Why are you so angry with me?” thought the frantic male.
The last thing he saw was the light of endless suns coming towards his face and felt an unbearable heat wash over his body. He tried to cry out in agony; but still the sound was as a knotted piece of gristle stuck in his throat, choking his airway. Then there was only black. Everywhere darkness.
“Welcome to Domhan Eile, King of Domhan,” it sneered inside his brain. Fireann put his soot covered hands to his ears to shut out the sound, but the painful voice just kept coming, repeating the same sentence over and over…..driving him to madness! He sat bolt upright in their bed, clutching the sides of his head, his mouth wide in a silent scream.
There was a gray moon hanging above, a few scattered stars scattered across the black; and the night air was scented with the usual fragrance of the forest flowers. He let the breezes dry his skin and breathed deeply of the cool, fresh air, trying to renew his senses.
Fireann didn’t want to leave M’na at this time but he needed the Sorceress. Only she would be able to explain this dream. He would head out with the next sunrise. Looking back at his beloved sleeping soundly in their bed, the terror of his dream subsided, but the imprint of horror it left in his mind would remain. He spent the rest of the night sitting in their doorway with his head propped against the wood, not certain if he slept or not and not caring if he did. He did not want to return to the nightmare. As he watched the glowing embers of their fire, he was reminded of its eyes…
Mna would scold him in the morning for such folly; but he would be so joyful to hear the sound of her voice it wouldn’t matter at all.