In a time not yet now, but then…
It slithered through the gloomy night’s sky like a snake on its belly, creeping towards its prey. Hissing into the chilly wind, in loathing, it pushed ever forward towards that which it stalked like a coming, inescapable deadly plague.
If it would have had a voice, it would have sneered the word. So deep was its hatred and disgust. For now however it was strangely patient & content with its present deficiencies. Uncomfortably so. It knew that the time was quickly approaching where that, and so much more, would be distinctly possible…
So down it went, with a steely patience, and one born of thousands of years of experience. It had nothing but time, after all.
Nothing but time.
In and out it crawled down through the trees, towards its destination, just as it circled around them on all quarters, closing them in.
Gauging, watching, waiting…
The grand oak’s branches danced, shivering with fear, like a teeth-chattering nervous tic, becoming broken and brittle, dying with even the tenderest of caresses of its oozing nothingness. It floated like a black fog down from the stars through the air, engulfing all in its path.
Choking them numb.
The moon did not shine, buried behind a shrouding veil of dense, grave-like fog. No stars twinkled, their light snuffed out, dimmed dead. The night was as dark as pitch resin and just as sickly unforgiving.
No crickets chirped. No nightingales sang their melodious tune. No owl stalked its prey, on widespread, ghost-like wings. No frogs bellowed their nightly, cold-blooded dismay at their warty lot in life.
All was quiet this eve, the night deadly still and it rang hallow with it.
The very air seemed stale.
Afraid to move.
Suddenly a scream shattered the quiet; its vibrations titillated the air with energy of painful expectancies, and it carried weightless from the manor just up ahead.
Fate had come a’ calling.
The Darkness rolled with malicious glee and growing anticipation at that much-loved sound, a proverbial tolling of the bell as it were, and the light from the house in the distance glowed like a precious, appealing beckon, directing the way to The Reckoning.
It was Kismet, after all.
The screams were a delicious summons, for it knew what they herald, however it was the light in the house in the end that appealed to its evil magnetism. It tempted the Darkness closer like a seductive, crooked finger of a secret lover.
The windows of the house shone like bright, pumpkin carved yellow, fire-lit eyes and as a result the Darkness drifted yet lower to stare into their depths, descending down upon the earth, to take its own peek at what lay within.
The closer it got to the light, the further down to earth it went, the smaller it seemed to become.
Light always overcame darkness. Where one existed, the other could not, for it was the natural order of things…The way they were meant.
It hated this most of all.
Detesting the light, still the Darkness was drawn like a moth to a flame, or like a shark to a single, minute drop of blood in the water…Or even like a male Preying Mantis, to its murderous mate.
The Darkness craved the light like a raving, unhinged addict. It thirsted for that very thing in which it wasn’t, and would never be, much less understood.
It feverishly desired that very connection, of the unrelenting opposable force of the unknown and it was this connection which made conflict absolutely inevitable.
Just as was the unavoidable, ever existing need to snuff out that very light, permanently and quite simply devour it all, down to the last tiny flicker or spark.
Consume it all like a rabid dog would raw, bloodied meat.
If the Darkness could have smiled, it would have at the very thought that one day soon, it most would be given the opportunity & it would do all it desired and do it just for the hell of it…
Hence the cause of the titillation from the sounds of the screaming.
Circling the house, in a whirlwind of despair, the cold spiraling air which stirred in its wake, tapped with greedy-like fingernails on the window panes. It was as if requesting entrance from those mortals that lay within.
It need not however be granted, just this second, of this it was true for it could already easily see through the thin, and oh so breakable sheets of glass, that destiny had undeniably dealt the hand it had waited for.
The time had indeed come.
Sensing the Darkness and its joy, the night cringed and recoiled on broken whispers of wind.
The moon watched the night, cloaking the Darkness and with a squinted half-eye of moonlit luminousness, it seemed to wince at what it knew to be true of the upcoming horror on the cusp of bing unveiled upon the lot of mankind…
It’s utter destruction and damnation.
Smugly, the Darkness spiraling ever slowly, patiently around the perimeter of the grounds of manor, settled in the blackened winter-deadened rose vines that covered the far battle scared mortar wall near the white cast parapet of the master bedroom.
For a time, as the Darkness peeked in the window there, all that lived this night, seemed to still in anticipation of the battle to come and because of the lines drawn here, in this time, at this very hour…This very second.
Unknown and unrecognized.
Again, the woman screamed in pain and agony and in the deepest recesses of the night, deep in the heart of the darkness, a raven’s caw echoed exultantly in the distance.
A cock crowed, but no sun rose.
And the wind began again it’s slow, insolent tapping on the windowpane, with a steady malevolent, patient beat…
Life is pain.
With it, life’s a punishing burden to bear, but without it, it’s simply incomplete. Unrealized.
Pain is needed to appreciate our lives when without it.
We often begin our journey in this mortal coil, fast on the heels of screams of torturous pain and almost unbearable agony and blood.
A cursed suffered, they say, as a result of the betrayal in the Garden of Eden, by a woman who was too ambitious, envious, of that which she was never meant to obtain, but went against God’s own command to pursue it anyway.
But not just any fruit, a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the heart of the Garden of Eden. Not to spoil the story for those of you who don’t know it, but Eve, thanks to the temptations of the devil, craved this luscious fruit, not for physical nourishment understand, but for intellectual enlightenment that came with it.
With a mere bite from this fruit, from the Forbidden Tree, divine knowledge was promised.
Knowledge, in this instant, proved too much was a very dangerous thing.
Nevertheless, despite our banishment from the Garden, humanity since has never wavered in our constant pursuit of it…
The pursuit of divine understanding.
Of this unrelenting pursuit, it is often written about with old adage such as, “Seek and you shall find.” Or, “Ask, and the door will be opened to you.” Of these two adage, both of which by the way are very true, one must also never forget that during your pursuit of knowledge in this life, possibly the most important adage of them all being, “Be careful what questions you ask, in your lifetime, for you may not obtain the answer in which you seek.”
Tonight, in this instant, this last adage proved true.
The bedchamber was filled with comforting warm glow of dozens of pink candles, in groups of three, on every surface available. A welcoming glow of the fire in the opulent hand carved fireplace of burnt oak, gave the room a very majestic ambiance.
Book ruled shelves, from floor to ceiling, lined with books of various of blushes took up the wall furthers from the bed, with antique books seen by a seldom, select privileged few. Gilded mirrors hung on every wall, as well as priceless oils only added to the monetary omnipotence of those residing within its hallowed walls.
The main focus, despite the opulent splendor of the master bedchamber was the intricately carved, highly ornate oak bed that sat on a raised platform, carpeted in the thickest, richest gold.
Gold fit for the most sovereign.
Consecrated warriors with a divine purpose, to devote their lives against the battle between good and all that wishes to destroy it and for this purpose alone did they exist.
Again, she screamed in agony as she felt the birthing pain spear through, seemingly to her very soul, her very center.
Every muscle locked tight.
Hands locked in a tight grip with her husbands, as he braced her shoulders behind her with strength, love and courage. With her last final push, with blood, sweat and tears, her child was finally born.
Here and long-awaited.
The baby’s cries filled the air, and all that heard it rejoiced with delighted laughter, applause and tears of joy.
From the lowliest maid, to the highest appointed present most official, all in response & illustrated their utter joy in their exuberance. They cheered and reveled with this beginning, the birth, of the next generation.
Every room in the huge mansion like structure was busy with hive-like activity in adulation for that birth which was upon them. The news trickled down quickly, from ear to ear like a domino effect, an excited chain reaction to all who craved the reports.
An heir born.
So very beautiful, the loving mother thought fondly looking down at the perfect curly locks of hair of her perfect little baby. The nurse handed the child back to the new mother, freshly cleaned and wrapped tightly in a hand sown quilt blanket with patches of the finest silk, cashmere & fur made just for this very occasion.
Only the very best.
Instant love was a stuttering in the heart. Pride was a crushing ache in the chest, one bursting at the seams, as the mother cradled the infant lovingly closer in her embrace, and the father eased the mother gently back against his chest as he ran one gentle finger down the dewy cheek of the child.
They sat, now a family of three, on the silk covered four-poster bed in the main bedroom chamber, surrounded by family, nurses, priests, staff and guard…
Lots of guards.
The numerous guards surrounding them were highly trained warriors. Their sole purpose befitting their expertise was for those who were a very special brand of royalty, of course, and ones needing to be protected at all costs.
And, yes ok, sprinkled amongst them as well were admittedly even a few scattered, cloaked assassins or two, hidden deep in the shadowed corners of the room – Hired guns trained in the ancient art of stealth, sabotage & secrecy. But given the benefit of the occasion, an extra adage of security was not only to be expected…
It was warranted.
However what wasn’t expected, on the occasion of such a royal birth, was the presence of a dark witch, whose talents lay in the darkest of arts and in a darkness as old as time its self.
Alternately feared and hated, were they and those that were left in the area who had practiced dark magic. Most of which had been subsequently banished, cast out or burned at the stake, a horrendous deed necessary to exterminate those which they believed actively worked against them, cavorting with the recesses of The Chata…
Known as the darkest form of evil, but rarely named for fear it would be called. It is a force that lived corporeal from goodness and was the one thing that existed alone in the cosmic spectrum of all divine and living things, which missed the mark of God.
An abhorrent matter to be sure, seeing to the death of a kind so like themselves, but one had to be ready to squelch the rising of the Dark Sparks and all that which came with them.
Dark Sparks such as herself, most certainly did not attend the birth of such a Divine ranking, however the circumstances in this matter were most unusual and required a special hand…
A possible view into a window to the future.
Whether it be through necromancy or shamanism, it mattered not, here in this instance, the Divine sought knowledge through their chosen fruit of choice…
Threat of expulsion from paradise be damned.
That is where Agla the Oracle came in. And she wasn’t happy about it, she thought as her eyes darted around the room with sickly suspicions.
Agla the Oracle, a clichéd wrinkled old prune, with a hunched back, crooked hands with contrasting lustrous liquid knowledgeable silver eyes, stood morosely in the back of the room.
Her dark robes, pulled high covering her face, her shining eyes averted and she shuddered like a dying rat on a trap. Quaking in both fear and aversion at being forced to be in the room with so many of her known enemies.
Those enemies of whom wished to harm her and those, admittedly, she wished to do grave harm in return.
That had so many gifts, but knew not what to do with them. The Spark was wasted on the likes of them, Agla sneered internally.
When divine royalty called however, those blessed with the Divine Spark, and all the prestige that came with it…For those destined to stand as a bright yellow light against the forces of inky black darkness, fated to do so, one was forced to obey lest they run the threat of paying the ultimate price…
Even she, most especially she – A Dark Spark of the darkest order.
When only a smattering of congratulations filled the air, the bulk of them having died off, Agla knew the time for forced performance was about to be upon her.
Slowly, and with great hesitance, those that surrounded the birthing-bed in the bedchamber began to slowly part, all the while watching her with worried, warning eyes and speaking in whispered murmurs behind raised hands.
Their bodies parted like the Reed Sea. They stepped back, Agla could easily see with the newborn nestled in the cusp of protection from its loving parent’s arms.
In the hushed silence, the new parents motioned her forward with a sanctimonious wave of their hands; waving in such a way that only those who knew the power of true dominance could.
Agla cringed at the summons and bit back the instinctive desire to spit at their request as all eyes were on her. A parlor like silence filled the air, to gage her reaction at this most royal command.
Now was not the time, nor the place to rebel against their nature.
A nature which put them on opposing ends of the cosmic spectrum, so she resisted. She resisted her base urge to spit in disgust and revolt, because she quite simply wanted to make it out of the room alive, so she censored herself.
Taking a deep calming breath, trying to still the rapid beating of her heart, Agla took one hesitant step forward, her back leg dragging like a deadened, crippled weight behind her, only to take it quickly back again as protective warriors seemed to converge around her instantly; An instinctive reaction to one hesitant step forward of what they perceived as evil in their midst.
They seemed to lunge at her as one, “Wait!” Agla said panicked, throwing up her hands to shield her already battle scared face.
She cowered and pulled her cloak & robes more securely around her shoulders. Her eyes scanned the swarming crowd. She could see them all, their eyes glowed with hatred. They looked towards her, one and all, and those eyes she couldn’t see – Theirs – she felt even more harshly like hot little needle pricks underneath the skin, coming from the deepest most shadowed areas of the room.
The Nanren – The shadow assassins.
The dark ones themselves, not seen but felt, watched her with murder tainted eyes she knew and she did her best not to shiver under their gaze lest they be provoked.
“I’m just doing what was requested, that is all.” The Dark oracle pleaded. “Please, I mean no harm!” Agla called out, even as she thought the words silently to herself, “Not yet.”
It was a personal silent, vindictive oath, the nine-inch dagger burning her hip on her left side, hidden under her cloak, all but begging to be used.
Here, she dare not pull it free, not now.
Nervously she fingered the medallion of protection. It was a sterling silver scarab beetle, and its eyes glowed a flickering yellow from the eternal flame that burned within.
It burned warmly against her chest.
This powerful amulet hung as a protective talisman around her neck and had since her birth, as first one large warrior stepped up to her, then another on the other side, surrounding her.
Methodically, quietly she quickly began a chant with great anxiety, quickly turning to terror.
The shadows on the wall seemed to shift all around her, closing her in, and so she began to cast a spell of protection around her if but in a weak attempt to aid in her survival this night.
Asking any and all otherworldly beings who would listen to protect her against the darkness in her midst, begging to be taken into its protection, to hide her there, if the dark ones did indeed converge on her, intent on taking her life…
Which, considering her present circumstance, that outcome now was highly likely and could come at any moment.
Her silent, mouthed chant, however and unfortunately did not go unnoticed by the warriors surrounding her flanks taking exception to not only her dark presence, but her darker methods as well.
“See – We warned you this was a bad idea!” The great large man said at her side with a growl, pointing towards the couple on the bed with one hand, he grabbed Agla by the back of the neck with the other huge meaty hand, lifting her off her feet. “The witch is casting a spell against us.”
Agla gasped as terror shook her, but still not once did she stop her chants, only increased them ten-fold in pace, as tears of fear coursed down her worn and withered cheeks.
She rubbed the amulet between her thumb and forefinger, silently mumbling to herself, “I seek to become, that which wishes to harm me, so I might not become undone. To the darkness I call, to the darkness I be; to hence do I come, oh please I beseech thee!”
“I knew this was a bad idea, Sir,” A tall, stout woman said, ignoring the hag’s chants, pushing her way through the crowd to grab Agla roughly as well. “We shall expel her at once and see to her fate.”
“No.” A whispered denial was ordered by the new mother, but it didn’t break through the rising outrage of the crowd that was growing more virulent by the minute.
With two warriors on each side, a third walked straight up to the old hag.
A huge ugly woman, with bulbous green eyes, sneered down at Agla, while gleefully explaining her fate and what was to become of it, “We shall trial her by fire and set her to stone.”
“No!” This time the new mother’s voice whipped through the air – A voice of power, defiance and command. “No, you will not.”
With a shake of her head at her husband, a silent command to not interfere, she handed him their child. The new mother rose from the bed, pulling a robe around her battle tired, child-birthed body and stood warrior proud by the bed on affronted, muscle locked legs. “Release her at once.”
“I gave you a command and you will obey it.” Shoulders back, head held high, jaw locked, eyes intent and burning bright, she was a lioness in a room full of cubs. She knew it and so by God did they. “She’s frightened, and you’re compounding it by terrorizing her. Now let her go and back away.”
“Back away!” It was a threat laced demand from a warrior secure in her knowledge and her position and it carried to all in the room like a lashing warning. Just as menacing and dangerous as was the sword from the scabbard she pulled free that had rested by the bed. “Or I will make you.”
True dominance demanded submission and granted no quarter.
The three warriors looked nervously down to the frightened old woman in their grasps, then back to the proud, warrior woman behind them, bearing a sword intent on defending her.
They looked next to the new father sitting on the bed, with the newborn in his arms, and a smile for his wife on his face, however when he looked at them, he ceased smiling, and only quirked his brow and they knew instant defeat.
The look was a warning.
And the master was waiting.
Together their mistress and master were united on this front, and no one dared to oppose them either separately, but most assuredly together.
With an apologetic nod to them, the three warriors released the old hag and backed away, genuflecting as they went…
Far, far away.
What whispered talk that had remained died away now to a wind soft hum, assimilating well with the elemental wind that blew outside and together they seemed to condemn mockingly from inside, outside, and all around them.
The air outside tapped insistently at the windowpanes in all directions, seemingly all at once.
Nodding her head in gratitude towards the mistress, once she gained her release, relief clenched tightly at her throat, closing it off, so that Agla’s murmur of thanks, came off more like a croak, “Thank you, Madame.”
Re-sheathing her sword, standing it up, back in its place beside the bed the mistress approached the old woman and with great care, took her fragile arms in her hands, “Agla. That is your name, is it not? Please, come closer. We did not bring you here to harm you, only for your help, as strange as it may seem that we should seek it. You see I am a new mother, but unlike most I, since the day of my birth, have been burden with the knowledge that my existence here on earth was for a preordained, otherworldly purpose…To defend the world against the darkest of evils that seeks to destroy it. Luckily, to date, I have never been forced into performing this ultimate sacrificial act. That fate was spared me, but just as my lot was passed down from my mother and father to me, I fear what I am passing down to my child. Please. Please Agla, I beg of you, for the sake of my child – Our child – Please come closer and tell me what it is of this baby’s future that you see.”
The tapping of the window behind Agla, seemed to mimic the beating of her heart in her chest. A slow Tap…Tap…Tap now, but rapidly picking up pace. The woman in front of her, however, stood resolutely as a calming balm to her terrified fears of enemy retribution.
Unlike all the other eyes in the room, watching her with hatred and contempt, the eyes of the new young mother before her watched her with pleading and fretful eyes, so much so Agla knew she could not deny her, a mother herself.
It wasn’t the Divine that appealed to her Darkness, but one mother’s desperate appeal to another.
However, even knowing this, accepting it, Agla couldn’t help but think, “Be careful what you wish for, my child, you might very well get what you wish and possibly even more than you bargained for in due course.”
The window behind her shook once, harshly as the wind battered it with a punishing fist, only stopping when it snapped free of its lock, cracking open slightly, and the cool night wind drifted in to swirl about the room.
One by one, the candles were extinguished.
The fire in the fireplace became smaller, and smaller…Smothered out to a gray, dead nothingness.
All too soon, not even one glowing warmth giving ember remained.
The growing inevitability of what was to come, chilled Agla as the cold settled deeply into the room.
Knowing it was inescapable, Agla nodded sadly at the request, silently granting it.
Destiny waits for no one.
With a tender rub of her hands up and down Agla’s arms in a show of support and thanks, the young mother nodded in return, released her arms with a sigh and turned back towards the bed.
Her husband and her child, were waiting for her.
Crawling back up into the bed, mother, father and child sat at the ready, with expectance.
Agla approached slowly. Lips had gone dry as a result of her frightened, panted breaths. She felt the sheathed dagger inside her cloak secretly tap her side as she advanced.
All occupants still present, everyone in the room watched her anxiously as she made her way towards the bed, as if waiting for her to let loose a rapid-fire burst of prophecy as to what fate held in store for the new little one…The new Spark of life in their midst.
But seldom, if ever, did her clairvoyant gift work that way, Agla mused.
That’s what everyone called her ability, a gift…The gift of divination…Shamanism, necromancy.
Agla, however called it her curse by fate.
Wiping at the spittle that had settled at the corner of her mouth, with the back of one contorted hand, thanks to her earlier terror, cautiously Agla cleared her throat.
Immediately she shivered as a chilled breeze, from the wind forced open window behind her, fingered its way inside her cloak, to claw up her spine with sharp, piercing fingers.
Agla gasped, her breath caught, eyes clenching tightly, suddenly shut as a vision shook her – A vision of utter, encompassing blackness.
Forcing out a breath, Agla gasped and shook free of the vision and forced open her now glowing white liquid silver eyes.
The parents now, eyes intent on her face, watched her with horrific expectance. Holding their child close to them, the parents silently pleaded with Agla for news at what she saw, knowing she had seen something.
Unable to form the words in verbal request – Terror had them firmly in their grips.
They obviously wanted reassurance and peace of mind as to what fate held in store for their precious child, but they couldn’t ask for it…
And god help her, Agla couldn’t give it to them.
Agla’s mouth opened, but no words escaped, no sound broke free. The portends of doom where a hard message to relay, especially to those which held so much absolute power, yet it was that which seemed to culminate here.
The Chata, a very old, very hungry dark pinnacle was on the horizon and was on the verge of breaking through.
The energy here was an invisible & unmistakable…A dark coursing energy and it was pulsing menacingly and cold throughout the air.
It had a blood-like metallic flavor that tainted the air and tormented her tongue with stabs of burning fire.
The baby shivered with cold, as the air in the room turned brisk, and it mewed, exhaling a white ghostly puff.
“Please.” The young mother instinctively cradled the baby nearer, subconsciously, protectively closer to her breast. Once again she pleaded, even if on some instinctual level she already knew how bleak her child’s fate, just from Agla’s reaction alone, “My child, Agla? What has fate decreed for my child?”
Reaching out with a desperate hand, from her perch on the bed, the young mother grasped Agla at the wrist of her right hand.
A sudden pain clutched Agla’s heart, a coldness that seemed to invade her veins from the iron grasp at her right wrist, traveling directly to her heart.
It was like been frozen from the inside out. The pain had her gnarled fingers clasping the fabric of her cloak over her chest with her left hand. Agla’s eyes rolled back white, her head dropped back, her mouth open gasping for air that wouldn’t come into now, almost frozen lungs as the utter coldness of the dark infested her…
And in her vision, Agla saw small sparks of light, in the absolute darkness.
Four small pinnacles of lights, sparks flickering like lightning bugs awash in the nothingness, but then with a burst of arctic wind, crueller than the bitter most blue of the harshest fire, the sparks blew out and all the light that had remained was lost…
Agla collapsed to her knees as soon as the vision released her from its grasp. One hand braced on the floor, the other covering her mouth, muffling her sobs.
Agla shook with fear.
If there was anything her life experiences had taught her, it was that seldom did anyone ever want to hear the portends of doom in regards to their loved ones, while divining their fate, and the future always seemed to hold that in it’s hand, in one way or another…There was really no escaping bad news in the future, completely.
But this, this was something else entirely.
This was the end of them all.
“Agla?” The young mother, the only kind one in the lot, asked worriedly down to her, from her perch on the bed.
She still held her wrist in her hand and pulled Agla’s hand, covering her mouth, free.
Agla shook her head and looked up, to see that young, strong hand, still holding her’s tight, but not harshly.
And in that determined, strong grip, Agla saw a spark of a chance of salvation for all humanity.
An offering of steady assistance extended by an enemy, to a centuries long sworn enemy, for the sake of a child and with it, Agla saw hope.
Courageously she battled back the tears that desperately wanted to come as a result of what she knew was to come for them all. It reverberated through her, and Agla let the young mother pull her to her feet. “Thank you, Madame.”
Adjusting her cloak, Agla took a much-needed breath as she looked down at the young family and reasoned with herself that which she knew to be true.
In divining the future, no matter how clear the vision, divination and that which one sees is never a fixed entity or an absolute fact.
The future can be changed by the choices we make, the paths we take, or set on a steely course of unavoidable consequences as a result of the very same.
Unfortunately there is simply no way to tell which decision, or choice will set you going in which direction.
Fates own cruel little eternal joke, it seemed.
Only time would really tell if the decision you made was the right one at any given time.
Time and foreknowledge that would hopefully help one on the way to making the right decisions and not the wrongs ones.
Reaching over with her left hand, Agla squeezed the back of the young hand still gripping her wrist.
Agla nodded and knew if nothing else, she could give this honorable young mother the opportunity of time, which in the end might very well save them all.
Her clairvoyance, in this instance was both a gift to be given and a curse to be received.
Smiling sorrowfully Agla nodded and the mother slowly began to unwrapped the swaddling from the baby, for Agla to see and see clearly and to hopefully show her the way.
Agla flinched almost instantly at the sight before her, and tried to step back for as she watched, the air over the child seemed to ripple with dark, foreboding menace.
My god, she actually saw it! Agla inwardly gasp.
But the young mother held tight and wouldn’t let her go.
Fate, it seemed, was determined to see this course.
So be it.
Agla prophesied, “A great beauty I see, of destiny, a child of light and hope. To wit an exceptional force shall command of unimaginable power and of scope…”
The air around the child grayed before Agla’s eyes. Then it turned black.
The new mother looked down at her child, but saw nothing but her true boundless joy, then up to the old woman, who seemed to look down at her child with fear – And an all-consuming fear at that.
“The striking of the hour, awaits on the horizon of such power; The Darkness looms in waiting, for the time it will consume all with its vicious undertaking.”
With a shaking hand Agla reached out a hand towards the darkness forming over the child, she winced when her fingers touched it.
It was cold.
So cold it burned.
Gasping, she jerked her other hand free of the young mother’s, stepping back quickly, Agla raised her hands as if in defense. Her sobs wracked her already gnarled form, almost bending it in half.
My god, Agla thought, this was the child – The child that would bring about the final battle of humanity against the forces of evil…
It was here.
Quickly, hunched over, Agla retreated backwards from the bed, while studiously averting her eyes from the child.
“Agla, wait!” The young mother pleaded.
Agla almost tripped over her own feet in retreat and with this showcase of fear, no one in the room dared to stop her now, so shocked were they by the all-encompassing terror they were witnessing.
“This once thought child to be the perpetrator of radiance and glory; The babe will be the ruin of us all, marking the beginning of the end of our once thought, perpetual mortal story.” Agla cried, grasping the doorknob to the bedroom door behind her with a flailing hand, she twisted it, yanking it open as she finished on a petrified whisper. “It’s over.”
The windows in the room seemed to implode with glass as a gust of wind seemed to vacuüm the very air from the innermost center of the room. Simultaneously pushing Agla out, throwing her back through the threshold into the hall. The magnitude of the energy sent the wood door of the bedroom slamming harshly against the door frame with enough force that it shook the walls.
The screams of shock in the master’s bedchamber, at this unexpected turn of events, were only drowned out by the screams of Agla as she fled in terror down the hall…
With the knowledge that her time of destiny, and her subsequent doom as she had seen in past visions, was upon her.
Her high-pitched, manic piercing screams shook manor’s walls, from every corner of the grounds as she quickly limped down the stairs, heading unheeded towards the front door, escape as well as her fate.
Tearing at her garments, Agla ran mad as if to bolster her courage to face down that which awaited her, leaving a tattered trail of garments in her wake.
The leather cord of the protective talisman that she had so caressed earlier broke in a winded snap, as she jerked open the front door to see the centermost point if The Darkness whirling in a vortex of malevolence.
She held it in a death grip in her hand, knowing what she must do.
Eyes bright liquid silver, now glowed star bright as she stepped into the dark gusts around her churned with purpose and she pulled her dagger free of her cloak.
Dagger raised, out from the protection of the light in the manor Agla ran, brandishing her dagger like a weapon, but one that she knew could do little to harm her adversary.
She knew she couldn’t kill it, that which knew no life, but she could pin it, tack it in place, if to do nothing else than to offer the gift of time for those that existed to defend against it.
But such an action, by her, would come at a great price.
With each valiant step she took into The Darkness her already gnarled form became brittle, broken and as the wind blew, clumps of her fell to the ground, exploding into pieces of sand and dried dirt as the oozing nothingness turned her into dust of a long forgotten corpse, from a long forgotten time.
Quite suddenly, deep in the valley of the night, with one last shouted bought of courageous intent, Agla faced that which she feared above all else. Holding her glowing, yellow and orange ember eyed talisman, taking a deep breath, while stabbing the dagger through the air, in a method as old as time itself, she staked The Darkness beneath her ancient whispering blade of the Mysteries, stabbing it into the earth. In doing so, she gave it corporeal form, tacking it there.
She did this, just as she blew out a shaking, frightened breath, blowing out the tiny flame that burned deep inside the talisman silver charm housing in the form of a scarab beetle and so with her last act of valor, Agla met her fate…
As well as her demise and ended her own long life with nothing more than a breath of air.
Her screams stopped, as the light went out…
On the barren cold ground, frozen stone hard by winter, a lone dagger remained, stabbed hilt deep into the dirt of the earth, an amulet of pure silver, in the shape of a beetle with black, hollowed out eyes lay strap-broken at its side.
Crickets chirped and a nightingale began to sing a song so beautiful, the night wept. An owl hooted as it swept down from its place hidden deep in the branches of the tree tops, talons barred it snatched up a frog who croaked, disparaging what it made of its warty lot in life, too soon lost.
The fog settled low to the ground, dissipating deep into the soil of the earth. The clouds overhead blew out on a cleansing breath of wind and the moon winked luminously in the nights sky, the stars twinkling brightly. The dark, unforgiving blue of night, began to change to hues of first purple, then pink, then to red and flaming orange. The sun slowly began to peak on the furthest most horizon as an early morning drizzle began to fall from the smattering of early morning clouds that still remained.
The day broke, and for now, The Darkness was held at bay.