And through the black
did cut the knife.
To sever bonds and
taint the life
of the blessed……
Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion
by Cheryl Penniington
As the satisfied inhabitants of Domhan’s Foirfeachta slept quietly, dark visions began to invade the dreams of one who was outside of the new circle of creation.
Noafa found herself standing on the crest of the hillside, its peak rising high above the crystal lake, and gazed across the valley to the ocean and beyond. As her eyes scanned the horizon, with the sky’s hue deepening to coral shades, her heart was filled with peace and serenity.
When the red bolt struck the ground, everything became lit with fire, ablaze with orange and red fury. The Sorceress was helpless where she stood, stricken with horror as smoke tendrils curled up against the glare of red and yellow light that now defined the sky above the heart of Domhan, now beating in terror. Although too distant to see what was taking place, she heard the cries of her friends in her head, as if they were right next to her. She listened to the Mother of humankind pleading for mercy, she heard the hoarse cries of the one who lived to love her, and felt the fear choking the breath of all that lived within the heart of her world. Rising above these sounds arose the clanging of some kind of strange weapon. She saw them clearly, glistening devices of death she had never known before.
She wanted to turn from the place of her vision but remain transfixed; and now she saw bodies sprawled upon ashes that lay prostrate before the breath of a blazing beast that hovered above the charred ruin of Foirfeachta. Her eyes flew open in horror as the creature began flapping scaly, leathered wings, preparing to strike again. Naofa couldn’t breathe. From what unspeakable corner of Eternity had this cruel beast arisen? Her heart shattered at the thought of those she loved, those she had sworn to protect, now helpless against this creature of darkness. Where were M’na and Amhain? She could not identify the fallen. Forcing her eyes away from the scene of death, she looked wildly for some sign of salvation; but her eyes met only a dense, low mist that crept across the hillside where she stood.
But who she was the, Sorceress did not know. Beyond his pain, loneliness and fierce determination, Naofa felt something else; and yet she couldn’t name it. Then, the willowy, long-legged beast turned its head slightly to glance back at Noafa, its long white mane blowing across its face. In that moment she caught a glimmer of something in its eye. Defiance! The rider rode quickly beyond her sight; and she cast her eyes once more toward the fires in Foirfeachta. What had been a blazing inferno mere moments before was now a charred speck on the horizon. All was black, save a misty smoke that hung above the burnt branches that once were mighty trees, their living limbs reaching to their Creators.