No Rest for the Keepers/Forever Never


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Forever Never/The Dawn of Illusion

by Cheryl Pennington

copyright

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….

No Rest for the Keepers

“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.

With her chin in his hand, Fireann brushed her lips with his thumb and spoke softly, so as not to awaken Amhain. “Naofa carried the fruit of Truth with her.  Our friends will all work together to bring Laoch to the same place of Knowledge that we have now reached.  He is a bright soul, a fierce Warrior and a faithful friend.  He will not easily allow the darkness to use his soul.  We have to remember the promise of our Mothers. And you must rest now-to nurture this one.” He slid his hand down her neck, his palm brushing her breasts slightly before allowing it to rest on her soft, warm belly and she snuggled closer, her head resting on his shoulder.  Making slow circles on her stomach, Fireann hummed a tune softly into her ear until he heard her slow, even breathing­-a sign that she had finally succumbed to sleep.  Fireann watched her serene face for awhile and was not certain at what point he finally drifted beneath night’s veil; but his dreams would not be as beautiful as the vision he took with him when he journeyed there.
Fireann stood atop a steep hill beneath a starless sky. Confused, he looked around, knowing he was far from their home.  Still…he didn’t feel afraid. Not yet. He gazed to the bottom of the hill and knew he was seeing the firelight of his own home where he could imagine M’na, Amhain and their daughter were laughing and eagerly awaiting his homecoming.  The little one would be very excited for she had grown so attached to her Father.  He felt the urge to run, to be near them at once; but the scene was so very distant.  Looking up, he saw the bright moon which hung above his head and watched,  mesmerized, as it began to change.  Streaks of crimson were leaching into it until, in mere moments, the shining orb had gone blood red.  How curious, he thought.  Surveying the land in every direction, he saw signs of life all around him, clusters of villages where fires flickered; and he could feel the bright energy rising from life on Domhan. His heart was full and his soul content, urging him onward to his family.

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.

The misty face knew his thoughts, its smile widened, and it turned from him, emitting a low hissing sound as it rose up and up, looming high above where Fireann stood-an enormous shadow beast-one with red eyes and glowing teeth.  From the depths of his soul the  voice of fear cried out, for he knew the intent of the creature was to head straight for the Garden!  Opening its jaws to molest the night, it spewed forth great waves of flame that licked the treetops, blazing the forests  instantly with fiery destruction. It seemed that everything began happening at once.
Fireann heard painful screams from Foirfeachta and bounded down the hillside, tripping and tumbling most of the way to the bottom.  Try as it could to help, the earth beneath his feet was struggling for its own survival, oblivious to the cuts and bruises it inflicted on one of its Keepers.  Fireann shrieked at the darkness, opening his mouth to cry for help; but his words became lodged in his throat. Reaching the bottom of the hill he began his race across the fields, feeling as though he was able to fly, covering more ground than he normally would in so few moments.

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.

A horrified, exhausted Fireann stumbled into the clearing he knew had been his home, but all that remained was ash and ember.  He called out for his beloved family, each by name, again and again; but none returned his cries.  Half expecting to see their singed bodies scattered among the ruin, he walked the grounds, sifting through the rubble, breathing in the smell of burned life. As he looked around he realized this was not his home at all. The entire place was dark and wet, where things slithered across his feet, and hung from low, dark branches to click their mandibles at him as he passed. When he looked up into the slate that was the sky, he saw not one, but two, moons hanging above his head.  Where were his family and friends? What had happened to all of life on Domhan? Was this Domhan?
Fireann heard a deep, low chuckle as the ground trembled beneath his feet, matching the vibration of the cruel laugh. Sensing something behind him, he drew his weapon and spun around to face his tormentor.  He found only a voice; and when it spoke, Fireann’s head felt as though it caught fire.

“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.

I’ve been dreaming, thought the disoriented male, looking frantically around the dwelling, trying to ground himself once more in normalcy. M’na stirred but did not awaken. He carefully climbed over her body and hurried to where his son slept.  Amhain lay sprawled atop his bed, still and peaceful.  His skin dripping with sweat, Fireann went to the storage bin and pulled out a clean, dry tunic. He wanted to know something real, soft and smelling of life against his hot skin; but before donning the fresh clothing, he stepped outside into the night world of Foirfeachta.

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.

Thank you for reading..there will be more soon.
All thoughts, suggestions and ideas are welcome, as always.
Love and Light
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6 thoughts on “No Rest for the Keepers/Forever Never

  1. This was a fascinating chapter of your book, Cheryl. I was sad when it ended thinking: “I wonder what happens next?”
    The fire was frightening and I felt the monster shaking up Fireannall the way down the mountain. I pictured natural forces like an earthquake. . . Smiles, Robin

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  2. Why are there two of those nasty moons? Does Ar’tine have an ally? I’m tempted to think so. Is it Laoch or his daughter, or even those other tribes previously mentioned? This is truly disturbing. It seems Domhan will be under an equivalence of nuclear attack. Those images are deadly and frightening. They portent annihilation.
    And I didn’t understand who is being called King of Domhan. Is the beast referring to himself or to Fireann? I wonder.
    You know, what usually bothers me is that those who do have understanding–like the Creators, Laoch, Naofa and the others, and even Jesus Christ–they sympathize with the wicked and wayward ones, feeling their pain, wishing them well, wishing that their eyes would open and they too would see the truth, the light–they are forgiving, loving.
    But the villain gathers so much focus it obscures all the good in him. It becomes impossible to save him. And if allowed, he goes down with as many people as possible. How then can the situation be resolved practically? I’m saying this because every good character in this story has deep sympathy for Ar’tine, yet he contrives annihilation against them! I wonder how they’ll stop him without playing it his way, without having recourse to violence. But violence vitiates everyone involved in it. I remember the Creators’ own deception against Ar’tine when they put his daughter in Eagna. As Mor noted, they returned falsehood for falsehood. What is the best solution?
    But don’t tell me. I will find out for myself as the story goes.

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    1. Thank you Peter. All good questions. And all some of my own within this is,lusion of Life that we know so often as incomprehensible, painful and even no sensical. I am still not sure about any perfectly executed “plan” but I do understand a pefectly balanced equation that, when tipped, wreaks havoc on the balance of life. I apprecaite your reading, evaluation and wonderful questions.

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  3. So many bits of this story are easy to relate to, even though the setting is far from real. The part that got my attention was “He did not want to return to the nightmare.”

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