On majestic wings she soars above World Bridge, sensing the strain of evil as it oozes foul life into everything it touches, like a pulsating black heart filled with unholy hatred. She had been sent to this exquisite albeit minor world as Guardian and Gatekeeper, but sadly realises the taint is spreading ever wider and will have to be stopped. Noiselessly she glides, ever vigilant, through the night on remarkable wings of Herculean strength: one the same dazzling golden-bronze colour as her skin and hair, and the other a thing alive, ablaze with the sizzling flames of justice. Long into the night she flies, her piercing blue eyes searching for the source of this malevolence. She murmurs a command into the darkness, knowing she will be heard and obeyed.
“Sisters three, your dark work on the fabric has awakened a threat to this world! Do what you must to save Myrr-Mor!”
Miles from World Bridge and the Guardian’s far reaching blue gaze, a solitary hunter also searches. Formidable warrior, legendary healer, instrument of justice and guardian of his race, he is unstoppable. Moments before a surge of power had alerted him to evil on the wind. His obsidian eyes menacingly turn a joyless red, his teeth lengthen to become razor-sharp fangs, and nails turn into steel-like daggers as he becomes a creature of the night.
Emotions bombard his ancient heart. He is a lone warrior and his soul cries out to be with his people. Silently he walks the lands far from his kind, remembering how he had run with wolves, how easy it was for him to materialise from the mists that rise from the planet’s surface. Thoughts flow through his mind and lift his saddened heart: thoughts of flying, soaring high above, looking down on the world through the eyes of his favourite eagle, the Harpy.
As Commander and Chief of their elite army, he travels to remote areas in defence of his people; people who have been hunted to the verge of extinction. He is always ready for battle, always ready to protect himself and his kind. But there is nothing to face him here; nobody is near to war against. The entire region is a barren wasteland, and he is completely alone. He scans the area with his powerful senses, perceiving many things on the wind; however the foul taint can no longer be felt. He will continue his search. He will explore the vast galaxies if need be to destroy the evil that is consuming this world.
An ancient evil regally enters the dark tomb, and the sconces flicker to life in response. Dull black walls and ceiling have been hewn from rock, deep in the earth, to form her most favoured lair. The rare and expensive snow-white marble flooring eerily reflects the flickering flames dancing on the walls. The light glimmers feebly to protect spirit-eyes. She would have chosen complete darkness, but what needs doing requires illumination.
An intricate thirteen pointed star is painted on the floor with the blood of virgins. The outlining circle is formed from the sacrifice of young boys, and the elaborate lines, swirls and patterns which cross and interweave, are fashioned from the moon-blood of young girls. The tomb throbs and resonates with the agonising screams of torment from the dungeons in deeper parts of her home.
In the centre of the red star, she stands. With arms raised to the roof of the cavern, she seems to be in a trance, her figure reflected in the massive ornate looking glass. At first she revels in her own chaste beauty: the purity of her golden tumbling hair and the perfect point of one elven ear as she turns slightly. Then gazing fixedly past her image, she focuses beyond herself, desperately intent to receive the image of what should arise behind her. Slowly she stirs and her arms, snakelike, weave a delicate pattern, focusing the energy of the anguished screams, drawing and concentrating the dark power. Trembling and reaching, she releases a guttural voice from the depths of her being.
“Thramada Shethssss …” she thunders and continues to trace elaborate patterns in the dark room, muttering incantations with the power to summon the spirits of the dead: the Dark Sign.
Exhilaration floods her being as the thirteen bloody corners of the star start to flake, rising and coalescing as they draw together. The once scarlet blood that had oozed down her butcher’s blade in thick droplets had quickly blackened in the heat, yet mysteriously still had a dull red hue in the flickering flames. She reminds herself fresh blood would be needed soon; for she wants the star to be wet with newborn blood. Her body weakens from the immense concentration of power and as the flakes of blood fall back to the white floor, she shrieks and collapses.
Laboriously, she drags herself to a standing position and smiles wanly at her own glassy white eyes. Then abruptly she raises her head, closes her eyes, and smacks her hands together above her head to produce a resounded clap which erases all evidence of the power used to summon the Dark Sign. The working of her dark magic would have alerted the warrior, and he will definitely search to destroy her.
Cracked voices murmur their agreement. They had clearly heard the instruction of the powerful being as she flew high above, and they realise she is correct. The ancient sisters know they had created this evil which grows increasingly stronger with each passing year. The evil had been designed to balance and complement the good; however this particular strain of darkness had festered too long, now becoming dominant and fraying their creation. Bony fingers urgently apply themselves, weaving the colourful threads of life and death, of suffering and joy. The eldest of the Fates interrupts their weave in her raspy voice, and nimble fingers halt in mid-stich. They wait for her to re-think her words or to take them back, but she repeats what she had spoken.
“Five are needed.” Yester-Day said.
“Five, sister? Surely there is no demand for…..” To-Day said, interrupting her eldest sibling.
Then her fingers touch the fine threads which are hauntingly beautiful, yet sinister; far too nefarious for the gentle Fate. Her fingers continue to gently glide over the weave searching for a solution; she finds none.
“Silence, Yester-Day! And you To-Day are weak, sister!” For-Ever says, raising her voice.
The silence that follows the vicious outburst is deafening. The two wait patiently for their fiery sister to calm down. This takes a while for she has become hard and emotionless over the aeons. She is seething because her siblings are weak and she is always called upon to make the hard decisions.
“Sister, please…calm yourself.” To-Day pleads.
“I will have to look on your insipid threads throughout eternity!” For-Ever says, and she cruelly continues her harsh reprimand until even the eldest can no longer stand the tirade. However their younger sister’s gentleness is a thorn in their ancient flesh.
“Be calm, sister!” Yester-Day commands in her raspy voice.
“We require one of hope… one of might… one of sorrow… one to fight… And one brave and true to lead them all….” For-Ever suggests.
“I desire excitement! Nothing mild or weak, I want death and fear!” Yester-Day, the eldest is weary of the time-worn mind-numbing weave of good and evil and sides with For-Ever, her youngest sibling. Time stands still while they consider the design of five to save their world.
“I accept, sisters. I agree… but a mix of races and unusual beliefs may add a little excitement to The Tapestry of Life,” To-Day pleads, and finally the three are in accord.
Much time has elapsed since that fateful night. Now through the darkness sound the sibilant voices.
“Look… Look what dark design our hands have woven for The Five.”
Lightning thoughts flare into the gloom, shaping, solidifying into a sphere of living, pulsing light.
“Not we, sister. You. It was your idea to start with.” To-Day says as gently as she can.
“You too wielded a needle for the path!” said Yester-Day.
“As you wished sister. As you wish.” For-Ever says sarcastically.
What had begun as a modest thing, a few stitches on a blank canvas, over time had grown into a creation of awesome power. For many years the three had toiled on their design: sewing, talking, discussing, unravelling, arguing, reworking until finally the three were in agreement. The world, an infant when they had first taken up residence in their dark and dank cave, was now ancient. Countless lifetimes had passed, and their work had been gradually transformed into a masterpiece, known as The Tapestry of Life.
The Guardian and Gatekeeper had requested salvation for their world, and they had laboured to achieve the impossible. At last they now stand over the vast octagonal cloth, scanning the intricate patterns that whorl and flash, each complete in itself and yet entirely connected. Without speaking the three draw their gaze to one point, which under the power of their joint focus gradually brightens. In response to To-Day’s caressing fingers, the scene magnifies and springs to life. From their vantage point above the altar on which the immense tapestry lies, the three watch as the simoom becomes a churning wall of destruction. The hot wind, pregnant with a million, million flecks of sculpting sand, races toward The Five of Prophesy…
Without warning the earth beneath their feet starts to tremble, followed immediately by a thundering sound. In the black of night, without even one of the wicked moon goddesses shining, the five companions are blind to what is coming. But they feel it and hear it, huddling together in silent terror. As the sound draws ever nearer, the Five shiver in dread. They have never heard anything like it before. Each time the earth trembles, it vibrates through their bodies and the pounding seems to match their racing hearts, drowning out everything but fear, driving out rational thought. The air grows hotter and beats ominously against their shuddering bodies. The Five want to flee. But flee where? Suddenly out of the pulsing darkness come the mighty centaurs, tall and powerful as they thunder to a sudden halt. Usually as black as pitch, but now covered in pale desert dust, with eyes that glow silver in the gloom, the majestic beasts tower over The Five.
Hearts pounding, they turn away from the glowing weave, as the sound of hooves echoes away. Frozen, the three stand while a silence that has its own presence grows and spreads into the regathering darkness. With a sudden movement, the eldest clutches the others in elation.
“The balance is restored! Although it lays a heavy path, this should appease the gods.” Yester-Day says with glee.
“But our hands will wear their blood, sisters!” To-Day sadly adds.
“They may yet survive … I am still at work on the Gift.” For-Ever says, hoping she is correct.
In the depths resounds a bone-chilling cackling, and finally one shout in unison:
“It is done!”