This question began to haunt me about a decade after Noyliia’s death. I knew the same question had haunted my sister, but in a different way- Sverila had craved love like no one I had ever come across- indeed, she seemed to crave it even more than the most lovesick of mortals.
But she found that she could not love mortals in the way that she desired- she wanted to be ensnared in love- it had been her dream since we were children.
She grew desperate and soon enough a century had passed and she came to me on a blue moon with a spur of the moment idea.
She wanted to summon the Creatrix- the Mother of the gods, the Mother of our people- she wanted to summon her to plead for a wish.
“Brother, do you not also have a wish for love? I know you do not wish to speak of her- but do you not also desire love? Think of it- a lover who would never stray from your side- who would love you equally as you deserve. You cannot wish to go on this way- all you have done for a century is brood in your temple and drive nomadic tribes into war. Anryien, big brother, please help me to grant not just my wish but one of yours as well.”
I had thought hard on her desire and over the year I began to think hard on my desires as well. Her words had lured me to her side as she knew they would- my sister has always known me better than I know myself at times-I may be laughing as I say this but even as children she would suck me into her plans and we would be caught up in grand adventures that though dangerous, were exceedingly fun.
I had reservations of course, but who wouldn’t? One does not make a bargain expecting to only win, and certainly not with the Mother- the Mother loves her games almost as much as Sverila does.
And so when the next blue moon appeared in the sky I decided to help my sister in her quest.
We waited until the middle of the night when all except for the criminals were asleep in our individual cities and we each opened a gate to the Veil Hall- a place separate from time and earth where we could summon the Mother to us.
We each entered the Veil Hall from different doors- my sister’s a brilliant silver and mine an oppressive black- we met in the center upon a raised dais where a hidden stairwell was revealed when we both touched the bare stone.
Sverila wore a cunning grin on her face and I knew I matched hers easily.
A voice called from the bottom and we each bolted down the stairs in excitement.
The stairs could have been miles long, but we still would not have noticed as we laughed and lept from step to step.
It had been refreshing- to be so free from bonds, but also to feel so incredibly limited as we called on a being that was far older, far more powerful than either of us.
We were both so certain our wishes would be granted.
I do not know why, even in hindsight, why we were so certain- but we were.
When we finally reached the bottom of the steps we came across a mirrored octagon and for a moment everything was still and silent.
Then, in the span of a single breath, I saw something in the first mirror- Kamia’s silhouette gleaming back at me- her hair running free in a breeze, her thin patchwork dress dancing slowly in the wind. For a moment, I thought it was really her- that I could reach out and she would be there with a teasing frown and her chestnut eyes.
The very next moment her image dispersed and I was left feeling alone.
In the second mirror I glimpsed a boy and girl made of sheer light- a light so brilliant and golden I thought that I was staring at the sun.
They were my sister and I’s opposites in almost every way and I knew that boy- I had seen him only a dozen times by then.
It was Yiaren and he was narrowing his eyes on me in judgement as he was likely to do to anyone. The girl was not so clear to me- no, a mist obscured her and my sister must have seen the mist as well because she hissed beside me with a pitying look in her eyes.
“She is his younger sister- was. Kren stole and killed her.”
Kren- Yiaren’s bitter enemy, my mind had supplied then. He had been a malevolent war spirit- yes, there had been talk for centuries when the young would-be sun goddess was killed.
That image too flickered and dispersed.
The third image was that of Noyllia when their early days, radiant from a hunt, but her eyes glazed as if her mind was far from her as well.
The fourth image was of a field, flush with the burgeoning life of spring- animals grazing in the trees and grasses, but something lay beyond it- I could see through the glittering perfection of the scene and could spot the broken glamour entrance where a spire reached proudly into the heavens. It was a castle from an era long into the future, though the importance of the scene has always evaded me.
The fifth image shifted to my sister and I found myself unable to see anything in those mirrors that followed, but I could see the hope flicker over Sverila’s features, then excitement, irritation, and then I could see it all click with something within her and I knew my twin was dead set on completing her quest at all costs.
It was a bad sign, but I did not recognize it as such at the time.
The mirrors themselves shattered and dispersed into mist and we found ourselves in a grand room that though large, was simple in its elegance. My darkness was at home here, but so was light and the power that swept through the room was so cloying I felt I might choke on it.
In the center of the room lay an enthroned statue of a woman- the Mother, her hand teasing into the marble curls of a little girl who was curled against her, the girl’s head braced against the Mother’s heart.
I knew that it was supposed to be Yiaren’s younger sister as soon as I set eyes on her stone form- the mist from the mirror also obscuring the statue’s features as well.
“Mother,” Sverila began, stepping forward to approach the statue.
I have never seen my sister do as she did then since- she fell to her knees in prayer.
Her- a goddess herself!
It astonished me then and it still does.
“Children.” The voice called back and I recoiled.
“You would both ask of me a boon.” The Mother’s voice breathed and her power released a pulse of air.
“Yes.” We replied, Sverila from her kneel and me from my astonished stance.
“Daughter, what would you have of me?”
Sverila gaped for a moment, awe gazing out from her eyes.
“I.. I wish to know what true love feels like.”
I felt the Mother turn her glance upon me then.
“And you, my son?”
“I wish for equal, requited love.”
She hummed and her power danced in the room like a patient, musing caress.
“What would you pay for your wish? Daughter, you have granted the wishes of mortals before- you know the wishes held dearest hold the dearest prices.”
“Anything!” Sverila cried out, desperation weighing her voice down.
I was struck with the ever-renewing desire to see her happy- my younger sister had always deserved the world to me and so I replied with the same word.
I did not know the price was to be as steep as it was.
We were forced to give up our people- the ones we had loved, that had loved us in return.
For a time all we had was one another and we travelled far and wide across our lands and unknown territories.
Until we ran into a familiar face.
He took us into his hidden temple within a mountain and gave us a home for a time. He had left his people close to a thousand years before to mourn for his sister he told us then.
“You made a pact with Her.” He stated and I had nodded when he pulled me aside after Sverila had departed to hunt in the forests surrounding,
“Do you think it was worth it?” He later asked and I had told him then that I didn’t know.
I asked him if he regretted leaving his people behind.
“No, I could not have protected or cared for them properly after Lenina was killed.”
We never spoke of Noyllia- it was a bridge neither of us would cross, not even when Sverila took to mothering him.
Or at least I thought it had been mothering. I was wrong as it would turn out.
Sverila fell in love with him.
We were happy for some time.
Sverila was blissfully happy and Yiaren was… well Yiaren was Yiaren.
I had never been able to measure the god of light, but I was still quite sure he cared for her. Even despite her propensity for fits of rage and cursing and hexing and other fits of emotion when she felt slighted.
It was almost comedic how Yiaren would shrug it all off and just go about everything as if her rages were the norm. (I had once caught him painting the floor when all the walls had been blown to pieces. Another instance he would simply light his form aglow when all the torches had been eradicated).
No, the most he ever reacted to her tantrums was to sing a soft melody to himself. 404Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡo78cqxynWA
“Down where the water chestnuts grow, the blessed calm of nature shown. Grant me peace, leave my brows without crease, for I am where I need to be. I am home.”
It used to infuriate Sverila when he didn’t respond but by nightfall she was back to being at peace and they often left me to my own devices to wander the woods together.
It went on for decades and I thought for sure that they would marry one day. It seemed only natural then.
On the next century’s eve I found Yiaren wandering the temple’s halls alone. He was muttering to himself in soft words, his eyes glazed as something weighed him deeply.
The next day I found my sister a mess and Yiaren gone.
We were alone there for a thousand years almost before any mortals wandered close enough for my sister to find them but when she did they were left utterly destroyed.
I do not recall how exactly, but one winter solstice I discovered her trapped within an idol- the body of a hag collapsed beside her.
She was a witch of some sort, but I had not cared when I found my sister trapped- I turned the hag into a dark spirit in my anger.
When I had cooled down I was left only with my sister’s idol- a perfectly carved statuette of her in my hand.
I could sense her within the idol, but she was asleep and I… I decided it was for the best. I hid her below the temple’s hearth and I became a slave to my domains.
I was utterly alone in the world without her and so I found myself swept up in my darkness.
I was a spectre, the shadow that haunted the world, the war that corrupted the minds of youthful warriors. I did not notice time pass. It was only a year before you arrived that I felt compelled to take form- why, I did not know.
I only knew that I had to and so I did. In that year I learned that my people had been lost to time and that near six thousand years had passed since my sister was trapped.
I wandered aimlessly until I sensed my sister alive once more- I followed the trails of her power to you as you began as her host.
I distanced myself, created an idol and gave it over to a wayward archaeologist.
When I came back I found my sister toying with you and your mortal, but as my sister got caught up in her own schemes she barely noticed my presence if at all.
In that time I watched you as I kept an eye on her and something draws me to you- something I cannot fully name.
I am enthralled by you and I know not if my wish led me to you or if it was something else, but I do not think I could last longer than my sister should you not survive what comes next.ns 18.104.22.168da2