Waking Up

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Be brave, my love, he would say. You are strong.

Marcel’s words wrapped themselves around her heart as she answered the summons of Lord Kronos. Over the years she had come to prepare herself for these confrontations by wrapping Marcel’s words around her. The indignation of the summons was made softer by his reminder that even in her weakened state she was the more powerful of forces at play. Even through her loss she was not diminished. Kronos was but a frustrated child screaming, and until Marcel could seal him back into his confinement, or mend the rift between their planes, she would endure his tantrums.

 In the dream, she moved through Kronos’ world unfettered. If he were in his true form and looking to intimidate her, the ground beneath her feet would undulate and writhe with the snakes and pincers of his massive body which would snap and grasp at her as she walked. If he were feeling more persuasive he would take his corporeal body -appearing almost human, but not quite.

She knew his faces and his games well, and he was not so clever as to conceal his moods. Everything he did was simply a trick to break her, as long as she stood firm the Celestial Heliograph would work it’s magic, sealing the door between Kronos and the worlds just beyond his reach. TriAnna had the power in her to hold him back -and through whatever cruelty she was determined to protect them all -even unto her death.

Standing before Kronos she recited the words that were her obligatory response to his summons. The magic of them prevented him from ever truly harming her and ensured that certain rules of parley were followed. Kronos could not deny her the words without calling upon the deepest laws of nature and magic -and destroying himself in the process.

TriAnna remained stonelike and vacant, holding her head high and proud as would befit the Queen of her people and she spoke clearly and with command:

I am TriAnna of Lys.

I am the Axis of the sphere.

I am the hinge upon the doors of the world.

I am the heart of the machine.

He was human-like today and grinning at her viciously. The look I his eyes had her set on edge instantly. He seemed changed -recharged somehow and his confidence unnerved her.

After allowing her to complete the formality of the Words, Kronos spat at her and began to laugh. The sound echoed through the swamp and death of his wasteland dimension.

I am TriAnna of Lys,” he mocked, sounding almost sing-song,  “You are dust and dirt and meat, my dear. Your day is come and you don’t even know it.”

TriAnna’s heart raced, this was a new trick and one she did not know. She kept herself still, cold and proud. A tentacle slithered from somewhere and began crawling up her leg and the stench of his fetid breath became hot and  rotten on her neck as he drew his body near to her. The enchantments would not let him touch her for more than a moment, she knew, but he manipulated the space between them well and it still frightened her. His words and behavior were too unfamiliar and it made her feel anxious and vulnerable.

Responding to the weakness of her defense he flooded her mind with images.  She saw Lys and it’s people wandering in exile, cold and alone. She saw the Red Dragon Sigil of her family silent and frozen in the mud. Vile and horrid acts, rape, mutilation and tremendous pain filled her mind’s eye.

Without breaking her facade of calm, she found the memory of Marcel’s eyes and calmed herself in them.

“Do you like that, TriAnna of Lys?” Kronos was snarling into her ear and it took every bit of courage within her to remain unresponsive and aloof. “Do you like what I am going to do to you – and so, so much more! Soon, oh so soon- I can almost taste you.”

His forked tongue flicked out and grazed the warm flesh of her neck before the enchantments raised around her, causing him a flash of excruciating pain.   He was cast him into a rage momentarily, but he cooled quickly and resumed his maniacal laughter.

“It is only sad that our friend Marcel will not be here to watch.” Kronos purred, enjoying every sensation as her eyes widened in fear as his images flooded her-  an image of Marcel floating alone and lifeless in the tides of a great sea. His dark curls catching the light as they drifted afloat. Then, other images followed of herself enslaved; of the world she had protected for these long years being devoured, screaming and defenseless.

Kronos’ eyes burned with joy feeling her heart respond to it all. “I had so hoped to give him the honor of watching his beloved submit to me before I killed him so wonderfully  and slow. Now I shall never know the pleasure.”

TriAnna felt her heart flutter. What was the meaning of this litany? Her mind raced. Never had Kronos dared to … it was forbidden to conjure death… unless?

Kronos twisted a small golden object, like a coin, between his fingers with a smirkish snarl. She saw the flash of the Ghostraven emblem engraved on one side, the mark of the people of Lys as it turned on the other:  her own mortal seal. It twisted through his fingers, coldly. Her heart suddenly felt as it it had imploded in her chest. In her living hand, below the dream, she could feel the smooth warmth of her own cog. Every bit of strength in her fought to hold  her body motionless against the rising panic and confusion.


She stared straight ahead, refusing to believe. Yet, if Kronos had the cog that was her promise it could only mean …

Kronos hurled the lifeless cog at her,  it’s teeth biting into her flesh, cutting into her soft skin before bouncing into the muck and disappearing. She fell to her knees, reaching out for the piece desperate that it not be lost.

Kronos continued to laugh, “You see now, Queen TriAnna? It is only time. And I am the Lord of Time. You are mine. In time I will live out my every desire …”

Before he could speak another word, TriAnna ripped herself from the dream. She could not bare any thing more. Her body sat bolt upright as she woke with a gasp.


Her eyes opened, blinking into the light of the mortal world. For the first time since the night Marcel had left her, she could see the spinning of the mirrors over her head, she could feel the turning of the turbines and the clockwork of the Celestial Heliograph. The golden beam of energy that flowed through her heart was broken and went dark.


“Marcel?” she whispered. Confused and overwhelmed she somehow expected him to respond. Something in her believed in that moment that he would be laying beside her, that he would comfort her and tell her not to fear.  Her soft voice simply echoed off the walls of the darkened Celestial Heliograph and she blinked her eyes suddenly realizing that she was, in fact, awake.

And realizing that- she knew all was lost.

“I’ve failed,” she whispered, her body becoming cold and numb.

The tiny golden piece of metal she had held for so long fell from stunned hand and onto the cold stone of the floor. With a flash of green light it rolled out of sight and was gone. In the gloom of the stillness around her, she pulled her small feet in and tucked her knees under her chin. Her platform was no longer bathed in light, the mirrors unable to realign and reflect through her. She sat as small and helpless as a child and wept.

The image of her lover Marcel drifting alone and likely dead. The memory of the golden cog that he had protected and that was their future, sinking into the filth of Kronos’ lair. These images drew the life from her, the strength of her heart within her almost extinguished. She had once believed that should they ever be truly parted, the realms would end. Now she felt the worse fate, that it had continued on despite being lost -and somehow she had to keep going.

Silver tears fell in an endless stinging stream that mixed with the blood from her soft cheek and stained her gown.

Around her the gears and mirrors of Marcel’s great machine began to freeze. Kronos had been poised and ready for her to break, and he pounded his fists upon the veil between their worlds. Without her light, the wards that protected them all were undoing, and the great machine that had fueled her radiance was coming apart, piece by piece, mirror by mirror  -one by one.

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