Chapter 8:

Floral Visages: Part 2



Whether it be for light or dark, love is an unyielding force of nature. The concept requires no definition. And like death, it cannot be contained or destroyed. That was the life of the wretched goddess Isera, who's own good intentions had scarred her world and damned her children.

She lay within the deep confines of the abyss. A prison she had been forced to call home. And never again would she see the light of day, as punishment for her crimes. Or at least that was what she had been led to believe. For not even love is incapable of falsehoods. This much would become clear when she rose from her deep slumber.

While the ancient woman was renowned for her graceful dexterity, her awakening would prove to be clumsy at best. One couldn't hope to imagine her dumbfounded surprise upon lifting her own eyes. Even in deep slumber, the ravages of time had taken their toll. And it had been an uncountable amount of years since she held a thought in her own mind. The goddess soon found herself tumbling out of the air and towards the icy floor. She had almost forgotten the searing sensation brought upon by pain.

The relic's body smashed through the ice with ease, enveloping it in a strange substance akin to her eyes. But it was not the many wounds that troubled her soul. It was the reflection upon the water that forced the goddess into a stage of denial.

"Isera?" She asked herself. "Why, that is who I see."

Uncertain of her own origins, the woman began to question the image.

"The goddess of love and fertility who...was not fertile, and who's love tore us apart. Whatever am I saying!" She screamed as she forced her sanity's return. "I am Isera! I...I have failed."

She was only able to rise to her knees. But as it turned out, the weak form of submission would only enhance the guilt she felt. The cruel image of a broken goddess shining back at her with saddened eyes. The great betrayal, made evident through her clenched fists. And the all consuming void of being alone.

Her royal gown had been torn asunder. And her eyes stained with tears she could not remember. The goddess might have even felt shame if there was another soul to stare upon her indecent body. But alas, she refused to even raise a hand to cover the visible protrusions. For what was bodily humiliation when compared to the great curse of guilt.

"I'm sorry...Daughter of mine. I know not your name. But I wish upon the god's that I might be there to see you." She sobbed. "May they love and cherish your soul."

Within her mind, lay the image of a pale girl with crimson eyes. Her daughter, who had become known as Salem, was not at all what she had hoped for. But little must be said to defend the mother's love regardless. For unlike her violent offspring, Isera hadn't an ounce of malice within her will. It was selfless love that engulfed all she hoped to be.

"I promise." Isera smiled as she climbed out of the pool. "I will find you. And no matter who you become, I will always love you. It is the least I can do after-."

A silver light cut across the woman's wrist, pulling her in. It was the same little fragments of life she had betrayed, and subsequently destroyed. They took the form of metallic sprites, their blue wings fluttering about the woman as they pulled her along.

"W-wait!" She pleaded.

Isera began to panic once her captors had revealed their intent. The overwhelming force was attempting to rebuild her fractured cage. It was like a silk cocoon, wrapped in ocean blue. Almost as if a newly born creature was being stuffed back inside, without want or need. Her own request meant nothing. The very awakening was nothing more than an accident; a result of the prisons aging system.

Isera feebly cried as the many strings dragged her back inside. " daughter. She can wait no longer."

But the mechanism would have none of it, and promptly struck the woman down with a dangerous amount of energy. Luckily, it was nothing more than an encouragement, as the machines knew she was immune to torture. The unfortunate goddess had already suffered through every absurdity. And for the time being, she would simply have to wait.

"Please Isera, we mean not to harm you." The sprites whispered in a ghostly voice. "But you cannot escape. If either of them find you, it will be the end. Your love must be contained."

Before she lost consciousness once more, the goddess clung to her chest. The crystal sign of love still shining bright. But little did she know, the identical symbol of malice had already surpassed her pitiful will. Both diamonds had been intertwined since the beginning. An anomaly neither light or dark would allow.


Within the closed gate of time, the Goddess experienced many visions. Almost all consisted of her own memories, haunting her supposedly peaceful slumber. One experience in particular had been tormenting her body to an absurd extent. It was as if the trauma experienced within the dream had taken root in reality.

"Isera!" She screamed to herself, fighting the urge to fall apart. "Rise! You must!"

The fair maiden began to choke upon ash and soot, her prison now horribly compromised. But when she clawed her way free, nothing was as it should have been. Her attire was that of a dark, and rather formal set of armor, tailor made for her body. But it provided no protection for her damaged innards. The maiden's heart felt as if it had been torn asunder. A pain she would simply have to endure for the remainder of the violent experience.

It was now quite obvious she was within her own memory. Not a face of the distant past, filled with peace and learning. Just another recent scar upon her already tarnished legacy. It was a torn battlefield between two desperate forces. And as she remembered, one had always consumed the other. She leaned upon the curved staff she held, bracing for any sort of stance.

"I must...push on." She whispered, as if calling to herself.

A distant, but terrifying scream rang out through the crumbling ravine. It was her enemy, always one step ahead. Whether or not it cared for her presence was irrelevant. It would consume all in its path. Knowing she had to move, she stumbled around, uncertain of where to go. Her wandering eyes revealed the broken sky, set ablaze with a million little lights of death and war. Each speck was likely another life. And almost all would last only a moment. For the void of light and dark cared little for creation.

Hearing an encroaching force, Isera raised her spear in defense. The frightened action had saved her life, for a twisted blade had nearly torn through her eye. She watched in horror as the black spindle returned to its master with an unnerving speed. Before her lay the morbid enemy of life. It did not care to know what she even was. She was not one with the perfect mind of darkness, and was sentenced to die.

The dark figure struck a graceful pose, ready to battle once more. Its flesh was like wet straw, bound together with black paint. Its face was that of a closed flower, with one beaming yellow eye. It possessed the stature of a lean male, with the smooth beauty of a young woman. And its floral attire was perfect in almost every way. A chaotic, yet orderly creature aimed to take her life.

Isera raised her own smooth blade towards the creature, well familiar with the type of bout. And together they danced. A wonderful ritual where only one would survive. A faceless promise against a ruined lie. If it were not for her curse, Isera would have likely died. Her opponent was not at all a rarity. Its type was millions in number, and yet it seemed to have her nearly outmatched. A rather depressing scenario, especially since Isera was no fool when it came to a spear.

Catching the enemy's staff with her own hand, Isera placed her foot upon its tip, and pulled the creature in. It released no sign of pain or fear once she pierced its flesh. And all was silent once both bodies slumped to the floor.

"Rise Isera..rise! You cannot fail here!"

Clutching her deepest wound Isera limped onward. Her own blood refused to spew forth, instead remaining stagnant like every other part of her being. Still, her immortality had limits. For being locked in time did not mean she could not be slain. In fact, it would be impossible to be revived if she ever fell.

It was all irrelevant. Even when she knew another battle awaited her. There was something simply more important.

"Ceris. My dearest husband. I draw near." She smiled as she continued down the ruined path.

At the time, she could have never imagined the extent of her own failure.

Ana Fowl