orin acheron

8

Nightmares of Atlantis

To her credit, you would have to be listening closely to hear the quaver in her voice – or to just be familiar with her bluster. And she maintained it well. At least until the illusions took form in the shape of Halie’s nightmares; the withering corpse of Atlantis, a flash of the calcified, skeletal framework of the wonder the kingdom had been, harrowed of its virtues by Kordax, drained of its glories by the surface, left with nothing other than the staggering, unyielding remnants of its flesh, left with nothing but its acrid, necrotic breath and its shambling efforts to regain what it had lost.

The flesh caverns of Shayeris, the phantoms of Mercy Reef’s endless aborted gold hairs, whirlpools of grinding, chattering teeth. The image of light bending, fracturing, splintering under the weight of Zoisite’s presence, his green and purple flecked skin hard and firm like a solid kiss of cold diamond. That particular nightmare lingered long enough for his lips to curl into a wry smile; crumbling rocks and gems twisting, cracking and grinding over a gaping maw to bare the silvern teeth that lay within it. A promise of things to come. Nuliajuk, whose inky tendrils coiled around the minds and souls of sleeping Atlanteans, her fingerless hands reaching out to claim their hearts as her endless, monstrous children set upon Atlantis, dragging it into ruin.

And then there was Kordax.

2

It was a difficult thing to let go of. She hadn’t been the love of his life, no – that was Mera, his Queen; that much was unquestionable – but she had certainly been his first love. At sixteen years old, it had been terribly easy to fall in love, but still, it had been a pure love and one that he had been, in all honesty, unprepared for. As a result, it had always been very difficult to let go of the circumstances of that day. The bruises and vicious striations that riddled her body in the wake of the love that they had shared and consummated. The harsh promises of the creature that had promised him damnation for his firm defiance of her desires and the sanctity of her creatures. Her precious ‘beasts’ that, remarkable though they had been, had proven themselves to bear just as little are for the sanctity of life as she herself did.

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