Phantammeron book one, p.1
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       Phantammeron Book One, p.1

           Mitchell Stokely
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Phantammeron Book One

  Copyright © 2015 Mitchell Stokely

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For sales, permission requests, or licensing write to the email address below.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  First Edition, 2015

  ISBN: 978-0-9970375-1-7

  Printed in the United States of America

  Published by: GiantIsland LLC

  Contact: [email protected] |

  Phantammeron “Luffa” cover design by Mitchell Stokely

  — for Simon

  Table Of Contents

  The Essence Eternal 1

  The Troubled Sons 8

  The Dreaming Seas 27

  The Forest of Twilight 64

  The Rise of Agapor 100

  The Faceless Form 135

  The Child of the Sea 158

  The Fall of Night 204

  The Journey’s End 244

  The Glorious Garden 302

  The Child of the Seed 353

  The Fallen World 417

  The Dying Well 469

  The Sacred Pool 533

  The Wings of Night 589

  Family Tree i

  Lexicon iii

  Three there are that undying dwell,

  the tree, the mist, and the ancient well

  They alone in dreams are cherished,

  three that long ago had perished

  The Essence Eternal

  There was nothing in the beginning. No darkness or light. For the black Wings of Night had yet embraced the starless Heavens. Only a silent fog floated upon the ruin and waste that filled the cold and empty space. Like a pale shroud, that solemn cloud lay upon the fallen corpse of the world. Its hollow husk then collapsed back into dust and the dreams from which it was made.

  But the dreams that ebbed and flowed beyond that shattered world had returned to fill the empty gulf with its ethereal seas. And the Great Mother, whose spirit bore its sleepy tide, washed clean again its celestial shores. Thus began the Anakra, the Dreamtime of the Great Mother, whose broad and hopeful vision was born again in this world.

  From out of that yawning gulf rose forth the Essence Eternal, he who was made from the Spirit Divine. He had come from the old world, rising up from its ashes, until his argent wings unfurled and stretched forth across the barren waste. Like a beacon shining out, clear and bright from the depths of night, his radiant wings cast their sanguine light down upon that fearful world. The hidden splendor and glory of the shining Heavens was then revealed to him.

  Descending into the depths, the Essence Eternal filled the hollow spaces of those valleys with the brilliant lights of his shining spirit. He commanded the mighty Mountains of Heaven to rise up from the firmament before him, until their towering heights pierced the Heavens and rent its roof asunder. Sublime in their majesty, the shimmering peaks stood proudly against the sky, looking down upon their sister-valleys below. The Heavens then rejoiced. For the shadows of the night had retreated back into the depths from which they were spawned.

  But there were two that had lain hidden in the darkness of that decrepit world. The sinister twins, Emptiness and Nothingness, had long dwelt unchallenged in the gloomy spaces below, slowly consuming the last of the shadows and lights of Heaven that had remained. But those terrible twins fled in terror. For the light of the Essence Eternal shone forth with great force, blinding and burning them with its insatiable flame.

  Driven forth from that illuminated world, they fell into the unending abyss that lay in the farthest reaches of the Great Beyond. There they dwelt concealed, far from the radiant beams of dawn that wrapped about the world, and lapped the wounds wrought upon them by that angel of light. Their foul pit soon became their prison. And they were bound to it, though it was of their own making.

  The Essence Eternal now began his greatest works. For there burned within his spirit the Creative Flame, which ever consumed him. And there flowed within his heart the Sacred Waters, which had bestowed within him the gift of life. With strong hands wielding mighty tools, he carved out the hollows of the Arch of Heaven, like waters weaving their way and wearing upon the rocks. And with his spiritual fire, he forged from the mountains the Pillars of Heaven upon whose weight the Arch would rest.

  He too built the silent Halls of Time, which stretched endlessly into the immeasurable depths of space. Within their hollow hallways he made the wide Corridors of Darkness, upon whose great gates he hung the black Veils of Night, beyond which no light would shine. For they guarded the Lands of Midnight, that wicked realm of boundless gloom that stood between the Heavens and the Great Beyond.

  When his work was done, he climbed the shining Mountains of Heaven. Standing upon their summit, he looked down with wonder upon the sublime grandeur of all he had wrought. Weary from long labor, he rested his spirit in the shadow of the mountains. But as he slept beneath the twilight Heavens, a tiny ray of light shined forth from beneath the roots of the mountain. The secret fire of the Sacred Light had awakened once more, shining out its golden beams from within the hollows of its grave.

  Thus, in the Dreamtime of the world were the Heavens remade and forged anew by the noble spirit that had come to dwell therein.

  The Essence Eternal awoke from sleep. For he heard voices echoing up from the depths of that which he had made. They were the lonely cries of his children, calling up from the dark waters that lay hidden within the heart of the world.

  Reaching out, he held their tiny lights in his hands and breathed into them the fire of his own spirit. They were now cast from the Spirit Divine, of which he too was made, taking form and shape as sons born unto him. Yet were they also of him, as his divine immanence, through them, took form incarnate. So would he, forever after, remain whole and inseparable in all his children. Through their various forms and works would they be known to each other, while through their spirits would they be known to him alone.

  Many children were born unto the Great Father. Yet, only five came to him in this world. These were the Primordial Ones, who now gathered before him in his mighty halls. He revealed to each of his children the cherished gifts he had granted unto them. For he had known of their coming and had prepared their various forms and powers, which were once his own. These he had equally divided among them. They knelt before him and were thankful. The Great Father then looked upon his children with love and joy. For of all that he had made, they were his greatest creations.

  He then told them that he would soon perish and depart this world, never to return. For he had planted his flame within them, desiring only that they work in harmony as one to finish what he had wrought. Upon its completion, they would return to him and dwell in a house prepared for their keeping. His sons then wept for him. But he comforted them, telling them to go forth and begin their various labors. For through their creative works alone would they find salvation. His sons then departed for their given domains, which he had prepared for them long ago.

  But discord soon rose between them, born of the jealousy, greed, and desire for power that had grown within their darkened hearts. For their own secret passions, borne by their gifts, soon consumed them, driving them against each other in vicious and violent conflict. The world their Fathe
r had created fell into ruin, and much that he had made was undone.

  Within the gloomy Halls of Time, in the secret chambers of his house, the Great Father grew weak until the time had come for his spirit to leave that troubled world. The Creative Flame that once had burned bright within him was now nearly spent. From within his empty halls, his voice cried out, calling for his children to come to him. For he desired to speak to them as one. But none answered his call, nor came to him in his time of need. For they were blinded by their burning hatred, and deafened by the clamor of continuous war.

  Upon the eve of his passing, one of his sons came to him at last. For beyond the Mountains of Heaven, deep within the secret realm in which he had dwelt, the gentle child had felt his father’s sad heart beating within his own.

  With woeful eyes, the child sat beside his father, telling him of the many sad deeds which he had committed against his siblings. The Great Father looked upon his son’s doleful face and saw in him a shattered spirit. And he saw too the sorrowful fate that would yet befall his son, born of the fruit of the dark seeds he had planted within him. For his son’s spirit burned bright with the Creative Flame, a presence wild and untamed, which he too possessed. And he knew that soon all his children would be consumed by the fires of their own passions.

  But as he lay dying, compassion and mercy filled his heart. He felt the humility and love that yet remained in the heart of his child, and gave unto him the last of his essence, whose silver waters he now held in his aged hands. These, the Sacred Waters of the world, were all that remained of the Great Father. These hidden waters alone had sustained him with their hopeful presence. And yet the memory of something dark dwelt within.

  He told his son that in those waters would the fates of the children of the world now lie. For in his hands swirled the waters of an ancient pool—the spiritual waters cast away from some other world destroyed long ago and forgotten.

  These he gave to his son, who took them as a treasured gift, though he knew not their meaning or purpose. The child then looked into those strange, twilit waters, seeing only faded lights and shifting shadows. He then looked upon his father’s eyes, one last time. But as he did, he saw hidden in their shining depths the shade of a darker spirit he had not seen before.

  His father’s face now faded from view, and the last of his spirit drifted away. The Spirit Divine of the Essence Eternal fled forth into the night, beyond the heights of the Mountains of Heaven, until its distant light disappeared beyond their peaks. His son then wept bitterly for his father.

  The Troubled Sons

  The golden dawn of the new world had returned to dusky gray. And the Primordial Ones, now dwelling far apart, hid in their own dim realms which their father had given them long ago. In their dark and twisted minds their hatred for each other grew ever stronger, which in turn spawned poisonous plots of deception and darkest treachery. For many ages they had waged war upon each other, brother against brother, for dominion over that world, until the Heavens had fallen, once again, into waste and ruin from the savagery of their struggles.

  With the fading of the lights of the Spirit Divine, the Heavens became trapped in the gloom of the fogs that had once filled it. The Primordial Ones then saw the last gleam of Heaven dim before them, and the memory of their father hung heavy in their hearts, his words echoing in their minds again. They then abandoned their wars against each other. And the wrath wrought upon the world waned for a time, though the guiding light of hope would never again shine brightly upon it.

  Beyond the distant fringes of the shadowed Heavens, past the Veils of Night, which hung like ragged drapes before Time’s war-torn halls, there stretched a vast realm of darkness and dolor called the Lands of Midnight. Beyond the Corridors of Darkness, within a fortress forged of pitch and might, the first-born son of the Great Father had dwelt, he who is named the Endless Night.

  Most blessed was this child of shadows. For the Great Father had given his son a divine gift bearing great purpose and design. By the Wings of Night given unto him would the faded sky be born anew under the satin sheet of midnight, and bound unto the stars of Heaven, yet unborn. In that black mantle would the light of a million suns come to dwell, and within its black cloak the Children of Heaven shine forth in all their glory, joined as one to that single shade in purposeful union. This had been the one labor the father had given his shadowy son to fulfill.

  But even before the death of his father, the Endless Night had succumbed to his own dark and decadent desires, seeking to envelop the world in his vile shadow, and devour the last of his father’s lights that yet gleamed in the Heavens. For he proudly wielded his father's ebony flame, that which now burned brightest in him. This fire was of the Glourun, a dark glamour whose enchantment masked all things by its black beauty. But the Endless Night had remade this dark power so that he might hide, by their seductive shadows, his lies and deceptions from his brothers and the all-seeing eye of the Spirit Divine.

  With the Wings of Night he had corrupted, he drew them about his form like a cloak. He then cast their black veil over the dying light of the world, so that only the feeble glow of Heaven remained unconcealed.

  With his new powers he then summoned forth sinister servants from the lands beyond. To him came many evil spirits that had lain hidden in the shadowy pits and pools of the world. Mightiest of these was a strange monster called the Nightmare Unending. It had been birthed from the depths of the Endless Night’s own perverse mind. Yet it had grown from a seed unseen and planted by the hands of a sinister source that dwelt beyond the fringes of this world.

  A servant to the Endless Night, this foul spirit had been created to fulfill a more malevolent will. For in that being dwelt the inner shadow that pollutes the heart and mind in endless heartache and anguish, dimming the light that shines from within the living. A depraved creature, it had the penetrating eye that sees that which the heart must hide. Feeding off the suffering of the living, it sought those trapped in the unending agony of life who, struggling to find the will to defy temptation, must endure or fall to their heart’s unbending darkness.

  And so the Nightmare knew more than any other being of the secrets that lay buried within the hearts of the children of the world. This creature the Endless Night carefully nurtured. For through its dark powers and treachery, the Night had sought to pollute the minds of his brothers, perverting their dreams and destroying their hopes until, weakened in spirit, they would serve only his will.

  The Endless Night sent the evil essence of the Nightmare Unending into the world, deceiving and corrupting the minds of his brothers until they fell into a frightful sleep. Black seeds of terror were then planted within them, growing freely within their clouded minds, until its dark roots had pierced their hearts and drank the sacred lights of their spirits. Trapped in fear and tortured by terror, they cowered in their own beds, bound to the will of their brother and his conniving servant.

  The Endless Night then summoned forth his bat-winged children, driving them from the Lands of Midnight, and sending them flying forth into the Heavens. His armies beat the skies with their ebony wings, until their dark forms stretched across the heights of Heaven, drowning the valleys of that once-shining realm in utter darkness. Their endless streams, like long black vines, stretched beyond his realm, entangling his brother’s lands in their boundless shade. The Endless Night then opened forth his wide wings until their terrible shadow enveloped the very Mountains of Heaven, cloaking every corner of the cosmos in darkness. The dark lord watched with perverse joy as the last lights of Heaven faded from view.

  He then looked down upon that bleak, broken, and baneful world with a contemptuous eye. For the mighty spheres of Heaven were now bound to his will alone. Completely clothed in his grim shade, to him were its children now enslaved, hiding in terror under the gloom of the horror-filled skies. Then was realized by all whom dwelt under him, the true nature of the Glourun, his cursed shade. For the infinite silence of the sinister night had drowned the
very spirit of their lives, suffocating the sound of every last beating heart in its great shadow.

  The Endless Night stood proudly upon the summit of the Mountains of Heaven and proclaimed, “Come, my children, and bow before me. For I am the Lord of Darkness, overlord of all that dwells under the shadowed Heavens.” To his many black servants, he then decried, “In this world, no dusk shall ever fall or dawn ever rise, no star ever dwell or sun ever shine.”

  The world would have remained bound to his eternal shadow. But the vile servant of the Endless Night, the Nightmare Unending, had come upon its master unseen. It watched as the Endless Night had lain with a witch-queen most foul, whose spirit and form the Endless Night had summoned from the dark waters that billowed up from beneath the world.

  By his seed, in secret, she had brought forth a son and daughter, the Shadow and the Shade. To these children the Endless Night then bestowed his greatest gifts and powers. For he had conquered this world for them so that, like him, they might make it in their own image upon his passing.

  But the Nightmare Unending saw that within its master’s dark heart had grown the faint glow of love’s undying flame, fostered by a father’s unfaltering hope that its enduring light might someday shine bold and bright again within his children. Enraged, it fled from his master as one betrayed, its vile spirit departing from those he had enslaved in the unending horror of their dreams. It then found the Shadow as he slept, the first-born Child of Night, and placed within the eldritch son its own corrupted spirit, so that the fate of this world and its shadowed child, forever after, would be bent towards its secretive will.

  For the Nightmare Unending had no hope for itself or this fallen world. And within that precious child it had seen a truer source of this world’s hopelessness and despair than in the father. From within this fallen son would soon arise a greater evil, whose hateful violence and wrath would be inflicted upon this world. By its vow to leave behind its cursed spirit, the Nightmare Unending was now free from its long servitude to the Endless Night. It fled into the gray fog, returning to the hateful hollows from which it was spawned.

  Free from their night terrors, the Primordial Ones rose from their troubled sleep. Seeing their world wrecked by the great shadow that lay about it, they gathered as one to destroy the Endless Night. They wrought great wrath upon him, casting his dark armies back beyond the Veils of Night that guarded his lands. The Endless Night then fled forth from the fray, beyond the walls of his great fortress, disappearing into the catacombs that lay beneath it.

  There he dwelt alone, crying out in pain and tending to the terrible wounds inflicted upon him. But his brothers came and cruelly stripped his own troubled children from him. They in turn were imprisoned in the pits of the world, far from his knowledge and reach. So was the Endless Night and his kind banished from this world, and his dominion over it broken, forever.

  The Endless Night climbed forth from the black labyrinths below his keep and stood upon the edge of his battered lands, his black claws clinging to the crags that hung above its shadowed shores. He wrapped his ragged wings about him, and with eyes glowing like red embers, looked down upon the remains of his ravaged realm.

  Weak and in despair, he vowed never again to bathe his father’s domain in darkness, nor consume the last of the feeble lights of that world. Nor had he sought revenge upon his brothers for their cruel acts. For he was now weakened by war, and weary with regret. But in the silent hours, he thought upon the fate of his lost children and the mystery of their imprisonment.

  Yet, unknown to him, evil had been sown in his son’s heart by the hand of the cruel Nightmare Unending. For that creature had planted a secretive seed into the Shadow, whose own hate, like a dark tree, would soon grow forth and bear foul fruit.
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