Day of the seahorse, season of the pale coral, year of the Maelstrom
It has been a long time.
I have stayed in the shadows, studying, preparing, waiting for the next alignment of the planets, to perform the next sacrifice.
Months and months of patience, reflection.
When I sacrificed that human man, and then princess Elasmind, my vision and intention were true, I felt like I was doing the right thing. I WAS doing the right thing. The time is almost upon me to sacrifice the Priest. One of my own. One of a higher rank. One more powerful than me. What a waste.
I know that his sacrifice is willing, but part of me.. Feels like I would not put myself in that same position.
Sacrifice myself, my life, at an instant for someone else's cause, someone else's goal, dream?
It feels wrong. It feels unnatural.
I agreed to take this path as part of a deal I made with Cthulhu. A deal that meant I would live free again, swim again, breathe the ocean in, be free of life on the land, whenever I chose. I am now more powerful than ever, I shape shift, I am no longer cursed and cast out.
But the price is steep. The things I must do keep getting darker and darker. The 7 sacrifices might be the end of me.
I am beginning to feel like someone else. I am not sure who I am anymore. My dreams are not my own anymore. Ever since the dreams started, I have become more and more unsure of where my path is leading me.
They began 3 moons ago. I was in my human form, in my cottage. I woke up during a full moon, short of breath, with flashes of a dream still vivid behind my eyes. Dark figures, stirring in the depths. Colossal, terrifying, with long teeth and dark eyes, waking up, waiting.
I closed my eyes and saw the flashes in my mind again; A cold chill ran down my spine all the way to my human feet. I did not realise what this meant until the next full moon.
When I had the dream again, the details were clearer. Figures shifted in the dark, distant echoes of a sleeping God, whispering to the colossal creatures.
Then I saw flashes of myself, reading pages of my book, speaking the ancient language of my people, while performing the first two sacrifices. Red drops, green drops, falling on the pages. For every drop, a pair of eyes opened. Somewhere in the dark, somewhere far away.
I woke up, this time in my cave next to the ocean, my skin going dry, flaking, and my hands shaking from the dream. I slipped back in the water to swim to shore. Suddenly, the ocean felt like the most dangerous place to be. I finally understood.
I understood that I was the reason the creatures in my dreams are stirring. Because of my actions, each one of these creatures is waking up, opening their eyes, tensing their muscles, preparing to rise. They were not dreams, but visions. Those things are out there.
When I performed those sacrifices many moons ago, I knew I was offering up souls to Cthulhu. Gathering them, preparing them. I knew I was doing this to prove myself to the Order and taking the steps to become a priestess.
But at no point was I warned this could wake other entities.
Over the years, other aspiring priests and priestesses performed the 7 sacrifices and none of this happened. They offered the 7 souls, performed the final ritual, became part of the Order.
No dark eyes shifting, no echoes from the deep, no giants waving their tails and claws.
Something is different this time.
Just before the full moon just gone, I was prepared. I made a potion to induce a deep sleep, combining ingredients from the land and the sea, to remain protected. I wanted to make sure I don't wake up too fast from the visions this time. I needed to see more. Deep down I feel like no one from the Order even knows that these creatures are now stirring in the shadows. I had to know why I see them, and if they see me.
Using a page of the Necronomicon, I sat down, drank the potion and began to read from the page, in a whisper. As I uttered the ancient words, my fingertips tingled while touching the black ink on the page. My hands started to feel weak. My mind began to blur, but I focused and kept reading, slowly and quietly. My voice started to break into echoes, and I knew I was about to enter the darkness.
Within seconds, reality faded like mist, the table and page in front of me was gone. I was in the dark, and I could see them.
Only this time, there was more to see. I saw glimpses of pages from ancient books, describing and depicting each creature, who and what they are, where they come from, and what will cause them to rise.
With horror, I found myself recognising some of the creatures. The dark eyes that stirred, the long slippery tentacles, hidden in the bottom of the ocean. The more I saw, the more I felt overwhelmed and helpless. My power is but a speck of sand compared to any of them. The terror and death they will bring.. Because of me.
Then, I recognised myself in one of the pages, performing the ritual that resulted in my transformation back to my fish form, so long ago. Is this what Cthulhu set in motion when he turned me into a shape shifter? Was this all meant to happen?
Between the visions that were now getting blurry, and the page in front of me, I decided I had seen enough. I broke the vision and returned to reality. The ancient page was still under my hand, feeling hot to the touch. The crystals I had placed on it, looked darker than before, like they absorbed a shadow. I could barely breathe.
My skin felt sticky and ill, as if I was just swimming in the dirtiest waters. My soul, or whatever is left of it by now, feels heavy.
I sat there quietly and wondered what to do, if there is anything to be done at all.
One thing is for sure, nothing can be undone. Those creatures are waking up.
Soon, sooner than I think, so will Cthulhu, and he will bring chaos, from the depths to the land, to the sky and beyond.
I can either embrace what seems to be destiny, or try to change the course of it. What is destiny after all, other than our own choices.. I still want to believe that.
Should I perform the third sacrifice, knowing that it will make a new pair of eyes stir in the darkness?
Does my victim know that when his blood gets spilled, it will breathe life into one of those creatures?
I will know soon enough.
Artwork created by Mr Zarono, shared with his permission.
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