The Abyss

Header image by Otsogey under Creative Commons 3.0.

The most recent dream I had, last night to be exact, involved me being part of a story…or was I reading it? For all I know, it could have been a dual perspective dream. I remember that it was a book. Its title was three fairly long words, though I only referred to it using the first two words. Or perhaps I wasn’t anybody, instead present as a ghostly spectator of sorts.

There was a group of people and a goddess wandering through a city in a ravine. It was like a shanty town, but on a much larger scale – the city seemed to go down forever in an unbreaking pattern of rusted rooves and wooden platforms and supports and the ravine didn’t seem to be getting any narrower, not that it was anywhere near narrow in the first place. The structures on the other side seemed to be so far away that it was half shrouded by darkness. I don’t know why they were venturing downwards but it seemed a long way down. We passed large pools of water that looked like springs on certain levels and even a small, impossible swamp slightly lower down.

The goddess was, to put it lightly, not a very nice person. She looked regal and dressed elegantly, but not in a way that suggested peace, but instead power. I’m not sure why the rest of them were travelling with her. She seemed ready to attack any one of them for even the smallest slight or even with no provocation at all. Sometimes I thought it was something she’d done several times, despite the fact that one of the group was her daughter. She seemed all-around dangerous. The only upside was that her power was granted to her by a ring she wore on her right index finger. Without it she was simply a highly resilient human. Still resilient enough to shrug off any damage anybody in the group could do, however. With or without the ring, the goddess ruled with an iron fist and this far down, there wasn’t anything the group could do about it.

The journey down wasn’t as simple as that, however. The group were being followed by…something. It took on a humanoid form, could talk, and was human to any casual observer. Its needs and desires made it something not human. Their most recent desire was for the ring, to take that power for themselves. I wished for them to succeed in stealing the ring despite their own personality. Cold, cruel, single-minded yet still managing to keep up a mock playful front. The goddess herself was just so dangerous to the point I rooted against her. The group’s first encounter was along a wooden pathway going along a series of abandoned, empty shops. The being flew down and went straight for the goddess as the group watched in fear, knowing there was nothing they could do.

The goddess handily beat down the attacker. The group felt relief, as her losing her ring would not have been good for her mood and the rest of them by proxy.

They were wrong; I watched in horror with the rest of them as she attacked her own daughter, accusing her of trying to steal the ring, organising this attack, several other cruel, unfounded and vicious accusations. Before the group could do anything from where they were, the beating ended as the daughter was thrown to the ground in a worryingly casual manner.

An undefined time later, we were all so far into the city that daylight was no longer distinguishable from the dark. Despite this, there was still an acceptable level of light for seeing, an icy blue blanketing the entire area. There were several springs dotted about and water dripped from corners everywhere. It felt cold. This was where the second encounter took place.

The unknown entity succeeded in taking the ring this time, but didn’t leave the group. Instead, they put it on and begun an assault so brutal it endeared sympathy for the goddess. The rest of the group were paralysed, likely for the better as such an attack would have killed any of them; I remember I teared up at seeing this. I’m not sure if words can describe how savage the attack was. But even without the ring, the goddess just wouldn’t die. After what seemed like an eternity of getting mercilessly thrown around, she started to fight back – at first only defending, then clashing. She held off her own death out of determination to get her ring back.

She got it back. Just barely. But there was no violent spark in her eyes suggesting she would attack anybody in the group, nothing suggesting she even held any hatred towards them now. Just exhaustion, pain, and shock. The attack had gone a long way in bringing her back down to earth and for the first time I was rooting for her.

Her daughter helped her up and the goddess smiled an actual smile. No cruelty, no passive-aggressiveness, no aggressiveness, no warnings to an attack. Just thankful.

They realised now what the true threat was for now, and continued their journey.

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