Once more, a tall, imposing man wearing midnight robes of green shadows stands, his own shadow looming over a pair of slight, androgynous twins with golden hair, barely boys.
Dyvian: Look at you. (He gives one of the twins, whom look exactly alike, save one has bright, silver triangles in his violet-blue eyes. Those triangles flash with an angry light.) Your name no longer begins with D, yet here you are. How precious.
Tayel: (the twin with the triangles in his eyes) Letters may shift and change over time, leaving me no longer Dayel. The heart, the will, and the intentions I possessed cannot be ripped away. One of them is never leaving my brother alone with you.
Danyel: (He squeezes his twin’s hand.) You don’t have to protect me, but I’m glad you’re here.
Dyvian: As am I. Little Danyel is entirely too easy to torment. You’re a bit more of a challenge. Or are you?
Tayel: (His eyes glitter all the more.) Hungry darkenss only sees what it wishes to consume.
Danyel: (He glowers at Dyvian.) Which was Tayel’s way of saying you have entirely too much fun tormenting us, no, not just us. Everyone.
Dyvian: Come, come. I’m not nearly as sadistic as I once was. When I was first conceived as a half-elven cult leader, I ritualized torturing and killing humans. (He lifts a finger to run across a stone altar which materializes beside him.) Not to mention what I was planning to do to the two of you.
The twins back away from Dyvian and the altat several steps.
Danyel: You called yourself the Vampire whenever you killed and tortured humans on that altar.
Tayel: Satisfying a personal hunger behind a mask and a ritual.
Dyvian: Ah, but that was only the first version of me, created for a very specific roleplaying universe, shared by many players and authors. My personality has evolved since then. Perhaps not in The Keep, the second setting I played a part in. I was still a cult leader for those of mixed nonhuman blood rather than half-elves, but my intentions were the same. As the Voice of Seraphix in Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest, I have grown far more complex.
Danyel: You’re still a cult leader, preying upon the wishes of the vulnerable to swell your ranks.
Tayel: Your hunger remains, waiting in the darkness to prey upon victims as you were once preyed upon.
Dyvian: Only there’s more to me than this, isn’t there? You can see it all reflected in Leiwell’s lovely emerald eyes, eyes that would exist if I hadn’t opened them to reality. At least one version of reality.
Danyel: It wasn’t just you! Christopher and Damian had a hand in that!
Tayel: More than one will, one moment of pain and joy went into the shaping of Leiwell, not the least his own.
Danyel: That’s right! Stop talking about our brother as if you own him!
Dyvian: Ah, but he’s not really your brother, is he? The three of you are simply light and shadow given shape and form, clinging to each other in your delusion of what a family should be, dictated by Map.
Danyel: What if we are? How are we any worse than other families?
Tayel: Whatever brought us together holds us together.
Dyvian: Yes, perhaps we should talk about how the two of you have changed. You’ve come so far from the innocent half-elven twins I once intended to sacrifice, twins you still similar to in The Keep. Now in Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest you’re proper little monsters, aren’t you?
Danyel: We’re not monsters!
Tayel: We are what we choose to be.
Dyvian: Yes. I’m looking forward to those choices. Born of shadow, dream, and flame, your decisions have been quite exciting. You’ve not only opened Doors, you’ve cracked souls in two, allowing all of their false hopes to pour out.
Danyel: Just what are you accusing us of?
Tayel: Accusations reflect the nature of the accuser more than the accused.
Dyvian: All I’m saying is that the two of you may be more like me than any of us have come to fully comprehend. I wonder how Leiwell will look at any of us by the time we’ve made all of our choices, hmm?
Danyel: Leiwell loves us, all of us, even you. His love is the one thing we can count on.
Dyvian: Only if he remains Leiwell. Can we count on that?
Tayel: Count on nothing. Simply choose and cling to what’s precious.
Dyvian: I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t it curious how much we agree, if though neither of us love or trust me? While we all love Leiwell, yet none of us trust him, not completely. Particularly with his own welfare.
Neither twin replies.
(Danyel, Tayel, and Dyvian are all characters in Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest, an ambient fantasy series of novels inspired by Tarot imagery which I’m trying to finish and figure out how to self-publish. I’ve written rough drafts of Stealing Myself From Shadows, The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, and A Godling for Your Thoughts?, the first three books. I’m writing a rough draft of the fourth, My Tool, My Treasure. I’m planning a fifth and sixth book, Web of Inspiration and My Cusps Runneth Over. I frequently post freebie stories from Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest here (when I’m not BloggingFromAZ) and Christopher often does Monday blogs at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com, Conversations with Christopher (not now, they’re BloggingFromAZ, doing Character Change over there this April as well.)