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Sister

(sɪstə)

noun

a female fellow member.

a female member of a community

Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo. Dread, Horror and Alarm. They are the Graeae; the Grey Sisters. As old as the hills, they are, yet they have known no aging; not the innocence of childhood, nor the impulsivity of youth. They know only the unchanging darkness of the blind, and the wisdom of those who have lived beyond the years allocated for them by the Moirai; the fates who control life and death in a way that not even the mightiest, nor the most cunning of the gods can dare to dream of. The Graeae have dabbled in witchcraft and sorcery, in necromancy and in devilry, and now they are at their most powerful. They will cause war and famine and disaster in all four corners of the earth, from the depths of Hades and Tartarus, to the peak of Mount Olympus and the highest point of the sky, where the Titan Atlas bears the weight of the world on his shoulders. Then the heavens will cry in sorrow at the wasteland that the earth has become, for the Titans shall be released, and the war that has long raged between the Gods and their parents, shall continue forever more; an endless battle between the imperfect and the monstrous; the protectors and the tormentors.

Dread

(drɛd)

noun

terror or apprehension as to something in the future; great fear.

Adjective

held in awe or reverential fear.

She’s been grey for as long as she can remember, from the moment of her birth, and will be until the moment of her death. When death comes at last, a sweet release from the dark world she lives in, time will reverse itself, to an era that has never been before. When death comes at last, the darkness that surrounds her will fade, and light will blossom. When death comes at last, her crooked back will straighten, her hair will fade from grey to black, and her cheeks will bloom with the delicate pink of the youth that she was denied. But that will not happen yet. Not until her part on the stage of the world is over, will she be allowed to take her bow to the gods, and that will not be until the day when the sun rises in the west. She has seen many things through the eye she shares with her sisters in darkness—though it is only a third of what could have been seen, had the fates been kinder—and much of it is black as the night which offers protection to her worshippers. The thieves and murderers of earth look to Deino to fill their targets with Dread when they feel the whisper of a pickpocket’s breath on their neck, and the deafening silence of the murderer as he follows them. Their service pleases her, for they embody her on earth, in a form that does not arouse suspicion, and they carry out her will.

But this is not enough for her. She longs for a world that fears her above her sisters, above even the gods themselves, in which she is queen of all. In her mind, it would be a dark world, where the stars would fail to cast but the dimmest light on the earth. She would not chose to keep the Titans below the earth, but she would make them her guard, to protect her from the horror and alarm that would constantly haunt her. She would pay them in release from dread, just one moment’s freedom in a day filled with dread that she would cause. That is her dream, and soon she will begin to make it real.

Horror

(hɒrə)

noun

an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear:

Adjective

inspiring or creating Horror, loathing, aversion, etc.

Clad in saffron robes, splattered with blood, it is not hard to guess Enyo’s meaning. She is the giver of Horror, the Waster of Cities, and she delights in it. She has not the longing for death of her sister Dread, for each sister is plagued by her own meaning, and Enyo has no dread of the future to hold her back, just a horror of the present and of what has already happened. The horror of innocents is the sweetest of tastes, and she savours it whenever it is available, for as with their eye, the sisters share but one tooth between them. It does not help her feed on food, but on what her power causes, and she delights in this small freedom each day. It returns her power; power that will fade only when water leaps up a river and retreats to its source. And only when her power fades, will she die. Among her followers are the soldiers whose duty it is to sack great cities, for they—though they started off nobly—have in them the power to fill innocent hearts with horror. They pray to her, these warriors who hide their faces behind masks with the twisted features of the gorgons, and she gives them what they want, knowing that they are under her power only. The gods they also worship have not the power of the bloodlust she sends them, a little at a time, for it keeps them always longing for more.

She has no power over her sisters, though she longs for it dearly, never having known what it is like to have power over her equal. Her dreams are filled with a world where she commands an army of men, led by the Titans, who will roam the earth forever, destroying every city in their path. She would have ultimate power over them; to make them do her will constantly, for every hour of every day. She would grant them no reprieve, and they would not ask for it, because it is loyalty she would demand, and loyalty she would get. There would be no freedom until her ultimate goal is achieved. She will capture her sisters, and rule over them as Sovereign. That is her heart’s desire, and soon it will come to pass.

Alarm

[ əˈlɑːm]

noun

a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.

verb (used with object)

to make fearful or apprehensive; distress

Pemphredo is the bell that sounds in your head when mischief is afoot. She is the one who whispers in your ear that all is not right. She is both good and bad; the poison and the antidote; the right and the wrong. She has no followers, for who follows the one who will alert both themselves and their victims to the danger. Who wants to wield a double edged sword like her, when they can worship Horror or Dread, who’s intents are clear. Who worships someone who can abandon you, at the critical moment, to an unseen danger. So she is alone, and she is therefore bitter. Bitter towards her sisters; bitter towards the human race; bitter towards the gods who create her. Pemphredo is unseen, unheard, unknown; not worshiped, yet depended on by all. Her mind is like the many heads of the Hydra, stretching out further than the eye can see, from the sisters’ cave at the centre of the earth; and once Alarm is present, the thoughts she plants in you are harder to destroy than the one head of the Hydra that is immortal. Only when the earth begins to move of its own accord, will her power be broken and she will die. Then the world will have lost a great thing, for this warning has saved as many lives as it has taken, and humans will do poorly without it. She supports all, and therefore has the support of all; for what is dread if you know not what you are dreading; how do you sack a city, if you know not what horrors to expect? When her time comes, she will cause strife in her sisters’ camps, and discord will spread like rumour in a crowded room.

That is her dream. She will push doubts into her sisters’ armies as they prepare for battle, causing chaos among them. Then she will release the Titans, and the world will be hers, to do with as she pleases. She will have no soldiers but the Titans, and they will be enough to protect her from the thousands of men her sisters will have. Her sisters will feel alarm, but will not know what it is for. They will know something is coming—but what will it be? They will have no way of knowing what will happen, and they will fear her and her power. Then they will come to her; they will lay down their weapons and surrender to her. That is her vision, and now there is nothing to stand in her way.

Grey

[ɡreɪ]

adjective

of a colour intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or lead.

First Deino strikes. A wave of dread hits the earth, causing the stars to tremble in the sky and their light to fade, bathing the world in grey. Plants start to die, and the oceans suddenly become calm. The birds in the sky turn black and stop singing, each one turning into a raven, an omen of death, wheeling above the world with no wind to support them. It is deadly calm. Then, as one, the thieves and murderers strike. They are the only ones moving, and, no-one reacts as they ply their trade among the unsuspecting people around them. No-one moves as they are relieved of their purses, nor does anyone move as the first wave of victims hit the ground. They move on to relieve more people of their money and lives, and still no-one moves.

Then it is the turn of Pemphredo. Every bell on earth begins to ring, rousing people from their stupor, and the screaming begins as people look around to see their money gone and their families dead. The birds wail in the air, mingling with the screams of the people below. She has no followers, but she needs no-one, to create this chaos. They know that something is coming—coming soon—but they know not what it is, or whether it means to harm them. They know only that it is coming—that it has arrived among them—and that soon they will start to live in a nightmare.

Enyo is next. Her soldiers, in one movement reach for their weapons and begin to march. The screaming builds as their sandals crash against the cobbled roads; so loud that it sounds like a thousand storms at once. All over the world this happens, and the ground begins to tremble, and tear itself asunder with the weight of so many people acting as one. The pressure builds, until eventually the gates to Tartarus are forced open by it, and the Titans are released.

“They are wrong. I am right.”

Over and over again those six words are repeated. It is Pemphredo, casting the seed of doubt into each person who fights.

Enyo and Deino reinforce their waves of meaning, and a fierce battle begins. People’s minds begin to fall. Mass confusion is now less a nightmare, and is a part of reality.

The gods are fighting now. Storms rage, and thunder crashes in time with the clashing of swords on shields—metal on metal, sometimes on bone. Flashes of lightening add to the dim light of the stars, blinding each man until he knows not who is his enemy, and who is his ally. Friends fight friends; fathers fight sons; subjects fight kings. No-one knows what is happening. All they know is the lust for the blood of all around them, amplified by Enyo’s heightened emotions. People shout and scream, as they are bombarded with Dread, Horror and Alarm.

light

[lʌɪt]

noun

something that makes things visible or affords illumination.

idiom

light at the end of the tunnel, a prospect of success, relief, or redemption.

The earth is shaking. People are being tossed around like pebbles on a drum, but the screaming has stopped. The world is bathed in silence, as its people bear witness to the destruction forced upon it by the Sisters. They remain silent as volcanoes erupt in the far west, lighting up the world like a strange sunrise. The lava flows from it like liquid fire, but still no-one moves. You can’t even hear their breathing anymore, and in the midst of the destruction, there is a beautiful serenity to be felt. Peace has swept over the earth; the madly boiling rivers are the only things to move, as they start their journey upwards, and away from the frozen scene.

Time is retreating. Like so many marionettes on strings, people rise and go backwards through the destructive actions that took them to this point. Injuries heal, and the dead are brought to life again. The Titans are returned to their prison, and the gods to Mount Olympus, and the scars on the earth begin to heal. Soldiers put away their weapons as if in a trance, and purse strings knit together to become whole. And for these people, this is where time rests.

For the Graeae however, it continues. Their powers gone, they are powerless to prevent the turning back of time, to something that has never been before. For so long they have been identical in looks, have sought to be different in soul, and now they are changing. Enyo’s bloodstains begin to fade, and her robes turn to white. They look like the goddesses they should have been, with their backs straightening, and the grey in their hair fading. Deino’s is black, as black as her soul used to be; Pemphredo’s is gold as the sun, like the bells she used to sound; Enyo’s is the colour of rust, like the blood that was spilled in her honour. Their cheeks are blooming with a delicate flower of pink, and their skin is as smooth as silk. They have no eyes, but they see anyway, through wisdom and redemption. They look at each-other in wonder; they have been the same for all of their lives, causing a bitter rivalry, and now they are so different. Light fills their vision, and they know the end is near. No words are needed for them to forgive each-other; it is the most natural thing on earth.

Finally, the Moirai can cut their threads, severing the immortality that has kept them on earth for so long. As the scissors close together, the Grey Sisters look to one-another, and each gives out a sigh. Their time on earth is done, and they can progress to the next light. Together they rise, and walk towards the gates of the underworld.

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