Tidefall Cantos I

Author: Anonymous
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i.

Midway through a dreamless night, I awoke upon a wretched beach. And, though the tide was black as ink, it did not stain my skin nor did it ruin my clothes. As I stood up and spat ink from my mouth, I was startled to find I had no memory of traveling to this shore. No boat was moored to rock nor tree limb. In fact, there was no ship in sight. No sail crested that endless dark horizon. It was then that a creeping horror became crystal in my mind. I had not yet turned to look inland beyond the shore. Somehow, the tide of this endless dark sea which crashed like whispers upon my ankles, felt safer than the cloying mystery that burned against my back. And then there was a voice.

ii.

A voice not unlike my father's. A man whose trembling tenor could so easily reduce me to a frightened squib. Even now I could feel my ankles go weak. Or, perhaps it was the sand beneath me, suddenly ravenous and weary of my hesitance. But the voice continued, its words like fingers that traced the sinews of my mind. My name, though unspoken, trailed silently behind its command. "Turn around." And so, I turned.

iii.

Hovering before me was a Seeker. An entity made of ink-stained rags and grasping hands. A creature whose description I've only read in the shaky writing of scholars who survived the torments of Apocrypha. Suddenly, it dawned on me. Apocrypha. Beyond the horrific visage of the Seeker was an endless expanse. A bubbling morass of tentacles and ink. Glowing flora and bloated books. Towering fossils and a sky which hung heavy like an unwelcome stare. All at once I wanted nothing more than to disappear into the surf. But the voice returned. "Do not be afraid." And so, I was not.

iv.

It offered me one of its many hands and I took it without hesitation. As the Seeker led me away from the shore, I felt all at once like a child. Small and fragile and entirely beholden to my newfound guide. And it was quiet now, the Seeker. No words floated into the wellspring of my mind. A childish rage nearly overtook me when we crested upon a fossil laden hill. Before me was a tunnel. A pit. No, a tower. An inversion. "A library." But that was not all it was. No. It was a gift."

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