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Aru swayed with the wind as he sat atop a thick willow tree growing sideways over the surface of an immense island cliff overlooking the sea. He had short, dark hair, and bright green eyes that looked about with intensity. His body was somewhat slim but also quite muscular, with fair, tanned skin. And he had defined cheekbones, and stood close to six feet tall.
Clasping the tree trunk for balance, Aru looked down at the waters below him. The placid surface of the ocean rested unmoving like a pane of blue glass, until it touched the side of the sheer cliff at its base, where it lapped silently against the tan rocks. Above him, the yellow sun was high in the sky, beating down on the land below. On one side of the sun, a faint purple moon hovered menacingly close over the island. To the other side, a larger orange moon throbbed faintly through the daytime sky far over the water, reflecting further sunlight on the planet below. Growing on the surface of the cliff was a dense forest, with tall trees rising high into the sky, their canopies absorbing the power of the searing sun and casting a deep shade on the forest floor.
Aru lay back on the tree, under the shade of its drooping leaves, and turned his head to watch the oceanic horizon to the north. After some minutes of tranquility, he turned to the east, where many miles away, a spanning city could be seen on the coast of the island, on a bright beach by the foot of the cliff, which crept slowly downward from Aru’s location until it leveled off with the beach by the city. A large harbor stretched along the length of the city, but no ships were moored at the docks. A thick stone wall wrapped around the perimeter of the city where armed guards were seen standing on the battlements. Everything was still Aru shrugged leisurely and rolled onto his back, where he closed his eyes and relaxed with the calm swaying of the tree.
An hour later Aru noticed that the light outside his eyelids was beginning to darken. Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes and looked up above the cliff’s surface. The sun was moving behind the overbearing form of the purple moon; obscuring itself from sight, causing a slight purple tinge to fall upon the land as the sky began to darken. Aru squinted up at the purple moon, which glowed more vibrantly with every passing second. The water below was now shining with a purple shimmer, and the forest began to rustle quietly. Small ripples traveled along the surface of the sea, as if rain were drizzling upward from beneath the surface of the water. Aru stood and looked up in alarm at the eclipse once more; the sun was now completely hidden, and the purple moon was surging as with pulses of light. The sky had turned black, and multicolored stars pierced the sky, far away.
Suddenly, Aru felt a light tug at his feet, and a small force pressing against the top of his head. The forces grew stronger, until Aru stepped off the palm tree and plummeted down towards the rippling water of the sea. As he fell, Aru felt calm, as if he were moving along the length of a string, with equal tension pulling at his feet and pushing at his head and he was falling silently. There was no wind in his ears, or blowing through his hair, only silence. The surface of the water grew closer and closer until Aru cut straight through. Now he could hear the calm bubbling of the water around him, but as he looked up he saw that the surface of the ocean all around was not calm but undulating violently in a tumultuous fury, the waves falling upon one another in bone splitting clashes. He tried to reach up and touch the raging surface as if to settle it, but he was still falling towards the ocean floor in silence. Twisting around, Aru looked to find the side of his cliff crawling down into the water. But instead he saw that the cliff jutted inward for hundreds of meters until the sides of the island came together at a focal point. This powerful rocky point was joined to a giant, cylindrical cord of pure green light that descended deep into the nothingness of the ocean’s depths. As Aru searched in wonder towards the source of the stimulating light, he saw that a small cord of his own was attached to his chest, humming slowly, with metronomic bursts of light, pulling him along steadily towards the ocean floor. Bulky clumps of dark algae were rooted to the sides of the underwater cliff; swaying about quickly like twitching fingers, searching for a unseen object. Turning around once more and looking down at the darkening water below him, Aru discerned an enormous mass of coral that was floating in place. It was wrought into columns and spires, and arches and doorways, and gates and walls. He saw what he thought were small people, with pale scales and fins along ridged backs, and large hands and feet with thin webbing that spread outward like a fan. Another cord of thick green light conjoined with the bottom of the coral palace, and led downward, into the nothingness of the sea, in the same direction as the others.
As Aru dropped further through the water, he beheld strange creatures around him; a school of small lustrous fish, and an eel like creature with eight separate fins and a sucker at its rear. Every living thing he saw had its own cord of light, winding down to the base of the ocean and into darkness.
Aru submerged deeper and deeper under the sea, and now he was crossing the threshold of complete darkness, not even the elliptical light from above could be seen shining through the water. The only visible luminescence was from the green cords, delving further and further downward. A black fish with bright beady eyes swam by slowly; it had a mouth with long thin fangs on each side of its head, and spikes protruding from the sides of its body. Deeper and deeper Aru went, encountering many forms of life, ranging from whales, to squids, to jellyfish, and sharks. One particular creature that caught his attention was a giant humanoid, with four monstrous arms of crystallized sand and the billowing tail of an eel. Its head was perfectly spherical and it had no mouth, nose, or ears; just searing white eyes, like the embers of a volcanic furnace, throbbing in their sockets. Within seconds of its appearance, the giant had disappeared without noticing Aru.
Aru’s pace began to slow, until he was moving at a few inches per second. Then his feet padded down against the soft sand of the ocean floor, disrupting its smoothness, and scatting a small cloud of sand out into the water. Everything was still, except for Aru’s string of light, swaying limply with the current. Below the sand, Aru heard the muffled sounds of quiet and timeless music, the sounds of countless beings reciting the joyous and sorrowful stories of the past: the sounds of a forbidden sanctuary of men, lost in time. Aru wanted nothing more than to descend once more, and join the pleasant voices of the ocean to add his own melody.
The ocean floor began to rumble and quake gently, sending small vibrations through Aru’s body. A small straight crack formed along the sand beneath his feet, slowly etching open to reveal a black chasm under the ocean floor. The green cord tugged Aru slowly down into the black fissure as sand fell down like waterfalls into the black pit around him. The walls of the sea began to close in towards one another once again. Aru closed his eyes and allowed the darkness to envelop him.
Aru slowly opened his eyes, gazing absentmindedly up at the darkening sky from atop a towering cliff. Before him the dark blue water of the sea sparkled dazzlingly as the last rays of the yellow sun shone upon it from the northern horizon. Rays of light reflected off the two moons of the sky and onto the surface of the ocean water, illuminating the underside of the clouds, and giving them a magnificent orange and purple tinge. Ten feet away, the sweeping willow tree could be seen growing off the side of the cliff, where it lodged stubbornly like a splinter in the skin. The forest behind him swayed leisurely in the slight wind.
What a dream… Aru thought to himself broodingly as he stood to his feet and turned around, walking distractedly into the forest towards his home.
As Aru walked in the starlit night, he was constantly aware of his surroundings. The chirps of the nighttime bugs pierced the air all around him. Thick grass grazed the bottom of his feet and wedged between his toes, the thin blades twining themselves around him. Ancient trees grew far apart from one another and towered far into the sky, obscuring the light of the stars. The roots of these trees knotted outward in contorted lumps before plunging down into the deep recesses of the earth. Aru stopped and observed his developing surroundings with a wondrous frown. He thought he could see faint surges of green light, like the energy from the dream, pulsing slowly through the surrounding roots and up into the trees, as if the plants were breathing power from the ground.
Aru frowned, placing his hand upon his breast, feeling for his heartbeat. There it was, a slow and strong pulse, beating in perfect unison with the natural world around him. He smiled brightly, his eyes far away in some deep place, and continued walking home.