My fingers faded into twinkling starlight, abandonment pricked at the skin and ate away my flesh. 

There was yet still light in the sky of our home. My eyes, that mortals once peered upon and bowed to, dulled with the last of our rule.

“How could they forget us?” my sister roared. Her skin crackled, splintered and peeled. 

The bright mass of light beneath shone out from golden ruptures that pierced the dullness.

“Let go of your anger, dear sister of mine,” I soothed with a silky voice. 

“It was only a matter of time.

“The mortals are foolish, they drink and dance and war, and forget about all things that are important in the world.”

How could they forget the sun and the moon?

Cruel were the strings of fate, a mummer’s farce played by powers much too great. Do they who rule eternities untold see us as their puppets and toys? Or were we all temporary, souls confined to lower dimensions, time a roaring canal to us, mere droplets to them?

A second ticked by. Another fragment of my power faded, like a thread of old yarn slowly falling apart in a dusty drawer.

“I will not stand,” My sister announced,

“To be thrown aside like a useless dog.

“I will remind them so they may not forget.”

And she glowed then, hair of magma and skin of obsidian, the brilliance of her light crowding space and time. 

“There will be lands, on each of their planets,

“Where I will hold power so to keep them in place.

“Those who visit, who are to set their eyes upon that glory of my making,

“Will return to me, my fiery embrace,

“Dalavea, their beginning.”

Her will broke across the dams of time, and shot into their Worlds as spades do through wood. Quakes of celestial magnitudes shook them like lifeboats tumbling in storms, but only for a moment as that timeline was gone.

“If you will rebel, then I may as well,

“For wherever you go I am destined to follow.

“And whatever is yours shall be mine too.”

The black crept up my hands and swallowed my arms, ink so dark no light escaped, against skin so pale the moon hid in disgrace.

“There will be creatures, wondering their skies,

“Space will flow vast and empty between them, to be lit up by lonely rocks and spinning stars.”

“When they dare to step outside and venture into the unknown,

“My beasts will devour them and return them to me,”

“Lan, their end.”

And out from me, my creation erupted, coiling their bodies and swimming in nothing. They hungrily devoured stars and planets for the very first time, mortal eyes watched helplessly as their world blinked dark, but only for a moment as that timeline, too, was gone.

My sister and I held our hands and danced across our dominion. The day and the night, light and dark, life and death. Bountiful harvests and destitute homes, framed family photos and little skeletons in the ground. 

The third orbital, bound by the wills of the sixth. How ironic, and how tragic. One step away from the serenity of infinity, from an eternity of power. A distance that we will never close.

Let the lower orbitals, the fifth and the sixth, see what they can do, against us, the primal forces beyond their rule. Two, three, six, eleven, numbers the mortals do not understand but are ours to command.

“How I wish they could see,” my sister laughed,

Her skin finally flooded by the burning inside.

“One last ballad to the songs of yore!”

“And we will be here, my sister.” I sang,

The dark in me flowed towards the wordless void.

“Until the end of days.”

Illustration: Max Lu and Akshaya Varakunan