I do not own Mythic Ocean. Paralune does.
What's Mythic Ocean? It's a tiny little indie game, so small it doesn't even have its own category here as of me posting this story. It's criminally underrated, and I want everyone to know about it. So... here's a series of one-shots about the main endings in the game.
Needless to say, spoilers to follow.
Chapter published June 28 2020.
The twins tried to help the mortals survive, but over time they lost their will.
The sheets of rain ramming away at the door lightened up, now merely pounding away at it.
"Now, do you remember what I said?" she told her kids, fussing over them and making sure everything was done up just right. Hoods were up, boots were tight.
"Yes, mom," Kara muttered, crossing her arms sulkily.
Pants were tucked into their boots, good...
"We'll stay close, shout if we get knocked off our feet," Ala moaned. "Hey, quit it!" he said, batting her hand away as she checked over his head.
Good, good, goggles were fastened.
"Good. Now, hook yourselves to me," she said, standing and wiping the sweat of anxiety from her brow. The kids bunched around her backside and secured their harnesses to the hooks on her outfit. She gave them one or two tugs to make sure they were secure and, satisfied, she gave a little hum. Then, Cynthia turned to the door and breathed out nervously.
No matter how many times she did this, it never grew easier. But it had to be done. With that, she opened the door.
The moment it was unlocked, the door slammed inward into the house. Howling wind billowed into the house, whipping around her clothes as it sought out her flesh. Streaks of air found her hair and whipped it around her hood, found the straps keeping her and the kids together and sent them jangling. Cynthia lowered her head into the onslaught and pushed forward, dragging herself and the kids out. She took heavy, stomping steps to bury the spikes of her shoes into the ground for anchorage. Fortunately, the constant rain made the soil more than soft enough for that. With a heave of effort she pulled the door shut, struggling against the wind, and locked the numerous bolts again.
All around her, the storm howled. As far as the eye could see there were clouds, thick and gray and angry, mottled gray and lighter gray and darker gray. Gray, gray, gray, as far as the eye could see and further. Wind whipped around her, rain came pouring sideways under the powerful gales, and though it was dark, the neverending crackle-crackle of lightning gave enough light to see by... even though the endless drums of thunder shook her to her bones.
"AH!" Kara shouted behind her, and Cynthia whipped around to see what had happened. Her daughter's legs shook, but she was still attached and unharmed. Probably just lost her balance; the incredible winds that supported the island their town was built on were not reliable things. The ground constantly heaved to and fro, sometimes plummeting out from under her and sometimes rising so fast her gut sank into her feet. But over the decades she'd learned to live with it, and her children would too.
A lightning bolt struck closer, blasting old man McKindle's roof off. Her kids jumped, but she just sighed and got a mouthful of freezing rain. She'd have to join the brigade to fix that, later. Later. Now, she had some place to be.
They passed through the dim, dismal streets of the city one plodding step at a time, always making sure to neither lean into the wind nor let it carry them, lest a sudden gust from a different direction take them off guard. The ground was slick with rain. So much rain it ran in rivulets near houses, and it stung as the wind carried it into her goggles, seeping around the seal and into her eyes. The ever-present rumble and glow of thunder and lightning were their only conversation partners.
Cynthia made her way towards the town square, dogged by the storm all the while. A few others rushed on the streets alongside her, but there was no time to make chit-chat. She had to get to the farmer's market and get her rations.
The town square was a little bowl in the middle of the floating island they called home, with channels carved into the stone to carry off rainwater, and these channels frothed raging white there was so much water pouring through them. The local 'stalls' were, in fact, just intricately carved stone arches where the few farmers they had could give out their wares. The homeless - those whose houses had been completely torn away by the maelstrom around them - huddled around the stalls for what paltry shelter they could find. Several time Cynthia had entertained letting them into her own house, but she never offered. She and the kids had enough problems of their own.
She checked the kids were still securely attached, and came to the first stall. The old lady behind it didn't say anything; she just held out a bony hand for Cynthia's ration token, which she handed over. Carefully, to keep the winds from blowing it away. The stallkeeper inspected the stone carefully with a milky eye, then nodded and handed over a bag of electric fungus, named for the way lightning seemed to provide the edible mushrooms energy whenever it came crackling by.
Cynthia zipped up the bag and gave it to Kara to carry. Her little girl wrapped her hands around the burlap sack tightly, and hid her hands in the pockets that doubled as handholds to secure it against the wind.
Another bolt came streaking down, but miraculously, instead of seeking out something on their island to blast, it veered away back into the sky as if deflected by an invisible shield. And... had the wind and rain died down just a touch? There was even more light peeking through the raging stormclouds, enough to actually cast shadows. Everyone walking around the market paused, turning their heads up high.
"Whoa!" Ala said, blinking his little eyes behind his goggles. "Mommy, what's going on?"
"I'm not sure, sweetie," she said, cautiously optimistic. She led the kids away from the stall, looking back and forth for anything out of place.
She heard something. Hushed whispering, behind a stall. She was going to dismiss it as some of the homeless muttering to each other, but something caught her eye, too. A toasty, orange glow, like the weak fires she could sometimes get going indoors. "Kids, stay behind me," she said, pushing them behind her with an outstretched hand. Bending her knees, she slowly approached the orange glow.
The whispers became clearer. " - c'mon, work, work. Why isn't it working?" A girl's voice.
"It's gotta work, it did this in the first place! This is so stupid. Work!" A boy's voice.
"I am, Ketri!"
"C'mon, clouds, go away, go away..."
"Excuse me?" Cynthia said, peering around the corner.
They were... children. Not human like her, nor any other race she'd ever seen. They were vaguely humanoid, but their skin was smooth, unnaturally so, and devoid of all hair. One's was a pale purple-ish blue, and the other a faded red. There were strange white markings along their eyes and arms, along with metal circlets around their heads, and the only clothes they had were long vests hanging from their shoulders. The only hair either of them had were small designs on the top of their heads; a strange box-like cut for the red one, and a ponytail for the purple one. Their ears were flat and floppy, almost like an animal's, and from either side of their chins short tendrils hung limply. Despite their meager clothing, they didn't look at all disturbed by the ongoing storm that had been raging full force mere moments ago.
They jumped at her voice and the orange glow between them - she couldn't get a good look - vanished. They leapt to their feet and glared at her. "Hey!" the purple girl snarled, glaring up at her and clenching her fists. "What's the big idea, sneaking up on us like that?!" The rain picked up again, and the wind howled with renewed vigor.
Cynthia startled at the venom in her voice. "I'm sorry, I just - I thought I heard something, and I came to check on you."
She rolled her eyes. "Well, that's great and all, but you should've still let us know."
"Yeah," the boy - her brother? - said. "What kind of person just sneaks up on people they don't know?"
She held up her hands. "I'm sorry, I really am. I wasn't thinking." She inspected them a moment longer. "Are... you two alright? You're barely wearing anything, you must be soaked."
"We don't need your help!" the boy shouted, raising a fist at her despite being half her height. "We don't need anyone's help! We're the - " He cut himself off and, with wide eyes, trailed off. "The, uh, the..." He deflated, looked up at the whirling clouds, and dropped his eyes to the ground. "We don't need anyone," he finished lamley.
"Alright, I understand," she said. "I'm sorry, what are your names? I should have asked that first." But you were shouting at me, was what she didn't dare say. "I'm Cynthia."
"Right," the boy said. "I'm Esti. This is my sister, Ketri."
"I've never seen you two around," she said. "Did you come sailing in? All by yourselves?"
The last three words were the wrong thing to say; the kids didn't say anything but she could've sworn she saw lightning crackle in their eyes, lightning that wasn't being reflected from the storm outside. "We're new in town," Ketri said through clenched teeth.
"It's nice to meet you. Kids, come out, say hi to Ketri and Esti," she said, urging Kara and Ala in front of her.
"Hey, I'm Kara."
"Um, hi, I'm Ala."
"Yeah, hey," Esti muttered.
"Whatever," was all Ketri said.
As one, their eyes went back to the storm. Rain whipped against the two's skin.
"Are you sure you're alright? How are you not freezing in this storm?"
They pursed their lips "It's alright. We're used to it," Ketri said.
"Yeah. Just leave us alone," Esti said, sullenly crossing his arms. A bolt of lightning flashed behind them, casting the children in shadow. "We'll be fine on our own, we always have been."
Cynthia frowned, thinking. Kids were kids, and sometimes kids could get snappy. But there was no way she could just let them stand out here, soaking in the icy rain and freezing in the chilling winds, no matter how ill-tempered they were. Maybe it was time she opened her house to someone. They were all trying to survive together, weren't they. "Maybe you're fine, but couldn't you be better than fine? If you want, I can let you stay with me and my kids for a while, just until you find some place for your own."
Ketri crossed her arms. "Oh, yeah?" she snarked. "And what's the catch?"
"Um, Ketri, I think we should do it," Esti said. "We've been trying to... ya know. Maybe it'd be easier with a roof over our heads."
She sighed and relaxed. "Fine." Ketri wagged a finger up at Cynthia. "But if you try anything funny, you're gonna be sorry!" She closed her eyes and, smirking, placed her hands on her hips sassily. "We have powers, you know. Real strong ones. One wrong move and we'll blast you into next week!"
Cynthia smiled. Children could have such imaginations. "I'll keep it in mind." She looked around the back of the stall. "Hmm, did you two lose something? I know I saw something glowing over here before I came over; did you lose a torch?"
Ketri and Esti shared a glance. "Don't worry about it," Esti said.
Cynthia shrugged. "Alright. Can you follow along with us? I still need to finish up my shopping."
Esti sighed. "Yeah, whatever."
The two strange kids fell into line behind her, Kara, and Ala. She got a few strange looks as she continued about her business, buying the few things she had a ration token for. Ketri and Esti were quiet on the way back home, as were her kids, which was just as well. The storm, despite having quieted down for a moment, was roaring as furiously as ever now. She had to struggle against the weather every step of the way as they got a bag of glowberries and a skin of goat's milk, then back home. But while Kara and Ala struggled as much as her, aided only by the leather straps keeping them leashed to her, Ketri and Esti were... completely unphased. Gusts of wind, sheets of rain, even a brief hailstorm that saw her seeking shelter, none of it seemed to bother them in the least.
Not even their clothes were wet.
What did I just agree to take into my house? With my kids? she wondered. She'd laughed it off when Ketri said she had powers, but already Cynthia found herself wondering.
Eventually, they made it back home, stumbling through the front door as the winds blew it open.
"Esti, can you shut the door?"
"Ugh, fine," he muttered. While Cynthia was busy undoing all the protective gear on her and her kids, Esti walked over to the door and - as though winds strong enough to bowl over a grown man weren't pushing against him - closed it and bolted the locks.
"Whoa!" Kara said, stars in her eyes. "You must be super strong!"
Esti beamed and placed a hand to his chest. "Heh, yeah, I am!"
Ketri rolled her eyes. "Hmph, well, duh. Told you you have powers." Her fists tightened and she directed a glare at Cynthia. She suddenly felt afraid for her life. "But you didn't believe us, did you? Thought it was some stupid kid make-believe thing!"
"Okay, on that note!" she said, trying to change the subject. "I need to go help the brigade with rebuilding. Kara, Ala, can you put the food away? Ketri, Esti, make yourselves at home. When I get back tonight, I'll find you two some place to sleep."
"Yeah, go, uh, rebuild the stuff the storm keeps destroying. Eheh," Esti said, with a nervous laugh.
She didn't give much thought to it, and after making sure she was well equipped for the storm, she left the house again.
It was night time, now. It was always dark, but now it was downright abyssal. She'd heard stories from sailers - people who braved the storm on false wings to travel from island to island - that somewhere, far above, was a vast field of cloudless sky filled with 'stars', but she'd never seen them. She wondered if they were out in force right now.
The day had, as always, been filled with hard work. The brigade had had to rebuild seven lightning-struck houses just today, though seeing the homeless couple's faces light up when they could have a roof over their heads again made it worth it. Today had been lucky; nothing had collapsed the underground tunnels where the farmers toiled, and the rain collectors had picked up a lot of water. There was barely any hail damage, either.
With an exhausted burn to her muscles, Cynthia stumbled home. Fortunately, the winds were relatively weak at the moment, and she wasn't tossed back and forth like a toy on her way back. Her house came into view, so she grabbed the doorknob and - when the wind briefly blew away from the door, not towards - she opened it and slipped inside quietly.
Inside was dark too; which was good, it was past Kara and Ala's bedtimes and they knew how to put themselves to bed when she was out working late. She shut the door quietly, so as not to wake them up, and -
She heard something. She saw something.
Past the living room was the kitchen, and there was a flickering, pulsing orange glow coming from there.
"What if we focus on a clear sky?" came Esti's hushed voice.
"What do you mean 'focus' on a clear sky?" hissed Ketri.
"You know, picture it in your head or something."
"We tried that before, it didn't work!"
"Well we weren't trying hard enough, then!"
Cynthia crept forward slowly, tip-toeing her way to the kitchen. She grasped the doorframe - made, like everything on their island, from hastily carved stone - and poked her head around.
Ketri and Esti sat on the floor facing each other. Between the two of them was... something. It was a gigantic orb of light, like a slowly roiling ball of fire. Pink and red light streamed off its surface, and just looking at it made her feel itchy, like the static in the air after a lightning strike. The two children had their hands on the orb, and their eyes were closed, deep in concentration.
"Damn it!" Esti shouted, opening his eyes. Then he locked eyes with Cynthia.
"I - "
"Oh shoot!" Esti said, pulling his hands off the orb. Ketri opened her eyes and did the same. Just like that the mystical sphere vanished, collapsing in on itself until it was gone. "New lady, you're back. We, uh." He traded looks with Ketri and rubbed the back of his head nervously. "We didn't hear you."
"I didn't mean to pry," she said hastily, heart pounding. Ketri said they had powers. She'd been telling the truth. What was that giant thing?
"It's nothing, okay?" Ketri said, looking up at Cynthia angrily. "Just forget about it!"
"I can't just forget what I saw," she said. "Ketri, Esti, I need to know if whatever... that was, is going to put Kara and Ala in danger."
Esti's eyes widened as if challenged. "Oh, so you think we're gonna go zapping your kids now, is that it?! Nobody ever trusts us!"
"Yeah! Just because you see some sparkling lights you think you're in danger?! You're in more danger every second because of the storm than from us!" Ketri's glare softened and she glanced at the floor. "The storm that... that we just can't..."
Esti calmed down too, and held his sister's hand. "It's okay, Ketri. We're trying." He didn't sound like he believed his own words.
Cynthia frowned. "Ketri, Esti." She got down on one knee, putting her on their level. "If you don't mind, do you want to tell me what you were doing with that... whatever it was?"
They sighed. "You know how we have powers," Esti said. "I mean, we can do stuff like, um." He looked around, and his eyes settled on a jar of glowberry jam. Esti extended a hand towards it, and Cynthia startled as a bright purple aura lit up around both his hand and the jar. As if possessed by a spirit, it floated over to his grasp, where the glow then faded. "We can move stuff with our minds, or shoot lightning from our hands, or make barriers. Stuff like that."
"That light ball was something, um, given to us by a friend. It made our powers a lot stronger, but..." Ketri scuffed the ground miserably. "It... doesn't always do what we want. We're trying to make this storm stop, make the world something more... normal, ya know?" Cynthia stared at her curiously, and Ketri sighed. "No, you don't know. It's been like this your whole life," she said morosely.
"It doesn't matter anyway," Esti muttered, crossing his arms. "The stupid thing doesn't do what we tell it to. All we can do is sort of make the storm a bit calmer for a bit, and only for one stinkin' island at a time." He hung his head. "Why do we even bother?"
Outside, thunder rolled.
"Oh, wow," Cynthia said, trying to process it. "Thank you, you two, for trusting me with this. And I can trust you won't try to do anything to my kids? Even on accident?"
They sighed. "We promise," they said in perfect unison. Maybe they were twins.
Cynthia nodded, feeling numb. Esti had just moved something with his mind, but she did what she did every time the storm threw a new calamity at their little island; bundled up the shock and vowed to deal with it later. Many other islands' denizens didn't keep their heads on straight, and they all ended up being destroyed by the weather with only those few who sailed away to tell their tale.
"Alright. Then with that, I think it's time for bed. You can work with your, um." She waved a hand. "Fire light ball in the morning after you get some rest."
"Oh, we don't really need to slee - oof!" Esti was cut off when Ketri elbowed him.
"That sounds great!" Ketri said with an overly sweet smile. "We'll just find a spot on the floor."
Spots on the floor were all anyone had. "Alright, sounds good. There's some fern mats in the closet you can use to soften it up." She smiled. "I'll see you two in the morning for breakfast."
Hopefully, after this heart to heart, the twins would be a little less... prickly. Maybe she could do some good for them.
"MOOOOOM, KETRI'S BEING MEAN TO ME!"
It hasn't even been a day. Cynthia whirled around at Ala's cry and spotted the darker-colored twin holding a bowl of porridge in her hands, stretching up high to keep it out of Ala's reach.
"Ketri!" she scolded, turning away from her stone oven. "Don't take Ala's food, there's barely enough to go around anyway."
She rolled her eyes petulantly. "Ugh, fine." She let go of the bowl, letting it drop to the ground. Thankfully, before it could shatter on the floor, Ala grabbed it. Sniffling, he hurried away into the corner to begin tearfully eating. "Wasn't even hungry, anyway," she said, sulkily.
Esti shared a look with his twin, then looked up at Cynthia. "We're gonna go work on the... ya know." Without waiting for a response, the twins left for another room in the house. Soon there was an orange glow coming from there, and the raging storm outside quieted just a touch.
With them gone, Cynthia hurried over to Ala and brushed his tears off his face. "There there, shh, she didn't mean it," she whispered, hugging him close and consoling him. Internally, she seethed. She was going to have to give Ketri a stern talking to about taking other people's things, then leave for work. There was always more to do, always more houses that needed fixing. Once Ala was calmed down, and he and Kara were ready to begin their work around the house, she ventured to find where Ketri and Esti had escaped to.
She'd explain to them why what they did was wrong, and then be on her way.
Cynthia found the twins huddled by the latrine - a river of rainwater washed everything away quickly - with their glowing magic orb between them. Their eyes were closed and they were dead to the world as they muttered quietly to themselves. Now that she wasn't in the heat of the moment, Cynthia took a moment to inspect the orb more closely. Like before, it took the form of an enormous ball of fire, roiling in slow motion. But where she'd at first thought power was flowing from it, power was instead condensing into it; pink streams of light formed in midair and collapsed inward to the orb, turning orange and merging with its surface at some point.
The twins twitched and murmured, as if having a nightmare. The ground beneath Cynthia lurched as a sudden updraft heaved the entire island. "Whoa!" she said, startled as she lost her balance. She leaned against the wall to keep from falling over.
That was enough to get their attention. They leaped away from the glowing orb as if its flame suddenly burned them. Without dismissing it, the twins turned to her. "What's the big idea?!" Esti demanded. "We were busy!"
"I wanted to talk with Ketri about what happened back there," she said. How not to make them feel attacked? "I wanted to get her side of the story, too."
Ketri rolled her eyes. "What's there to talk about? Ala wasn't even eating his food until I took it." Her eyes darkened and her face grew stormy. "He didn't want it until I had it, he just wanted to take things from me!"
"That doesn't matter," she gently chided. "He would have become hungry eventually, and he would have eaten it then. It was his food, and he can eat it when he wants."
"Oh, so you're just gonna ignore what we said and give your little speech anyway?!" Esti shouted, raising a fist. "That's just what everyone always does!"
CRA-BOOM! That lightning strike was... awfully close by.
"It doesn't matter what everyone else does, you had no right - "
"We have every right!" he insisted. A dangerous light flashed in the twins' eyes, and the massive sphere of light between them pulsed in response to his shout. "We keep doing so much for all of you, we keep trying so hard, but we don't get anything for it!"
"And it doesn't even work," Ketri groused. "Nobody wants to help us, everyone just wants to keep their heads down keep going on with their stupid lives, like this stupid storm was supposed to happen!" Supposed to happen? What did she mean by -
Cynthia shrieked as another bolt of lightning struck, this time spearing through her ceiling and blasting through the stone floor. Light and sound flooded her senses, rendering her blind and deaf to the world save for the smell of ozone.
She floundered on the ground, gasping for breath. The kids, where were the kids? Were they alright? The blotches cleared out of her vision and she saw the twins standing in front of their orb, staring down at her in horror while mouthing... something.
"... we're..." she faintly heard Esti say.
"... keep... anything we do... happening!" Ketri cried, hiding her face in her hands.
The orb pulsed more angrily behind them. The ringing in her ears faded, but her arms still didn't cooperate beyond letting her flop uselessly on the ground.
" - we're supposed to be the creators but we keep screwing it up!" Ketri sobbed. "We keep s-screwing everything up, a-and it shouldn't have been us, it... it - "
" - why did it even make people in this world?" Esti accused. "Why are any of you here?! It'd be fine if the world was just a storm but why did it make people live in it? Did it just want us to see you getting hurt?! Is this some kind of sick joke?! Why would the Historian do this to us?!"
" - they were right to banish us, we couldn't do things right then and - and - and we can't do things right now, what would they say if they saw us now?" Ketri lifted her head. The winds whipping through her now-roofless house picked up her tears and flung them away. In the open sky, Cynthia saw lightning criss-crossing the clouds, more than she'd ever seen in her life, as though it was a wool shirt woven entirely out of light.
" - we can't even make an empty world right, we can't even make a dead world right! We can't even screw things up right! Everything we touch just - "
The orb pulsed one final time.
Cynthia screamed as a great, shearing blade of wind cut through the ground all around her, turning the island into rubble as though all its tons of stone were no more than warm butter. She flailed around as she began to fall. Twisting onto her back, screaming the kids' names, the last thing she saw were the twins hovering in place, looking down at her in horror, as she fell and fell and fell...
... into the endless, thunderous sky.
The storm always took everything away in the end.
Please do leave a review, let me know what you think!