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The Shadow War

By Jeremy Dale Coronia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Fantasy

Song of Life

Long ago, back when the world was but a fledgling realm, when mortal men and beasts still slept underneath a sea of stars, when night and day were as one still in an eternal twilight, there walked a fey woman, clad in the darkest black. It can be said that she was the first night come alive, walking with the stars above as if they were her children, and indeed they were.

She bore no names then, for names were but words used to label; thus, she had no use for them. Now, she holds many titles, among them the fabled ‘Shadowqueen’ and ‘Mistress of the Night.’ In human words, she is simply called the ‘Selena,’ but the Synteries called her Linaue’mai, which can be roughly translated into ‘Night-Woman.’

Though she was no goddess, she was immortal, and held much power. But alas, she was alone and sad. Because of that, she journeyed across the little world, soaring through the skies, filling it with her aura, reminiscent of a peaceful calm that you would feel as day turns into night. She traversed this fledgling world we now call Magnus, and travelled into many more worlds thereafter. Her influence spread farther and wider, and wherever she went, she left behind a beautiful trail of her stars. But she could never find a companion or a friend, so she wept and grieved her forlorn life, and wished for any out there to hear her call and come to her.

Selena sang a lilting tune after that, her voice echoing across the cosmos. The stars shone more brightly than ever, the clouds rolled in, and slowly, ever so softly, she lamented her seemingly unchangeable fate. Her words were lost and forgotten now, and even then, no man could have heard her pleas, but it was said that she sang in the respective tongues of each races; for man she sang their language; for the Synteries she sang in Livas—meaning their dialect; and even to the elusive nymphs, their myths tell that the lost Selena sang in the almost-incomprehensible tune of their race.

She sang so beautifully that from the waters rose a man with a tail for legs; from the four rival winds they carried together a woman as ethereal as her charges; and finally, from the skies fell a boy as bright as the sun we see now—sometimes, we argue that this man was the sun in man-form. The fish-man heard her and wept, and from his tears begat the salty sea. The wind-borne girl heard her and wept also, and from her came vicious tempests that, until now, held her cries of agony as her ears picked up Selena’s song.

But the Boy from the Skies did not cry out; he did not shiver at the melancholy of her tune. The Boy ran up to Selena and kissed her so passionately, the words in his ears and the beauty in her heart making him fall for her. The fish-man was what the human shamans now call Iliandros, and the Girl from the Winds was called Chryssa; they both beheld the couple embracing under starlight and cheered as Selena’s words died in her throat, happiness replacing her sad thoughts.

There they celebrated, and there they proclaimed their love for each other. Iliandros and Chryssa also consummated their undying love for each other there. So powerful was their love that whenever either was hurt or under duress, there came roaring winds or clashing waves as each raced to the other’s rescue. Their children were the serpents of the deep and the snakes with the air. They, like their parents, did not like names; thus, ere the mortals gave them the names of ‘naga’ and ‘wyvern,’ they were as nameless as Selena was also.

Selena loved the Boy from the Skies, and wished to call him hers only, and so, she gave him a name that still echoes on today. Lucais, she called him, but the Boy did not want to be named. Whereas Selena was humble and soft-hearted, Lucais was boastful and sought attention wherever he went. He hated the name, and scorned it after. Still, Selena loved him deeply, so she honoured his wishes and never called him ‘Lucais’ again; yet, it can be said that she gave him another name, words she whispers to herself whenever Lucais was never around, to show her love to him. She called him ‘her dawn-light,’ for indeed, whenever Lucais came walking round Magnus, intense light streamed down the skies, setting the word alight with his radiance. She was given hope, and from her came the ideology of hope and faith that priests still carry on today.

But the Shadowqueen was no match for the Boy’s influence, and Selena and her lovely stars were blotted out by the proud Lucais whenever he forced himself somewhere. His mien was so beautiful that mortal eyes burned from the intensity of it.

But Lucais loved Selena, and from their union came their first and only son, Merec, who had his father’s good looks, and his mother’s bond with darkness. Though he was fair and handsome, he bore in him his father’s vainglorious nature. Though his mother tried to teach him humility and respect, Merec disregarded each and all lessons with a wave of his arms. He consorted with nymphs and many more of Iliandros and Chryssa’s daughters. Both father and mother tried in vain to mitigate their son’s many crimes and right his terrible wrongs.

It came to pass that the four elemental figures decided to fill the world with more life. From then on, they worked tirelessly, all of them contributing something to the world. Iliandros filled his salty seas with fish and marine life; Chryssa let the noble eagles soar with her in the skies; Lucais fashioned Kalakar, a race of sun-haired men and women with eyes of gold and control over fire.

Lastly, Selena tried and made three different creatures, for she alone was most powerful amongst them all, having utmost power with the unknown and small pockets of skill with the others’ elements. The first creatures were the Vilanar, made in the shape of wolves, always in the company of their Shadowqueen mistress; second came the Synteries, rival-kind of humans with dark skin and horns on their heads, bearing claws instead of fingers; last and most terrible came the mysterious imbuivila, cloaked as the Vilanar, but unlike their beastly cousins, they were never beheld by any eyes, mortal or otherwise. The imbuivila were what the mistress was not: silent, grim and solitary. They preferred the greenwood forests while Selena made merry with the Synteries, of which she was their eternal night-queen.

The world was new and still very young, but now it was filled with majestic creatures and terrifying beasts. Sentient beings prowled its jungles; peaceful men farmed at plains and valleys. They were all very, very happy.

But Merec, stewing in bitterness at seeing his parents hold their chins up with pride in their creations, set about to undo them. He, like his father, wanted attention on him and only him, so seeing them shower the world with so much that he never got angered him so.

Secretly, he stole a little bit of his father’s fire, and from his mother he harnessed the abysmal depths of the shadows; from all this he created the first demons, fiery creations that lived only to serve him.

Selena had created the dawn with her glorious singing, but from her son, there would be death and corruption, and time would draw to a standstill as parents would meet child in mortal combat.

But Merec planned for that. He needed allies, and what better allies than those he wanted gone, whose hearts burned with frailty, easily swayed by divine gifts?

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