‘Once upon a time the Sun took a walk in a forest and found the Moon bathing in a lake.
The Sun fell madly in love, approached, wooed and won her hand then took the Moon as his wife.
They both lived happily for a long, long time and soon the Moon gave birth to a Star.
That happiness was tainted, however, when the Sun had a disagreement with the World.
There was war.
The Sun won.
It was the start of the Sun's greed for conquest.
The Sun began to draw on his Moon's power as well, seeking absolute dominion over all creation, thinking he was protecting his family by making the rest of the World fear him.
Gentle Moon suffered; her heart in tatters at the sight of all the suffering.
The Sun never noticed.
Then came the time when the Moon's powers waned, drained by her husband's greed so she took their Stars, left their house and hid themselves in the bosom of the Sea.
The Sun was furious, his fury mingled with his worry and longing. For he loved his Moon from the bottom of his heart and knew he had made many enemies in his quest for power; enemies that could hurt his beloved Moon.
He followed the Moon to the Sea and the Sea tried to keep the Sun away to protect the Moon however the Sun still managed to reach his Moon. The Sun came forward ready to take the Moon in his arms again and then...
The Moon shattered…’
“Rubbish.” The man in the black armor threw the remnants of the crushed tablet where the tale had been written at the body of a bloodied man dying at his feet. “You think to hide the truth from the world with this lie? Pathetic.”
“I-it is the truth…” the dying man wheezed at his feet. “You are… the only one who denies it… It was the reason why she… sealed you…! You will never leave here…”
The whisper of a sword singing as it was unsheathed rang in the air and was pointed at the dying man’s neck. “Where is it?”
“You will never find it…” the dying man laughed and coughed. Thick, red blood sprayed out of his mouth and the scent of iron filled the salt air. Despite the painful feeling of his blood filling his lungs the dying man still managed a triumphant smile. “I have… sent it away from… this world. Away from you… Not even you can… go where she is right now…”
The smile on the defeated man’s face dropped off when the crimson bladed sword fell and embedded itself in his chest, barely sparing his heart. Then his eyes widened as he watched the man in the black armor kneel in front of him on one leg only to rip his heart from his chest, presenting the morbid prize in front of his wide, disbelieving eyes.
“We will see, Gatekeeper.” the dying man couldn’t utter a sound. He could only fall down on the icy ground and die.
Around him the seas roared violently like a woman wailing in despair for the loss of her child engulfing the entire city in its deadly embrace. Screams or terror, cries of rage and wails of loss filled every nook and cranny of the fallen city outside the crumbling palace walls. Soon this city will be nestled under the depths of the sea.
No army accompanied the black armored man as he walked away from corpse of the city’s king and queen. No servants rushed to do his silent bidding. He merely stepped out onto the long platform overlooking the city from the palace and watched everything sink into the sea.
He showed no joy at the chaos. He showed no glee at the sight of the dead and dying. All he had were bright blue eyes the color of ice and glazed an indifference that barely hid his own despair.
He then lifted those same eyes to the sky and watched the broken moon float in the night. It stared right back at him, like a testament to his grief.
A deep roar of heartbreaking agony drowned by the violent sea called out across the waves. Like a wolf calling out to the night…
Accompanying a whole nation as it drowned in the ocean.
Summer, Northern Territory, Australia
T3 Senior Park Ranger Lawrence McCade shook his head in awe at the unusual sight.
It seemed as though they were going to have a very white Christmas.
Snow was falling gently and steadily on anything and everything it touched. Miles of red fields, trees, bushes and hills were not safe from the ivory spell that came with the season everyone had long anticipated.
Houses sported Christmas lights and all sorts of Christmas decorations fitting the weather to tee. They were filled with the homely sounds and smells of good food cooking and the welcome safety one can only feel when one was with family.
Yes, everything was astonishing; everything was splendid and beautiful. And everything would have been perfectly normal for a fine December evening on a Christmas Eve…
If it weren’t for the fact that this was all happening in the middle of the Australian outback.
McCade sat in his truck and gaped when his eyes found the sky only to find an aurora borealis waving straight back at him like a beautiful, colorful river. His parents had been astrologers so and they had taken him off to the ends of the earth enough to know what one looked like. Somehow this seemed even more beautiful.
Bzzzzt! “Headquarters to Tango? Can you read me, over?”
McCade fumbled for his radio without tearing his eyes away from aurora. There was something so… hypnotizing about it.
“Tango here, over.” He replied over the sound of static.
“Mate, are you seeing this?” even from here, the voices of his colleague down at headquarters reflected his own incredulity.
“Kinda hard not to,” McCade replied, still shaking his head at the powdery snow falling from up above. “It’s all over the place after all. The river’s just about covered.”
Well not exactly, the park ranger thought as he finally pulled his eyes away from the sky to look towards Anzac Hill. Now that he thought about it, the snow only seemed to be falling right where the aurora was as though it was the snow’s source. The aurora was nowhere near the Hill.
“You better come back here,” the other officer said after the next static silence. “The chief thinks everyone’s about to go crazy. We need to help the police just in case a riot comes up.”
“Alright, I’ll be right there. Over and out.” He set the radio back on his dashboard and turned on the engine. Taking the road back to the town proper he couldn’t help but keep staring at the snow.
Unable to stop himself, McCade held his hand out of his open window and caught a few flakes. He blinked at his hand when he saw the snow was… warm? It sat still in his palm for a moment before it melted. Keeping his eyes on the road he sniffed at it. It didn’t seem to smell odd or anything. Taking a chance he touched the melted liquid with the tip of his tongue.
It was salty.
McCade was so surprised he couldn’t stop himself from staring at his wet palm. What the heck was this doing in the middle of the bush?
He looked up at the darkening road intending to think about this later when his headlights caught the image of a small figure on the road.
“Oh son of a—”
He pounded the breaks into the floorboard and pulled on the wheel barely missing the person still standing in the middle of the road.
Heart pounding a mile a minute it took McCade a few moments before he could lift his head off the steering wheel and again look at the cause of his near accident. He was amazed to see the guy didn’t even flinch. He stood steady as stone in the middle of the road. He was more than ready to be angry at the joker who didn’t have enough common sense to stay off the road but when he took a second look McCade faltered. The figure was too small to be adult.
“Oh God; hey kid! Are you alright?! Stay there, don’t move!”
Quickly getting out of his truck he approached the little figure on the road. It was covered with a white robe from head to toe and only when he stood in front of it did he see the face of a child. Pale skinned, flushed cheeks and hair as red as licorice. Puffy eyes that reminded McCade of the heart of a flame. The hood of the cloak she was wearing started slipping off as he approached and now he could clearly see the wavy hair the color of licorice framing her face. He was assuming it was a she for now. She was too pretty to be a boy.
“Hey…” McCade called out softly this time, not wanting to scare her. Having kids of his own he had an idea how to deal with kids. “You okay? What are you doing way out here?”
No answer. She was crying, he could see the salty trails on her cheeks. Or maybe it was because of the salty snow. The blank look in her eyes terrified him. It was as though she were sleepwalking. She couldn’t have been more than five.
He held onto frail little shoulders protectively and began scouting their surroundings. Nothing. No one for miles on end.
Where in the world did she come from? Which heartless bastard left her here?!
He looked back at her and the sorrow on her face was enough to break his heart. God he was such a softie.
“Come on, I’ll take you to town. This place isn’t safe for you.” The park ranger picked her up and held her to his chest expecting her to stay still as a doll.
He was more than surprised when she snuggled deeper into his embrace.
“Warm…” he heard her whisper softly as he felt her bury her face against his shoulder. “Please… let me stay a little longer…”
He didn’t know why at the time but McCade stood under the falling snow until she stopped crying. And when she did… the snow stopped falling.