There was something wistful, hopeless, and romantic about the term. The word, noun, meaning two souls perfectly suited for one another. Like two puzzle pieces, a lock and a key, a magnet and metal, that just click. That are destined to fit, fated to be one. To complete. To unify.
Some say it’s a sacred, lifelong bond between these souls that had platonic or romantic relations in their past lives. Always promising to meet again in the next and the next and the next. A cycle that ends with the two long lost lovers rejoining again. No matter the time, the place, the people they have become. They are always drawn to one another, always meant to cross paths. Not only in the physical world, but spiritual as well.
Such a beautiful phrase had soon crumbled. Trampled by the unforgiving world they now lived in. It was no longer able to be spoken aloud, not even mentioned, especially in the presence of the ruler that reigned over them. The famous lore revealed the dark and grave history of the mysterious ruler who had ruled without ever showing his face. His presence was enough to drive both monsters and men alike away.
The world of Elysia once was a swarm of colors, a place of beauty and peace. A heaven that was a haven to all creatures big and small. Vibrant with life. With soil so rich, greenery swarmed over the horizons. The land was prosperous, abundant, and overflowing. Everyone and everything seemed to flourish and live in harmony.
There were never talks of war, no rebellions, no poverty. A utopia that all should have known would not last forever.
The tides would soon change. Everyone could feel it.
Eventually, inevitably, their granules of peace would slowly slip away and be no more once the hourglass was tipped. Elysia would never be the same again. And the only one who could cause such an enormous, life shattering effect would be the ruler himself. The very ruler whose identity was never shown, concealed only by a mask made entirely of a dragon’s skull. It resembled his authority and proof of his immortality and as far as anyone knew, he never took it off. Not a single person had seen his face, and if they had, they were slain before they could even let word loose from their lips.
Beneath his cruel mask, he had been known to look after the people of his realm. Not a single family went hungry. He was merciful then, but not anymore. Not after the death of the only woman who had come close to him. Elora. She was a wise and fair maiden who was as beautiful and bright as the sun. His precious jewel, his treasure. The only woman who was allowed near him, who could touch him, speak to him. Love him.
Most speculated that it was most likely because she was blind, for if she had seen his face she surely would’ve died either from shock or from taking her own life, just as many other women had ages later when the ruler sought out a companion. None, however stayed, nor could ever measure up and replace Elora, his one true love’s place. He had given up shortly after realizing this lonely and grim truth and blocked everyone out. Deciding to wallow away and brood for an eternity in the palace with the exception of only but one rule. No one was to speak the name of his lover ever, nor the word soulmates for he had lost all hope and thought it now meaningless.
Decades went by and so did the creatures who weren’t kept in place by their soon forgotten ruler, who never left his palace again. The building itself, became ancient, and nearly in ruins as it remained unkept. Without their ruler, Elysia had soon fallen into a gloomy abyss. Chaos quickly took over the lands, strife present for the first time. In less than a years time, the heaven transformed into a living hell.
Many became poor and roamed, letting their filth cover the streets. Women were kidnapped, beaten, raped. Children abandoned. Towns were torn down to rubble. Pure anarchy swelled within the devastated realm. Evil thrived.
Torn by the sight, a higher being granted the ruler a second wish, one he was not aware of. But longed for and could feel throughout the coming days. It started as a small burst in his chest that exuded outwards, spanning every inch of his body in seconds. Then increased to a raging pulse, a burning spark that lit up his chest and threatened to go off like a firework whenever he let himself be swept off into a deep slumber full of confusing dreams and tormenting thoughts. It was enough to rouse him from his chambers and send him into a full blown fury. What was happening to him? What was disturbing him so greatly?
He wanted it to leave him be.
But it only grew more powerful and intense through the passing days.
The gift he did not know he was closely bonded to was a young woman whose appearance was unlike any other anyone’s had ever seen. She was sent down just for him, though her own mission was unclear and long forgotten when she awoke in the wheat fields behind an old farmhouse. Born with no name, no family, and no memory. She was instantly outcasted and labeled a nobody.
Her hair was an abnormal trail of ivory, her skin nearly the same, so much so that she looked like a drifting phantom. Ghostlike, imaginary. Many rubbed their eyes and pinched their skin to be sure that they weren’t just seeing things whenever she strolled about, oblivious to their gossip and fear. Her irises shone like amethyst gems, an unnatural mix between hues of lavender and violet.
The sudden ounce of color contrasted against her mostly pale complexion. The only other hint of a brighter shade was the pink ripeness of her lips and the dark veil of her lashes. None looked upon her with fondness, despite her unique and illuminating beauty. Instead they were afraid and treated her like she was a freak of nature, which was true in a sense because of her sudden and unexplainable appearance in their decaying and immoral world.
She might as well have been a spirit, indeed, for she was left to wander aimlessly about. Scavenging for food and shelter from the cold for the most part. The more people observed her, the stranger and stranger she became. A mystery locked within a mystery. She was by far the oddest creature they had seen and that said a lot amongst the vast range of species that populated Elysia. From shifters to four eyed owls with catlike bodies, and plant life that imitated voices and devoured any piece of flesh it could trap.
Despite this, there were a few human colonies still thriving on their planet. But many who weren’t able to adapt, quickly grew contaminated by the organisms of their world and evolved into something else. Something that suited the planet more.
They’ve only heard stories of the two-legged, greedy beings. But few had seen them, some creatures were taller, broader humanoids that closely resembled them or so they were told by several of the reckless adventurers who sometimes travelled from planet to planet. Realm to realm. Curiosity and thrill driving them to seek more and more knowledge. But with Elysia falling apart, none had the energy to venture off. All lingered in sorrow, fear, and bitterness to watch the death of their home.
There were very few who tried to create armies and stand against the chaos, while others attempted to speak to the ruler and urge him to regain control and come back to his senses. None succeeded in the long run.
Centuries had passed and the fate of their world only worsened to the point more humans had found their location and settled within their lands with technology they’ve never heard of or seen before. They only continued to populate, spreading over the lands and driving out many creatures with force, creating more unease amongst the locals.
Who could ever imagine that all their hope now rested on a single female.