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Shadow Master

By Intoxcy8me All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Scifi

Spark of Thought

In the vastness of its realm, a spark of thought tried to cling to consciousness. A new being, it wasn’t sure what consciousness meant, but it desired that state. It wanted to think, to ponder its existence. Who was it? Why was it there? The being knew that it had limited time to dwell on these questions. The visions were about to begin again—the visions that shaped it and, at the same time, frustrated it. These visions never gave the being a reprieve. Never gave it a chance to contemplate its strange reality. In the visions, everything was simple. The being knew things. It was usually a he—though on occasion, it experienced being a she, too. It knew who it was, even though every time it was someone different. Inside these visions, the world was easy. Understandable. But it was just an illusion. Outside these visions was the being’s reality. The reality of not knowing, not understanding. The world outside the visions was starkly different from the world inside.

And now another vision seemed to be approaching.

The being prepared itself, knowing it would lose consciousness again. A group of armed men on horseback slowly rode through the sprawling, moonlit streets of the Bone City — the town that surrounded the Darklands, home of the Darktoids. It was a catacomb of caverns that began in a vast mountain range and went down as far as the mountains were high. No human or any other race could confirm that, yet, it was true.

Aside from the Darktoids, only a few people of Bone City knew much about the Darklands. Not many would dare to venture into the belly below those breathtaking mountains whose icecaps were miles high.

Gunnar had no idea how very, very old he actually was, though his gravelly voice and wrinkled face marked him as the oldest of the group by many years."I am afraid I must ask you and your men to leave now, general Gunnar," said the captain, as he drew his horse alongside. "The battle will be heating up soon, I believe. As always, we must put the safety of our most honored guests above all other concerns." We would not like for your group to get harmed in anyway if it can be prevented.

"Brutal creatures, Darktoids," agreed Gunnar instantly. The Darktoids hated humans more than any other race in Bone City. Humans always had the greater population, but the Darktoids had the greater lifespan. The Darktoids were usually patient creatures, and they were accustomed to all-out war. At this time in particular, the Darktoids had lost patience, not with all humans, but with one. A lone human 'Gunnar' had been causing irreparable damage to the their population for the past several years. Now, the sub-surface-dwelling pest was in the wonderfully wicked Bone City. Gunnar was the one that the Darktoids, as well as many others, called the Darkslayer.

I pondered Darkslayer's face as I watched dark clouds roll in from the east. Strong gusts of wind rocked through the trees. “Whoa. It's getting a little gusty out here.” “I think it's going to rain.” I blinked. Overhead, a brilliant burst of light ripped across the sky. Thunder crashed. My pulse spiked as I kicked my horse into motion. The roars faded into the jungle. I let my shoulders drop and sighed in relief.

The clouds above Trinity’s head were stained with a darken glow. They hung in the sky as one, endless sheet, like a feathery pelt. Trinity gazed at the riders when a sudden gust of frigid wind blew the hood off her head and tugged at her cape. Trinity thought crossly, drawing the light hood back around her face. She glared down the path as she walked, bracing herself for every freezing whisper of a breeze.

Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, she pulled herself up into the lowest branches of the tree and kept reaching higher, climbing until the branches got so thin and weak she couldn’t dare trust them. There she clung, swaying with the skinny treetop, hot tears mixing with the sap caught in her tangled hair.The wind was especially strong and she had to cling to the scratchy bark and prickly pine needles so as not to be blown away. She was like a bear cub, her arms wrapped tight around the flexible treetop that bowed and careened in every direction the wind took it. Her cape was torn and it flapped in the winter wind like a flag.

I’m really high up. Carefully, she peered over her shoulder to see the ground below. All around, she could see the tops of all the leafless trees. Aside from the rabid howling of wind, it was eerily quiet. She held on, watching the birds fly up out of the woody branches and past her head. I must look out of place to them, she considered, then darkly reminded herself, I’m always out of place.

In the distance, Trinity could see why her town was called Bone City. One of the four castle towers was clearly visible against the overcast sky, they just go on, leading their boring lives, always fearing that something dangerous, a darkness, might come across their paths. She watched the riders moving through the forest and decided to follow them.

Reluctantly, she tucked her chin into her chest to see her feet. Picking her footing carefully, she stepped down one branch after another, listening for any crack or snap. The mighty trunk grew wider as she descended and she stuck to it, even when startled birds flew up around her. She hadn’t realized how quickly she had climbed the lanky tree until this tedious decline all the way down. Trinity always took pride in her climbing skills, but this was more impressive than anything else she’d ever scaled in her life. By the time her feet touched solid ground, her legs were shaking. 

She wondered how a pathetic wretch such as herself had ever mustered the nerve to leave him despite his powerful ability to intimidate and bend her to his will. Trinity trudged around the wild blackberry thickets until she came upon the hint of a faint path; all that remained of the well-worn trail she’d traveled incessantly as a child. The nebulous pathway led her directly through the foreboding woods until she reached a familiar cleft in a rocky outcrop. Hoping to discover the meaning of the annoying compulsion that drove her against her will and wisdom, she trudged onward.

Needing a break from the exhausting trek, she rested her feeble body, swiping her thinning, ratty brown hair off her forehead. She contemplated the progress made on her tiny cave in the last two weeks. Steeling herself as she rested, she tried again to concentrate on the progress made in the cave in the last few days. A wave of despair and loneliness had hit her hard. Nightfall could come quickly in the woods.

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