Tales of the Light 1
After the trip to the cave and the incident with the halfing and the bugbears, Darrius, ceremoniously deemed for his desire for purity, Darrius the White had seen his first glimpse of Santos’ faith. They sat around a camp fire, some there because it was their turn to keep watch, others simply couldn’t sleep after the horrors witnessed, and still others stayed awake assuming those still up couldn’t be trusted with the protection of the small band.
“Brother Santos, I have never seen such devoutness before. I understand that the Gods have only just now returned to us, but I still have not heard many stories of how or why they have come back. To be honest, living in Valencia, the Shadow Theists seem to only offer vague universal truths as opposed to a certain dogma. Are there any stories of the Gods? Of Light and Dark and Shadow?”
The Cleric thought for a moment, contemplative, and then a warm and knowing smile smoothed onto his face from the glow of the fire.
“There was a Cleric in my monastery where I grew up and was taught the Light. Not really a Cleric I suppose…more of a…Prefect. He held no real standing with the Monastery, and he arrived with just as much mystery as when he left. However to my knowledge he had always been around, and I considered him, though his station was much lower than some of the Priests, my mentor. His name was Prefect Leoht.
“He told me a story once, that stuck with me, mostly because I had never heard the Gods explained in such a manner, but even more so because I could not find another story like it in our library. The most common story is the one that even Dark Bringers believe, and that is that Light and Dark are brothers and Shadow is the wife of both. We in the Light believe of course that Shadow loves Light and pities Dark, while the Dark Bringers believe Shadow makes a fool of Light as she lusts for Dark, and Shadow Theists believe that both Light and Dark depend on her for both love and necessity. The story I heard from Prefect Leoht was this…
“Before the Gods became who they were, they were simply Life. Two brothers and a sister whose love and compassion for each other was the stuff of legend. The sister had made communion with the world and her gift was a child that grew inside her. Her brothers were very proud, caring for her needs and protecting her from the wilds of a beautiful yet uncivilized world. The woman gave birth, and the three stood over the new born child and rejoiced at its qualities that they all could share; new born innocence, a curiosity for the new world, and capacity for great power.
“That night the child was stolen by a wild spirit, whose form to this day remains unknown. The birds claimed it was the wind, taking the child away to be one with the heavens. The beasts claimed it was a forest spirit, sent by the earth to reclaim the child given to the woman. The fiends claimed it was a band of demons, stealing the child away to make it their ruler. Whatever the reason, the woman sank into unbearable sadness. For months she could not move, she did not eat, she did not sleep, she only knelt on her knees like a statue. The brothers were enraged and swore revenge, vowing to never rest until they found the child. They agreed that one would always stay behind to watch their sister, while the other went to search.
“They left her in their home and while one brother searched during the day, one brother stayed and tried with little success to rouse his sister. Then the brother would return, and the other brother would venture into the night to find the thief. For years this went on and while the woman never moved, her brothers kept searching, so long in fact, that the brother who only searched in the night had become as pale as the moon itself, for he never saw the sun again. He had become humbled by the fierce creatures of the night and learned stillness, his bright white skin shining in the dark. The other brother, who only searched by day had been scorched by the sun, turning his skin as black as coal. He had learned to take advantage of the weak for in the heat of the day, for only the strong may drink from the stream.
“This continued until the sister finally regained vitality. And she woke next to her pale brother, but could not see him, for in the light of day, the reflection of his skin made him impossible to see. She could only see her dark brother in the daylight, and so she spent her days with him. And at night she lost her dark brother for he blended in with the night sky, and she spent her nights with her light brother. And so they came to be known as Light and Dark, and her, their Shadow.
“One day however, the child returned; though now he called himself Man. He spoke of what he had been taught in the world, how he had learned too much, and that even if he had wanted a family, he did not need one. He had become jaded, and raised without the love he needed from the gods, and so became vengeful and cold. Light, Dark and Shadow, heartbroken, departed, knowing that the child they had all loved no longer existed. And as they came to the crossroad the path broke into two, one in the shade of night and one in the light of day. Light walked into the darkness, and Dark walked into the light, as Shadow tried as careful as possible to keep an eye on both.
“For you must remember young Cleric; in the light of day, the most dangerous Dark can be seen, the Shadow can be pulled and pushed to either side, and even in the depths of darkness, there is the greatest Light.”
Santos turned to Darrius, “When I asked Loeht if that story was true he simply said ‘does it matter?’ Which seemed odd for a Prefect to say so I asked him if the story meant the ends justify the means to which he said, ‘the ends never justify the means. That’s not what the story is about.’ He looked at me for a moment as if looking through me then stood and walked away.
“I have learned in dealing with the few Shadow Theists and Darkbringers that I have, that they are incredibly hard to deal with both physically and spiritually. In fact trying to reason with them is nearly impossible, because as men and women of the cloth, reason is not our greatest ally; faith is. However, it is that story that helps me remember that all of us, the Light the Shadow and the Dark, are all a family, caring for that same child. And even though that child may tell us he doesn’t need us with great conviction, that child will one day scream out with such pain that even from the depths of broken hearts and exile, we will all return to protect that child we love.
“That is why Darrius I believe in hope, faith, and goodness. That child needs us. And though in my brief time outside the monastery I have already been too rash, I have learned from this world filled with Shadows and Darkness; that I must rise above them all, so that I may be their Light in the dark.”