The Song of Shadow

Once, long ago, a young man named Jyscal lived in a small hut on the outskirts of the small city of Dao. Rather than worshipping the local gods and goddesses, he worshipped the almighty mother Gaia. However, the locals did not mind this, for they believed, as he did, that Gaia was the mother of all things; that she was the mother of their gods, and this, that he believed in the ancient mother rather than their own gods.

One day, a new star appeared within the sky. It felt of evil, and anyone attuned to magic in the land began to change. To grow cold, and evil themselves. At first, the people simply believed that it was because of their magic – that the gods grew weary of their attempts to copy their great power. But then, it happened.

First, a child was born, burning and on fire. Then a young girl turned into a snake before her friends' horrified eyes. And one by one, normal people began to slowly succumb to the comet's evil. Jyscal had heard of this; he had even witnessed a young boy slowly morph into a wolf-like monster upon the ground.

His sleep grew troubled, though his belief in Gaia only grew. He knew she was not behind this, though he knew not who was. Nearly a month after the changes started occurring, Gaia came to him in his dreams. She told him of the comet, and of the need to destroy it. She asked him if he would do that honor.

He awoke that morning, gathered his things, and headed to the pyramid they were building nearby. He felt his heart break a little more with every monster he killed, for most, if not all, had once been villagers, friends of his. He headed deep into the unfinished catacombs beneath the prison and found the statue made of pure mana like Gaia told him, and he took it with him.

As he left the pyramid to a hush of silence from within the village, he feared the worst. Going down, however, revealed that the silence was because no knew monsters had been born that day – the comet's evil was focused elsewhere now. He explained the basics of his journey, of the comet, and they wished him luck and safe journey. They asked him to return.

Over the coming months, he traveled the world, gathering the other statues as quickly as he could. With each statue, however, he was horrified to realize he lost a little more of himself. His voice had been the first to go, after the second statue was found. It became soft, whispery, and inhuman. Next, he had begun to grow paler after the third statue, by the fourth, his skin had turned blue. After the fifth statue, when he sprouted yellow and white flames, Gaia returned to him within his dreams. "I am so sorry, my brave knight." She said tearfully. "I knew not the comet could taint you too."

"Is there nothing that can be done?" Jyscal questioned, though he barely remembered his own name.

"Not for you, my knight." She said sadly. "Though in 800 years or so, this comet will return. I will have a new knight then, but they will need your help. With you, they will be free of the taint from the comet, and you will need not fear what death has in store for you."

Jyscal felt his stomach turn. He never even thought of what being so tainted might mean for his eternal rest. "This knight. Please, mother Gaia, tell me of him, so my heart may decide."

Gaia smiled softly. "His name is Will, and he is yet but a child. He was born with a strange power inside him I have not seen since the ancient days. He will have friends, and hopefully, the aid of you and one other not yet born. The fate of the world will rest on his shoulders, as it now rests on yours."

By this point, Jyscal's heart was made up. "Very well, mother Gaia. I will aid him. Though… I do not know my name, any longer. Nor would it likely suit me anymore."

Gaia stared at him for a moment, and then softly proclaimed, "Shadow. For you are a shadow of the darkness – a monster of the light."

Shadow flinched at her call of monster, but knew it to be merely an observation – and the truth. After learning of his inevitable end, he continued on his journey to collect the last statue and then to fight the comet. He gained new powers when he grasped the statue, to float, to go through things, to 'melt', to fly…

And when he fought the comet, he knew instinctively that his powers would, in part, bee what caused young Will to be the next hero. Even as he fought, and won, he could feel some of them siphoning off threw the ages, never seeming to leave him, yet inaccessible to him. His existence caused Will's own unique powers, for Fate had chosen him to receive them.

By giving his acceptance to this mana drain, he realized his life was now tied to the other two he was meant to know. One to work with, and one to aid.

As he arrived in the Dark Space for the first time to speak with Gaia, face to face, she gave him one month. Within a month, he needed return to her, for he couldn't live on his own – the comet's power had mutated his life-force.

Returning swiftly to his old home, he was dismayed to discover the people now feared him. Even trying to simply speak to them left them running in fear. His last month on earth was spent in misery, trying to find even one of his old villagers who would speak with him. None would.

The night before he had to leave, he sat outside of a tavern he used to frequent, out of sight of the patrons. Unable to see the stranger outside, and old man asked him what ailed him from within the tavern. And Shadow told him his story. He knew not whether the man believed him or not, but he once again knew he had made the right choice.

The next night, he had called out to Gaia from within his old home, taking one last, sad look around. He knew were he to stay for even a weak, his new powers would kill him, he could feel it, and thus, he did not fight.

He knew not that the man who had listened to his story was a traveling bard who also believed in Gaia. Did not know the man's whole family had been saved by his arriving to his city when he had. He also didn't know that the old bard had chosen to live in Dao, in his old house to be correct, and try to pass on his heroic tale.

For he now was a statue, until next he was needed. He stood by Gaia's side, silently felling the ages slide by. When the one named Freedan joined him, they spoke sometimes of their lives, and questioned each other of Will. Mostly, however, they just slept, and waited. Waited for Will.

Once upon a far-off time,

When the people first learned of demons and slime,

A comet flew across the skies

People would look, and cover their eyes.

'The End is near' people would cry.

Many would fight, and many would die.

When a stranger entered each of the lands,

A native would hold each of his hands.

And with every village or temple he saved,

The world felt like it was saved.

But, alas, his tale did end.

For the comet made him like them.

He turned into a demon, our hero did.

He was hunted down, they wanted his head.

And then one night, when the moon was full,

He appeared one last time, his last hello.

After that, he was ne'er seen thereafter.

His song, now, was all that's left – and his laughter.

For legend says the voice in the breeze,

Was the shadow's laugh – and the gusts his sneeze.

Was he a legend? Was he a myth?

Or was he real? Though Gaia was with.

For he served Gaia, loyal and true.

He had saved me. He would have saved you.

-Song of Shadow, a song written by an old Bard back during the ancient days of Dao