What's this? A longfic? Why yes, yes it is. God, I'm so excited for this. JUST SO YOU KNOW: this story is inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender, so expect to see lots of themes from that. Without further ado, enjoy, and let me know what you think!
There was peace, once upon a time. It was before I was born, even before my own parents were, but there was peace. But that peace is long gone, and to us such safety is only found in our history textbooks that we read in our fortress-like schools. Why are the schools so heavily guarded?
The Shadows are what cause us to live in fear, to hide away in houses and "safe zones" at night and on rainy days. The Shadows are what I've seen swallow people whole, and what bring that toxic fog into our world.
It hasn't always been this way, though, as I've already said. There was a time when Shadows were no longer a part of our world. After all, who hasn't heard of the great hero Minato Arisato?
Minato Arisato is a man of legend and of history. We're told that he possessed the power of all Personas, unlike the majority of us. A significantly small part of the population has the power of Persona, the ability to give form to the strength of one's soul. I am one of those few people, and I'm proud of it. My soul's power is named Konohana-Sakuya, and through her I can wield fire. Exciting, right?
But my power… it's so little compared to what Minato Arisato was capable of. Minato Arisato and the Persona Orpheus. I've been told that he and his friends were able to banish Izanami, who lead the Shadows. Well, I suppose "banish" isn't quite the word I'm looking for. Minato Arisato became The Seal, locking away Izanami and the Shadows forever. It's funny how short forever really is. 72 years after he performed the most selfless act, he died, and with his death The Seal was broken. The Shadows slowly consumed our planet, and not a single corner of Earth was safe. Of course, some places are less Shadow-infested than others, but very little of those places exist in Japan, the origin of the Shadows. People have tried to move to such places, but wherever people are, Shadows follow. They thrive off of the suffering of humans and pay little heed to other creatures.
Inaba is definitely no exception from the Shadow occupation, small as it is, mainly due to how close it is to Tatsumi Port Island, where the first Shadows were born.
A lot of us have no choice but to stay here. After leaving, where could we go? Tokyo is packed beyond capacity and the Shadows have overtaken it like the plague, and how could we pay for such a venture? Everything is so expensive these days, and very few people, even fewer than the number of Persona users, are able to afford such an uncertain journey. The only things us citizens of Inaba really have is… well, each other. We rely on each other to keep the economy thriving, paying for goods and in turn paying for more goods, passing travelers contributing more money by staying at my family's inn as a safe haven for the night. We are considered one of the safest inns in all of Japan, actually, my family putting as much money into making our building Shadow-proof as is available and attracting quite a bit of business.
Still, even while having a relatively safe home, I wish the Shadows were gone. Chie, Yosuke, and I often wonder if a new hero will appear someday, another person who has mastery over all Personas. The three of us are Persona users, but none of us can control anything but the one we have. Chie and I like to think that the new hero will be every kind of handsome and charming, Yosuke always contributing with a scoff and how he hopes it will be a woman with large breasts and an unquenchable lust for him. Chie always laughs and informs Yosuke that no woman in her right mind would be attracted to him, to which he replies that he had tons of girlfriends back in the city, and we laugh again because we both know this is a complete lie.
Despite the joking, though, we really do long for a savior, a new Minato Arisato.
But sometimes I wonder, was Minato Arisato really a savior? A terrible thing to say, I know, but it's not actually him that I question. I question Orpheus. I've read the tales, the one of Eurydice's death and Orpheus's unintentional betrayal. It's a tragic story, really. Eurydice dies and descends into the Underworld, Orpheus chasing after her and pleading with Hades to let him bring her back to the world of the living. Hades agrees with a condition: Orpheus may lead Eurydice out of the Underworld, but must not look back until they were in the realm of life again. A glance backward changed everything; he looked back a step too early and realized his mistake a second too late, Eurydice disappearing forever.
Some philosophers say that the Eurydice that followed after Orpheus was actually an illusion created by Persephone, leaving an enraged Eurydice to stay in the Underworld and hate Orpheus for all of eternity, furious by how little he cared for her, that he was unwilling to die to be with her. He was a coward, and he hadn't realized what an evil creature she'd become by dying, and in turn did not realize she still existed.
Orpheus and Eurydice. Izanagi-no-Okami and Izanami-no-Okami. A Greek myth and a Japanese myth, both telling the same heart-wrenching story, but with one difference: Izanagi-no-Okami saw Izanami-no-Okami for what she had become and made sure she would never return to our world, that she would remain in death. Izanami-no-Okami tried with all her might to catch Izanagi-no-Okami, clawing with rotting fingers at the boulder between them and promising to destroy 1,000 men every day if he left her. Izanagi-no-Okami left his former lover with his own promise: should she destroy 1,000 people every day, he would bring 1,500 to life every day. Izanami-no-Okami howled with rage, unable to fool him into releasing her, and so she remained in the Underworld, cursing death upon 1,000 humans daily, Izanagi-no-Okami bringing up more in their place.
Orpheus was a fool, unable to see that Eurydice's death was but an illusion, and thus leaving her in a state that she might someday return to the world. Maybe that's why the Shadows still exist. The wrong hero came forth to stop Izanami, and now she has escaped her assumed fate and is destroying what so many hold dear.
We don't need Orpheus; we need Izanagi-no-Okami.
When will you come to save us, Izanagi?