You know, I just found out I don't own pokemon. I feel like such an idiot. Here I was, writing all these stories using copyrighted material, when I did not actually own it. I was about to delete all my fanfiction when I noticed that no one else owns pokemon either. So I guess it's okay. Here's this story, and as you may have already guessed:

I don't own pokemon.

Walking Through the Valley

By Farla

Once, a lifetime ago, in childhood as another, she had moved without fear of day or night, light or shadow.

Now she knew the night was full of demons. Black demons sliding like oil out of shadows, bright demons cutting through the darkness with golden scythes.

Only children did not fear. The mothers and caretakers would herd their young inside desperately when the bottom edge of the sun touched the tops of the valley walls. Sometimes a child would dance outward, playing. The mothers would not follow, but their fearful, keening cries would usually be enough to bring back the child, the one who didn't understand and asked what was the matter, why are you scared, I was only playing Mama, I just wanted to see the pretty sun, what did I do wrong? And if they didn't come back, the fire guardians would run out for an instant and snatch them up, then bolt back inside before the shadows fell. The fire guardians were the only ones who dared leave, even for an instant. And that night, instead of the normal nighttime tale, the children would listen, wide-eyed, as one of the mothers recounted the story of demons.

Balance is important in all things, she would begin, her voice solemn. It is necessary for everything. Summer is warm and winter is cold, days are bright and nights are dark. It is equally important for us, the creatures of the world. Fire burns plant, plant drinks water, water cools fire. But not all obey the balance. Thunder strikes water and water strikes fire, but fire does not strike thunder. Darkness strikes light but light does not strike.

So thunder and darkness reject the balance. They attacked without fear for who strikes thunder or darkness? But thunder and darkness do not strike fire. And with the help of light and water thunder and darkness were defeated, those remaining hiding in night's shadows, the mother would say, with a meaningful glance at the night outside the den's opening.

But children are children, and it was only a story. So they played without fear, although they understood that their mother did not wish for them to stay outside.

She remembered that time. And she remembers once, when third son of Dawn did not come inside when shadows fell. When she asked what happened, Dawn said simply: "He wandered into shadows and the demons took him."

For a time, she had avoided the darkness, playing instead in the bright meadow. But children are children, and over time she forgot. For the dark green shadows of the forest were interesting, and it was only the careful watch of the caretakers and mothers that kept her from them.

One day, she had hid, determined to explore the forest. She watched them frantically herd the other children inside. A few of the guardians had paused at the doorway, scanning frantically, but shadows approached relentlessly and they went in.

She walked into the forest, dancing playfully in the patches of light. But it got darker and darker and suddenly her happy, confident feelings evaporated into fear. She wanted to run back but the patches of light there were already dark or too far away. So she moved deeper into the forest, sticking to the dots of light like a seel poking its head through the ice. She could feel the shadows closing in with no less fear then if they were glaciers, feeling certain they would crush her.

Finally she stood in a single moonlit circle, cowering, unable to go on yet too afraid to turn back. That was when the demons had come.

A black one, with bands of gold just like she'd been told, each one earned from the death of light, it had been the first. She had stared up, wide-eyed, at the monster.

She caught flashes of others coming, jagged caricatures of light and other demons of shadow. She trembled.

The first one had looked down at her, leaned over so that it was just a hairbreadth away. She can still see it in her minds eye, has gone over every inch a thousand times to try to understand what it did next.

It looked at her, its expression unreadable to her.

Go, it had said softly. Go back to the others. We won't hurt you.

And she had run.

She had never returned to the forest, even in day. Until now.

She moved quietly, wondering to herself if this was the same path she had taken.

It was dark.

At last, having come far into the forest, she stopped. Almost instantly a shadow demon appeared before her. She flinched but tried to keep her fear out of her voice.

"I am Light, daughter of Sun. I have come for my child."

"No," said the demon bluntly.

"I offer myself in exchange, Umbreon," she said, her voice only slightly shaking.

"You were foolish to come here. You have exiled us from the day, and so we exile you from the night. Your child is one of ours now. An umbreon like myself." It paused. "Go. Few would do such a thing, and we still respect the agreement, even if those of day no longer do."

She nodded and ran, from the demons of death that stalked in the shadows of the valley, and from her child who was now one.

Well, what did you think? Do you understand the title, or is it too cryptic?