When the shadow rises once more,

The realm will be pulled back from the brink of destruction.

Many years ago, there was a spiky haired ruler who rode a pure black dragon. He rode it into a battle against a rival people from across the sea in the middle of a stormy night and came back victorious, bearing the rival banner as proof, burning it at dawn to signify the beginning of a new era. The enemy armies disappeared overnight.

But the ruler paid a hefty price for his win. Sunset found him in a small shrine with his dragon. He sat himself in a throne, and his dragon stood on its hind legs behind him, one paw raised, the other on the top of the throne, wings spread. As the last rays of the sun died, the shadows of the evening left flesh as crystal.

No one realized what happened until the next morning, when the ruler's youngest brother realized he hadn't yet returned home from his walk. It took days to find the shrine the ruler had built, because it was so far from the ruler's usual haunts. By the time they found him, any chance of the spell being reversed was long gone. And the prophecy promising his return was carved into the stone floor.

To this day, those words have never faded, not by rain, or wind, or snow, or sleet, despite the fact that there isn't an actual front wall to the shrine. Many suspect the magic that crystallized the ruler is preserving the prophecy. I suspect they are right.

At one point, there was a festival dedicated to honoring the ruler, as well as the gods who lent him the magic to make the win possible. These days, though, it's just an excuse for a party for friends and family. Instead, the ruler is honored in the everyday deeds of the Stealth Corps, a special squadron of dragon riders in the realm's military. They are the most courageous, most honorable soldiers you could ever hope to meet.

The Stealth Corps is very particular in their selection of new recruits. Their training grounds are hidden deep within the forest, and potential recruits are tested every step of the way there. Every dragon must be black, midnight blue, dark purple, or charcoal colored. Every operation is run at night, so riders must have excellent night senses. It is the wish of every young man to be accepted by them, even if they know it's impossible for one reason or another.

As time marches onward, fewer and fewer people give recognition to the ruler and the gods who assisted him. I don't think the ruler would mind, if he knew; he was only human, after all, and a humble one at that. More and more people scoff at the idea of one man and his dragon defeating an entire army.

Their disbelief will be the undoing of us all, as they lead our society into a future where magic and miracles disappear due to lack of belief. They will be the first to be swallowed by the evil.

Wake up, now. The sun is rising. It burns away this dream, this nightmare. Already, your heart rate slows as the details fade away. By the time you leave this place of dreams, you will be completely unable to recall my message.

But don't worry. You will remember soon. But if there is one thing I can request of you, it is this: visit the shrine. No one has been there in many years. I am sure your ancestor is lonely, Yuugi.

A/N: Hey, everyone! Welcome to my next adventure in the world of fanfiction. This story is called Rising Shadow, as you can see. Expect sporadic updates: I'm winging this one. Criticism is always welcome, just don't flame! Brownies if you read this, cake if you review!

Bakura: Don't listen to her, the cake's a lie.

Me: Kura! Don't say that, or they won't review, and I might not finish this story!

Atem: You better finish. I refuse to be stuck in a world with no proper ending.

Me: Wow, you sure are demanding. No wonder Kura hates your guts.