“This is the anchor of the umbral abyss,” the lupine elder said, tapping her walking stick against its smooth, black surface. The sound echoed off the stone walls of the underground shrine. “Queen Luna awaits within, are you sure you’re ready for this?”
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” the cheetah replied, adjusting his armor slightly. “Not that we have a choice. Between king Xipil and queen Luna, I think the old queen is the lesser of the two evils.”
“Whenever you’re ready then,” the old wolf said, stepping away. She drew a glyph in the air with her walking stick and in doing so, removed the final seal.
Shun, the knight, stepped forward and pressed his palm against the strangely warm obelisk.
Luna had earned her title of queen through sheer might. 3,000 years ago, her people, the tribes of dragons had been at war with the kingdoms of the sun and sea. Vastly outmatched, all of Luna’s tribe was wiped out, leaving her as the last surviving black dragon. She swore revenge and fueled by rage and spite, she mastered dark magic and single-handedly laid waste to the armies of sun and sea in a single storm of flame and darkness. She usurped the throne and ruled for 25 years. Her rule was not kind. She was especially harsh on anyone she thought might be against her, and that turned out to be almost everyone. The world and her kingdom almost fell apart under her rule, until a ragtag group of mercenaries, heroes, and adventurers teamed up to stand against her. Though they shouldn’t have stood a chance against the queen of darkness, the power of their bonds gave them the power they needed to win. They tricked Luna into creating a pocket dimension and together, gave up their lives to form a seal, trapping her within her own umbral abyss. There were a few decades of turmoil following that, but eventually, the governments stabilized and peace reigned for over 2,000 years.
Luna sat alone in her parlor, humming to herself and switching her tail from side to side. She’d been alone for so very long. Trapped in this dark tower of her own making in a void of darkness. This was her world, she controlled everything. Though she could not tell day from night, whenever she wanted food, or tea, or spirits, they would appear on the table in her parlor. Any time she wanted fun or diversion, all she had to do was dive into her old memories and relive her past glories. But today was different. Today, as she sat in her parlor, switching her tail from side to side, her eyes were fixed on a single point of light in the sky. She knew what this meant: she’d be free soon.
There was a sharp knock on the door.
Luna leapt to her feet and quickly checked herself in a hand-mirror, adjusting her long coat as she did. She strode to the door and threw it open, a huge smile on her face. She was greeted by Shun. Sword in hand, and pointed directly at her throat.
“Queen Luna, I presume?” he said, his words harsh as his expression and as sharp as his sword.
“Just Luna, I’m afraid,” she replied, unflinchingly, still smiling. “I don’t think I have been the queen of anything for quite a while now. Am I free to go? I swear I’ve learned my lesson. I’m a changed woman.”
“I care not if you’ve learned your lesson. I’ve come to request- to demand your aid,” Shun said.
“Oooh, I haven’t granted a boon in forever.”
“From what the legends say, you never did.”
“History is written by the victors. Had you been in my position, you would have seen things my way. Now would you stop pointing that sword at me? If I wanted to hurt you, I would have already.”
“Forgive me if I don’t trust the queen of darkness,” he said, brandishing the sword as he spoke.
Luna sighed and shook her head. She wound up, and then lashed out, her maw closing around the sword. With almost no effort, she bit clean through it, leaving it in pieces.
Shun could only stare, dumbfounded at what he had just seen.
“Stop gawking and come in for a minute,” Luna said, turning around. “I’d at least like to know what sort of boon you’re asking of me before I get involved,” She returned to her sofa and waited as the stunned and somewhat timid cheetah inched his way into her parlor. Once he was standing across from her, she spoke again. “You can sit if you want. I don’t care, just tell me what you want,”
Shun took in a breath.
“We need your help to kill king Xipil. 100 years ago, a beggar walked into the royal palace, claiming that he was the true heir to the throne and that he was a direct descendant of the original royal family. He was able to prove it too, and before most people knew what was happening, he took the throne for himself. Since then, the royal city, Djastra’a has been bathed in unearthly light. Night never comes, no one can leave the city and no one can die. Some poor bastards even tried to off themselves, but they survived and wound up in a horrible twilight between life and death. I only escaped because I was the only one fast enough to outrun the beasts that guard the city. Those people need help and even if you chose to rule our world with your iron fist once again, at least people will be able to find peace in death,”
Luna stared at him in awe. “I’ll do it,” she said, standing up.
“Y- you will!?” Shun said, dropping the hilt of his broken sword.
“Yes,” she replied. “But you won’t have much luck with your sword in that shape. May I?” she gestured at the hit.
Shun nodded and she bent down and picked it up. She walked back to the door, picking up as many pieces of the sword as she could find before placing them all on the table, next to her tea set. She dug her claws into the palm of her hand and drew blood. Luna began to trace shapes in the air, the blood hanging there like ink. As she finished drawing the glyph, she took a breath and exhaled a gout of flame that turned purple as it passed through the bloody glyph. The purple flame connected to the pieces of the sword and began to knit them back together.
Shun stood back, shielding his eyes and looking on in amazement.
Without warning, Luna cut the flame off and the blood that had been hanging in the air fell, splattering on the ornate carpet. The once broken sword had been mended. Though some pieces were missing, this only served to make it more imposing. Where once there had been a straight edged blade there now sat a nasty looking serrated sword. Even though the purple fire had faded, the blade still shone with an iridescent purple.
“W- what did you do?” Shun asked, carefully picking the sword up.
“I fixed it,” Luna replied. “Made it eternal. Whatever beasts guard Djastra’a, they will not be able to break your blade now,”
Shun let out a wry laugh. “I doubt it, those things have saliva that cuts through metal and magic alike.”
Luna grinned. “Perhaps you misunderstood me. By eternal, I mean that every single plain of existence could cease to exist, and that sword would survive.”
“You can do that with just a little blood?” he asked.
“That, and so much more. One last thing before we set out.”
“You know my name, but I’m afraid I don’t know yours.”
“My name is Shun,” he said, extending a hand.
“It’s nice to meet you Shun,” Luna replied, bowing. “Shall we quit this place and greet the day?”
Shun nodded and the two set forth, into the light.
Welcome to part 1 of a new story I’m working on. I don’t plan to make this a book or anything, so I thought I’d share it here. Hope you found it enjoyable and are looking forward to the next part. Even I’m not sure how I’m going to end this story yet.