Subtle explosions of ten thousand colors flash before my mind's eye before fading into nothingness. This nothingness is total darkness. It is complete light.
In a second of enlightenment I can see that this nothingness is actually two different planes. Between them lies shadow, a world I can recognize as my own. As I stare at these three levels, details become apparent. In the light, five figures stand, glowing with a steady radiance. Opposite them, five more figures exist, each lit with a luminescent darkness. Between them, millions of figures move and writhe within the shadows, each in their varying degrees of gray.
"We fight a battle that has lasted for centuries before us. Since the conception of time." I look to my side to see him suspended in the nothingness. He has a dark shadow to him, darker than gray but lighter than black. I see myself glowing a soft off-white, impure and dirtied Light. "In the beginning, there was Light and Dark. The sides warred against one another. But evenly matched, it was a stalemate that would last until eternity."
He waves his hand and a new vision replaces the old. This time, two competitors fight with one another. Their forms are unlike anything human language could describe. They are beautiful and hideous, graceful and bumbling, they are everything, but barely there. Strike for strike, they trade blows, neither faltering or slowing. "But the Dark was wise. They formed creatures from the darkness around them who would tilt the balance. These creatures they call humans. But Light reached their claws into these people through clerics and signs. Humans changed from creatures of the Dark to creatures of the Shadow." There was a bitter tone to his story, echoing time and again in the void.
"What are you trying to tell me?" I ask, lost at the purpose or motivation for this story time.
"I won't kill you without an explanation," he sighs and for a moment a true human shows through, weary and vexed. A flicker of fatigue flashes across his dark eyes, but it vanishes as quickly. He picks up his tale as if it had never been dropped. "Not to be defeated, Dark created and trained a warrior of this shadow race to overcome again. But soon Light followed suit, creating a stronger being. Light won and Dark brought up another. Dark won, then Light, then Light, then Dark, and so on and on until we reach us," his eyes sparkle as he turns to face me. "And we come to our destiny to destroy one another. They weaken," he indicates the previous sight of the three planes. "We near the end. Soon this age-old battle will find its conclusion when they can no longer bring up a new warrior. Two have already given all they have. If they didn't enslave the spirits of those killed in this fight, it would have been done ages upon ages ago. But, I digress." He spreads his arms wide and I see a black tongue of fire tattooed on his pale palm. It flickers with a dark light and I feel the fabric of the emptiness around us begin to tear. Stretches of green grass and cloudy sky begin to reappear.
All at once, the world about us gives a violent lurch as it is rent apart. I see myself falling back into my collapsed body, slamming into it with enough force to conjure the darkness again.
It passes swiftly and I try to sit, but find his body draped across mine where we had fallen. In the next breath of waking, voices rush my head, each screaming its own orders. Voices telling me to defeat this ancient enemy with which I have no quarrel. His eyes open, black and human for a brief moment. But then I can hear other voices, demanding my own death. The humanity fades from his eyes like a fire doused by the sea, and he climbs to his feet, the archaic sword still in his hands.
"I've done what I promised. Let's finish this." He takes a deep breath, steeling himself for what must come next. The voices around me, permeating the air, rise in a crescendo as blood nears the spilling point. Inside my own head, other voices scream for survival. In a motion quicker than I thought possible, my hand darts out and wraps around a new weapon. His eyes widen in shock.
My voice splits the air as the hilt burns my hand. Like a hot coal, it scorches the skin of my palm. My hand releases and I stare at the smoking member. The burned skin fades and all that remains is the perfect emblem of a white star, its four peaks reaching towards the compass points.
"Everything here wants me to win. You don't have a chance."
I look about, but there is no more running. He prepares again, and I realize that my only hope lies in a bit of fast talking.
"Do you want to be a pawns in a fight you had nothing to do with?" I question. The tip of the blade dips slightly, wavering. The voices around me rise in anger, those in my head begin a cheer of hope. Now's the chance. Take it while you can. Attack. Be quick. End it.
"And you have a better idea?" I see my chance and make my move.
This isn't a big action adventure story, I know. But thank you for reading. There is more to come, and it probably isn't what you expect. Tune in next time. And enjoy.
Gata de la Noche