Episode Number: 002

Episode Title: Yin and Yang

..........A small child runs frantically through a village, made up of several thatch huts all of which are burning wildly. His bright, blue eyes are wide with fear. Tears streak the child's cheeks, a terrified expression is on his sun tanned face. The ground he runs upon is grassy, perhaps one of the few grassy areas left in this world of scorched earth, and blazing heat. As the child runs, a large oak tree, the only one in the village, which has caught fire from the huts burning around it falls in front of the child. The boy screams and stumbles backward, falling flat on his back. For the first time since the disaster started, he looks upon the sky.... and instead of seeing the star filled night sky that he should be seeing, he is confronted with a huge black shape, encompassing his entire field of vision. Two blazing red eyes stare impassively back at the child as the black shape rushes at him. The child throws up his arms defensively, crying out..........

The traveler awoke with a start. He sat up quickly. He had fallen asleep on the desert floor... and was suddenly very uneasy. The last thing he remembered doing was leaving Victory. He had been walking, and then... and then..... he had waken up just now. Something was definitely very wrong. The traveler slowly got to his feet looking around warily for anything out of the ordinary.

Nothing. Just empty expanse of desert as far as the eye could see, in every direction. Above him, a full moon shown brightly, reflecting eerily off the white desert floor. Countless stars burned brightly through out the entire ocean of the sky. The traveler gazed upward, a sudden sense of deja vu sweeping over him.

..........two blazing red eyes stare impassively back at the child as the black shape rushes at him..........

The traveler flinched suddenly. Had he just seen that?

"Is something the matter, my dear boy? You look as though you have just seen a ghost!"

Startled, the traveler turned suddenly in the direction of this voice, drawing both his revolvers and aiming them at the speaker.

There were two of them. One was an older, aristocratic looking man, dressed all in black. The other was an extremely beautiful, very elegant looking young woman, dressed all in white.

The Man in Black, who had been the one speaking before, spoke again.

"A little jumpy tonight, aren't we?"

"Who the hell are you?" The traveler's voice was raspy, and soft, from lack of use.

The Woman in White now spoke.

"First things first. Put away your weapons. There will be no need for violence at this moment."

The traveler didn't move. He merely said again:

"Who the hell are you?"

The Man in Black spoke again, this time speaking to the Woman in White.

"As I said before, he has no recollection of who we are." he turned to the traveler, addressing him once again. "We are.... how should I put this.... old acquaintances. Now put away your guns. Friends don't point guns at friends."

The traveler spat.

"I don't have any acquaintances... or friends. I have no use for either."

The Woman in White sighed. "Why must warriors always try to do everything alone?"

The traveler had had enough of this. He pulled the triggers of his guns.... but they suddenly were no longer in his hands. Bewildered, he looked up at the two strangers.

The Man in Black smiled at him.

"Now, now... jumping to a decision like trying to shoot us was rather rash, don't you think? Don't worry, you still have your precious guns. I merely placed them back in their holsters. I thought that a much safer place for them than your hands."

Without hesitation, the traveler drew his guns once again.... only to find that by the time he had them pointed at the two strangers, they were gone again.

"Please stop trying to harm us." said the Woman in White. "We're not here to hurt you."

The Man in Black nodded. "That's right. We're here to tell you that you were tested, back in Victory. And you passed."

The traveler looked at the Man in Black, a confused expression on his face.

"Tested? What do you mean, tested?"

"You have a strong resistance to evil." replied the Woman in White. "The Noctul Virus had no effect on you whatsoever. And that town is still swimming with it."

"You also seem to have a strong resistance to temptation." stated the Man in Black. "Most normal men, when confronted with a female Undead, are put into a hypnotic state that will allow the Undead to do whatever she wishes to him. You were unaffected by her. At all."

The traveler just continued to look at them both.

".....And this means, what?"

"That you," said the Woman in White. "are the only one that can stop Uzziel.... the Shadow."

At the mention of the creature he sought, the traveler's eyes narrowed. The two stranger's now had his full attention. A moment of silence went by. Then the Woman in White spoke once again.

"Yes," she said solemnly. "The Shadow... the Scourge of the Lord.... the Bane of Light... the Destroyer of Existence. It levels entire cities just for sport, absorbs all life forces it comes into contact with-"

"I know what it is!" the traveler interrupted. "So you can spare me the dramatic speeches."

"Do you?" said the Man in Black suddenly. "Do you truly know what the Shadow is? I sincerely doubt it. You have no idea how deeply this goes, do you, wanderer?"

"What do you mean, how deeply this goes?"

The Woman in White spoke.

"To you, the Shadow is simply a beast that wanders the World, laying waste to cities, and killing humans. It is something for you to hunt, though you know not why you hunt it, do you?"

The traveler didn't answer. It was true. All the time he had hunted the Shadow, he hadn't really known why he was so drawn to it. Of course there were a lot of things the traveler didn't know about himself...

The Man in Black picked up where the Woman in White left off.

"In truth, the Shadow is the darkest being in existence. Every evil that it does adds to an Unseen Force that if not stopped will upset the balance between Light and Dark in the Universe, and will in essence cause the beginning of the end of existence."

The traveler cocked his head. "Upset the balance between Light and Dark...?"

The Man in Black nodded. "In the entire Universe, there is a very delicate balance between the Forces of Light and the Forces of Darkness. Both are equal. Both work in coexistence. One cannot exist without the other. Along the same lines, one cannot be more powerful than the other."

"It's like a scale balancing two half filled glasses of water." added the Woman in White. "If one glass is suddenly filled to the brim, the balance is lost, the scale tips, and both glasses fall and shatter."

The traveler nodded, slowly taking this all in.

"So where do you two fit into all this? And where do I fit in?"

"We have already told you what part you have to play." replied the Man in Black.

"Our part is to guide you through the trials you have ahead of you." said the Woman in White. "There are more evils out there that must be silenced then just the Shadow. You have quite a task ahead of you ,wanderer, and are going to need all the help you can get."

The traveler nodded slowly, then paused.

"There's still one question you two haven't answered."

"And that is...?" questioned the Man in Black.

"Who the hell are you two? How do you know so much about what's going on? And how do I know I can believe a word of what you're saying?"

The Woman in White and the Man in Black both paused, and slowly looked to eachother, then back to the traveler.

"We are the Balance." said the Woman in White softly.

"What?" the traveler said, not fully understanding.

"I am Dark." said the Man in Black.

"I am Light." said the Woman in White.

"Together we make up the Balance of the Universe." said the Man in Black.

"We must forever coexist." said the Woman in White. "Forever be together, forever balance out the two forces."

"And we know of all we have told you, because we can hear the screams of this dying World." added the Man in Black.

The traveler looked back and forth between the two, slowly.

"Prove it." he said finally.

The Man in Black raised his eyebrows. "I beg your pardon?"

"Let me hear the screams of the World." replied the traveler, crossing his arms. "If you two truly are who you say you are, then you should be able to do it."

The Woman in White shook her head. "Mortal ears were not meant to hear the screams of this planet. That's why they are made silent to you."

"You said yourself earlier," stated the traveler. "I'm not a normal mortal."

The Woman in White gazed at him several moments longer, then looked to the Man in Black. The Man in Black shrugged.

"He should be able to stand it. Barely, but he should."

The Woman in White sighed, and shook her head, then looked to the traveler.

"Don't say I didn't warn you..."

And with that, she raised both her arms skyward. Immediately her skin began to glow a bright white, so bright the traveler had to bring up an arm to shield his eyes. The landscape, the sky, everything disappeared in a black shroud.... and the screams began.

The traveler felt as though someone had just thrust knives into his ears. All around him, from every direction, came an unearthly, indescribably mournful cry from a million different voices. The traveler covered his ears, and dropped to one knee, the intensity of the shrieks almost more than he could bear. He could feel the sorrow of the planet itself, could feel it's spirit desperately clutching at his coat, trying to grasp some sort of hope from this lone warrior appointed by the Balance. It seemed to go on for an eternity.

Then as soon as it had started... it stopped.

The sky returned to it's star filled deep blue. The white, desert landscape reappeared. The Woman in White returned to normal, and lowered her arms. The traveler remained on his knees, covering his ears, trembling now. The Man in Black slowly walked over to him, looking down upon him.

"See, Ms. Light?" he said to the Woman in White. "I told you he'd be able to stand it. Barely, but he was able to stand it."

Ms. Light rolled her eyes, and sighed. "Yes of course, Mr. Dark. Right again, as usual."

The traveler slowly uncovered his ears, looking up at the two.

"That... that is what the Shadow is causing....?"

Mr. Dark nodded. "This planet is slowly dying. Slowly and painfully. If the Shadow is not stopped, the screams soon will.... and existence will cease to be."

The traveler dragged himself to his feet, and glared at Mr. Dark.

"Alright then," he said. "You're the Dark Side of the Spectrum, correct?"

Mr. Dark nodded.

The traveler continued. "And the Shadow is obviously a creature of darkness. Don't you have some dominion over it? Shouldn't you be able to stop it?"

Again, Mr. Dark nodded. "Yes. I should. But I can't. That's the problem. As we said before, there is some Unseen Third Force at work. Whatever it is, it's controlling the Shadow, and it's powerful enough to elude not only my sphere of influence, but Ms. Light's as well. And if the Shadow isn't stopped, that Unseen Force will soon cease to be unseen. And that will mark the start of Armageddon."

"You're the only one that can stop it, wanderer." said Ms. Light. "You are not only this planet's final hope, but the final hope of the very fabric of reality."

The traveler shook his head. "I don't get it. Why me? What's so special about me? Why was I given this resistance to evil, this resistance to temptation?"

"That is not for you to know at this time." replied Mr. Dark. "All you need to know, is that you do have a resistance to evil, and you are the only one that can stop the Shadow. The question of why is irrelevant."

"But if what you've told me is true, how can I possibly stop it?"

"That is a very good question." said Ms. Light. "To find the answer, you must find he who has seen the Shadow and lived to tell of it."

The traveler shook his head. "There's only been a handful of people who've seen the Shadow and lived. As far as I've heard, they've all wound up in mental asylums."

"Ah!" said Mr. Dark suddenly, a grin spreading across his face. "That is where you are mistaken. For you see, there is one who has gazed upon the Shadow, and not succumbed to madness."

"And until you find him," continued Ms. Light. "You shall never defeat the Shadow."

The traveler shook his head. "First you say I'm the only hope, then you say until I find some guy I've never met, I'll never win. You people can't seem to stop contradicting eachother!"

Mr. Dark chuckled. "Contradiction is the nature of humanity, I'm afraid."

"Well, it doesn't help me very much."

"Well then, perhaps we should give you a clue as to where you should start." said Ms. Light. "Return to Frontier City. Your destiny, for the next few days at least, lies there."

"Yes." added Mr. Dark. "We've given you all the information we can at the moment. I'm afraid it's time for us to temporarily part company."

"Great..." grumbled the traveler. The two's attempt to enlighten him had just left him more confused than he had been in the first place.

Ms. Light smiled, sensing what the traveler was thinking.

"Try to loosen up." she said. "You worry too much."

"Well, you kinda tend to worry, when you've just been informed that the very fate of existence rests on your shoulders."

"Really?" replied Mr. Dark, smiling as well. "That's odd. It's just another day in the life for us."

The traveler paused. Mr. Dark was probably right. He and Ms. Light had probably dealt with this kind of thing before. This was probably a normal occurrence for them.... that was when he noticed they were gone. The traveler looked all around himself. Just empty expanse of desert, as far as the eye could see. On the horizon, the first signs of dawn were beginning to show, as the sun had just barely begun it's ascent.

Mr. Dark and Ms. Light were both gone without a trace.

The traveler shook his head. Maybe it had all been a dream. Maybe Mr. Dark and Ms. Light had never really been there at all.

But with the screams of the planet still echoing in his head, the traveler somehow doubted it.

Return to Frontier City... your destiny, for the next few days at least, lies there...

That was what Ms. Light had told him. His destiny. Funny how he seemed to know more about his future than his past.

The traveler sighed, removing his fedora, and running a hand through his hair. His life was about to get a whole lot more interesting, and a whole lot more difficult. He could just tell.

With that thought, he replaced his fedora, and began walking again, in the direction of Frontier.

In the direction of his destiny....

The End of Episode Two.