3. Memories of the dark

As requested Neri’Va waited with going back to the forest after Quintra had set until the red moon Ghor had passed. It was common knowledge that when the red moon was at the sky more Ghor corruption was present. Ghor minions would be bolstered by the red moon’s presence as they would feel their powers more clearly.

Neri’Va sighed as she looked out the window of her small room during the night. Denday was dark, another consequence of the devastating battle between Quintra and Denday years ago.

At first Denday’s light Neri’Va packed another basket and made her way to the forest after Quintra had set. She took her lantern and went to search for the well, the meeting place she had suggested to Rayven. When she found it she carefully placed her lantern on the well’s wall and looked around.

‘Could’t leave without your precious Light I see.’ A sarcastic voice sounded not far away.

‘Rayven? I needed the lantern else I wouldn’t be able to find my way here.’ Neri’Va explained.

‘You do know that a lantern will only light a small portion for you, effectively blinding you for everything outside of its light right?’ Rayven answered: ‘Kind of like… the faith you choose.’

‘Where are you Rayven? I can’t seem to find you?’ Neri’Va just said as she took a couple of steps back from the well and her lantern to look around.

‘I am where your light won’t reach.’ Rayven answered with a slight chuckle.

Neri’Va narrowed her eyes as she looked around. She noticed the well’s roof casting a shadow on the tree behind it with some of its branches growing over the well. Against the base of the tree the high elf could just barely make out the silhouette of the night dweller. She could more clearly see her softly glowing dark blue eyes.

‘There you are.’ Neri’Va said and she softly smiled: ‘You surrounded by dark, me standing in the light, yet both here. I… brought some more things.’

The high elf took her new basket and put it down at the base of the tree Rayven was sitting in: ‘I hope the things in the other basket were to your liking.’

‘Is there cheese in there?’ Rayven asked: ‘Not for me, but the little ones emptied your last basket that same night.’

Neri’Va beamed: ‘Yes there is more cheese in there. I am so glad to hear that!’

‘I bet you are.’ Rayven dryly mumbled.

‘I… hope all of you were safe… during Denday’s dark?’ Neri’Va hesitantly asked.

‘We were.’ Rayven answered and there seemed to be a silence for a little while before she spoke again: ‘Thank you for your concern.’

‘It must be hard… especially in the days of Denday’s dark.’ Neri’Va continued: ‘With the red moon above us.’

‘It is a bitter reminder of our loss.’ Rayven said: ‘And yet another thing Light worshippers try to pin on us as if we also cause an increase in Ghor attacks.’

‘That is nonsense.’ Neri’Va said: ‘Denday has nothing to do with Ghor, you’d hope everyone would know that by now. If anything the night has become more dangerous because Denday herself isn’t on Eonil anymore.’

‘That was kind of the point though, wasn’t it.’ Rayven said: ‘Get rid of our goddess so she couldn’t empower us anymore. And all because of jealousy. The facing of the blue moon is just a bitter reminder of that.’

Neri’Va lowered her eyes, staring at the ground for a moment: ‘Denday wasn’t just empowering her followers… She was also protecting everyone from Ghor attacks during the night. That night when… Quintra banished her sister SHE made the night more dangerous, not Denday or her followers.’

‘Careful novice priestess of Light, or you might get smited.’ Rayven chuckled.

‘Quintra will not punish me for speaking truth.’ Neri’Va said.

‘Probably not, but her followers might.’ Rayven mumbled.

‘Were you already a Paladin of Denday… you know… then?’ Neri’Va carefully asked.

‘During the war? When we lost our goddess and were hunted down and slaughtered by the Light zealots?’ Rayven asked, her voice clearly dark and angry still: ‘Not in the beginning no.’

 Neri’Va was very young when it happened, but she still remembered when Denday had no facing, when the whole blue moon was full and shone brightly each night. Until that one night when Quintra banished her sister to the blue moon and destroyed half of the moon during that fight. The whole of Eonil was covered in dust clouds for days after that one dreadful night. It took days for the sky to clear up to show the damage that was caused, half of the blue moon, everything that was visible during the attack of Quintra on her sister had lost it’s glow. And slowly the facings began and with the facing and the banishing of Denday from Eonil the increase of Ghor activity at night. But this was years ago, yet not so long that people don’t recall the time before that.

‘What was it like?’ Neri’Va hesitantly asked: ‘You don’t have to answer if you don’t want too.’

‘That night it was dark,’ Rayven spoke after a short silence: ‘I had a bad feeling about the situation but my mentor assured me that we were strong. Our goddess herself had joined the fight and tonight we would be victorious. Fools they were, all of them. They didn’t listen to the concerns of a Paladin in training because what could she possibly know? Clearly her faith in Denday was lacking. With our goddess at our side we were invincible, they said. If only they knew.’

From her spot in the tree Rayven shook her head and remained silent for a while before she continued: ‘And we were, we were winning. Never had I felt so powerful before or since. The blue moon shone brightly, we were empowered to the max. Everything seemed to go in our favor, until the Light goddess herself showed up.’

Rayven took a small breather again as she sighed: ‘As Quintra attacked Denday some fools stepped in to try and protect their goddess. My mentor was among them. He got a full hit from a Light blast. It was a miracle he wasn’t killed on the spot.’

Neri’Va looked at the dark figure in the tree as she was talking and remained silent, just listening with an increasingly sad expression on her face.

‘Denday was clearly horrified by the fact that her followers were suffering by attacks meant for her and so she took to the sky.’ Rayven continued: ‘Rising above the battlefield with the blue moon behind her she looked both majestic and powerful, it was like she was drawing energy from the moon itself. Yet I still couldn’t shake that feeling that something terrible was about to happen. I crawled to my mentor and tried and get him to safety. But he just pressed his horn in my hand.’

Rayven took a breather again: ‘I should have been more thoughtful of your warning, he said as he took his sigil and pressed it in my other hand. You were right Rayven… You… are a Paladin of Denday now… It is your duty to protect our followers… lead them to safety…’

The night dweller slightly shook her head: ‘And then he died. I got up and blew the horn trying to rally my people to me, but there was to much chaos. Those few that did hear me came, there was little I could do for others. I could only hope they would see us leave and follow. So I made my way to a nearby forest blowing the horn, rallying as many as I could. When I was at the tree line I turned around briefly to look over the battlefield.’

A moment of silence followed before Rayven continued: ‘Quintra had assembled something in her hand and empowered it with her Light. I remember screaming to Denday but even if she heard me at all it was to late. A blinding flash of light shot from the goddess of Light directly to her sister and launched her towards the blue moon.

The blast had such force that every follower of Denday that was close to Quintra was instantly vaporized. The rest of us were launched in the air and those that were standing on the edge of the forest like I was were thrown on the ground. It felt like being thorn in half, like your heart was being ripped from your body and dragged behind the blinding blast of Light heading straight towards the blue moon. Yet your body was pushed to the ground at the same time, unable to move.

Eonil shook to her core seconds after the moon was hit and darkness spread within seconds. I called for Denday to give me strength but she couldn’t answer. I felt completely drained. The wounds that I got during the battle suddenly seemed ten times worse then they were before.’

Rayven stopped talking again and clenched her fist: ‘My sight was blurry and my ears were ringing. Around me I heard crying and screaming and desperate pleads for help. But above that all, the shouts of victory from the Light zealots and there leaders calling for the slaughter of all followers of Denday. We had just lost our goddess and now this battlefield had turned into a massacre. Somehow I found the strength to get up and blow the horn. We fled into the forest, those of us who could still walk that is and hadn’t given up. The rest were being slaughtered without mercy. From the grand army we had gathered the night before only a handful of people survived the night after.’

‘That is… just dreadful… I’m so sorry.’ Neri’Va softly said as the night dwellers story seemed to have come to an end.

‘It’s in the past,’ Rayven answered: ‘It’s not like you can change what happened.’

‘I can’t.’ Neri’Va said: ‘But I will do what I can to make it better for Followers of Denday. Quintra has declared peace.’

‘So sorry if I do not take your word for it Neri’Va.’ Rayven replied: ‘I think some of your faith have yet to receive that bit of news. Or perhaps they have suddenly gone deaf. How convenient for them?’

‘I understand what you mean, but Quintra is trying to do better.’ Neri’Va said: ‘And I am here Novice priestess who is trying to follow her example. That should at least count for something?’

‘It does Neri’Va. Like it does that you are not standing here defending what she did. But you better go now. Come back another night. I will look out for you.’ Rayven said: ‘And don’t forget more cheese! And for Denday’s sake… at least try and learn how to use an actual weapon. That lantern of yours is nothing but trouble!’

‘Alright Rayven. Thank you for telling me.’ Neri’Va replied: ‘And I… I will try to learn how to use a weapon… I will.’

‘Don’t try, just do it!’ Rayven strictly said.

‘I… I will try.’ Neri’Va repeated: ‘Stay safe, okay?’

‘You too… Novice priestess of Quintra.’ Rayven softly said as she saw Neri’Va take her lantern and walk away: ‘Walk in the Light always.’

Posted in Eonil Stories.

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