Light. All she could see was light. It came from everywhere, stabbing through her closed eyelids. The walls seemed to be composed of the pure white shimmer. Yet there were no walls; no floor, no roof, no sky, no air. There was nothing in the universe but her and the light.
It whispered to her, speaking without words, talking without sound. It told her everything; nothing; about itself, about herself. It left out patches in the history of the globe, yet told her everything that had ever happened. Nothing mattered anymore, but her and the light.
It was soft, like a mother’s touch; it was hard, like falling down. It was gentle, like stroking a pet; it was firm, like teacher to a student. Everything about the light was different, complicated, balanced – for each section of it there was an opposing force. But for one, only one part had no opposite... itself.
The light had no mirror. As it told her everything; nothing – they were identical reflections. As it screamed aloud; made no sound – more reversed copies. The light itself had no reflection, no balance. The light had no shadow; there was nothing on the other side. No shadow, nothing to keep it in check.
There was no balance.
And the world fell apart.
She awoke, screaming, fearful. The images of the shattering light filled her mind. As a dream, she remembered little; but she could still see the light breaking, like a dropped plate. Spears of light shot out into the nothingness. There was no darkness to catch the light; nothing there to protect it and rebuild it.
“Jadara?” called a voice from across the room. It took her a few seconds to remember; there was nothing in her mind but the dream. Then it came; as sudden in its own way as the dream, and like the dream, partial; she only knew a tiny part of the other voice.
“Yes, I’m awake.” She knew that was inadequate, that she should say something more. The other person was important, somehow; something about the other one was vital. She had to remember! The dream seemed to have taken more from her than just sleep, as though it had stolen her memories. For an instant she panicked, imaging her memories as the shattered, lost light. All alone in the night, flying away in shards with no reflection to catch it.
“I’m glad, daughter,” said the voice. A cool hand stroked her cheek, radiating comfort and safety. Daughter? That was right! This voice, this other voice she could hear, it was her mother’s! She knew, now, everything about herself; her name, who she was. And, in copy, everything about this voice; its name, who it was. Her mother. Fyora.
“A bad dream, Mother,” she said. “I am quite well now.” She sat up, pushing the blankets aside, and opened her eyes. The purple figure of her mother stood at the side of her bed, like some guardian angel of the old stories. Her hair fell forward like a veil or scarf around her head, making her look ancient and mystical. And she loved her. Every happy memory she had was somehow connected with her mother. Just the sight of her mother gave her strength, like she could run all day just to fall into her arms.
“A dream?” said her mother now, sounding interested. She sat down on the side of the bed, smiling. “Why don’t you tell me about it, sweetness?”
She climbed into her mother’s lap and lay there, wrapped in her arms. Words for the dream would not come, not yet; she just sat there, idly playing with the beads on her mother’s skirt.
“Light,” she said suddenly, feeling able to talk. “It was light. Everywhere, the light. It was like nothing else was there, just me and light. Silly. And it was all backwards. When it talked it used no words, but it sounded like poetry. But there was only one thing that didn’t have a reflection. The light itself. There isn’t any dark, Mother. Even where there is no light, it isn’t dark. It just... isn’t. Isn’t light.”
“You know, Jadara, there is no dark. The five elements that hold our realm together; Light, Air, Fire, Water, Earth. Each one seems to have a partner. Water puts out fire. Fire evaporates water. Air, thin and high up; earth, solid and down low. Yet only light has no partner.” Her mother’s wise words put her dream perfectly into perspective, easily outlining what she had spent minutes puzzling over.
“I think it must be lonely,” she said. “The poor light, without any friends.” She felt sad, as though a sister had no friends. Her own type was Light; she felt a part of it.
Her mother laughed. “Yes, but what could possibly be equal to light? The majesty of it, the simplicity it makes of complicated issues. It has no equal, Jadara, just as I have no equal.” Her mother sighed, saddened. What queen could possibly walk among the low and ordinary and consider them friends? No, Fyora would remain aloof, above the others.
“Dark,” she suggested now. “Dark should go with it.” She crawled out of her mother’s lap and off the bed. The floor met her feet. She always found it amusing; the floor of her house was the roof of the world. Clouds, held by the power of air. Yet they acted like earth; strong, supporting, solid. That was the symmetry she wanted for the light. For the light to be at the same time dark and frightening, and when it was dark there would be something warm and comforting about it. But what could she do – one girl, alone. Princess of Faerieland, yes, but only the ancients could create a new element.
Later that day, she sat alone in the library, reading through the old texts. The librarian had finally given up trying to help her, and had gone to sell more books to the tourists. It had been the idea she’d had in her bedroom that morning that had brought her here; only the ancients could create a new element. Perhaps they’d left a record of how to do it? She didn’t feel particularly ‘lucky’; she didn’t believe in luck. She was astonished, then, when she found a very old book among piles of dust. She wiped down its cover and looked at the name.
To Create Your Dreams
She could barely read it; the lighting was alright, and the cover free of dust, but it was a very floral script, all loops and curves and thin lines. She hoped the book itself wasn’t written by that person. She opened the cover gently, reverently, and read the first page.
In contrast to the title, the inside was easy to read, clear. She scanned the first few pages and had to pause; the wealth of what she was reading was so impossible. It simply said that if you wanted a new element, you poured your power into it and let whatever element you currently were become the new one. Her light would become the dark. It did, however, warn. If you were not careful, the new element would run evil and not balance properly. It would overcome you, and cover you, like a cloudless night that still had no stars.
She laughed, disregarding. All her life she had been brought up in absolute safety, believing nothing could possibly hurt her. She kept scanning the pages, looking for more precisely how. She found a poem, after some long searching, at the very back. She flicked around the book again, being sure of herself and what she was doing, and then read the poem aloud, in her quaking, young voice.
The sky shall crack
The stars shall break
Everything shall change
This is what it shall take
With the new power
Only one thing to do
To make it now
I give it to you...
“DARK!” she yelled, naming it. She let her own power free, like running a tap until it stopped. Her own light changed, mutated, guided by her impulses. Everything about the light from her dream; its loneliness, her want to protect it. It needed a partner, a copy, and she would give her beloved light one.
Everything yellow she changed to purple. Every curve she made a line. Everything straight she made jagged. She needed everything to change, every piece of her light a perfect reflection. Her darkness would be perfect!
Then something changed. Something came back and grabbed at her. She lost control and fell into it. The darkness now changed her. As she had changed her light, it made her different. Everything yellow changed to purple. Every curve became a line. Everything straight became jagged. She was the dark, now, and it had a controller.
Seconds, days, eternity later. Transformation complete. Darkness existed now, sixth element. She felt inside herself something balance out. The light was no longer alone. It had a partner.
She felt like she should have been happy. The little girl Jadara would have been happy for the light, now it had a partner. But not her. She wasn’t Jadara, not now. She was the dark, and didn’t know happiness anymore.
The librarian was the first to notice the lamps dimming, the light leaving. Suddenly she had a word for it. The library was dark. Concerned, she put her pencil down and went to check on the Princess Jadara. She crossed the floor, and entered the private room.
Someone stood there, someone unrecognizable. A tall figure, older than the princess. The new thing, the new word radiated from her. Darkness poured from her like water from the fountain.
“Who are you?” asked the terrified librarian.
The figure looked up, piercing the librarian’s gaze with red eyes. Her skin and hair were a shade of purple, contrasting with the fiery red. So unlike Fyora’s gentle pastel, this purple was harsh and dark. Again, the new word came up. Darkness.
“I am Jhudora.”
Dark. All around her, everything was dark. There was not as much as a hint of a star or a candle. It came from everywhere, forcing itself into her. There were no walls, no boundaries. The dark extended forever. Nothing else existed, and if it did, the dark ran over it and destroyed it.
It spoke, in its hypnotic voice. It told her what to do. Yet, somehow, they were merely suggestions. It would never dare to order her, not her. It told her things without words, using no sound, yet as loud as a scream. Nothing mattered, only the fragile, silent, shouting communication.
It was soft, like a blanket; it was hard, like stone. It was gentle, unprovocative; it was firm, relentless. Everything about the dark was inverted, wickedly twisted. Shadows within shade; dark within darkness. It hated the doublet, hated how inverted it was. It felt wrong, somehow, and the darkness ran away, looking for something to make it feel better.
And then it found it. Its own mirror, its precious copy. The light. It probed it, delved deep into it. And it hated it. The tiny twitches inside itself could be ignored. They were no longer important. What mattered was that it had a copy, something the same. It had to disappear. What would dare try and copy the dark? What could possibly compare to it? This light had to go. It was unacceptable. The dark would never cease until the light was destroyed.
The balance was gone.
And the world fell apart.
And so it came to pass that darkness entered this world, and the Faerie land was torn. :-) Neomails welcome!