Note from Jen: Below is the story of The Legend exactly the way I wrote it back in 2004. I’ll warn you now that there are some grammar errors, typos, and it’s also a little rough around the edges. I’ve chosen to post the original version instead of the edited version because this is how the Darkness Within was born. Errors and all, this short story is how the world began for me…and it was also my first real attempt at writing. I wasn’t then, and am not now, a perfect writer by any means. But for every writer out there who aspires to be published – here’s where I started. You don’t have to have perfect grammar when you begin. You don’t have to know every single rule of punctuation or spelling. All you need is the desire to tell a story, the drive to learn as you go, and the guts to put your work out there…
In the beginning, only Celestials wandered the blank landscape we now call the universe. It was a time of chaos and disorder, as nearly every Celestial was able to create and destroy on a whim.
After watching the disarray for some time, Aligon, the eldest, decided there must be order to the chaos.
In an effort to teach younger Celestials the virtue of patience, he called upon the powers of the universe to create a new world. One left to run the course that destiny, not a Celestial, would set for it.
The younger Celestials were unimpressed by Aligon’s world. They were content to create, and when things did not fit their design – destroy. They reveled in their power, too impatient to simply watch a world grow.
After bestowing upon his world the most basic of elements, Aligon gave it as a gift to his twin children. Knowing his twins were complete opposites, he saw a chance for them to bring out the best of each other.
His daughter, Semeliel, was a compassionate and loving being. Beautiful and kind, wherever she went brilliant showers of light followed. It was said that life itself sparked beneath her feet.
His son, Levanael, was a cruel and hateful being. He cast a thin silvery light from his eyes, and anything his gaze fell upon crept with shadows. It was said that war raged beneath his feet.
After summoning his children to his side, Aligon smiled as he unveiled his new world for them. “I have given this world only the very basic elements, and when the time is right, I shall create a race of creatures to inhabit it. Every being born unto this world shall wield its own power. As I am pure energy, those who live here will each be woven from a thread of myself. This world is my gift to you.
“You, my Children, will need to strike a balance within it. You must give the creatures a reason to stay, a reason to grow, and a reason to prosper. You will be their destiny until they learn to seek their own. Enjoy this gift, for it will never be rivaled by another.”
Together, Semeliel and Levanael entered the world, captivated by what they saw. There was land with trees, and water so clear the land cradling it from below could be seen. The air was crisp and pure, but the land itself was quiet and still. The only light was that of the cosmos far in the distance.
Much time passed as Semeliel and Levanael gave their own gifts to the land.
Semeliel gifted the Sun. She bestowed seasons in which it reigned, bringing light and life to the world. She created the wind, the clouds and gentle rains. She added color to the grass and fruit to the trees.
Levanael gifted the Moon. He bestowed seasons where darkness stole the light and killed the land. He created fire, snow and ice. He moved the land so that mountains touched the sky and valleys fell far beneath the peaks.
Aligon not only watched, but took great pride in what his children had accomplished. They had brought the very best of themselves to his world, and from his joy… life was born.
He approached his children, with the pride filled smile of a father strong on his lips. “I have created two creatures, called man and woman. When they join with each other, they shall create their own children. From them, all others will be born. Watch over them and help them on their journey. They belong to you now, and they will only have what you see fit to give them.”
Semeliel and Levanael stared in awe at the creatures now living in their world. They reveled in the sun, ate from the trees and marveled at the mountains. As man joined with woman, they begot children. And in time, those children created children. The creatures gloried in the beauty of the world, but as time passed – they grew quiet.
Semeliel and Levanael watched as man and woman became unhappy with the world. Both knew their creatures wanted more.
Semeliel was the first to answer their silent requests. She brought to them new, lesser creatures to live with. She gifted them animals to fill the land and provide companionship. Pride welled inside her as man and woman cared for and shared the land with her animals.
Levanael saw man with the animals and cared little for the way they coddled his sister’s creations. In return, he gifted man with the ingenuity to make weapons and hunt animals. He smiled as man began killing animals for food, clothing, and sometimes without reason at all.
Semeliel wept as Levanael laughed. She turned and glared at her brother. “I created animals for companionship, Levanael. I gave man and woman fruit and plants for nourishment. I did not create animals to die by mans hand.”
“But I did.” His smiled widened. “I have gifted man with the desire to pursue something greater. Now, they shall hunt and take from lesser creatures. It will make them stronger, and in the end, they will use it to forge their own destinies.”
Semeliel wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Then there shall be consequences for man’s action. Every animal man hunts will become a hunter in turn. No man shall be safe should he take the blood of an animal without reason.”
Levanael felt his sister will the change. Disbelief swept through him as animals crept from the trees and attacked man. They were violent and relentless, much as man had been to them.
“So be it.” He ground his teeth together. “Then so too shall the animals hunt each other. From henceforth, animals that are not hunters will run and hide from any who wish to do them harm. They shall inherently be afraid of man, as he is the superior predator.”
Horrified, Semeliel watched as her animals began attacking each other. Those remaining friendly ran in fear as man chased and killed any not fast enough to flee.
She couldn’t turn away as man began destroying the land in his pursuit for blood. After a long moment of bearing witness to the atrocities, she turned and locked eyes with her brother. “Every element of this world shall be in some way harmful to this race, who you have tainted with your hate. The wind shall ravage them, the heat will burn them and the rain will steal their breath when it floods the land. The skies will flash with fire, and the snow shall freeze their bodies. If they choose not to respect the force of the land itself, they will forever be hunted by it.”
Levanael stared as the wind screamed across the grass knocking men down. The clouds grew heavy and black, and just as his sister promised – the rain stole mans breath as it flooded the land. Fire flashed across the sky, burning man and woman without prejudice.
He turned back to his sister. “Then all born to this land, man, woman, child and animal…will now know death. For every one will die as their bodies’ age and no longer sustains them. They will know death, as you are now dead to me! I will no longer take your council for this world. You are not welcome in my Darkness. And when the Moon rises in the sky… you will have no power in my realm. By the glow of the Moon, I shall reign supreme.”
Semeliel slowly backed away from her brother. “Fine Levanael, then you are no longer welcome in my Sun. You shall be forever cast from this world when it rises in the sky, and you will have no power when my Light bathes this world. As for this race, they may know death, but they will not fear it. It will be cyclical for them. As one is born, one may die. I will not let them live in fear of you, as I do not fear you.”
It was then that brother and sister parted. Neither found time to enjoy their world or the creatures their father had created for them, because as the Sun set on one side of the world, it rose on the other. And as the Moon fell one side of the world, it rose on the other.
Aligon wept for his children. He had only wished for them to find a peaceful balance between themselves. He cursed himself for not expecting the outcome, but could not bring himself to destroy the world he created. This world was to be left to destiny. It was a promise he made and would not rend. All he could do was watch as his children fought against each other.
They had achieved balance, just as he had asked, but it was not peaceful.
Ages passed as brother and sister warred silently. Man evolved to better and worse things by each twins’ hand, and soon began to establish its own order. There were hunters and gatherers, farmers and mystics. Women spent their days tending to children and preparing meals for the tribe.
All was peaceful… until pride intervened.
Poor weather came with no warning to the farmers. Crops were lost due to flooding, freezing and infestations from insects and animals. Some were salvageable, but many were a complete loss. The farmers, unable to feed their families, were forced to depend on the hunters and gatherers for food.
It was then the hunters and gatherers stepped in to point out that no matter the weather, they were always able to provide food for the tribe. They took what nature offered freely, and for them, there was always enough.
Arguments broke out often between the hunters and farmers. Each side scolded the other for their ways, boasting their own method was the best.
The farmers pride suffered, and as when all suffering occurs, they sought a place to lay blame. Casting their gaze to the sky, the farmers cursed the heavens for their unfair treatment.
Hearing their cries, Levanael silently beckoned the strongest farmer, Zadkiel, to seek him out. The beckoning came in visions of a shaded grove, far from the land they now farmed. He whispered to Zadkiel from the shadows, to bring only his most trusted friends.
Zadkiel chose his wife, Ilemese, his brother, Hagonel, Hagonel’s mystic son, Dmal, Ilemese’s brother, Cumael, and Cumael’s daughter, Sefafe. Together, they would seek the shaded grove and pay homage to Levanael.
The Sun set and the Moon rose many times during their travel, but finally the grove drew closer. The Moon hung heavy in the sky as they crept in, where they were stunned by what they saw.
A man taller than any they had seen before stood bathed in the glow of the Moon. His ebony hair brushed his waist, and his physique was unlike any they had ever seen. His face was angular, but strangely beautiful, even as shadows crawled across his alabaster skin. His eyes bore the hue of the Moon, and his robes, dark as night.
When his gaze rest upon them, they could feel the shadows caress and pull them towards him.
“Welcome Zadkiel, Ilemese, Hagonel, Dmal, Cumael and Sefafe. I have been awaiting your arrival. Please, sit by my fire and eat with me,” Levanael said as he motioned to the mouth of a cave. He turned and with a wave of his hand a strange fire began to burn.
The farmers were awed. Instead of yellow and red flames like they had all seen before, this fire was varying shades of green and silver. Its heat was far more intense than the fire they knew, and it was welcomed by all.
They watched as two beautiful, raven haired women and a handsome dark haired man emerged from the depths of the cave. Each woman carried a platter of delicious food, and the man carried a platter of stone goblets. Whatever liquid they held, steam rose from it.
“Please, indulge yourselves; we shall speak of your other needs when you are sated,” Levanael said.
Following Levanael’s orders, each ate and drank until full. Their journey had been long and they were all famished. The food was better than anything they had ever tasted, and the drink, though coppery, was heavenly. After a short time, they settled in, relaxing near the fire.
Levanael waited until each of his visitors had gorged themselves. Only then did he motion for his servants to take the remains of their feast away.
He stood and quietly circled his guests. “I have taken care of you, yes? I have shared with you my best food and wine. I have given you a fire to warm yourself. What more can I do for you? Why have you come all this way?”
Zadkiel rose to his feet. “We have come to ask why you have shunned us. All our crops were lost to the wind and rain. We have nothing for our tribe to eat, save what the hunters bring back to us. Why have you forsaken us?”
“My dear children, I have not forsaken you. You see, I rule the Darkness of this world. The storms that come for you while the Sun is in the sky, the ones that ravage your crops – are sent by my sister, Semeliel. I love every one of you, and I would never forsake you.”
“Then why are the hunters so fruitful? They have more bounty than they can carry. Why does she shun us, for them?”
“She is unfair,” Levanael sighed wistfully. “She chides me for gifting you with the skill to hunt animals, but then she destroys your crops. She does not see things as I do. I see you for the true beauty you are. You are innovative, creative and seek to make something from nothing. We share the same ideals.”
“Will you help us then, Great Levanael? Will you show us how to provide for our tribe better than the hunters? We would give anything to learn the magics you wield. Please Lord, please help us,” Zadkiel pleaded as he dropped to his knees. “Let us dwell in the Darkness with you. We will be your children.”
One of Levanael’s black eyebrows rose. He knew this was something even his sister did not have. If he granted these men and women a small shred of his power, they would forever serve him.
Levanael smiled as he turned to Zadkiel. “I will take you as mine, but there is a price. You must shun Semeliel. You must promise to never again thank the heavens for the Sun, or for the beauty which you see in the Light. Forsake Semeliel like she has forsaken you, and I will teach you to make fire of your own. I will show you how to shield your crops from the storms. I will bestow upon you the ability to scare the animals away by controlling their minds. And I will give you the ability to influence those around you. I will also grant you the power to kill anything that grows from the land, with but a touch. You alone will bring nourishment to your tribe…and all will bow to your mercy.”
“Yes Lord, Yes! We will do whatever you ask. We wish to be cherished again by our tribe. We want our pride renewed,” Zadkiel cried as he stretched his arms out before Levanael. “We will worship and obey you always, Lord Levanael. Always.”
Only a few moons passed while Levanael taught his new children how to wield his magics. And when they were ripe with power, he sent them back to their tribe.
The women and children of the tribe were awed by the farmers’ new magics. It was not long before the tide shifted, and most of the tribe’s praise went to them. When a storm threatened, they pushed it back. When the Sun set, they gave fire for warmth. And soon, when the hunters took to the woods, there were no animals to be found.
The tribe now worshiped the farmers much as they had worshiped Levanael. They told stories of the shadowed man in the grove, how he cared for them and gave freely of his magics. And they shared with the tribe how much the Shadow loved them all.
The hunters were less than pleased. They had always been fruitful on their hunts, and now they were being shamed by the tribe who once depended on them. Forced to swallow their own pride, they, too, called out to the heavens for mercy.
This time, the call was heard by Semeliel. In much the same manner as her brother, she beckoned the strongest hunter, Befafes, to seek her out. She whispered to him when the Sun was at its highest, to bring only his most trusted.
Befafes chose his wife, Vaela, his daughter, Samael, and his brothers, Laveus and Mafeus. His last choice was, Alvae, the wife of Cumael, who was with child. Horrified by the stories her husband told of the Shadow, Alvea had found secreted solace with Vaela and Befafes.
Together, they set out on their journey to Semeliel. Led for days by a feeling of warmth and security, they knew she watched them as they traveled and kept them safe on their quest. When they reached her, they, too, were stunned by her presence.
She was taller than any woman they had seen before, and her beauty was so great that it nearly hurt to look upon her. Her hair shone with the Light of the Sun, and her eyes held every color of the land. She wore a light blue robe that rivaled the hue of the sky as the wind danced and played with it.
She stood at the edge of a large pool, glittering in the Sunlight. Trays of fruit and meat were set out beside it.
Semeliel smiled. “Welcome. Please come, quench your thirst with water from my pool and sate your hunger with the best of my food.”
Famished and thirsty, the hunters eagerly accepted her offer.
When she saw that everyone had eaten and drank their fill, she knelt beside Befafes. “I feel the concern in your heart and the unrest of your spirit. Is there something I can do for you, my Child?”
“Yes Lady, there is,” Befafes said as his eyes dropped to the ground. “In recent days, we have found ourselves unable to bring food to our tribe. The animals have disappeared and all of the fruit is dead. Have we done something to anger you? Why have you forsaken us?”
Placing her hand on Befafes shoulder, Semeliel drew him close. “I have not forsaken you, Befafes…Levanael has. He is my brother,” she sighed deeply. “We were to share this world and make it fruitful for each of you. But in his anger, he cursed you and gave you the desire to kill animals for food. Yet, when approached by the farmers, he sided with them. He gifted them his own powers, to cast you from the tribe. I have no doubts that the farmers’ magics are what sends the animals away and deadens the fruit of the land.”
“Will you help us then, Semeliel? Will you give us the magic to regain our rightful place as the providers for our tribe?” he asked, placing his hand upon hers.
Semeliel could feel the hope in his spirit. These creatures were suffering, and she couldn’t allow Levanael to treat them this way any longer.
She pulled Befafes into a hug. “I will help you, as you are all my children. But as with every action, there is a consequence. Never bow to the Children of the Shadow. You must always remember that the Light is strong, and passes that gift to all who dwell within it. You may hunt the animal’s meat for food and their skin for warmth, but never for any other reason. You must respect the land and all it gives to you. Will you do this?”
“Yes Semeliel, we will. We will take your wisdom back to our tribe and show them the way to the Light. We will bring them back as your children again, the Children of Dawn.”
A gentle smile swept across Semeliel’s face. There was still hope for her tribe.
“What I grant you then, is the power of the animals. You will have their speed and their strength. You will be able to call an animal to you, and should you need its meat or skin, you will be able to comfort her at her death. You will be more tolerant to pain, and find yourselves healing wounds with greater speed than ever before. I will give you the means to tap into the land itself, drawing its power into your body. The sprits of the land will guide you and call you brother. There will be nothing you can’t accomplish. Come now, learn from me and then return to your tribe and unite it.”
Three Suns passed as Semeliel taught her children how to take strength from the land and bond with the animals. After much praise and comfort, they left her and returned to the tribe.
The balance between the hunters and farmers had been temporarily restored. Both sides were equally contributing again, but neither side was content. Each wanted to be the superior provider and was relentless in their pursuit.
And both spoke of their patron, which only caused further division between the tribe.
Eventually, a great rift split the tribe into three parts: Children of Shadow, Children of Dawn, and those Innocents who refused to take sides.
As time passed, anger rose in Levanael because his followers had not conquered the whole of the tribe. In a fit of rage, he cursed his sister’s Children to become half kin to the beasts they called friend.
For revenge, Semeliel cursed her brother’s Children to be forever burned by her Sun, cursed to walk only in Darkness. They would never again be nourished by the land or the animals living on it.
Knowing for the first time what real hatred was, Levanael cursed the Children of Semeliel to forever war against each other, like he and his sister. He cursed them to know hate, jealousy, and most of all – rage.
He then bestowed fangs upon to his own Children, allowing them to feed from the blood of his sister’s vile beasts, and those who refused to choose sides. If they could not be nourished by the land, they would take nourishment from those who were.
Semeliel was calm when she levied yet another curse against the Children of Shadow. She knew she would now be forced to watch as her children killed each other, fought for their place in the world and lost their families to the evils Levanael had cast upon them.
She removed from the Children of Shadow, the sanctuary of death.They would remain in stasis and sterile, ever the same in a world which constantly changed. Forced to watch as all they had worked for, and all that they loved – died before them. They would never trust each other, and each would bear the cruelest of all weights upon them. The weight of time.
Levanael’s last gift to his Children was the ability to bring others to their cause, as they could no longer bear children of their own. Through rituals of blood, they could pass their magic onto others and strengthen their numbers. He also gave them the power to learn new magic as they aged. And since they could not die, they would grow more powerful than the Children of Dawn.
Semeliel, hearing her brother’s gift to his Children, gave but a single gift to her own. She sent the wind to deliver her message, into the ears of only her Children.
“Since you have not been cursed to live forever, as I would never be so cruel to you, I will tell you of the Shadows weakness. Force his children into the Light of my Sun and they will die as it burns their very soul. Remove their head from their shoulders, and as the energy sustaining them is interrupted, I will pull them from this world. Now go, my Children, reclaim what is rightfully yours."
As the tribes broke into full out war against each other, the twins shrieked their undying hatred for each other so loud, even in the heavens it was deafening.
Hearing their cries, and those of the Innocents, Aligon summoned his children to his side.
When they arrived, he stood between them. “What have you done? Man, woman and child – you have cursed them all!” His voice shook the very universe.
It was Levanael who spoke first. “We did not curse all of them. There are those who remain apart, weak and unwilling to choose sides.”
“Your curses will affect them all, Child. Those who remain apart will forever be caught between the cursed, forced to endure a war they did not ask for!” He turned to his son. “Levanael, you gifted your Children fangs to consume the life essence of others, after your sister cursed them to a life of eternity. The Innocents will be forever tainted by your Children’s thirst for blood.”
He turned to face his daughter. “Semeliel, you have cursed your brother’s Children to forever be denied the Sun. They are unable to subsist from anything the land offers. How are they to survive?”
“They aren’t!” she screamed. “They are supposed to die! They are supposed to suffer in the same manner he’s making my Children suffer!”
Levanael roared between clenched teeth. “Suffer? Suffer! You call what you’ve done to my Children as simple as suffering?”
“Enough!” Aligon boomed. “Your conflict ends now!” He drew in a heavy breath. “I will not destroy this world, but no longer will your hands guide it. Instead, you will be bound to it, unable to do anything but witness the horror of your ways.”
Aligon dropped his gaze and shook his head. “As the responsible party for this tragedy, I will lend aid to the Innocents. Where you have damned them, I shall give them hope. From every generation henceforth, a Paladin will be born unto the Innocents, each endowed with the power to defend those who refuse to participate in your petty war.”
Aligon closed his eyes, allowing a long moment of silence and stillness to stretch in the heavens.
When he opened them again, he nodded. “Much time has now passed in the world. My Paladin’s have risen against your accursed Children, pushing those who managed to survive against the fringes of society. The Children of Shadow are now known as, Vampires, and the Children of Dawn, Werewolves, by all who remained neutral to your feud. Your Children have become the damned. Much as you damned the Innocents before, you will forever watch as your Children fight to exist where they are not wanted.
“But before I send you back, know this…a child was born as you levied your spiteful curses, who bears heritage to both tribes. This child wields the strengths of both, but will forever be cast aside and unwanted by them. He will never be trusted, and will only find companions among those who do not judge him. And because it was you who forced this destiny upon him – he will forever be your Equilibrium, for he alone, holds the power to wipe your Children from the face of this world.”
Aligon stepped away from his children, his heart heavy. “Now, leave my sight…and reap what you have sown.” He then forced the twins back into the world and bound them to it.
When Semeliel and Levanael returned, both realized their Father had not lied. Nothing was as they remembered, and the number of men, women and children was frightening. Among the masses, neither could find their own Children.
Over time, and after each twin had tried, yet again, to levy curses against the other, Aligon was forced to hand down a final, heartbreaking punishment…
Not only could Levanael and Semeliel no longer see or speak to each other, they could no longer reach their Father.
When the Children of Shadow rejoined the world, still well before recorded history, they emerged with a newfound hatred for the Children of Dawn.
Even though a familial bloodline spawned from each of the six Original Children, each turned away from their younger brethren and seemingly disappeared from the face of the world.
With the Originals absence and the passage of time, just as promised, a great schism has begun between lines and generations. Age has brought power and experience to the Elders, but as Fledglings are taken from the modern era, common ground between the groups becomes harder and harder to find.
Now, forced to blend in with the Innocents, Vampires stalk the night beside their prey, hidden behind a veil of deceit and manipulation. They struggle nightly against each other to secure a place in their own society, which has led to many areas being governed by different factions. And while all have a similar structure, it seems nearly every modern city claims its own leader.
As the Innocents banded together in colonies, the Children of Dawn sought the pure and natural places they once called home. Many chose to rejoin the world, bolstering their numbers by living among the Innocents and bearing children.
Now, barely distinguishable from Innocents when they wear the human form, Werewolves have become the hunter and the prey – all in the same breath.
Not being cursed with immortality, the Original members of the Dawn died eons ago. But stories of their battles against the Shadow are passed down, without fail, to each new generation. Those Werewolves who can trace their lineage back to the first members, sit on the tribes’ one and only council.
Both Vampires and Werewolves have seen a swell in number in the modern nights. Media has replaced magic, and as time trudges on, it becomes more and more difficult for the damned to hide.
However, internal struggles threaten each races survival as elders and youth clash nightly, neither willing to acquiesce. No side is any closer to winning the war, and both are forced to hide their true nature from humans.
What happened to the Original Children of Shadow?
Which twin will emerge as the victor?
Where is the Equilibrium?
Only time will tell…