Flash fiction: “Return of the shadows #1”

As night fell over their camp, the villagers gathered around their campfires to eat. The adults sat around a few fires on the edge of camp while the elders and children sat in the middle of the circular camp.

Most of the children gathered around on men. He was the storyteller, they sat in silence and waited for him to finish his meal and then start one of his many stories.

The old man wasn’t in a rush to finish his meal, and it wasn’t until the children around him started to grow impatient that he finally opened his mouth.

”Far up in the northern mountains lies a city shrouded in mystery. Once it was the greatest city in all of Vraall. Now it lies hidden in a thick mist, too thick that all who look for it become lost and are never seen again. The people who lived there was as mysterious as the city itself. They where called shadows, it is believed that they were stronger than all the other races. Some legends even say they were immortal. Just like so many other ancient races they are now believed to be extinct.

The children all looked at the man with wide eyes, imagining what these shadows must have looked like.

”What happened to them?” One of the children asked.

”None knows. The shadows ruled this world with an iron hand. There were no wars, little to no crime. And everyone was afraid of them, their leader the most. Dleadrl was his name. A man raised among the forest people, they raised him, trained him and thought him everything they knew. But in the end he was a shadow, it was in his nature to destroy not preserve, and so he was exiled by the most peaceful of people. The only person to ever be exiled by the forest people.

None knows what happened to him after that, not until two thousand years later when he entered the capital and broke into the prison. He destroyed the entire place, burnt it to the ground. Killing everyone inside. Except for three people who were never accounted for.

Still, to this day none knows why he did it. Most say he did it because he was angry, but there are those that say that the three people who went missing that day were like him, shadows and that’s why he broke in. To free his kind.”

”How could they be shadows if they were born to humans?”

”The shadows are a race born by humans. They are an abomination of the human race.”

”So they are like us?”

”Most of them are never recognized as shadows and live their lives as destructive criminals, thrown in prisons again and again. Until finally they die.”

”I thought you said they were immortal.”

”It is said that they are, but whenever one is born, they never seem to live to be older than thirty.”

”But how can some, like Dleadrl, become so much stronger than the others?”

”Without proper training, the shadows never learn their true potential, they never learn how to focus their powers, and so they never become something worth telling stories about. Anyway, Dleadrl reappeared a few years later, but this time he wasn’t alone. This time he came with an army of a hundred men and women.”

”Women?”

”Oh, yes. The shadows didn’t care about the genders of the people who fought along as they could fight better than their enemies. Not a single shadow died that day when they took the capital. A long war followed the invasion of the capital but in the end, it was hopeless, and the shadows stood victorious. They let the races who had fought against them live under one condition if they ever rebelled they would hunt every one them down and kill them.”

”But what happened to them?”

”That is a story for another day, my children, for now, I need to sleep. We’ve got a long way t go tomorrow.”

”You’ve changed many things in that story over the years old man,” Gopher said after the children had left.

”Yeah, well some things need to be spoken a bit more carefully nowadays, not like when you were young.”

”I think you’re getting old. You forget things.”

”You think you could tell it better?”

”I know I could.”

”Maybe one day you can, but you’re still young. Travel the world and learn everything you can then maybe one day if you return you can take off from me.”

”If I do that then you wouldn’t be alive to see what I became.”

”I might surprise you.”

”Why did you say ’if’ I return.”

”You never know, the world is full of wonders you might find that there’s more to life than this”

”What if I don’t want anything more than this?”

”You will.”

~~~
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