So, is where the decision was made? The decision to deny the darkness. The decision for life. The decision to march, dauntless, toward the calling. The light.
I ran. For hours, I ran. Adrenaline spurred my movement, as little energy remained. I felt alive. For the first time in weeks, I felt alive. As the dark clawed at my fleeting shadow, I could finally feel the heart that beat strongly in my chest. The heart. That autonomous thing that sustains life. That place where love and courage and survival reside. But does it beat for me… or this world? Is its purpose so arrogant that it would sustain one such as myself, without meaning or purpose? I didn’t know and never could, while the modern clouded reason. Clouded purpose. But now, now all that is ruin, I know. We. This heart and this world, it is not separate. It is one… but it must be worthy. We are connected in ways you wouldn’t imagine.
Cut. Torn. Broken. Bruised. I was a wrack of the man I once was. Skin and bone, foetid and weak… but alive. With purpose. I reached the light, but it wasn’t as I had imagined. I had expected an end, not a beginning. I had expected a light to consume and devour. It didn’t. It was that which gave and did not take. It was life. A tree of titanic splendour. It towered above all else, shadowing all that cowered below. Its bark was the purest of white, coating it like an armour with which to expel the dark. But the light. The light it exuded was transfixing. Through translucent veins flowed radiant energy, like an intricately woven web of lifeforce. Pure lifeforce made manifest in a being of light. It was hope. From that moment I set my gaze upon its form, I knew it was hope.
I could feel its calling as I approached on careful footing. I could feel it beneath my feet, through roots that I instantly knew spanned the entirety of the forest. Saplings broke through dead soil and blossomed to flower in my wake. My wounds. My wounds began to heal. Flesh reknit and blood reabsorbed. Titan. It could not speak, but I knew that it was a Titan. Eldraith was its name. Rebirth. It could not speak, but I knew that Eldraith would have me reborn.
They screamed. The shadows around me screamed as I approached. Pain. Torture. Fear. They hated that I was there. They were we, and we were they. My friends. My neighbours. It was them. The New Dark had reclaimed them. Empty vessels of flesh and pain. It did not work on me. I had already been claimed. Through gentle but venomous touch they shared toxin to mortal. Through throws of torturous spasm, mortal became minion. The unworthy. Through touch, the titan imparted this knowledge to me… among much else. Flickers of light through mind. Images. Memories. Everything it had felt and witnessed through the awakening and the emergence of the New Dark. It was one of few, like I. A chosen. A defender. A Pureheart. Hope.
The New Dark. Eldraith liked that name. That is exactly what they are. They are the new form of darkness. A thing born from nothing, birthed from the universe itself. Entities created of our failures. Greed. Malice. Violence. Hatred. They are the embodiment of it all, born with the instinct to defile… and reclaim. Balance. Where there is good, there must be evil… but where there is evil, there must be good. And so, the Titans also emerged from the universe. A thing pure. A thing of born of light to expel the dark. A thing brought to harness the good and the strong… and the human. And hence, it chose me.
For my rebirth, it would have me become one with the soil, buried in a tomb of root and vine. From beneath the Titan opened the place where I would die… and emerge anew. I hesitated. In step I faltered. In mind I cowered. But the humanity in me… the humanity called me forth. I was human. A creature of pure will… and heart. That was my calling. My moment to right the wrong. A moment to be. A moment to fulfil that which was meant for me. Destiny. Fate. It was a collision of the universe itself, through one as small and insignificant as I. Insignificant… I know differently now.
I emerged reborn. Stronger. Faster. Indomitable. Inevitable. With blade and armour of crystal, provided by the Titan. It had me carve into it…
“Beauty hath been born from chaos.
Beauty grown from seeds of darkness, bathed in shadow and blood.
I hath been reborn.
I am anew.
A creature not quite what I once was.
Something of light.
Something of nature.
Something of indomitable purpose.
Human, partly. Yes.
But more than that.
The world hath chosen me its first guardian.
Its light and fury now flow through my veins.
I am its blade and shield… its armour and vengeant.
Yes, I am its chosen.
I am hope.
The New Dark will fear me.”
As I stepped toward The New Dark, silence fell upon them… before a chorus of whispers began. Michael… ShadowVayne… Death. My name. My forest. My purpose… This was just the beginning.
The end… for now.