Origins of Darkness
by Nixie Brightwell,
First Master Sade and Keeper of Jordan
To understand the Darkness, one must first understand the original citizens of Magic Island, a small piece of land off the coast of Urbania. It is where magic began, and where it should have stayed. At least, that is what the original leaders of Magic Island and the Kingdom of Urbania had agreed to, in days before the Darkness.
It was the glowing shard in the center of the island that first exposed the citizens to magic. The jagged rock pierced the earth, as if a god of the heavens implanted it. When touched, the gift of magic was intertwined with the soul, with unbridled control of power and knowledge.
The King of Urbania was a greedy man, and he sought to control all of the land. He knew not to interfere with the inhabitants of Magic Island or attempt to control them, because their magic was greater than all of his swordsmen combined could face. Sending in his men to capture or kill the wizards would be sentencing them to death.
In attempts to create a more powerful army, the king sent the most skilled warrior he had to Magic Island to retrieve a piece of the rock. If just a small portion of the rock was in his control, he theorized, his men would have enough magic to counter the wizards’ spells.
The warrior traveled to Magic Island, with false promise he would be of great value to the king and rewarded handsomely. When he was presented in front of the great stone in the center of the island, he did not raise his palm in praise to the heavens for the gift. Instead, he drew a pickaxe that had been hidden inside his robes. Swinging with all of his might, he pierced the center of the magical shard.
Four equal pieces of rock crumbled to the ground, and the warrior quickly scooped them up with gloved hands. Off to the docks he ran, glowing stones safely in his pocket, and a sailboat waiting to aid him. He escaped, delivering the precious fragments to his greedy king.
The wizards of Magic Island were furious, casting a spell to prevent regular citizens the ability to reach the island, and forbidding magicians from leaving. The stone had been attacked, the wizards believed, and thus it was a war between wizards and swordsmen.
Mere days after the attack, the stone began to act strangely. Before it had been radiant, shimmering from the sun no matter what the time of day, and glimmering in the bluish moonlight. After the attack, it was a sickly, dull and lifeless brown. Many of the elder wizards attempted to obtain more magic from it, as was the ritual on full moons, and failed. It seemed the stone had died.
It was here, where this powerful stone once stood, the Darkness was born. Within the pit of the perished rock, a black fog arose. Human-sized hands formed from the fog, many in numbers. It reached across Magic Island, strangling the livestock, wildlife, and wizards.
The citizens fled the island on boats, ships, and canoes. They left behind homes, belongings, and even children. The island was no longer safe, and thus the wizards were given no choice but to invade Urbania’s dock.
Hatred fueled from being forced from their homes, they ascended onto the city, seeking revenge from the king. The entire court was slaughtered, the sandstone walls disintegrated, and the king publically murdered in the town fountain. Few survived the massacre, with only a handful of swordsmen escaping. Among them was the warrior who had unleashed the Darkness.
He fled to the mines in the north, disappearing underground with the shards he had stolen from the king’s dead body. Through the tunnels he ran, with the magical rocks to light his way. At the deepest part of the mines, when there were no more paths to choose, the panic of being hopelessly lost set in. If he ever left the mines, the wizards would kill him immediately. Yet underground, he would surely die as well.
His only chance was to use the shards of the mysterious rock. With a shaking hand, he set them on the mineshaft floor. He pulled off one glove, and placed his palm over one of the stones. The stone’s energy began to turn as black as the sickness that had seeped from the streets of Magic Island. With the touch of the warrior’s unworthy hand, all four stones exploded, and the heat of the energy dissolved the man on impact.
The end of the mine caved in, sealing the stones and what remained of the warrior within the mountain side. The wizards believed this to be an act of the heavens, sent to punish the warrior and preserve the remaining magical shards.
Over this sacred location, what we now know as Mount Taliesin, the wizards set forth to preserve and control the magical process for future generations. The pure souls, not already touched by magic, no longer had the ability to simply touch the stones to gain its power. Instead, a ritual was required for others to gain magical abilities. With the aid of the wizards who survived the attack on Magic Island, magical abilities survived.
Despite the magic becoming weakened and spit into four elements, it was still a gift from the heavens. It allowed the people to fight for their homes and country side, for the Darkness had spread from island to mainland. It had been carried by field mice stowed away on ship, and by the children who were infected unknowingly by the black fog.
By these means, it spread quickly over the land, and the first wall was constructed around Mount Taliesin to serve as a safe haven. The city of Urbania was then reconstructed, complete with a wall like Mount Taliesin. Jordan would also construct a wall, built by the warriors who escaped the wizard’s wrath in Urbania. And with these successes, civilization was safe to thrive, at least in part, from the Darkness.
Still the Darkness lingers, haunting our woods and feeding nightmares. It steals our youth and restricts our travels, a cancer on the space we live in. We shall not give up that hope the Darkness can be erased from our lands, and we will fight on to the end. The gifts of magic have been passed down to us from the heavens, and we must use them for the good of our people. We must try our best to fix the mistakes of our ancestors and protect our future.