‘gainst gathering dark
stands the warrior
sword and shield
to save us all
In the time of the Purity Moon, the morning sky turned evil. Dark clouds sprawled out of the east. Red slashes of dawn light leaked like dragon claw lacerations against the clouds’ underbellies.
But Halcyon knew there were no more dragons. Like other denizens of the old times, dragons vanished. Faded into oblivion as belief diminished. Migrated to a place beyond the far horizon. Vanquished by new beliefs and new order.
Halcyon and her ilk were anathemas. She bridged the two eras: a rhyfelwr cysgod, a shadow warrior. In her irenic state, she was ethereal, opaque and shimmer-shifting. As a warrior, more corporeal, more substantial. Shadow warriors existed to cut out malignancies, to restore the divine order. But in the new era, there was no perceived need for them.
Halcyon tried ignoring the omen. After years of absolution, and with no hope of finding an ally, she was reluctant to become a warrior again. But, she could hear her sword and shield chattering in the wardrobe where she kept them. Soon, they would fling the doors open and shut to get her firm attention.
She doubted the new order could see the shifting sky; she recognized it’s monstrous nature. Something deadly, ravenous, unhallowed grew on tiroedd diffaith ddwyreiniol; the eastern barren lands.
As she first swung her sword, she felt the pull on muscles ill-used for warship. She had let the fading of the old era depress her bellicose side. No shield and sword practice. No tactics. Just a wispy melancholy; a sad nostalgia. Hiding herself away in her tiny patch of ancient forest. Giving in, if not fading out. A sin against her order, a sin against her era.
So she donned her chain mail of arian nyddu – light but unyielding to another’s weapon. Took up her sword, tŷ dywyll, forged from a piece of cymylau arian by one of the famous mountain metal workers. Held tight her shield, a gift from . . . she tried not to think on that. Then practiced until sore muscles made her grimace.
Days were less luminous as the great banks of strangely shaped clouds obscured. At night, stars were swallowed by the darkness seeking to ravage and possess the sky. The next adversarial target would be what lay beneath the eaten stars.
Halcyon could not wait, then, until she was good at her arts. With a rye smile, she remarked to her sword, “Well, ‘tis time we felled giants again.”
* star eater
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Good versus Evil Wordle.