ek_johnston: (wonder)
[personal profile] ek_johnston
1. This is very much Laura's fault.
2. If it turns into a novel, I am going to kill it. ;)


In the Kingdom of Ilithyria, there is not one soul afraid of the dark.

Darkness is, after all, a place of safety. An unapproachable cave or a well-fortified house. Heavy curtains or thick stone walls, narrow windows and deep basements. Any place at all that keeps out the light. Because the light, the light is where the danger lies.

During the daytime, when the dark is at its most solid and dependable, some few brave souls venture out into the black. They tend the fields, tripping over every rock and hummock in their path, or conduct hurried trades, clever fingers judging worth where eyes cannot see the details.

If they must, they carry torches, weak and green, and deadly if they attract the wrong kind of attention. They toil over stunted plants, pale against the comforting dark, and fill their wagons as quickly as they can in order to return swiftly to cover. They guard their torches well, for even those faint spots of light are beacons enough to call in doom, should they burn unprotected.

Only one creature walks at large, unfearing of the light; marked by light’s own touch and burning soft white and cold silver. Light follows them everywhere they tread, and with their awful horns they do not hesitate to call it forth. But even they cannot overcome the darkness of the day, unless some poor fool makes a light to draw them in. So the field hands cover their lanterns as best they can, and labour in the dark whenever they can.

At night time, when the silver spears of moonlight pierce the shelter of the dark, all souls huddle in what’s left of that safe oblivion, hoping to stay out of sight, hoping to never see that quicksilver crack, dripping mercury over black stone and heralding certain doom.

For the unicorns come at night, drawn to love and light and home, and bent on their absolute destruction. Their iron horns can cut through adamant, it is said, and even the best of houses are only made of granite. Once a crack is made, once the unicorn has done its work, the moonlight does the rest, scraping into the darkness and breaking it as surely as it breaks those who cower in its embrace.

In the Times Before, legend says, there was a power that stood against the moonlight and its terribly sentinels. Another light, one called the sun, had burned in the sky and kept the moon in check. For all the ages of the world, they battled, day and night, each so focused on supremacy over the other that they ignored the Earth below, until the moon gained victory and turned its pale face to new terrors.

Of course, that is only a story, and not even a particularly good one. Any idiot can see that the moon is worry enough. The sun, if it ever existed, must have been even worse, burning skin and ground and plant alike from its lofty and uncaring heights. There is little point in dreaming up a monster so terrible that it can destroy the monster that already plagues the world.

There is little time for dreaming in Ilithyria anyway. It is a cold place, empty of song and spirit, abandoned by joy. The people eke by, and black day follows black day. At night time, silver terror fills the sky, lasting until the moon sets once again. There is fear of light, fear of exposure, fear of the stark beauty of the unicorns.

But there is not one soul afraid of the dark.

Date: 2011-06-13 04:24 am (UTC)
shadadukal: (SFA : Science)
From: [personal profile] shadadukal
That was beautiful. I love that it is such a strange world.

Date: 2011-06-14 11:20 pm (UTC)
colej55: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colej55
That's fascinating! As one who is terrified of the dark, the stark contrast of opposites really intrigues me. And your choice of words was so interesting (and haunting). You should write more darkish fic, as you bring the story alive so well! More, please.

Date: 2011-06-14 11:47 pm (UTC)
laura_josephsen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] laura_josephsen
Ohh, how interesting! A world where people are afraid of the light and not the dark--and man, those unicorns sound terrifying. O_O

Date: 2011-06-15 03:18 am (UTC)
holdouttrout: not your ordinary fish (Default)
From: [personal profile] holdouttrout
Ooooh. This is awesome! I love the idea and want to see more! :-)

Date: 2011-06-16 11:28 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
Oh, I love stories that shake up the conventional beliefs, and this does an awesome job. And I really like the physics of the idea, that light is bad, and dark is good, and the moonlight can harm. There's a lot of mythology there to explore. An ecosystem to build, too. All the light loving creatures! Moths! Night blooming flowers! So much evil. (Which is awesome, of course.)


ek_johnston: (Default)

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