The night was vast and desolate, thick and velvet. It spread like wings over the lucent landscape; crept across the sky like spreading ink. If not for the soft violet of the starlight, the moors and valleys would be lightless places of shadow. The darkness bred tiny monsters, things with luminous eyes and wicked teeth, but in the dark places hid warm-bodied things, their soft round eyes watching, waiting.
The starlight cast her glittering tears like astral pearls, reflected in the tinkling streams and still pools of water that had settled after the rain. The wind threatened, whispering gently and then more fervently, rushing to a gust and then to a murmur. Leaves stirred and branches moaned, leaning into the force of the churning maelstrom. The wind rose to a banshee scream, a harpies cry that cut the air in silver echoes.
This wind carried the darkness, the magic breath of a Volkhov, a shadowy mage who existed only in the fickle mist and shifting veils of night. He cast a double shadow, his garments woven of silk spun from the void, and he moved through dreams and through time as if passing through water. Through dreams he crept and whispered, taking things that were not his to take.
In a deep garden below his Nightly Palace, the Mage kept a sleeping princess. Under his spell and the intoxicating poppies of his perfumed garden, the princess had slept for a long time, caught in endless dreams. The Mage enchanted the trees and flowers to watch over her, his poisonous garden full of foxgloves and deadly nightshade. The warm-blooded creatures of the wood gathered to her side to keep her warm, and they brushed her hair with tender paws.
The deepest part of the night folded her black garments around the sleeping world, the wind fell to a hushed susurration. In the gloom, two lights struggled to illuminate the murk and fog. One golden, one silver - the lights rushed towards each other. The animals sensed it coming, felt the surge of starlight as it gathered speed.
Across the valley, through mist as thick as water, across swamp and marsh where insects murmur and thirst for blood;
Where the crocolisks lurk, their yellow eyes rolling and gleaming - the lights raced soundlessly through the night.
Across fields of scented flowers that cast spells for sleep,
Heavy skirts of petals like tiny fairy bells;
Thirsting not and never slowing
The two soft sparks collided.
- Words & image © Jessica luna / Circle of Wolves