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The Light Within the Darkness
The Light Within the Darkness
Dark was the night when the princess’s castle stood silent and still atop the hill overlooking the valley. Its walls shone in the darkness like black obsidian. The night was pitch black. The moon had long since left this land, taking the princess’ freedom with it.
She stood out on the balcony, looking upon the hills in the distance. She remembered the kind face of her mother before she had died and left her with nothing. She remembered how terrible her life had been. For years she had been oppressed and tortured within her own castle walls. This land was not her kingdom. This castle was not her haven. Yet she was bound to this cursed land from the very day of her birth. This place was her prison. This kingdom was her hell. However, these thoughts seemed only to darken the already lightless night until finally the land before her became a silent void of darkness.
The princess stood there in the binding darkness, searching for a sunrise that she knew would never come. For years the stars, moon, and sun had abandoned her and so the night only grew bleaker with every waking moment. Her frightened breath and the quickened pace of her heart were the only noises that resounded in the darkness. The fear crept up her thigh and gripped her chest as though the night were holding a cold steel blade to her throat.
Suddenly, a fire materialized far off in the night, growing in size and strength. Right beside it, another ember began to glow, and the princess stared in awe at the two energies glowing blood red in the black void. They were both cut in two by black slits, making them look like cats’ eyes.
She caught her breath as the darkness shuddered and trembled. Her entire world quaked as the shadows pulsated and sprang to life in the distance. Finally, the shadows thickened, forming the silhouette of a great beast in the far-off distance; a thousand-foot tall dragon with blood red eyes that glowed like fire.
Its claws shone with greater luster than even the palace walls. Its teeth were a legion of twenty-foot long curved scythes with shining black serrated blades. The creature’s tail was a mile long, stretching off into the darkness and ending in a point that was ornamented with black spikes. Slowly, the beast gaped its maw, revealing a glowing ember deep inside a large cave that tunneled on for eternity, guarded by the beast’s shining teeth. From its maw emerged a large black forked tongue, flitting in the red glow of the throat’s ember like a foul twin-headed snake.
The beast roared in anger, a sound that echoed through the darkness, deafening the princess like tens of thousands of jet planes crashing into a forest of skyscrapers. She fell to her knees, succumbing to the force of a massive tremor that shook the ground so violently that one of the palace’s towering parapets fell with every step taken forth by the nightmare beast.
She scrambled to her feet, but all attempts of escape were in vain. She rushed through the door behind her, falling several stories into darkness as the floor of her chamber room collapsed. Her palace crumbled. Obsidian debris crashed down around her as she screamed in terror, covering her face with her hands, sobbing and crying. Even the eternal night surrounding her seemed helpless in the presence of the colossal beast.
Her bedside drawer fell from above, crashing against the rubble. From inside the drawer emerged several small things that she had always kept precious to her. They were her dreams; her hopes. Now they had shattered against the broken walls of her prison. Her palace, once tall and proud, was now a range of black rubble in which she lay sobbing as the threat of the beast approached.
All that now stood was a single tower, harboring a broken trestle that had once bridged the gap between the tower’s upper room and the rest of the palace. Her mother had once called the tower “hope” and she was forbid ever to enter the tower. Perhaps it harbored shelter for her now.
She stood on shaky legs, her hands frothing forth a crimson river, her eyes red from crying. She dashed unsteadily toward the tower’s ground level door as the beast drew closer with every tremor that shook her from her bearings.
Finally, she reached for the door and flung it open, rushing inside to find a spiraling stone staircase that trailed off several floors into the darkness above. She ran, her steps echoing through the dark tower off the rugged stone stairs, her eyes watering in fear that the might of the beast may topple the tower, sending a torrent of obsidian gravel collapsing on top of her.
She reached the top floor, bursting through the door to find herself standing on the broken trestle bridge that branched from the tower’s top floor exterior. She caught her breath. Her eyes were wide with fear. Towering above her, merely a hundred yards away stood the dragon, its wings spread wide like black sails on massive ships that drifted through the darkness. The trestle bridge was level with the beast’s neck and still its head and gaping maw towered several yards above her. However, it was no longer lumbering toward her.
Between her and the beast was a man standing at the broken end of the bridge. He was tall, with flowing dark hair. Atop his shoulders were metal guards and he brandished a double-edged long sword with a three-foot long blade of pure white, bordered by sapphire. The hilt was shining gold embedded with rubies. He turned to look at her only for a second, revealing a gentle smile and kind eyes that were deep blue and sparkled like diamonds. His blade radiated a white light.
The dragon looked down upon the man with a malicious glare, its eyes full of hatred and disgust. It opened its fearsome maw and the embers within its throat grew brighter, radiating intense heat. The princess called out to the warrior through the writhing darkness, but it was too late.
A massive black flame erupted forth from the dragon’s maw, setting the bridge ablaze like a match in gasoline. The heat was so intense that she braced her arms before her face, shielding her eyes and trying to look away.
When the eruption had subsided, the man still stood tall and proud, completely unscathed. He stared the beast down as it roared in frustration, sending another tremor through the eternal void. The princess cringed in pain as the deafening sound brought her to her knees. However, the man stood tall.
He readied his blade as the glow within the dragon’s maw indicated its preparation for another blast. The warrior leaped into the air and brought his sword in a sideways sweeping arch with great force. A white light emanated from the monster’s throat, shining through the darkness. The princess looked away, shielding her eyes from the light as the warrior’s blade collided with the dragon’s maw.
Yet another deafening shriek pierced the dark eternal void. The world shook with violent force as the blinding light grew in luminosity. Slowly, the light engulfed the dragon and even the warrior squinted through the flash as he struggled to force the sword through the creature’s bone.
Suddenly, the eternal darkness in which the princess once lived had been taken over by pure white. The dragon’s deafening roars gradually subsided until they were a mere hum ringing in the distance. The beast slowly dissolved into golden light until all that remained was the warrior and his blade.
He turned to face the girl and walked toward her with a kind smile. She lay now on her side, slowly regaining consciousness, broken and bleeding. The debris was gone. Where the tower once stood was nothing but white. Her kingdom was gone.
The man dropped his blade and took the girl’s hand. With his help, she stood and managed to stutter her appreciation to him. He smiled and slowly in the distance a golden light shone upon them, glowing brighter and more radiant as they talked.
They talked for days until finally the man announced that he would gladly be her prince if she would kindly accept his hand in marriage. For the first time in years the princess managed a smile as though her lips were trying to remember how to form such a shape. With that she uttered an “I do.”
At the echo of those words into the white void, the golden light in the distance, as if waiting for her command, became a shining sunrise across a sparkling light blue sea. Around them, trees and plant life rose from the newly materialized sand beneath their toes. Birds flew out across a blue sky and behind the two lovers appeared a grassy green valley only yards away from the sandy beach. Waves lapped against her legs as the princess smiled confidently, giggling for the first time.
The prince took his princess’ hands in his and kissed her softly on the forehead. Suddenly, her wounds dissolved, healing almost instantly, and she was left with skin as soft as the clouds above and a white sun dress.
Together, they rebuilt their kingdom brick by brick as the prince introduced his darling to the new world around her. Their castle was now much grander, pure white, trimmed with gold.
They never left each other’s side and lived happily ever after for eternity.