The Shadows of Dusk
The Shadows of Dusk
One day, the sun spirits decided that they wanted complete ownership of the solar system. They requested an ultimate contest between them and the moon shadows. The shadows accepted. The victorious would gain full control over the solar system, and the defeated would leave and never show themselves again.
The sun and the Great Moon each sent their most talented representatives down to Earth for the contest. The contest consisted of several running, jumping, throwing, and fighting events.
The gods were intrigued by this competition. They built the competitors a stadium and fields for every event. Every single spirit and shadow was there to watch. After a few days of preparation, the contest commenced. The first of the events was based on running. The spirits took an early win. The second was jumping, including long jumps and high jumps. The shadows took this one. Third was throwing javelins and discuses.
The shadows won this competition as well. Fourth and lastly were the fighting events. Competitors would face each other in hand-to-hand combat. After long, intense battles that shook the Earth, the spirits emerged victoriously. The total score was tied at two to two, but the contest had no more events to offer. This is when the gods created a new species—the horse. For the final competition that would determine the winners, the spirits and shadows raced on horses.
The entire stadium thundered with excitement as they watched their people compete. In the end, the spirits won the race and the shadows had to give up their authority. The shadows never returned to their Great Moon. They stayed on Earth, so the gods shrunk and gave the moon to Earth. Ever since that contest, the shadows never showed themselves to the sun again, which is why they’re always hiding from the light.
* * *
Three centuries later, a shadow called Fade decided that they’d had enough of hiding. Fade’s father was a competitor in the great contest three centuries ago. His name was Omen. However, Fade hasn’t seen him since. Fade was still only a child when his father fought valiantly for their freedom. But after that contest, the spirits forcefully took Omen back with them. Fade’s aunt, Reyna, looked over him after his father was taken.
The only thing Fade had left to remember his father was a dull, old, gold compass. It had strange symbols inscribed on the back of it, but nobody knew what they meant. His father had told him that it was special. Something related to the cosmos, but Fade couldn’t remember. They took Omen because they were afraid of his power. During the contest, even though the shadows lost, Omen did not lose a single fight. He was by far the strongest of the shadows.
The time has come for Fade’s revenge. Aunt Reyna helped him build a personal spacecraft capable of navigating the galaxy. They named it after their homeland on the Great Moon, Orion. Fade didn’t want to go alone, but nobody was willing to join him. All of the other shadows were too weak and frightened. Aunt Reyna was too aged for such a journey. Finally, Fade boarded Orion alone and was ready to take off.
“Goodbye, be safe!” he heard Aunt Reyna shout through the window. Her voice was muffled over the roaring engines. Fade glanced out the window to see Aunt Reyna’s eyes filled with tears. She wasn’t his mother, but she still loved and cared for him as much. She didn’t say anything, but he heard from the look in her eyes say, “Good luck, bring him back.” Fade nodded and waved her goodbye. He flipped the switch and Orion took off.
They broke Earth’s atmosphere and entered outer space. Fade’s first stop is Neptune. He cannot go rescue his father yet, as he wouldn’t stand a chance against the spirits. The shadows’ power comes from the conditions of their home, the moon. With the moon’s current feeble and pitiful state, the shadows were much too weak. Neptune is the wisest of the planets, and Fade hopes that he can receive some guidance from him. Neptune is also the farthest planet from the sun, so Fade wouldn’t be spotted by the spirits.
After four weeks of space travel, Fade finally arrived at Neptune. The ice giant awoke and questioned his visitor. Fade said he is a shadow, son of Omen. Neptune approved, and Fade told the ice giant about everything that had happened.
“Hmm, I see,” Neptune responded, “There is a way to restore the Great Moon’s former size, but it will prove to be a grueling task.”
“How, Neptune? Please, tell me how. I will do anything in my ability to complete this mission,” Fade commented. He clenched his fists, eager to restore the shadows’ power.
“If you’re that set, I will tell you. Still, I do not recommend you resort to such measures,” Neptune stated.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine and all will go as planned,” Fade replied.
“Very well. The core of the moon is currently being restrained by a radianite seal, though it can be broken. You must speak with Jupiter and obtain a sample of the anticyclonic storm from the Great Red Spot. After doing such, travel to the moon’s core and plant the sample. Be warned, even a small sample of that storm will detonate after ten days. Once the seal is broken, the moon will instantly regain its former size and strength,” Neptune explained.
Fade stood up from Orion and bowed to Neptune. “Thank you very much, I promise to be careful,” Fade mentioned.
“Safe travels and good luck, son of Lord Omen,” Neptune added. The ice giant went back to sleep.
“Wait! Neptune! ‘Lord Omen’?! Neptune!” Fade quickly shouted. It was too late. The ice giant had already gone back to resting. “Father? Lord Omen?” Fade thought to himself.
Orion began their expedition to Jupiter, as instructed by Neptune. One week later, they reached Jupiter, the largest of the gas giants.
“Fade… I’ve been informed of your mission… but I’m sorry, I cannot give you a sample of the anticyclonic storm without a price,” Jupiter murmured.
“What is it you want, Jupiter?” Fade questioned as he descended Orion onto one of the moons.
Jupiter responded, “You see… I’m slowly dying. I need to be closer to the sun, but I can’t because of the asteroid belt. The only way to cross the asteroid belt is with a compass forged by Hermes, the god of navigation. That compass is known as the Compass of the Cosmos. If you can find and retrieve that compass―”
“Compass of the Cosmos?! That’s the name of the compass my father gave me before he was taken!” Fade interrupted.
“Wait, you have the compass?” Jupiter asked.
“I do! It’s in my―hold on,” Fade replied as he searched his backpack, “Found it! Here it is, the compass my father left behind.”
“Well I’ll be darned, it really is the compass,” Jupiter said, “The compass for a sample of the anticyclonic storm, what do you say?”
“My father’s compass,” Fade thought, “The last thing my father gave to me.” He looked down at the old and dull, yet sacred gift. “He would understand,” Fade whispered.
“What’s that? Speak up, young one,” Jupiter added.
“Oh―nothing,” Fade responded, “I accept your trade.”
“Well, there we have it,” Jupiter concluded. He blew over a sample of the storm to Fade, and was handed the Compass of the Cosmos. “Who did you say your father was again?” Jupiter wondered.
“Omen, his name is Omen,” Fade answered as he packed up his backpack.
“Omen?!” Jupiter exclaimed.
“Yeah, is something wrong?” Fade asked. He looked up at Jupiter and was ready to take off.
“Oh―it’s nothing,” Jupiter said, “Good luck and be safe, young one.”
Fade hit the launch switch and Orion took off towards their next stop, the former Great Moon. Another week passes by and they arrive at the moon.
“The core, he said,” Fade thought to himself, “I remember a place in my hometown that led to the core. Orion’s Canyon―I think it was?”
Fade was still only a child when they had to abandon this place, so there isn’t much he remembers. Soon enough, Fade made it to the core of the moon and saw the radiant seal, exactly how Neptune described it. He gently placed the sample of the anticyclonic storm by the base of the seal.
“Now we just have to wait,” Fade whispered to himself. He heard an explosion from the surface.
“Search everywhere! Don’t let them escape!” Fade heard a man yell in the distance.
“They’re here! How?! They must’ve seen Orion!” he panicked, “There’s still a day left before the storm detonates! What should I do, what should I do, what should I do?!” He heard another explosion. Fade carefully peeked outside and saw the spirits. He also saw an even larger spaceship coming their way. Fade hurried back into the canyon. His heart was beating out of his chest. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing.
Fade jolted his eyes open and gasped for air. He had fallen asleep. There was yelling and explosions from the surface, and Fade was confused.
“Why would they be fighting? What’s happening?” Fade wondered. He built up the courage to take another peek outside.
When Fade saw what was going on, he froze in shock. He couldn’t believe his eyes. The shadows, all of them, were here on the moon fighting against the spirits. The ship Fade saw wasn’t the spirits, but the shadows! They didn’t even have half of their true strength, yet they still fought with their lives on the line. Their leader and commander were Aunt Reyna. Fade bolted over with tears rolling down his face.
“How?! How did you do this?!” he cried.
“Long story, but we’re here to help rebel against the spirits,” Aunt Reyna replied, “There’s more coming, and we won’t be able to defeat them all. We must leave right now.”
“Oh no, they’re already here!” Fade exclaimed. He pointed at another spaceship right behind them. Dozens of spirits began descending from the ship. The shadows were outmatched.
Suddenly, everyone felt a tremor from beneath the surface. The seal was broken. Instantly, the moon exploded back into its former size. The Great Moon had returned. All of the shadows each felt a great river of power rush into their bodies. The real war had begun.
“Fade! Now’s your chance. Most of the spirits are here right now, so you can go free your father!” Aunt Reyna shouted. He nodded. Fade darted back to Orion to begin the final phase of his mission.
When he found the ship, it was in shambles. The spirits had destroyed it. Fade rushed over to inspect the damage. The ship was repairable, but he didn’t have the parts and tools to fix it. It was then that he realized he has everything he needs at their home on the Great Moon. Fade sprinted to the old house he remembers as a child. He frantically searched the garage for the parts and tools he needed to repair Orion.
Once he found everything he needed, Fade hurried back to the demolished ship. He swiftly rebuilt Orion with the skills he acquired from his father’s teachings.
Once again, Fade took off with Orion to their final destination.
Not long after, they landed on the surface of the sun. Fade believes his father is being kept as a prisoner in the Grand Stronghold, the home of the king. He heads to the stronghold using Orion’s navigator. At last, Fade arrives at the gate to the stronghold.
“I am the Grand Stronghold’s gatekeeper, and you definitely do not belong here,” the gatekeeper said to Fade. He unsheathed his sword.
“My name is Fade, I’ve come to free my father, Omen, of your people’s captivity,” Fade firmly stated. He proceeded to walk closer to the gate.
“Your objectives are irrelevant. The king’s orders are absolute. If you continue to neglect my demands, I will have no choice but to remove you by force,” the gatekeeper warned. Fade was unaffected. His eyes glowed with anger that would not be stopped. The gatekeeper leaped forward and swung his mighty blade. Fade evaded the attack and launched one of his own. The battle commenced.
“That’s pathetic. You can’t be Omen’s son, there’s no way. You’re much too weak,” the gatekeeper scoffed. Fade lay on the ground. “How disappointing can you be?” the gatekeeper mocked, “You’re―” Fade looked up at the gatekeeper, his eyes burning with rage. All of a sudden, the air and atmosphere around them felt tremendously thick. The gatekeeper gulped with fear. The eerie, horrifying aura around Fade exploded, and the gatekeeper was turned to nothing but ash. Fade entered the stronghold and continued to the throne room. He saw the king sitting backward on the throne.
“Where is my father, what did you do with him?” Fade demanded. He stopped in front of the throne. The king turned around, and Fade fell to the floor. It was his father.