Darkest Star, Brightest Shadow

There are some times in life where even the brightest of stars can become so dark and corrupt, that they are unstoppable. It is at this time of peril that a nobody, an insignificant little shadow, must step up to face the enemy. Umbra. Umbra must step up, and become the brightest of all shadows...

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15. Zephyr and Umbra

"Quiet, and don't throw!" Thorn's voice, almost silent, hissed to her trainees as they prepeared to throw another knife at the target. Umbra was instantly on gaurd. Could the goblins be here? The assassin stood, listening, her ears trying to pick up a sound. Then, finally, she looked up above them.

"Follow me." she told them, darting over to a tree and clambering swiftly up into the branches. Umbra sheathed the knife, and followed her, hoping that there was no danger. Thorn sat above him, entranced by what she saw. Umbra climbed up the last few branches, Aquila close behind him. Silver waited down below, ears pricked up and listening to every individual sound. Thorn was looking intently to the starry sky, her eyes wide with amazement. Thorn was never usually truly amazed. Umbra followed her eyes.

 

Which was when he saw it.

 

The storm phoenix. It was looking right at him, it's intelligent eyes seeing deep into his soul. Umbra felt a link with this magnificent creature as soon as their eyes connected. A grin filled Umbra's face as the glorious phoenix raised it's head and called out in it's beautiful voice.

"Zephyr." Umbra whispered, his voice full of awe and admiration. "His name is Zephyr." Thorn glanced to the boy, realisation creeping into her. She'd known Umbra was special, but... Could he possibly be the one?

"You... You can hear his voice?" she asked slowly. Umbra nodded eagerly, as if was nothing.

"Sure. You can't?" he replied, still starring at the phoenix. It had amazingly beautiful feathers of a stormy grey, and huge, powerful wings. A sharp beak and talons glinted in the moonlight, it's eyes deep and intelligent. Umbra could not draw his eyes away from it, as if they were bonded. He hardly noticed the assassin's eyes flitting nervously between the two, considering her thoughts deeply. Then, finally,

"Umbra... I think you are the Protector." she said. Umbra looked at her, eyes wild.

"I can't be! The Protector is the mighty warrior from legends!" Umbra protested, but he understood exactly what Thorn was saying. The Protector. Spoken of in prophecies of ancient times. A legendary fighter who would defeand the kingdom from goblins. But surely... Then Umbra considered the storm phoenix's voice. The Protector was accompanied by the storm phoenix, unseen by most, hidden from all until the Protector was born. The only one who could hear what the mighty creature was saying... And Umbra could hear it's thoughts.

"You are the Protector, Umbra. Ask the phoenix. I think he'll know." Thorn said, her face reassuring and comforting. Umbra looked into the girl's eyes, and saw that she would be there for him. Taking a deep breath, he called out to the phoenix,

"I am the Protector, aren't I?"

"Yes, Umbra. And I am the storm phoenix. We are linked in an eternal bond, Umbra. You will need to accept that."

"But-"

"Umbra, there is no 'but'. The ancient legends are becoming real. The gaurdian of lava falls - the nidarinn - is real. I sense a power of healing from your male friend, and a dwarven prophet has been born. Your assassin friend, whose skill with weapons is legendary for her age, and who shall learn to become invisible, and shall be able to run a hundred times faster than normal humans. This she already knows. There is an uprising of goblins, and a dark angel whose mind is not corrupt. A feary who speaks the language of animals and plants, and an elf whose wordly power is so amazing that he can raise the dead from the ground. And then you - the Protector, the champion of battle, the child of the elements." the phoenix spoke softly, his eyes growing gentler as he continiued with the list. Umbra gasped. So many of the ancient legends... So many of them real and living. Not just legends. Real people. Umbra wasn't sure what to be surprised at the most - that he was the protector, that Thorn was going to learn how to control shadow energy, or that this many legands were not just legends... they were real. Him, the Protector. Thorn, the invisible, super fast assassin. Aquila, the healer. And god knew who else. Umbra looked at the phoenix, and tried to accept everything he had just been told. He was the Protector... Umbra looked to his friends, both of them with comforting expressions.

"What did he say?" Aquila prompted. "Because if you ARE the Protector, me and Silver are going to help you however you want us to. Remember, Umbra. We are battle brothers. We stick together." Aquila said, grinning at Umbra.

"And I promise that I will help you as well, Umbra." Thorn added. Umbra imagined her turning invisible, her beautiful face dissapearing. He imagined her running so fast that he couldn't even make out her glorious face. Why hadn't she told him of this before? Umbra started to worry that she didn't trust him. What if she never had trusted him in the first place? Umbra pushed the thoughts from his mind - only temporarily - and concentrated on the conversation.

"Yeah. Thanks guys. Zephyr told me that legends are starting to come true. He mentioned a load of the heroes that legends spoke of, as well as the nidarinn, gaurdian of the lava falls portal-" Umbra was cut off by a blinding light in the inky night sky. A glowing golden light lit up the entire night, blinding all four of them. When they looked back, a creature was there, hovering in the sky beside Zephyr.

"Inferno." Zephyr spoke calmly. "I wondered when you would show up." The other creature in the sky smiled at Zephyr, then looked down to Umbra and his friends, inspecting each of them.

"So this is the nidarinn." Thorn said, a slight hint of victorious excitement to her tone. The creatures golden-bronze claws and fangs glinted in the moonlight, as did it's majestic mane. Then she added,

"Carnelian has been waiting to meet this one." At these words, the nidarinn spoke in a deep growl to Zephyr, it's eyes glinting.

"Introductions shall be later." Zephyr spoke, leaving Umbra wondering what Inferno - the nidarinn - had said. "But for now, let us free you from this barrier."

 

I could not believe that I had finally seen him in person. Umbra, the Protector. But I haven't told him about the other enemy - the one even more powerful than the goblins. I do not wish to burden him within the first few seconds of me knowing him. To burden the Protector when he already is in shock would be foolish. But at some point,he must know. I must tell him, one time. About the foe which he, somehow, with the luck of miracles, shall have to defeat. How I hate my dark little secret. How I hate it with all my soul...

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