Tales of Dark Mountain: Moonlight - Part One
~The first story of the Tales of Dark Mountain trilogy~
Part One: The Battle
The Lirse and the Sorsay. Two bands of Shoyrus that once lived in harmony. The Lirse always loved the night and stars. They were born in the colors shadow, starry, silver, or blue. They had a light blue crescent moon birthmark on their stronger arm. The Sorsay were always ones for daytime and light. They came in the colors cloud, white, gold, and yellow, and were born with a red-orange sun on their stronger arm. Originally, these two bands lived in harmony with everyone in Neopia. However, one battle pushed them into hiding.
Our story starts with the villain who started it all.
A shadow Shoyru flew swiftly through the rain as it pounded down on the ground below. The sky was streaked with gray. Sweat mixed with water as the Shoyru flew through the downpour. He landed, panting, by a small log cabin. He knocked on the door. “Who’s there?” came a harsh voice from inside.
“It’s Ash, sir,” the Shoyru replied.
A white Shoyru opened the door. The Shoyru nodded and let him pass, out of the rain and into the warm cabin. A fire crackled in the fireplace, and set the walls aglow with pale light. The light of the flames gave outline to a Draik standing nearby, his back to the two Shoyrus. “Ash, what is the report?” he asked.
“I have been to see the Lirse. They are on the brink of battle against the Sorsay,” Ash replied.
The Draik nodded. “Cloud told me the same thing about the Sorsay.” The firelight glittered in his eyes. As he looked up at the ceiling, a clap of thunder rattled the cabin, and lightning illuminated his crimson scales. “It can’t be long now before the storm breaks.”
Meanwhile, at the home where the Lirse stationed them, the Shoyrus were preparing for battle. Worry creased the faces of many mothers. Fear was plain in the faces of young Shoyrus. All Shoyrus sixteen years of age or older were going into the battle that would come when the storm had passed. The Lirse leader had called a meeting, and all of the Shoyrus where listening from somewhere. “Shoyrus of the Lirse clan!” he cried, his voice ringing out through the silence. “The Sorsays have turned against us! They’ve turned against the peace we’ve had! We cannot stand for this! Today, we meet them in battle!” His words were met with battle cries from the Shoyrus who would fight, and grim silence from the remaining. “All who are not fighting should head to the strong hold in the mountains. You will be safe there from any Sorsay ambushes.” He flicked his tail to signal the meeting was over. Many Shoyrus left, a few guards to go along with the ones who wouldn’t fight, to go to the mountains. As the Lirse leader watched them go, he was filled with sadness for the peace they had lost. However, he pushed thoughts of this aside, and surveyed the remaining Shoyrus. Each brandished a weapon and shield, but few wore protective armor. He noticed the rain had slowed to only a slight drizzle, and the clouds were beginning to shift. He lifted his sword and let out a fearsome battle cry, which was echoed by each of his solders. He took flight, his army flying behind him.
The clouds had cleared and the sky was painted red when the Lirse first caught sight of the Sorsay. The two armies stopped barely a foot away from each other. The Shoyrus from each clan glared at each other, and tension crackled through the air like the lightning that had not long ceased to rack the skies. “We’ll give you one chance,” the Lirse leader said. “Stop doing your evil deeds, and return to your home.”
“We’re not the ones doing the evil deeds!” the Sorsay leader cried. “It is you who needs to stop!”
The Lirse leader snorted. “Have it your way,” he growled. He lifted his sword, sunlight glinting of the blade. The Sorsay leader did the same. And so, the battle was on.
Back in the Draik’s cabin, the crimson Draik turned around to face Cloud and Ash. What he said next was in a low, threatening voice; “It begins.”
~100 years later~
No one knows what happened during the battle. However, the Lirse and Sorsay were no longer seen afterward, and soon were wiped from all memory. Well, not all memory. However, those who knew the stories often refused to speak about them. For they knew the evil Draik who had started it all still lived, somehow. But what they didn’t know was that there were those out there who would hold the fate of the Lirse and the Sorsay in their hands.
“Alex, pay attention!” someone cried, jolting the young blue Shoyru out of his daydreams.
Alex blinked and looked up at the frustrated face of a green Nimmo. “Sorry, Mrs. Chez,” he said, hearing snickers from his classmates.
Mrs. Chez looked frustrated. “Stop daydreaming and pay attention to the lesson!” she scolded him.
Alex winced at his teacher’s tone. “Okay,” he said quietly.
Mrs. Chez nodded, and then continued with her lesson. However, even though he had agreed to pay attention, Alex’s mind still wandered back to his imaginary world, where there were no limits to what anyone and anything could do.
Someone banging on his desk once again brought him back into harsh reality. His head shot up. He blinked bleary eyes at Mrs. Chez. When his vision cleared, he saw no one in the classroom but Mrs. Chez, and realized he must have dozed off. “You are in deep trouble, Alex,” she told him, anger flaring in her voice.
Alex looked down, embarrassed. As he did, he once again saw the light blue crescent moon on his right arm. That reminded him of his family. They lived in a small house in the central district of Neopia Central. None of them had the mark on one of their arms, like he did. He also caught a glimpse of the red-orange sun on his left arm. None of them had that, either. Nor would his family tell him why he had these marks. Many times, he would daydream about what these marks might mean. Often times, he would make them into something special.
“Alex!” Mrs. Chez cried. “Stop letting your mind wander and pay attention!” Alex jerked his head up to look at his teacher. “Your parents are going to hear about this! Then, maybe they can get you to focus on class.” Alex groaned. Now he was in deep trouble. You brought this on yourself, he told himself firmly. However, that didn’t stop him from being nervous all the way home, Mrs. Chez going with him to deliver the message.
When they reached Alex’s house, Mrs. Chez knocked on the door. It was opened by a purple Shoyru. She looked surprised to see Alex and Mrs. Chez. “What’s the matter?”
Mrs. Chez snorted. “Elise, your son doesn’t do well keeping his mind in class. I need you to teach him a lesson about paying attention.”
Elise sighed. She gave Alex a stern look, then said, “I’ll see that he learns.”
Mrs. Chez grunted with satisfaction, then turned around and left, leaving Alex and Elise alone at the door. “Come,” she said to Alex, her voice stern. Alex followed Elise as she entered the house.
The house wasn’t much; one story, with three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a family room. However, that suited the family just fine. Alex sat down on the sofa, while Elise stood in front of him. She wore a stern look on her face like a mask. “Why do you always have to daydream in class?” she asked.
Alex shrugged. “My mind just wanders,” he replied.
“Try to pay more attention to what your teacher says,” Elise scolded. “I want you to at least try to pay attention in class.”
Alex sighed. “I’ll try,” he said, though he figured his mind would still drift, anyways.
Elise sighed. “Good,” she said, in a tone that Alex figured meant she knew that his mind would end up drifting, as well.
“Mom, can I go for a walk?” he asked. Maybe some fresh air would help.
Elise nodded. “Just be back before dark.”
Alex nodded his thanks, and then bounded out the door. A cool breeze greeted him as he exited the small house. He walked along the sidewalk with his arms swinging loosely by his side and his head down. A drizzle had started while he had been the house, getting a small lecture by his mother. If he knew her, there would be much worse to come, he was sure.
That’s when he ran into someone. “Hey, watch where you’re going!” the shadow Shoyru cried. A bandage was wrapped around his left arm. Then, he looked at Alex’s right arm, and his eyes widened in surprise.
“Sorry,” Alex mumbled.
However, the other Shoyru wasn’t paying any attention to Alex’s words. He pointed a shaky hand at the light blue crescent moon on Alex’s arm. “How?” he asked quietly. His eyes slid to one side, and he saw the red-orange sun on Alex’s other arm. He yelped with surprise and nearly fell over.
Alex looked at him in confusion. No one had ever done this around him before, nor been so nervous about his birthmarks. “What’s the matter?”
The Shoyru shivered, though it didn’t seem from the slight chill in the air. “A Lirse... and a Sorsay? But, how could that be? It’s not possible!”
Alex took a step back. This neopet was making him nervous. “Well, I’ve got to go. Got to be back by dinner.” He kept his pace to a brisk walk until he was out of sight of the other Shoyru, and then broke into a run.
The other Shoyru stared after Alex until he had disappeared onto the horizon. He looked up at the sky as the rain slid down his cheek bones and streamed into his luminescent eyes. However, it was not rain that trickled from his eye and down the side of his face. “One of the Shoyrus from the bands isn’t trapped in Dark Mountain,” he whispered quietly.
The Shoyru looked back the way Alex had come. “How can he be both Lirse and Sorsay?” he asked, shivering. He sprang into flight. He wasn’t sure who this new Shoyru was, or what he could do. But maybe, just maybe, he was the hope that the Lirse needed. If one was not under the control of Scorgan, the evil red Draik, others could.
And so, Alex’s journey began, before he had even realized it had begun.
To be continued...