In many lands stories of the evil that haunt the night have always caught the attention of weary travelers. The warnings of ghosts, demons, and even death, that awaits in dark woods or hardly travels roads seem to be nothing more than childish stories conjured up by the towns folk. But, in the land of Tugan, the Demons are not just made up illusions. No, they are very real and their power over the people of Tugan is stronger than any bond.
As the cool mists of the night surround the villages of Tugan a haunting song begins to set the events of the coming evening in motion. Tiny voices of the children can be heard as small glowing flames dance around each door way signaling to all youngsters the day is done. On their steady journey home from the fields or rivers edge there song fills the air. Why do they sing? Well, if you listen you just might understand the haunting nature of this childish song and the reason the fires must never go out at night.
Empress Tosea of TuganStatus:
The Isle of TuganName:
Aquamarine, but red when possessedAbilities:
Can see and communicate with demons
Tosea is the only child of the Emperor of Tugan, and viewed as the crown jewel in her peoples eyes. She is a lady of the royal court and the way she carries herself is as one. Yet behind closed doors away from the eyes of her people their is more than meets the eye. For Tosea is enamored with the night. She finds the howls of the demons and the creatures that hunt the souls of mortals to her liking. Now before you think their is something wrong with her you must understand she hates violence, and cant stand death but even so her heart yearns for the moon to rise over the valley of Tugan each night.
For you see she holds a secret, one that is so close to her heart she dare not tell a soul. It all started when she was young. From the day she was born she was told never to venture forth into the night. She was shown, what were to be real life illustrations, of demons that would think nothing more than to gobble her up. For years she obeyed and did exactly as she was told. For what child would consider going out at night to come face to face with a demon.
But, one night she did not listen to the lanterns song and left the safety of her home, and before she could do anything a demon of the mountain came an spirited her away. Due to this encounter her eyes changed and she was able to actually see what the demons looked like that called the darkness home. Yet, the strongest pull she had was her complete infatuation with the demon that spirited her away. Yet, not everyone is so willing to accept this change in Tosea and because of this she is forced to make a hard decision that will cause her life as a mortal to end and the days of red eyes to begin.
It is hard to explain who Lord Lu is in just a few sentences. His story is much longer than that. It all started when he was born. Unlike many of the creatures that haunt the night Lu was different, as well as his brother Cuel. They were fashioned and created to be the Brothers Grim, an elite duo with the soul purpose of hunting down the souls of the dead. They were the servants of the God of Death, Kahn, and also seen as his son's. Yet, everything changed the day Kimmer, the Black Moon Phaser, was brought into the picture. She yearned for power and saw that Lu, with his sweet nature, much like a loyal dog, would follow any command she made.
Soon the bonds of brotherhood were snapped when Cuel realized Lu had broken the cardinal rule. He had drained the life force from a live mortal, which was punishable by banishment or death. Little did anyone know this was all part of Kimmer's plan. With the mortal life force in Lu his brain began to grow and he no longer was just a puppy but a man, like his brother. But, the power that radiated through his body was too much and in the end him body started to crummble into millions of pieces because Kahn had not made his body strong enough. Also, since Lu had broken the rules he had to leave before his brother could cut him down. Kimmer, being a witch of sorts cast a spell over Lu's body that would give him time to improve his body. Yet, there was a catch, the spell would only work in the mortal world so he would have to leave his home. Also, once the sun hit him he would burst into a million pieces and only at night would he be able to take his form again.
Yet, Lu is not alone. Though he must forever watch for Cuel's shadow at night he knows he has become stronger. In the land of Tugan he becomes the demon samurai, a creature of hire that can only be called on at night. Quickly he creates a following and is viewed as the boss of the demons of the mountain and in this state of power is how he meets Tosea. Tosea is innocence, kindness, things Lu has never seen before. Quickly, he and many of his followers, realizes the pull the little empress has on him and fear their master is becoming too soft.
Pon, is Tosea's guard. He is a demon much like Ru but one of the lesser ones. He is of the Dogfox species, a loyal obedient demon that finds comfort in following commands. They never speak back, and if do it is only because they fear for the safety of their master. Pon, was ordered by Lu to watch over Tosea during the day and stay by her side when Lu is unable to. Pon does this begrudgingly, since he truly does not care for the Empress, and views her as a complication in his master obtaining freedom from his curse of being a butterfly at dawn.
The sky was starting to become pink and purple as the sun began to dip below the horizon. Night was quickly approaching and with it brought danger. Carefully, like clock work bright glowing red and gold lanterns began to light the doorways to all the houses of the village. A time honored tradition among the people of Tugan and a reminder to the children the day was done. Like small glowing fireflies, lines of light would rise and fall all over the village and near by mountains would twinkle as if the stars had chosen to come down and play. It was a magical time, and also one of the most dangerous.
For many years, all youngsters were told to stay in bed and never venture forth into the night, and for years they followed the warnings. Yet, the demons knew all they needed was for one child, to disobey the laws of the land and soon not even the glow of the lanterns would keep them away.Come and light the lanterns, lanterns, lanterns.
Come and light the lanterns…
Lady Tosea, is that you?
Tosea froze. Her small hands cupped around the firefly, whose faint light was turning her hands a gentle yellow from its glow. Lady Tosea! What are you doing?
She rocked back and forth on the soles of her shoes hoping her attendant would not catch what she held in her hands. Do you not hear the children singing?
Tosea turned her head towards the village and began to hum to the tune of the lanterns song. Being an empress, she knew she would never have to sing it, only the children that were not surrounded by light had to. She on the other hand was always in the safety of the lanterns glow. Yes, I hear them.
She lowered her head but made sure to cover her hands with her kimono sleeves, to hide her outside guest, as her attendant hurried her inside. As the child's song ended and all the lanterns were lit all over Tugan Tosea was placed in her room. It was one of the only times she was allowed to be left alone and she treasured it the most. Carefully, she walked over to her dresser and took out a small glass jar. Turning around to make sure no one was watching her she uncupped her hands and placed the small firefly inside and sealed the jar shut. Now you are just like me.
She said as she tapped on the glass and watched her new pet buzz around in his glass prison. Stretching her arms she walked over to her window and placed the jar on the sill and rested her head there to get a better look at the garden that was now dancing with fireflies outside. You wish to go play with your friends don't you?
She watched as the bug crawled upside down on the lid of the jar, only to loose its balance. She gasped as the firefly began to tumble down to earth. Yet, what landed was not a slick black backed beetle like creature but a butterfly.
Tosea hopped back a little unsure if her eyes had played tricks on her, but clear as day there it was a butterfly. "How did you?" Her little voice squeaked out as she opened the jar. Yet, the moment the lid was off the butterfly vanished. Wait!
She could hear her shoes crunching through the grass as her kimono dragged the ground collecting leaves and dirt as she ran. She knew better, as did all children her age. She continued to tell herself to stop, to turn around to not keep going. Her bed, it was safe and warm, why had she left it?
Suddenly something bright red and yellow fluttered in front of her face. It glowed like a firefly but this creature was something different. The black pattern on its wings and small white dots that looked like eyes mesmerized the young child. She reach out to touch the creature. She knew it was her butterfly, but before her hands could grasp it, it vanished into a puff of white smoke. Her eyes wandered around frantically searching the garden, knowing that she was getting deeper and deeper into the darkness and farther from the safety of the lanterns light.Come and light the lanterns, lanterns, lanterns.
Come and light the lantern's my dear children.
Tosea froze, who was singing? Her heart raced as she looked up towards the cherry blossom tree, only to see her butterfly glowing up in it's branches. Yet, as her eyes focused harder she noticed it was growing, changing into something else.
For if you don't hurry, hurry, hurry
He might find thee, my dear children.
She felt her blood run cold as two green eyes narrowed on her up in the branches above. He had red fur and was dressed in a purple kimono, while his silver grey hair flowed in the wind like smoke. Her eyes never left his side as she watched him jumped down from his perch. A sly little grin made his lips curl up reveling a row of white teeth, as he crouched down to get a better look at her. He needed no introduction, she knew what he was. His eyes started to show flecks of red as he opened his mouth to speak.So, not all children follow rules I see.
He almost hissed at her as she took a few steps back only to suddenly feel his presence behind her. What's your rush little one? I could have swore you wished for me to wait? Or was I wrong?
Tosea covered her mouth and shook her head. Her long silk black hair swished around her causing even the demon to stop. She was unlike the other children he had seen singing during the day. She wore and air of wealth and power something he had never seen in a mortal child before. What is your name child?
She felt him reach out and touch her hair, her greenish blue eyes flashed, knowing this was a clear sign of disrespect. Her reaction only enticed him more. Before she could stop him he reached around her waist and picked her up. Put me down!
She shouted, but he just smiled at her as he took off into the air until they were flying over the villages and heading towards the wooded mountain tops. Tosea's eyes searched for some sign of light but as they passed each house the moment they came in contact with it, the lantern would changed into a butterfly. She watched as the sky filled with them, leaving the villages and houses below dark. He watched as the fear that had once been in her eyes began to melt away as she reached out to touch one of the insects. It circled around above her and then carefully landed on her red kimono. Instantly, as if by magic her kimono turned black and the butterfly melted into the fabric creating a golden embroidered butterfly in its place. Her eyes widened with fascination as she touched the embroidery, and then looked up at the demon. He just laughed as they floated through the clouds and stars in the sky. Do you like it?
He smiled down at her as they landed on the soft green grass below. He watched as her hands traced the butterfly and knew she loved it. Carefully he placed her down on the grass curious to see if she would run from him. It was his first time ever taking a child to his lair and even he was unsure what had compelled him to do so.
He looked around and noticed that many of the lesser demons were also interested in the smell of this strange mortal child, but none of them would come near him. He watched as she saw the creatures that inhabited the night and suddenly felt something wrap around his leg. He looked down to see her holding onto him fearful of the many red eyes that were dancing among the darkness. Do they frighten you?
He bent down and place his hand on Tosea's head and felt a shiver go down his back. Why did this little girl, this mortal, intrigued him so? He was quickly brought back to reality when he felt something watching him. He looked around, making it clear to everyone in the forest that she was his and no one was allowed to touch her. But, the creatures gaze he felt was not one of the nightmarish things of the night but Tosea's.
Tosea looked up at him in awe. She was unsure why she felt safe around him and clung to his side like a child to its mother as the other demons began show themselves through the brush. To her amazement they looked nothing like the horrifying drawings she had seen on tapestries inside the palace. They were actually some of the most beautiful creatures she had ever seen. Before she could stop herself the Demon felt her leave his side and race after one of the foxdog demons. It was a small creature that looked much like a miniature fox and to Tosea it was nothing more than a puppy. It licked her hand and curled up around her neck. She petted his little head and soon, she was surrounded by them. At least six of them had popped out from behind bushes and trees and were racing to play with this new child.
Lord Lu, why do you bring such a child here?
Lu, looked down at Pon, one of the dogfox demons, that had suddenly appeared on a low hanging tree branch. Pon, do you worry that I cannot protect her?
Lu sent Pon a look of intrigue which only made Pon bow his head. No my Lord, you know I would never doubt you. But, a mortal? There are many other females that would be happy to offer you comfort why choose a mortal?
Pon said nervously unsure if he had over stepped his bounds. But Lord Ru just laughed.My dear Pon, you fear my intentions more than my actions don't you?
Pon looked over at Tosea and knew the others in the forest would feel the same way. For now she was just a young child, but with time she would age and then how would their master see her.
As the night grew to a close Lord Lu found himself even more entranced by this young mortal. Her carefree nature and innocence was something he had never seen before. As the sun was starting to peek over the horizon he noticed Tosea yawn and rub her eyes. He felt himself smile as she curled up in his arms for the journey home.
Once they had reached the royal garden, he placed her gently on the ground. Her little eyes fluttered open to get a look at him on last time. Carefully he removed the sash he kept around his waist and draped it over her. She was so small that it could be used as a blanket. Then he placed his hand on her head and watched as a smile appeared on her face. He wanted to take her with him. He wanted to raise her in the woods, in the darkness and make her his little empress. But, once the sun came up he would turn back into a butterfly and would be unable to care for her. Lady Tosea? Has any one seen her? The Empress is not in her room!
The palace was in an up roar with noise as the guards and attendants to the young empress began to search the grounds. Thoughts that the empress had been stolen or worst began to race through everyone's mind, but once they entered the garden and went towards the old cherry blossom tree these thoughts vanished. Wrapped in a glowing green blanket on a bed of pink cherry blossoms was the little empress. She was fast asleep under the cherry tree with little pink petals in her black hair. She rubbed her eyes as one of the guards yelled for the Emperor. Tosea!
She heard her father's voice as he wrapped her in his arms, but his eyes darted around from side to side, knowing something was watching them. He dare not say it, how could he? He did not want to even consider the thought that his child had been playing out in the garden at night. But, the glowing green blanket and the black kimono Tosea was dressed in made it all too clear that she had broken the law.
Yet, as Tosea was brought back into the palace, Lord Lu watched from above in the cherry blossom tree. Good night Empress. We shall meet again.
And as the suns rays touched his kimono he vanished into a puff of white smoke reveling only a simple butterfly with glowing red wings.
This is the song that is sung by the children to tell the adults it is time to light the lanterns. It goes along with the tune" London Bridge is Falling Down."^^Come and light the lanterns, lanterns, lanterns
Come and light the lanterns my dear children
If you don't hurry, hurry, hurry
he may take thee, my dear children.
He tips and toes, toes, toes
He tips and toes through the night
So come all ye children, children, children
Come all ye children before he wakes
For if you don't hurry, hurry, hurry
he might find thee, my dear children.
In the darkness he waits, he waits, he waits
In the darkness he waits for you children.
So keep out during night, during night, during night
So keep out during night, my dear children
For if you hear him howl, hear him howl hear him howl
For if you hear him howl, don't worry
As long as you stay in bed, stay in bed, stay in bed
As long as you stay in bed he wont find you
So come and light the lanterns, lanterns, lanterns
So come and light the lanterns my dear children
To make sure he stays away, stays away, stays away
To make sure he stays away don't come out till day break.