They say that light always wins, overpowering the darkness, be it fiction or reality. Everyone glorifies the light, the yang, shunning the darkness and thinking of it as the 'wrong way of life. But without the dark, we wouldn't know of the light.
This is my story. A story about darkness. A story where one surrenders to the orphic shadows which our demons thirst for. A story where yin triumphs.
* * *
In the faraway lands of Galaecia, the kingdom of hope, righteousness, beliefs, and love stood. For all that people knew, merry days was what the future held for the kingdom...
Yet none spoke about the dark truth of the lands, the forbidden secret which was left unsaid since eons, and now forgotten. Its existence nothing but spun folk tales narrated by the few elders of the lands.
All the happiness of the kingdom depended on one person. The happiness of others dependent on one soul who would be eternally cursed to feel nothing but pain and desolation.
Born to the king and queen of Galaecia, one would assume my life was nothing but rainbows and sunshine. No, my life was dark dreams and monsters, thirsting for a release of emotion.
One peculiar thing I never quite understood was that whenever I was out of the palace, it felt as if people didn't want me around... Some even refused to look at me and some threw me nasty looks. Conflicts and little brawls used to start erupting all around me. The soldiers of the kingdom had to escort me back to the palace every time, saying that it was 'dangerous for me to be out here. But as soon as I made my way out of the streets of the kingdom, I could hear light laughter and joyful conversations. I could sense the frolicsome environment, all of which made me bitter inside. Hatred coursing through my veins and anger in my bones.
As soon as I turned sixteen, I was barely allowed out of the palace. Growing up, I was an obedient child, taught to never question my elders and respect tradition. That habit stuck and I never was able to get rid of it.
Keeping all my emotions and questions to myself and remaining stuck inside the palace for hours and hours, I felt like Rapunzel. But at least she had her pet chameleon, a horse, and a happy ending. I didn't have either of those and I didn't expect one anytime soon.
I found slight solace in the company of the sea, feeling the wind in my hair, inhaling the salty ocean breeze, and gazing at the vast body of water from the 'comfort' of my room's balcony. The sea was right in front and all I wanted was to reach out for it. It was so close yet so far...Never was there a picture as enchanting as the ever-evolving sea.
Today, whilst I was gazing at the infinite blue sea and the crescendo of the waves as it rose and fell into somewhat of a beautifully choreographed ballet, I saw the guards of the kingdom carrying a man into the dungeons. Never was I ever curious about any of our prisoners, probably because we barely had any, but this time, something pulled at me to take a chance this one time.
Sneaking away to the dungeons, I saw him, lying on the cold hard ground.
"You shouldn't be here.", came his voice in a stone-cold rasp.
Stepping aside from behind the stone pillar, I took a good look at him.
"Says you. We've barely kept any prisoners in Galaecia. What did you do that you ended up here?"
"And why should I tell you?"
"Maybe I can help you break out."
"Why would you do that?"
I remained silent.
After a minute, he sighed and continued "I said some things about the kingdom. About how it was cursed and all. And how they're living under a facade. And how I could help them."
My head almost had whiplash at the word 'cursed'. "What do you mean 'cursed'?", I asked.
"There is a legend revolving around this kingdom. Said to have been forgotten by most, but I have my trusted sources. They say that this kingdom is destined to greatness at the hands of one but its people won't be happy any longer."
"And what? You were planning to invade with a one-man army?"
"No, I was hoping for a different turn of events. I was hoping I could get them to trust me and then I'd figure out the rest."
"Don't you think it's brainless of you to tell me all this when you barely know who I am? I could snitch on you, though it won't make much of a difference.", I said wistfully.
He laughed lightly, a melodic rasp I'd say, "Oh I very well know who you are. Valerie, princess of Galaecia, rather, the cursed one. How does it feel, to know that everyone around you is content and cheery at the cost of your happiness? And poor little you suffer in agony, and rage...", This time, he met my eyes, and oh the flaming anger in them was as beautiful as it was terrifying.
"What are you babbling about?" I asked, my voice slightly shaky but in the back of my mind, I knew what he was saying wasn't wrong. It did connect everything. Would my parents really do that? Sacrificing my happiness for their kingdom...Did they know this all along?
"You know I'm right.", he got up and said, tapping his fingers on the metal bars of the cell.
I looked away from him. All this happened but none of it came across as much of a surprise to me.
"Well, what are you going to do now since your 'plan of invasion' was very stupid. If you think about solely gaining all the time, without thinking of the problems which would arise, something like that is bound to happen.", I said, squinting my eyebrows
"That's all that life is about, no? You gain, you lose, the cycle repeats, and then you die. But, when power comes along the way, life takes a turn. It's in your hands to make it better or worse."
"Greed sounds like your God."
"No, greed bows to me."
"Yet it failed you. "
"Not yet it didn't."
"And your God?"
"I only favor those Gods which bring me a fortune."
"I don't think Gods work that way."
"Oh, but it does. I am here right now, aren't I?"
"What about your fortune?"
"I am looking right at it.", he said, a hungry gleam in his vivid emerald eyes.
Upon my frazzled expression, he let out a chuckle and said, "The Kingdom, I meant. Aren't you tired of living like this? Being miserable while others around you are celebrating and are happy for some stupid reason at the cost of your happiness. Think about it, if you come with me, you won't have to suffer any longer. We'll be strong together. We'll be unstoppable. I don't want to rule your kingdom. No, you can have that. But what I want, is a share in the power. Think about yourself this once. You can finally experience what you've always wanted to. It's a win-win. Think about you, Valerie. You."
By this point, I was in the front of his cell. Since I used to remain in my room for most of the time, I had mastered the art of picking locks. Taking out a pin from my hair, I inserted it in the keyhole. The cell door opened with a satisfying click.
"I'd never thought someone seducing me to the dark side would be so tempting." I almost whispered.
Stepping closer to me and tugging around a few tendrils of my hair, he whispered near my ear, "What are you waiting for then?"
Giving him a wicked smile, I whipped out a dagger from his grey leather belt. The dagger had a gleaming sapphire attached to the pommel, the hilt-a vintage silver color.
"You had this all along. Why didn't you use it?", I asked.
"How else would I have come to meet you? If I killed those guards, I'd be dead on the spot.", he said.
"You had this all planned?!", I asked, surprise evident in my voice.
"To every last bit.", he said.
"How'd you know that I would follow you?"
"I didn't. But, I took a chance, just like you."
Noticing me admire the carvings of the dagger, he said, "I won it in a duel, along with other merchandise. I almost lost my eye that day but you should have seen the other guy."
Grabbing the collar of his quilted vest, I said dragging the tip of the dagger and making random patterns on his crisp white shirt, "Must be very precious to you then?"
"No,", he let out a chuckle, "I've had better. And be careful with that dagger, ay. That ain't no toy."
"Well, I best be careful then."
The act was swift and sudden. The blade of the dagger sliced into his heart. A cold sheen of sweat covered him and he gasped, his eyes bulging in disbelief. From his open mouth came gurgling and sputtering sounds.
"I should've ....known..", he coughed out blood.
I tipped his chin upwards to meet his eyes, "Yeah. Do you know what your problem is, based on what I figured out in this five-minute conversation? Though you are quick-witted, you assume too fast. But you know what? I don't like to share at all. I didn't have anyone to share with when I was young, and I guess the habit stuck. " I patted his cheek.
I polished the dagger clean with the cuff of my sleeve. Without sparing the corpse another look, I stepped over it and walked away.
Anger and wickedness coursing my veins, my entity was to be feared. And it was about time I confronted some people, starting with my dear father. It seemed as if the sinister smile I had on affected the waves of the sea as well as it crashed against the shore, wild, turbulent, and... unforgiving.