chapter 143: the birth of twilight

When the screen turned on once more, we were greeted to the sight of a setting sun over a distant mountain. As the camera zoomed in, we saw a lone figure standing atop the mountain, his large, leathery wings folded behind him as a cape. The figure stared off into the sunset, and as the camera panned around him we were able to see just how he was able to do so.

The figure was, of course, a demon male. His form large and robust, his chest bare. Around his neck he wore a simple black cloth, which lifted up into a hood that stopped right before his large, curved horns. The front of the hood connected to a pitch black mask that covered the entirety of the man’s face. Upon a close inspection, there were two very thin slits in the mask, each one directly over the eyes.

With the camera focused on him, burning letters began to appear on the screen, reading ‘The King of Twilight’.

Soon, a narrator began to speak, and to no surprise I found it to be Ashley’s voice. “This is a tale of an old and wise king, but at the same time the most brutal conqueror in history. He is the King of Twilight, and this is his story.”

The flaming letters at the bottom of the screen exploded as her words ended, engulfing the entire screen with a cover of fire. When it cleared, the screen was dark. “This story begins as all do. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. A tiny world trapping a being of great destiny.”

“And what does a great being do when trapped within a small world? He breaks free…” A cracking could be heard from the screen, streaks of thin light filtering in through a shaking form. An infant’s cry sounded out, before with one sudden burst, light poured in.

“Of course, this young boy’s greatness isn’t quite ready yet. No… he has the most humble of beginnings. An abandoned egg in a dark cave far from town. Nobody to care for him, nobody to love him. Nobody to know whether he lived or died.” The cry of the infant soon overwhelmed the narrator, and the camera turned to see a tiny red form, its horns just barely poking through a patch of black hair. Its small fists were curled up, flailing wildly while its tiny wings stretched out around it.

“By all rights, the boy should have died. Be it the elements, or simple hunger, the world had been just too cruel to him. Yet fate had other plans.” As the narrator spoke, the scene flashed forward. The young boy was seen crawling about, his body far thinner than it had been before.

His weak hands reached out and picked up a bundle of moss, stuffing it into his mouth before he curled up in a ball. “Out of the countless abandoned youths of the world, very few survive long enough to find food of their own. Thankfully, demons are hatched strong. Strong enough to slowly move about.”

Again the screen flashed, and the boy now appeared to be a couple of years old. His body was so thin you had to wonder if he had ever been fed. In his hands, he held a sharpened stick, and as the camera zoomed out it could be seen that he was sitting atop a high branch in a tree, staring down at the field below.

“The boy had tried hunting from such a young age, yet his small body had always prevented him from reaching his target. By the end of the day, he was forced to scavenge for moss or edible fruits. Until one day… everything changed.”

The boy caught side of a small animal, slowly walking beneath the tree. It appeared to be similar to a six legged cat with glistening, black skin instead of fur. When he saw it, he flinched, quickly steadying himself on the branch. His hands tightened their grip around his spear, his wings silently extending.

Soon, he made his move, jumping from the branch and diving down to his prey below. The ‘cat’ quickly looked up, and immediately rushed off, out of the way of the coming danger and into the distant trees. Unfortunately, the boy’s movement was too reckless, and without his prey to cushion his fall, his wings were too weak to stop in time.

Although he attempted to pull up, he still crashed heavily against the ground, a sickening crunch heard as his arm bent the wrong way. Pained, he couldn’t help but cry out, screaming as he laid on the ground, unable to move. While the moonlight shone upon him, he sniffled and sobbed, unable to move without sending waves of agony throughout his body.

“Once more, his fate had apparently been sealed. He was doomed to die alone, without a name, without a single person aware of his existence. And indeed, this was almost the case.” Just as Ashley’s voice faded, a thick shadow descended upon him, giant wings slowly folding while an aged man landed on the ground. For the first time in the movie, a voice besides Ashley’s spoke.

“What do we have here?” He asked, slowly approaching the screaming child. He saw the broken arm, the discarded spear, and was able to piece together the child’s story. “I see…”

The camera turned dark as the aged man knelt over the broken child, and the narrator’s voice again returned. “The boy had been taken in, and given a name. Myoln, the child of the moon. For the first time in his life, he had been fed properly. Myoln had a family.”

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The next scene was obviously years later, the boy now nearly ten years of age. Gone was the emaciated look of his early years. Now, he could be seen flying through the skies, properly clothed in brown pants tied with a rope at his waist, his tail free and dangling behind him. His torso was covered by a simple linen shirt with an open back.

The camera panned around, and showed him landing atop a building in the middle of a wide field. “Uncle, I’m home!” He called out, stepping inside from the door atop the roof. There was a cough as the aged man, not far in his years, stood up from a rickety wooden chair.

“My boy, where have you been? Don’t you know it’s not safe to be outside these nights?”

“I’m fine, nobody saw me. I just wanted to stretch my wings for a bit.” Myoln explained with a small smile to the worried old man, who let out a sigh of relief.

Again, the narrator spoke up. “There were troubled times in the lands. The queen had recently passed away, and the king appeared to have lost his mind.” The camera zoomed out, focusing on another house where demons had descended, iron spears in hand. “Houses were being ransacked at random. People killed without the slightest provocation simply for asking what they did wrong.”

“The nobles had cried out for mercy, but the king turned a deaf ear. Any who tried to take action were killed, their bodies nailed to the castle wall as an example.” As the narrator’s voice faded, the scene changed again, but this time it wasn’t a skip in time. Instead, it moved to follow a group of five demons, all male, as they soared through the night sky.

A house could be seen approaching in the distance, surrounded by a vast field. Obviously the house of a farmer, though at a glance it looked to be the same one that Myoln was recently shown flying towards. As they descended, four of the five split off to surround the house, landing heavily while the fifth landed directly on the roof.

With that, the scene again switched to the inside of the house, where the old ‘Uncle’ displayed an expression of immediate panic. “What’s wrong?” Myoln asked, moments before a loud crash could be heard on the ceiling.

“Quick, quick, the cellar.” The Uncle spoke in a hushed tone, pushing Myoln along without allowing any time to speak. There were no windows on the bottom floor of the house, so those outside were unable to see as he pushed his straw bed aside and lifted up a pair of floorboards. “The soldiers are here, you have to hide.”

“B-but what about you, Uncle?” He asked, his face quickly showing fear and concern for the only family he had ever known.

“I’ll be fine, my boy.” The old man smiled sadly, shaking his head. His dull eyes closed as he pushed Myoln down into the small cellar, quickly covering it back up. “No matter what, you mustn’t make a sound.”

Only allowed on

Just as he moved his bed to once again cover up the entrance to the cellar, there was a crash from the floor above. The camera moved down to the perspective of Myoln, looking out from the cracks of the floorboards. We saw as the old man weakly walked towards the stairs, just in time for the door to be flung open by a bladed boot.

Likely knowing the reputation of the army, the Uncle kept himself quiet. Stepping through the doorway was a strong man with a bare chest, wearing only a pair of pants and leather boots with a bladed tip at the end.

The soldier did not even spare a glance at the old man as he looked around, his eyes scanning the room. “Where’s the boy?” He asked in a gruff voice, causing the old man to flinch.

“He’s out for the night. Went to stretch his wings. Surely the king doesn’t care about on little boy?” The man spoke up in jest, but soon regretted his words.

The soldier’s face turned grim, the grip on his spear tightening. In one swift motion, he turned around and plunged the iron tip of the spear into the old man’s heart. The hidden boy slapped his hands over his mouth to prevent himself from crying out as the old man’s body fell to the floor weakly.

Just as the soldier turned to call for the rest of the troops, I clapped my hands to pause the movie. Much to the surprise of the girls next to me, and a certain halfling. “Hey, what was that for?” Terra groaned, blinking her eyes and sitting up. I thought I might have woken her when she spoke again. “It was just getting good.”

“It’s pretty easy to guess what’s going on.” I said, shaking my head and looking towards Aurivy and Ashley. “Illegitimate child of the queen?” The two goddesses exchanged a glance, before looking back at me and nodding their heads. “Quest for revenge?” Another nod.

“Think we can skip over the more cliche bits, then?” I asked with a small smile, glancing towards the rather stereotypical ‘father figure killed to spur the hero to action’ scene. It might happen in real life, but that only makes it more stereotypical, not less. And besides, they obviously hadn’t intended to spend much time building up the people around Myoln, so might as well speed things up.

“Fine, fine.” Aurivy rolled her eyes with a small grin. “Spoilsport.” The movie soon began to fast forward, until the narrator’s voice spoke up once again.

“And so, Myoln learned of his true identity. The abandoned son of the dead queen.” When the camera stopped, it was on a grown man with his head lowered as he walked through a busy street, the full moon high in the sky. “But now, the news had come too late. The king was already dead, murdered by the eldest son of one of the king’s concubines.”

The grown man, no doubt the fully grown Myoln, sank into the crowd, his form soon becoming indistinguishable from the mass of bodies. “And this was the day when the King of Twilight was born, his rage against the kingdom driving him to great and terrible things…”

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