The first light he would know in his life, was the light of the sun. It’s warmth and glow dazzled him at all times. It brought the day with it, which meant it was time to play with his friends and learn about their small world.
This young boy was named Leuce, he never remembered having a last name. He never really asked anyone else if he did. He grew up with a whole bunch of other children, some older, some younger. They all didn’t know their last names either. In the small village he lived in, no one seemed to question why that was. He was fine with that by all means. He had his friends, he had food, and he had the Admiral to protect them.
The Admiral was like daytime, the sun always meant he would come around. The Admiral was a older man, scars littering his body here and there. A cutlass proudly hanging in it’s proper place. However, he always had a kind smile and a open ear for the kids.
He was really the only adult Leuce knew in the entire village.
Leuce never questioned why that was as well.
He would usually gather all of the children and teach them math and writing. Leuce found these subjects a bit boring. The Admiral insisted that they know them for some convoluted reason or another. Leuce begrudgingly obliged the man, if only to hear his favorite part of the daily lesson: Storytime.
Near the end of the impromptu school time, the Admiral would regal the children with the tale of his time in a war.
“This was no regular war,” The Admiral would say every time, “This was a war of gods!”
He would then go on to describe in vivid detail, a clash of unfathomable proportions. One of rare and unspeakable magic as well as advanced technology. Lightning would strike the earth, and waves of oceans toppled men on both sides of the skirmish. Ferocious beasts were used as mounts, as mechanical men shouted orders to one another.
“In the end however, only six people came out on top of this battle.” The Admiral would say with a sigh each time. “They became gods themselves, ascended to the highest mountain and never came back.” And always, he would extend a knowing wink at Leuce.
Every night, Leuce would dream of seeing the marvels he had been told about. Exploring the world like the Admiral did.
Every morning he would wake up to the sun, and another day of seeing his friends and lessons. Finding the Admiral already gathering the others to begin school.
He hoped nothing would change.
The second light Leuce would learn about, was the holy light of gods.
He was in his pre-teens now, but nothing had changed for the boy. He had friends, he had food, and he had The Admiral. This was not meant to last.
Someone had spotted several strangers entering the village. This of course was not a rare sight, as much as it was unusual. All such travelers would go to The Admiral directly, avoiding the children entirely. This group of people seemed too interested in the children however. They asked questions, weird ones. Things pertaining to the stories they had been told.
“Do you worship the Spiral Lord?”
“Where is your sacrificial tribute for his Horned Majesty?”
“You’ve never heard of the Flying One?”
That caused quite a commotion among the strangers, who seemed to be getting more agitated by the minute. They yelled out a word, Leuce had never heard before: “Heretics!”
The glint of a shiny object was the first thing he saw, the next was the sight of blood. It wasn’t from a scratch or accidently scraping your knee. It was coming from one of the older kid’s neck. Leuce and the others could only stare in a shocked curiosity. Some were crying when the strangers turned their attentions to them.
Leuce’s legs felt like jelly, but he willed them to run as fast as they could. They did just that. He would’ve kept running if he hadn’t hit something that felt suspiciously like another human. Looking up slowly, his eyes met those of The Admiral. His kind smile gone, only a face of sadness and anger remained.
“Leuce..” He said slowly. “I need you to take this and run...Run and never look back.” The Admiral had put his cutlass into the boy’s hands.
“B-but what about-..”
“There’s no time for that now. You do what I say, take it and find somewhere safe. Somewhere they will never find you.”
The Admiral looked one last time at Leuce, and gave him his usual smile.
“Don’t worry, I’ll catch up to you with the others.”
He never did come back.
Leuce didn’t run away, he stood stock still for hours upon hours. He waited until he could hear no more screaming, no more sounds of metal on flesh coming from his village.
He crept back into the village, The Admiral’s cutlass in his trembling hands as he looked at the scene before him. Blood spilled onto the walls of the houses, limbs strewn about every which way. His friends faces’ contorted in silent screams. One body in particular caught his eye.
He closed his eyes and balled up onto the floor at the sight of it, cutlass forgotten in his haste. He rocked back and forth, wishing he would wake up to the bright sun again. Tears staining his face.
This was how he learned of the holy light of gods. It was not warm, it did not bring anything. It was hollow, bleak. It had eaten everything to fill whatever emptiness it had.
As Leuce stared at the bisected body of The Admiral, he knew he had lost everything he cared about.
Leuce was gone.
What was once a bright eyed young boy, stood a vicious soulless man of a monster. He had grown strong in the years that preceded him. Strong enough to attack anyone with reckless abandon. His body was now a weapon, something to spill blood with. He did just that, his mind long gone past the point of even rationalizing it anymore.
THEY had stolen from him.
He was just balancing the scales a bit.
This was the third light he would encounter in his life. The light of fire. A ever consuming rage, that scared away the emptiness within him. It burned away everything that was before though. He didn’t care, he would feed the flame. Feed it, until it engulfed the world that had forsaken him, till the so called gods would be forced from their life of worship and luxury. He would burn them to a crisp. Then, and only then would he stop his rampage.
He had only spared the innocent, those who were blind like he was. He knew he was feared, they would flock to the streets to watch the monster prowl down it. Their eyes open in shock and revulsion. He would have acted that way too, if he could stand to look at himself.
He only had one thing to remind himself that he used to be a naive boy, one strand of his past life still hanging from it’s sheath on his pants. The Admiral’s cutlass.
He would not use it in his attacks, only keeping it on his person as a reminder. He would never sully the blade with the blood of those who had wronged it’s previous owner.
Memories always tried to trickle back into his mind, he wouldn’t let it though. He steeled his heart, like he had done in body and mind. He would be the only thing standing in the wreckage of a once tall mountain.
He didn’t care anymore if the darkness would take him when he was snuffed out.
Nothing would stop him.
He had made it to the tallest mountain.
The man turned monster was at the base, ready to fight against six of the strongest beings to inhabit the planet. His rage was the only thing keeping him going still, there was nothing left inside. Nothing but the cutlass and the memory of a boy left alone in the dark. Fittingly, he would have to make his way through the cave in the mountain to reach the top.
He took a final breath, and put his first foot forward.
Something stopped him though, something that was little and vaguely felt like another human being. He looked down on the affected leg. To his surprise a small toddler lay clinging to his ankle.
He raised an eyebrow inquisitively. Where had this child come from, and why was it holding him back? He said as much to the child, only receiving a odd look of amusement from it. He picked it up as gently as he could remember how to. It looked surprised for a moment, but seemed to relax in his care.
Now however, it was his turn to be surprised.
Behind him were hundreds of people, all of them with supplies on their backs. He could recognize some by their clothing. They were the people he had passed in every village. The ones who stared at him in the streets. Some even looked like they were preparing for war. Was it with him though?
“They’re here to see their new hero.” Said a voice behind him, he closed his eyes to savor the sound. It couldn’t be who he thought it was. “Never thought, I’d see the day.”
He turned around to the mountain entrance, his jaw dropping slightly in disbelief.
“Admiral?” He asked, his voice scratchy and disorientated from many years of disuse. It sounded unnatural coming from the beast of a man.
All he got in response was a kind smile, the man walking closer to him. The toddler in the monster’s arms reached out for the new arrival, only to have it’s hand pass through him. The monster looked stunned for a minute before continuing his ever present rageful face.
“I told you I would come back Leuce.” The Admiral stopped, he seemed to be thinking. He snapped his fingers out of the blue. “Oh, I almost forgot. I brought some other people who’d like to see you.”
As if on cue, his friend’s appeared next to the Admiral. All of them still the same as the memories the monster had burned to keep himself from the darkness. However, seeing them now in front of him; He almost broke down crying. Only to remember the child in his arms.
They were all talking, all of his friends. They all seemed excited to see him. He could return the sentiment tenfold.
“Leuce you were awesome fighting! You have to teach me.”
“Leuce you look like a old man, nah I’m just kidding..”
“Oooh Leuce is that your baby? Can I hold it?”
He couldn’t answer all their questions, he was just enjoying the chaos of them once again. He couldn’t honestly remember the last time he had felt like this.
“That’s quite enough children, say your goodbyes. Leuce still has work to do.” The Admiral told the kids in his usual teacher voice. They obliged, saying their farewells and disappearing. The monster could feel something wet rolling down his face.
“Don’t worry,” said the dead man cheerily , “we’ll all see each other again. You do have work to do still, Leuce.”He gestured to the awaiting crowd.
"B-but I'm a-.."
"A what? Monster? Let me tell you something Leuce. No one is ever a monster, likewise no one is ever a god. They're two extremes that do not fit in this world of ours...At least not anymore."
He stared at Leuce with a kind smile, and proud tired eyes.
"No my boy, you're just a human. You have to show them what that means."
With that he was gone.
Leuce was alone with a baby staring into the darkness of a cave. He turned back around and quickly found the child's mother. He gave a short laugh when the baby (girl he would later find out) continued to cling to him. He had shaken his head in disbelief, the people actually trusted him. A self called monster.
He wasn't one though. He was just a man who lost everything as a boy. Staring at the crowed, he let his unused voice bellow so they could all hear him.
"I'm going to tell you all a story....It starts with a war."
Later he would ascend the mountain and find six other beings waiting for his arrival. He would not burn them, nor would he devour them. No, he had found another type of light. He would make them see this one as well, if they didn't they would fall to his cutlass that shone as brightly as ever. There was a chance however, that his light would help them realize that there was no need for them anymore.
It was the golden light of hope, and this was the final light he would know.