Friday, September 05, 2014
The Last Lightkeeper (#FridayFlash)
“Are you a Lightkeeper?” the young man on the other side blurted, the second Farl opened the door. He looked concerned enough that Farl could forgive his skipping his manners.
“I am,” said Farl, pulling the door open the rest of the way. He stood aside and motioned the young man to enter. “And you are?”
“Bin,” he replied. A common enough name. “Glad I am, that I found you at last.” Bin made to put his hands on his belt, but one hand strayed close to the dagger he wore to one side. He waved his hands for a moment, perhaps trying to decide what to do with them, then ended up clasping them before him.
“And I am here,” said Farl. “But let us have tea as we talk. Putting an end to any problem is best begun with a cup of tea, I have found. Take a seat.” He busied himself with serving his guest. A pinch of leaves in each cup, and the water was already hot. Is this the one, come at last? he wondered as he worked. He would have his answer soon enough.
“So,” Farl prompted, setting a cup before his guest before seating himself. “Tell me why you have come.”
“I am an emissary from Linden Grove, the last free realm,” Bin replied, sipping at his tea. “We are beset by the Dark, that now rules over all realms but our own, and hard-pressed. I was charged to seek a Lightkeeper and beg for aid, that we may repel them, but all of those near to us are gone.”
“I am not surprised,” said Farl. “For I am the last. My fellows have succumbed, some to fear. Some to treason.” He looked directly at Bin. “Many to treachery.”
Bin quailed. “It is true then? You are the only Lightkeeper left to roam the world?”
“Aye.” Farl smiled. “But the last is not least, and I am not powerless. I have set plans into motion that will drive the Dark into the deep fastnesses from which it came. Only one thing is left to do, and then nothing the Dark can do shall avail them.”
“Then there is still time?” At Farl’s nod, Bin leaped across the table and drove his dagger into the old Lightkeeper’s chest. “Fool,” said Bin, jerking the dagger out, “you have given the world into our hands at last…”
Bin’s victorious boast trailed off, as he stared at Farl’s chest. Instead of blood, Light poured from the wound.
“That was the last thing,” said Farl. His voice held both pain and satisfaction, and he managed a smile. “I have faithfully kept the Light, and now I may at last release it into the world.”
“No.” Bin backed away, eyes riveted to the growing torrent of Light.
“You have given the world its salvation,” Farl insisted. “Be sure to tell your master that, when your shriveled soul flees to its dark bosom.” The Light poured out of Farl, stripping away Bin’s disguise, revealing the hideous minion of the Dark beneath. As Bin screamed in pain and terror, the Light dissolved the minion’s hide, bones, sinew. The bodies of both Farl and Bin crumbled to ash as the Light burst forth, free at last.
“Now,” said the Light, in Farl’s voice. “The world shall know both Light and Dark, in equal measure. Thus, the people will choose which path they follow. No thralls, content in their bondage. No slaves, begging for release. This day, they become their own masters, now and evermore.”
In the last free realm of Linden Grove, as the brave folk prepared to make their final stand, a soundless explosion of Light burst upon them from the east. It rolled forth, slow and relentless, pushing back the howling Dark and leaving the folk confused in their victory.
This was the First Dawn.