The Great Empire of the Moon
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In the time before time, when the world was young, the glorious Empire of the Moon held domain over all of the earth. It was an empire, the likes of which will never again be seen on this planet, or any other. So vast was the empire that it borders spanned half the globe. So wealthy was the empire that its lords and ladies lived in castles constructed of nothing but gold, decorated with every manner of jew imaginable. So powerful was the empire, it's military consisted of thousands of men, each dressed in armor more elegant than even kings wear in today.

But the true power of the great Empire of the Moon did not rest in its coins, nor its swords. What truly allowed for the Moon Empire to flourish was its knowledge of spells and sorcery. As others weave robes of fabric, the mages of the Moon wove illusions from moonlight. They could capture the radiance of the stars in glass. They constructed strange shapes of metal that could bend lightning to their whims.

And at the center of this magnificent empire was the goddess-on-Earth, the Silver Maiden. She was the empress and goddess in one. She was the daughter of Midnight, he-who-made-dark and Midday, she-who-made-light. So beautiful was the Silver Maiden that it is said that she veiled her face at all times lest men be driven mad with desire.

For a thousand years and a thousand more, the Silver Maiden ruled over the Empire of the Moon. Her reign was peaceful, and she was loved by all her subjects. She ruled from the festival city of Alagadda, where parties lasted for lifetimes without ever ending. The city was constantly alive. Its golden streets were rivers of dancing people. They feasted on exotic food from all over the world, as music sweet as sugar filled the air. No one ever quite knew what the festivals were intended to celebrate, whether it was the gods, a new year, or plentiful harvest. This lack of knowledge, however, did not hinder the festivities.

However, the Silver Maiden's reign could not be eternal. She did not die. She was a goddess and will not come for her as it comes for us. Instead of dying, she ascended to the heavens. To this day she lives there, sleeping as the stars. However, her departure left her Empire lost. She had two children. The eldest was her daughter, Jayne. Princess Jayne shared her mother's beauty. And just like her mother, the people loved the princess. She loved them just as much.

The Silver Maiden had another child, however. A darker, less cared for child. A bastard son. His name was Kazar. Where his sister had silver hair like liquid marble, his was white like pasty skin. He was a jealous, resentful and fickle creature, who some claimed was only half-human. The people did not love him. He liked them no more than they liked him.

So, as the Silver Maiden ascended to the sky, Jayne took the throne. Her coronation was attended by thousands. The party was so overwhelming that even the city of Alagadda had never seen anything like it. Travers and traders from the world over arrived, bring their own sights, smells and sounds to contribute to the celebrations. The parting lasted for a week, with each day's events more outrageous than the lasts. On the first day, the crowds gasped at acrobats as they danced on wires like spider webs that hung between mountains. On the second day, exotic creatures roamed the streets. Those same creatures were used on the third day, as the streets were cleared for chariot races. On the fourth day, a great tournament was held. The greatest knights of the age fought each other in the melee. In the final round, Vellel the Blaze Knight lost to Bellair the Bold, despite his flaming sword. On the fifth day, a coliseum was flooded, and spectators watched as a mock naval battle took place inside. On the sixth day, wizards of all kind arrived in the city. Pyomances made fire dance like puppets. Mages of the Moon, scholars of Yith, druids of Avalon, the sisters of the All-mother, the Hands of the Serpent and priests of the Hooded One. The mages seemed to outnumber the rest of Alagadda's population. Each performed strange tricks, that defied the laws of the universe. Crowds watched with dazzled eyes and no breath as ice sun and shadows walked. What was stranger than any trick was how they left. In the night, each of the sorcerers seemed to evaporate into darkness. When mourning arrived, not one mage remained.

The seventh day was set to be the greatest yet. Rumors claimed all manner of miracle was to occur. Some claimed that Jayne was to wake dragons and giants before their very eyes. Others said that the empress intended to take the city of Alagadda to the moon and expand her empire to the stars. Those who were more fearful whispered in private that Jayne intended to make a great blood sacrifice to her grandparents, Midnight and Midday.

Whatever her intentions may have been, Jayne never fulfilled them. As a blood-red dawn broke over the city of Alagadda, Kazar returned to Alagadda. He wore a cloak made of living shadows. His armor glowed with the light of a black sun. The city's walls, that had stood for a thousand years, fell to dust as he approached. Behind him, a horde of shadows, pestilence, and plague followed. Kazar made quick work of the city's defenders. Each guardsman fell dead the moment he looked on Kazar. Then, he left the city to his horde as he made his own way to the grand palace of his half-sister. Alagadda's streets ran red with dark blood as the horde ransacked the city. Its citizens were helpless against the shadows. No manner of weapon could harm the creatures of the night that Kazar employed, no more than a weapon could kill a shadow or a plague. The horde tormented the city. Just as a sickness infects a body, the demons infected the city. They seeped into both the minds and bodys of its people. The shades placed themselves as rulers and the new lords of

Meanwhile, Kazar entered the grand palace where his sister resided. He showed no sign of fear or even concern. His walk was slow and with a certain dark swagger. None saw him enter the grand palace of his half-sister. Once inside, however, he heard a voice challenge him from over his shoulder.

"In the name of Jayne, Empress of the great Empire of the Moon, I command you, uncloak yourself, stranger!" Turning slowly, and without showing any sign of fear. His black hood hid his face, so he was not surprised that he was not recognized.

Kazar turned to find Bellair the Bold standing before him, with a long sword drawn. Bellair took a step towards Kazar, sword raised high.

"I said, uncloak yourself!" The command came far harsher the second time, Bellair's voice like a whip.

"I will do no such thing," Kazar said definitely.

Without so much as another word, Bellair's sword swung into action. It passed directly through Kazar's kneck as a knife passes through butter. However, Bellair instantly knew something was not right. Even his blade was not sharp enough to cut a head off that easily. But what truly alerted him was the sound. A blade passing though a kneck should make all kinds of sounds. The crushing of bone, slicing of flesh, and flush of rushing blood. Bellair head none of these sounds as his blade passed through the stranger he did not know to be Kazar. For an instant, the world stood still. Neither Kazar or Bellair moved. The air was still and silent. Bellair waited in agony for the body to fall. For his heart to begin beating again.

Then, Kazar stepped forward. Bellair never saw the blade, but he quickly felt it. It passed right through his plate armor as if it wasn't even there. Kazar removed the blade just as quickly as he had placed it. Blood flushed out like dark ale from a casket. Breathless, Bellair the Bold fell to his knees. A more suitable name would have been Bellair the Boody. Slick with blood, he clutched at his wound. It did him no good. His legs gave way underneath him, and the once-great warrior fell.

"Kazar…" he muttered as he died. His dying voice was like splitting wood.

Kazar stepped over the body and continued to make his way to his sister's chambers. None saw him enter the chamber. Some say he never even opened the door.

What exactly Kazar did inside that room is unknown. Few dared speak of it, out of fear that whatever they say will be nowhere near as evil as what Kazar truly did. He brought no devices of torture with him. Nothing save for himself. Whatever it was that Kazar inflicted on his sister, it was horrible beyond words. Her screams woke the castle, as the cackling laughter of Kazar woke anyone who managed to sleep through the screams. Jayne's household guard arrived at her chamber doors. A horrid symphony of laughter and screaming could be heard within. The captain of the household guard called for the Keeper of the Keys to open the door. The keeper arrived but found that his key to the royal chambers would not fit. No matter how he pushed or angeled the key, the door repelled it. Frustrated, the captain of the guard ordered the door broken down. First, he had his men throw themselves at the door. With shoulders, fists, and feet they attempted to break the door down. It was to no result. The door stood stronger than any wall ever had. The captain ordered an ax brought to him. The largest ax that could be found was taken to him. With a stroke that could have split stone, he struck the door. The blow bounced off. The simple wooden door was unharmed. Nothing could be done to bring it down. For hours the guards tried evrey way imaginable of entring the chambers. Breaking the windows proved just as impossible as breaking the door. The glass would not break. Kazar had drawn the curtains shut, preventing anyone from witnessing what he was doing. However, silhouettes could be seen. Tall, pale shadows danced around the room. Whether they where man, beast or something in between was unknown.

When the empresses chamber door was finally opened, it was from the inside. Kazar stepped out triumph. When the guards arrived to kill him, he merely gave them a smug look. They surrounded him, but before they could la a hand on him, Jayne spoke up. In a voice like broken glass, she gave the command for the gauds to step down. She informed them that they were to stand down. Kazar smiled as the guards placed their weapons to the ground. She then informed them that she was abdicating her role as Empress. From this point on, Kazar was to rule in her place. Shocked, the gauds begged her to change her mind. Jayne said nothing. Kazar grinned as he ordered the guards who had been intent on killing him to throw his sister in the deepest, darkest dungeon in the city. The guards looked at Jayne, as if for consent. She gave a small nod and did not resist as they led her away.

Jayne was indeed taken to the deepest, darkest dungeon in Alagadda. The guards who had once served her were gentle as they placed heavy chains around her ankles and wrists. The gentleness did little to improve the feeling. Then they left her. Days past. There was no light in the dungeon. It made no difference when Jayne closed her eyes to when she opened them. Faces of people she had known seemed to appear in the darkness. The face that she saw the most was her mother. The Silver Madein gave her daughter a pitying look. More days past.

Jayne wondered wheater hunger would kill her. She had divine blood in her veins, and would not starve as easy as a mortal would. That did not mean that the pain of hunger was dulled for her. Weeks of not eating or drinking took its toll on her. She could scarcely remember what her own face looked like. Her silver hair had grown down long past her waist. It was heavy with dirt, as was the rest of her.

After some days, Jayne received her first visitor. It was a lady, dressed in gold. There was no light in the dungeon, but this lady brought with her a candle made of starlight. The candle lit up the room. Jayne wished she could cover her eyes from the glare, but her arms were chained up. Despite the fact she had never laid eyes on the lady, Jayne knew that there was only one woman on Earth who looked as beautiful as the one who stood before her. It was her grandmother, Lady Midday. Lady Midday asked Jayne for one boon. Anything, but only a single thing. Jayne begged her grandmother to end her suffering. Lady Midday gave a sorrowful look. She told her granddaughter that she could not take her life. Jayne was of her blood, and there where punishments that even she could not avoid for kinslaying. Jayne cursed Lady Midday and told her to take her leave. Midday left, leaving Jayne once again alone in the darkness. She cried.

Years past. Still, Jayne did not die. The darkness drove her mad, and vengeance conquered her mind. Kazar would be punished.

Her second visitor brought no candles of starlight with him. Jayne never saw the face of her grandfather, the Midnight. He came in the darkness and brought with cold. He spoke to Jayne in a voice of dream and shade. When Midnight offered Jayen her boon, Jayne asked that Midnight punish Kazar. He replied that he could not kill Kazar. Jayne begged. After a minute of silence, the darkness before of her replyed that he would punish Kazar, but it would not be tidy. He told her that each man, woman, and child in Alagadda would share her half-brother's fate. Consumed with vengeance, Jayne did not care. She told her grandfather to punish Kazar, no matter the cost. Though she could not see it, Midnight gave a nod and departed.

Hundreds of feet above Jayne's dungeon, the city of Alagadda received its punishment. With his powers that came from the darkness beyond all, Midnight warped the city. With as little effort as it would take you or me to move a toy, he took it from the Earth and placed it far away from the reach of mankind. His face was dead as he did it. Neither vengeance, rage or grief motivated him. His eyes were dull as he executed his unspeakable punishment on Alagadda. After an instant, it was done. There was no crack of lighting, nor the flash of light. Alagadda simply no longer existed in this world any longer. Finished, Midnight returned to Jayne. With a snap of his fingers, her chains slid open. Jayne fell free, her body not used to such freedom. The sudden light of the sun blinded her, and Midnight was once again invisible as he spoke.

"You are free to go. Your brother has been punished. Your boon has been granted. But know this granddaughter, Kazar is not dead. He will never die. He will hang for eternity, but you will never be safe. For the life of your children still unborn, leave. You may never be empress again, but you can still have a good life." Midnight spoke in a whisper, like wind within a graveyard.
Jayne was left where the city of Alagadda had once stood. She did not know where she would go but knew that it would be far from here.

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