By EM Malachi
As they waited for the parade to start, an old man and a mouse shared a plate of cookies. Mythran carefully bit into the sweets and considered the crowd around him. The sun warmed his face, and he felt more happiness than he had in years. He began laughing.
The small mouse looked up, startled, her whiskers covered with crumbs. “Are you all right?”
Mythran smiled at her. “Just remembering a story my mother told me long ago.”
Sherry nibbled on a chocolate chip. “Would you tell it to me?”
Mythran sat back in his chair. “When I was young and just starting to be interested in magic, I asked my mother what spell was the most powerful. Was it a spell that made a great inferno, or summoned storms, or turned everything to gold? She told me this story:
Long ago high in their cloud city, the god of grief and the goddess of fear were arguing, while a third deity watched in amusement. The two bickering gods each believed their powers greater, and it was proposed they would each empower an army to prove their might. The third, the goddess Felicitar, asked if she could join the game. Seeing no threat, the other two agreed. Each set out to build their forces, and the contest would take place in a year and a day.
Doloras, the Weeping Torax, collected twisted and horrible beasts; he trained them by lash and grief for the year. Timyra, the Lady of Screams, recruited the cruelest mages and taught them to summon nightmares. Laughing Felicitar found a simple village situated between the other two forces and gave them a good harvest. She danced with the people during their festivals and sang their songs.
When the final day came, all the other deities came to watch the contest. Doloras and Timyra sent their armies to converge on the village. As the other two armies approached, Felicitar spoke to her people, and the villagers scattered and fled.
Doloras and Timyra laughed and ignored the flight of Felicitar’s folk, focusing their attention on the other’s army. It was a terrible battle, filled with blood and cacophony. When each side had nearly destroyed the other, the people of Felicitar’s village returned to the ruins of their home and drove off the broken remains of each army. They then set to rebuilding.
The other deities were confused by these events and asked the laughing goddess what she had told her people. Felicitar explained that she had told them not to lose hope as they would see their friends and families again.”
As Mythran finished, Sherry rested a paw on her friend’s hand. “I think I would have liked your mother. Thank you.”
Mythran nodded, “You are most welcome. I believe my mother would have liked you too. She was right. Hope is a most powerful thing to fight for. I have you and all of Britannia to thank for giving it back to me.”
As the parade began, Sherry asked Mythran, “What will you do now?”
Mythran considered for a moment before responding, “Many of my people were scattered and lost when our world fell. I heard rumors that some found a hiding place, safe from the Titans. If they are still out there, I will find them and bring them home. Then, I hope, we too can rebuild.”
Across the Ethereal Void, in a place of great power, a being wrapped in shadow sensed the defeat of its pawns and turned its attention toward Britannia.