The Black Meadow: Night of the White Shadow by Adaeth the Torn “Awaken from thy shadowy slumber, O Lord Sorrusk, Thou Father of Darkness.” These words of summoning were cold and shady, yet as clear and as powerful as the night. The speech echoed across the Black Meadow, across the dark waters at the center of this deathly pasture, their intent clear and concise. A dire wolf let out a barren howl, a cry for merciful death. Its wish was granted, and the calamitous beast laid itself down gently upon the grasses as it shut its eyes and breathed its last breath. An ethereal scythe lunged at the corpse, and the wolf’s fur grew ashen and unoccupied; its soul was reaped from its body. The reaping scythe danced itself towards the pond, its mystic travel unexplained. It spiraled deosil above the waters, signifying that a portal was to be opened between worlds. “Sûûûûûûûûûûûûûl thiiiirrr …” hissed a mysterious voice, the spiritual runes being that of the dark and the unknown. The unearthly scythe stopped in mid-spin and stood itself upright. Slowly, it willed itself to sink into the pond, and as it sunk, the waters did not stir. Screeches reverberated from underneath the surface of the grim lake. And it was dark this night, as the Moon did not reflect upon the meadow. Yet it grew even darker amidst the area; somber was of the essence. The blaring screams were ephemeral. It began in circular pattern, the pond of black waters spinning ‘round and ‘round, from east to west, north to south. They grew thicker, becoming dense and lessening the level of the pool. Hastily they gathered at the center, and began to shape themselves into the figure of a man, embodied in unspoiled darkness. Its eyes flickered to life, glowing pallid and iniquitous. A white shadow of the figure was reflected upon the bottom of the empty lake by indefinite means; the creation of the shadow was illogical. The shadow’s eyes burned darkly; the Black Fires roared beneath its brow. Eyes set ablaze, the pale shadow took life and stood. Body of white, eyes of black—the exact opposite of its creator. “You always enter the realms by different means each time, Sorrusk,” noted Adaeth, stepping down into the large earthen bowl from the outside of the once-full pool. He gripped his staff, and stood before one of the great gods of Darkness. The white, living shadow, Sorrusk (never would he reveal his true appearance in the earthen lands), spoke, his voice filled with the utter grievance of souls and bewildered shades. “And you continue to lack respect towards me, servant of the Dark Tower. You would be wise to, in the very least, address me properly. You are forever mine. As is it said in the Entropic Chant, ‘You cannot escape me, you cannot defeat me, you can only embrace me.’ Learn well this lesson.” “You haven’t changed since the last time we spoke; your mind has been tinkered with and distraught.” He stared into the twin set of cold flickering eyes of the god. “Come with me to the Dark Tower, and we will cleanse your mind of this poison.” Sorrusk let out a shrill laugh. “What a fool you have become, Blackmane, your very words denote your weakness and impotency. Once, in dear years ago, you stood out in my eyes as the highest caretaker of the Black Fires, wielder of the illicit Dark Arts, Arbiter of the Holy Dark. Yet you have abused what I have given to you, and for that, your consequence is what it is.” The deity, his mind evidently intoxicated, grinned with fetid amusement. “Dissolution.” Adaeth returned the laugh. “Do your worst, mighty god.” Sorrusk, without hesitance, lunged his shadowy self at the Torn One, his anger building with every whisking second. To his ill resilience towards a weapon of sheer absurdity, his god-like hand hit the top of the staff, the fangs and dismal energy piercing through the hand. He screamed not, yet glared chaotically at Adaeth. “You think a mere black pole can stop me?” Adaeth, One of the Torn, held his staff aloft, shredding into Sorrusk’s body. He willed his eyes shut and raised his vibrational state. Energy was carried by unseen hands from the ground and his feet, lifted to his torso and pushed through his arms and hands. The dark energies were carried through the staff upwards, guided by the Torn One’s mind, and when these energies reached the very tip of the staff, the skull encompassed by the tri-fangs took in a breath of carbon dioxide. Red eyes of fire ‘twixt with black flared and raged. Sorrusk began to scream as an electrical force raced through his godly body, terror being reunited with the lands from the shriek. He began to fade, softly but certainly. He was stretched out towards the staff, and as he tried to defy this pull, he could not. His black eyes of fire were doused and he was entirely sucked into the staff. Adaeth took a firm grip upon the shaft of the staff, biting his lip as he struggled to keep it still. The fires in the eye sockets of the skull, atop the pole, burned and burned, growing higher, higher. His lip began to bleed Tornish blood, and the black liquid poured from his hands as well. “Fires burning, soul turning,” he began the chant, shaking uncontrollably. The spirits howled, the night scowled, and the Moon appeared out of darkness and cried pallid tears. “Night of night, day of blight.” The black hairs upon his head illumed, turning into the most glistening strands of shattered white. They were white, yet they were dark—as dark as Sorrusk. “Be gone thy sight; hold him tight.” A score of resting animals slept their last sleep and awoke as the undead. A tree fell and burned to ashes, the dwellers within being tarnished with condemnation. Black skies; black wild—as gloom crept even more so over the lands, time ceased. Adaeth swallowed the blood in his mouth and resumed the chant. “By my will of Darkness, I damn this one I have captured within this spirited staff.” He threw his head back and bellowed to the heavens and hells. “BALÂK THALÛM DOR-NIIRT!” His eyes, now red, opened as the final four words were stated. “So mote it be.” Immediately the fires within the burning skull were extinguished. The lands returned to as they were. The Moon returned to the shadows, the spirits silent. Adaeth smiled at the skull and gave it a pat. He walked out of the waterless pond and directed the staff towards the figure comprised of the dark waters, still standing. “Sudïr!” It melted, and within seconds the pond was refilled. And with that final incantation, he left, his hair still white, and the false god buried somewhere in the Torn One’s living staff. This was not Sorrusk, no, indeed it was not. A day of judgment was upon them.