The Birth of the First Shadow

J. L. Lambert II
10 min readJan 15, 2022

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By: Jerry L. Lambert II

I could tell you about the days of fire and stone, or of the days humanity’s lifespan tripled. How the old became young and the young became strong. I could tell you about the wonders of technology that shifted the world to a Golden Age. I could tell you of how the Wayfarer found us amid a sea of stars, and life began to evolve beyond our own measurements. War held very little power over those in charge as they stared upward towards a commercial universe. Even you could be a dollar on Venus. All in due time. For now, I shall tell you how the first Shadow found its Sentinel. On the day, the Wayfarer went silent.

1

Fire and smoke bellowed from the skyscrapers and streets of Seattle. The grey sky, concealing the beasts that came from the cosmos searching for the sphere of the stars.

The Wayfarer came to Earth, planet by planet. Terraforming them into worlds beyond our imagination. Science couldn’t even begin to fathom the changes because of how drastic they became. Venus turned into a jungle forest spanning the planet from end to end. Jupiter hardened into a cave-like planet with creatures swarming the darkest depth. Mars accepted its fate as a desert where the oases are rich and bountiful. These were just a few of the gifts that the Wayfarer gave humanity. Now it had brought destruction to Earth.

The invaders stood in all sizes, different from the human anatomy. They had only one purpose: to reclaim what was lost to them. So they marched through the city streets, attacking anyone on sight. A vicious cycle as mothers and children ran in fear only to be gunned down by laser rifles and photon pistols. To be hunted down with vibrating daggers of H-Teil Steel native to a galaxy far away. The men strung up on pikes while babies were devoured by the starving Raliksi.

Six arms, with five fingers on each hand. Some were as tall as six feet, while others were as massive as the Space Needle. Each Raliksi with a respirator feeding them aether from the heavens. Armor plated with red, yellow, and green cloaks. Black orbs with a glowing yellow eye float down from the clouds to feed the smaller Raliksi. To recharge their weapons and advance their building technology. The Raliksi are a gorillanoid race, with a heart of honor. But tonight, among the burning buildings and bleeding corpses; there is no honor. It was lost to them in the Great Flood. Now they only wanted the Wayfarer back into their arms.

It sat above Seattle like God’s eye, watching the carnage down below. The Wayfarer. A majestic thing wrapped in bone chilled white material of stone and chrome, with a language beyond any ancient tongue, scribed on its surface. Dreamt up by the insane and only made logical by the dead. It hovered over the city unperturbed by the weather, the smoke, or the screams. It has no voice or songs to sing, only silence. Just like God.

Estimated time of Seattle’s destruction//4 hours//estimated survivors//zero//

2

“No, not this one,” said an Orb floating above the ruins of Seattle. The blood started to dry on the brick and tar. The Orb bounced up and down through the air, not like something free from the rules of gravity but almost as if it was crawling through the space. The Orb moved smoothly at some points and then choppy in others. The design of the Orb looked similar to Wayfarer. It was through a black disk on the Orb, in the center glowing a blue circle that it was allowed to see. “Not this one either,” the Orb said nonchalantly.

A sound caught its attention as the Orb glanced over to a little girl running from two Ints, infants of the Raliksi. Unlike the adults, they had only three arms and were 4’11 feet tall.

The girl rushed through a burnt building, crawling through broken down cars, as the Ints rushed her with H-Teil daggers. They were on her tail, chanting to each other in the language of their people. “Dinner tonight, my brother. Hungry we are,” said one Int.

“I haven’t eaten in days,” said the other.

Their words scared the girl even more as her heart rapidly thumped in her chest. “Mom! Dad! Help me,” the girl cried, her voice echoing throughout the empty Seattle. There was no one coming for her. No one was coming to save her from the aliens. She knew this fact, she had watched as her mother and father were killed by a Raliksi Captain, but it didn’t stop her from screaming to the dead for help.

The Orb watched as the Ints finally caught up with the girl. Jabbing their daggers into her flesh as she fought back and screamed. A merciless hunter with no sympathy for the life they were taking. The same could be said for the Orb, who watched as the Ints tore the girl apart, taking the pieces that were most plentiful, the most filling.

“Maybe she will do,” said the Orb, approaching the Ints. They turned around to see the Orb, but before they could react, a force pushed down until their bones cracked and snapped. The Orb floated down to the dead girl, scanning her corpse. The Ints still alive, screaming in pain as their shrieks became calls for help. The Orb, sensing the trouble the injured Ints would bring, glanced down to them, and then Ints went silent with a smash. “Better.” The Orb brought its gaze back to the girl, and after a second. “Not her either.” But then it caught something out of the corner of its eye. A hand sticking up out of the rubble. There was a ring on the hand that read J&H. “Maybe….” The Orb rushed over to the hand, breaking through the tiny lobby entrance of an apartment building. Though it looked from a distance that it just floated right on in. “This is the one,” said the Orb before unwrapping itself. Its rings spanned out in all different sizes. They started to spin around the exposed core of the Orb. A black sphere. Light began to gather around the Orb before releasing a pulse of light that refracted the colors of the rainbow.

The Orb then returned to its natural state. It waited for something to happen, staring at the hand. For a good minute, the hand remained lifeless. “Should…should I try again?” Asked the Orb. It got closer to the hand before getting snatched out of the air. The Orb yanked back, pulling the hand out of the rubble, revealing a woman in her thirties. Her eyes dazed, and her clothes ripped.

The woman glanced to the Orb in her hand and released it. She looked around the ruined lobby. At the carnage, at the cracked walls, at the blocked staircase to the second floor. She glanced at it all as if it was the first time, the first time for her eyes.

“Hello? Hello? Can you speak?” Asked the Orb, regaining itself.

“Who…What?”

“Do. You. Understand. Me?”

“Yes,” said the woman irritated.

“Great. I am your Shadow. I brought you back,” said the Orb. The woman took a step and stumbled before catching her balance. “Watch your step. It will take a moment for you to adjust back to the living.”

“Living?”

“You have been chosen by the Wayfarer to protect it from the invaders that want to harm it.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Follow me,” said the Orb leading the woman out of the building. She caught a glimpse of the scavenged corpse of the girl. The woman didn’t wince or flinch. Instead, she bent down and picked up the dagger from one of the dead Ints. There was a switch on the handle; once pushed, the blade started to vibrate at supersonic speeds. The woman turned off the dagger. She wasn’t impressed. “Up in the sky is the Wayfarer.” The woman glanced up to see the Great Sphere.

“What is it?”

“The Wayfarer. The light in the void sky. It blesses all, and it is your duty to protect it. A Hero.”

“From anyone that would harm it,” said the woman walking over to a clothing store.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m a little bit cold.” She grabbed what she needed and headed to a changing room. She opened one up to find a woman dead with her neck snapped. From the way the scarf wrapped around her neck and the wooden hanger rack, it told a complete story. “What about them?”

“What about them?”

“Should I protect them as well?”

“I don’t know,” said the Orb.

The woman entered the changing room with the corpse and started to get dressed. “Answer me this, Shadow. Am I like them?”

“Yes, you are human.”

“So shouldn’t I save my people.”

“As long as it doesn’t interfere with protecting the Wayfarer, I don’t see why not. But I do believe it will only distract you.”

“From what?”

“From them.”

The woman peered out of the shop to see four Ints patrolling. Looking for the creature that harmed their brother and sister.

“Name?”

“Name? You don’t need a name,” said the Orb. “Heroes don’t need names.”

“I was asking for your name,” said the woman exiting the changing room.

“Icarus. That is what I am called. Icarus the Shadow first of his kind.”

“You have a name. So, I should have a name.” The woman walked towards the exit.

“Karen. What do you think about that name?”

“I hate it.”

“I think it’s great.”

“You didn’t even come up with it. You just stole from that dead woman’s name tag.” The Orb glanced back at the corpse in the changing room.

“So, I did.”

“Ziya…Amazir. That is my name. My…mother gave me that name,” the woman said, entering the streets again.

“Oh really,” said the Orb, chasing after her.

“Why can’t I remember who I was before you woke me up?” Asked Ziya.

“Does remembering help you?”

Ziya turned to face the Orb stepping on a crack. It drew the Ints attention to her. They growled and snarled as drool dripped from their fangs. Unlike the large Raliksi, Ints don’t get respirators. They charged at Ziya in a formation, one in the front with two in the middle on the right and left side of the leading Int, and one in the back holding a photon rifle. Ziya’s curiosity started to take hold of her as she flicked the switch on her dagger.

She clashed with the one leading the group, which took it by surprise. It screamed out “Fool” as daggers shattered on impact, sending metal shards in all directions. Some caught Ziya in her arm as she shielded her eyes, while others flew into the two Ints that jumped on both sides of Ziya. The leading Int screamed as most of the shards in its eyes. Ziya, without breaking momentum, lunged the broken dagger deep into the Ints skull. Then, grabbing the pistol on the dying Ints waist, she took out the other two, leaving the last one with the rifle alone.

The sound of a laser discharging made Ziya duck as the dying Int’s skull shattered, sending black blood into the air. Little imp was aiming for my heart, she thought. As the Int fell to the floor with its dead comrades, Ziya had a good look at the one wielding the rifle. It was flustered, scared; it didn’t know what to do. The plan, Ziya guessed, was to have the three Ints distract her and then move out of the way just in the nick of time for the rifle to hit her in the chest. Killing her dead while leaving the juicy parts of her still intact. Ziya smirked, and head shotted the last Int.

“Well done,” said Icarus. “If I didn’t know any better, I would say you were a natural. Must be one of the perks of being the Wayfarer’s chosen. Installed with all the necessary strengths to dispatch her foes.” To Ziya, it did feel natural, almost like she was just reenacting a set of movements she had practiced, once, no, a thousand times.

“If I could throw lightning from hands,” Ziya told herself. An image of a white figure with a blue outline in robes flashed in her mind. They were fighting amongst an enormous battlefield.

“Lightning? Now that would be a trick. I’m sure you can; it’s in the archive of the Wayfarer, of course. So, in time you might get that wish, my hero.”

“Ziya. Call me Ziya.”

“Whatever you wish, my hero.”

Ziya made a glanced at the Orb. She didn’t like how it seemed to be on her side but refused her wishes. It talked like all of this destruction and death was insignificant to him. That he and his Wayfarer sat on top of a throne, only to worry when the ants started to crawl up their legs.

“You revived me. If you have this power, why me?” Asked Ziya picking up the photon rifle. It was strapped with exposed wires and tubes that led to the butt of the gun. It was quickly assembled on top of another firearm. Sutured with extra technology to increase the firepower of the rifle. To make it easier to shoot. Painted on the butt was a black insignia of a claw reaching down. The claw was cut into three pieces, horizontal. Just below the insignia, etched into the gun’s wood, was what Ziya felt out to be a crown of some sort. She would need to wash out the black symbol to get to it.

“From your body, I sense, a need of light in you. A glint candle in the darkness. Out of all I have searched, I had never felt such light in a human before.”

“And I have this Light in me.”

“Yes. It is power. You are stronger than most humans, and your potential is unlocked. You are the hero that will define the causality of the universe.”

“To protect the Wayfarer.”

“By protecting the Wayfarer, you are saving all life.”

“And the reason — ,”

“Memories of your past will only hold you down. You are born without it so that you may be as pure of light as you can without the influence of a past. Who you were and what you loved means nothing in the achievements you will accomplish. Now enough with the questions, my hero. We have the Wayfarer to protect and Raliksi to kill,” finished Icarus.

“Right. Raliksi To kill.”

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J. L. Lambert II

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