- Chapter One -
The world is dark.
It has been for a while now. Ever since Obscurity took over, things haven’t been the same. We were forced into hiding, snuffing out our dreams, our plans, our goals. A select number of soldiers are granted the mercy to be let out of the cold, stifling air, into the pale color outside that barely counts as light.
I am one of those few, though I wouldn’t call myself grateful.
I strap my sword onto my side, feeling the familiar weight of the sharp, silver-hilted weapon. I stare out the 8-feet-tall window, the image of which has been permanently engraved in my mind, and a shiver runs down my spine.
I must have walked through this glass frame several hundred times, and yet, every time, it gets to me.
My life against theirs.
Illuminance versus Obscurity.
Two opposite titles, more alike than different.
Light pressure on my arm snaps me back into the present. I glance over to my left, where my comrade and closest friend, Kenzo, stands.
“You ready for another day of madness?” He manages a sad smile as he says it, but we both know the toll that war can take on a person.
“No. But here we are anyway.” I don’t know why my voice sounds so cold. It’s not like this is new. Not like we have a choice, or ever had one.
I automatically grip the hilt of my sword as the wave of memories engulfs my mind: the day General Arwin Carelli, leader of Obscurity, finally breached the security systems of Illuminance; the months where our entire group was herded underground, where hundreds of us soon died of starvation and sickness; the way our own general fought so hard to keep us safe before he passed, leaving his son, David Chesler, in charge.
Since then, our strongest members have fought for the survival of Illuminance, attempting to eliminate every member of Obscurity that we can in a fight to grasp our freedom again. We steal whatever supplies are available from their camps, taking the weapons that were meant to destroy us.
It’s a miracle we’ve lasted as long as we have.
I glance down, realizing that my knuckles have turned white from their death grip on my sword. I release the tension and drop my hand, inhaling a shaky breath.
I turn to Kenzo. “Yes?” I ask, keeping my eyes trained on the floor.
“You know what I’ve told you before,” he prompts.
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself. Focusing on the deaths will only break you.” He glances around at the fifty-eight other people, talking among themselves as we are. “We fight because we have to, Zitha. Not by choice, but because we’ll die if we don’t.”
“It’s not right,” I protest. “The people of Obscurity-” I break off as the warning alarm blares. Ten seconds until we must charge our way outside, pillaging for anything we can get our hands on.
“We’ll talk later,” Kenzo promises.
I unsheathe my sword as the door opens.