A darkly handsome bladesman stood at the edge of the clearing. I didn’t recognize him, but his physique was immediately jarring – I felt a sudden strong impulse of being so deeply infatuated that nothing else mattered any longer. My life’s work, my quest, fell away in an instant, like so many wisps of smoke on a windy day. I walked forward, advancing across the meadow toward the distant treeline. He cast one furtive glance in my direction and turned away, disinterested. Not one to be easily dissuaded, I started running through the long grass and small flowers. I couldn’t bear letting him out of my sight. After what seemed a lifetime he was nearly within my grasp. I bade him turn around, my face red and hair dishevelled. In his infinite generosity he obeyed. I felt his powerful, stormy eyes take in my body. I had never before felt anything so strongly, so deeply. “Who… what are you?” I managed, panting, staring up into his awesome figure. And after what seemed a lifetime he answered.
“I am a God and I am the Shadow. I am everything and nobody – I am a lie you tell yourself at night. I am Death incarnate; I am the cold wind through the sycamore trees. Few see me but all desire. I have never told a lie and never felt pain. I have never harmed without reason, yet no one escapes my sight unscathed.” He slowly walked towards me. Yes! Come ever closer. “My sword is Pain; it cuts the air in half. My touch is the ice of deepest winter, my – shoot I just stepped on a snail. Oh no. This is actually messed up for real. Oh geez. I totally crushed it. My foot is ruined.”