Story and pictures by Jackie Mondalimare
Not all heroes are warlords, warriors or witchers. They aren’t always kings or knights. The smalles critters can be heroes when offered a chance to prove themselves.
The story begins in the early days of Shadow’s Claw, when the lands were quiet and peaceful. There were lots of races living in the meadows and forests, enjoying each other’s company, learning and living with each other. On a small mound in the east, there lived a virgin fae and a faun, sharing a deep friendship. Their days were happy, without sorrow.
Until a shadow grew over the blue sky of, looking like a claw from far away. The land should later be named after just that shadow that darkened not only the meadows but the hearts of its inhabitants with pain and fear. But soon they learned that the shadow was merely the beginning.
An eerie silence lay over the realm and even though the people grew suspicious and careful, soon enough some went missing. All of them did return – but not by themselves. They were found dead in the woods, maimed and bled out.
It was one of these days that the virgin fae went out to collect food for herself and the faun, when she didn’t return. Days went by, her body wasn’t found. The faun, of course, searched for her everywhere, ignoring the danger literally hovering above him, he looked into every cave, climbed every treetop, but the fae wasn’t there.
Then, all of a sudden, everything changed. The shadow was gone and everything seemed to have gone back to normal! Not just normal, the sun was shining brighter than ever, joy filled the inhabitants of Shadow’s Claw, feasts were held. Strangers went through the meadows, friendly, caring, lifting everyone’s sorrows. In what seemed like weeks, the strangers grew in both numbers and power and soon enough, they were the rulers of the lands – not chosen by anyone, simply falling into their place.
But this is not the end of the story. What seemed good was nothing but an illusion, and when the strangers finally got the power they wanted, they showed their true selves. The weeks that had passed with everyone merrily dancing and feasting, the land seemingly thriving, had left deep traces when the illusion wore off. The forest was burnt, the meadows nothing but dirt and ashes.
And in the middle of it all, the strangers erected a huge statue. A statue of a virgin fae. When the faun first saw the statue, those around him could almost hear his heart break into pieces. He was shattered, yet he had no time to grief, no time to honour his dead friend. All seemed lost in those dark days filled with slavery and despair.
After weeks and weeks had passed, the stone statue of the fae started to slowly crumble. Not enough for anyone to notice – anyone but the faun. Whenever he could find the time, he sneaked to the statue, talked to it, stroked the cold stone or simply sat by it. It was one of those days that, with a loud ripping sound, the statue broke in half and the virgin fae emerged.
Nothing was normal anymore. The face of the fae was still set in stone, her once beautiful voice screeching like a banshee. Anyone near her was sucked into another illusion as soon as they got too close. But it was no illusion of better days, no illusions of peaceful feasts and dances. It was an illusion so cruel that it physically hurt. It showed what would happen to the realm if the power of the sacrificed virgin was set free again.
And without her memory, with nothing but the pain and despair in her heart, it showed the plans of the virgin fae. Since nobody could get close to her without cringing in pain, there was no way to stop her. Not even the strangers could control her anymore. As they saw that they had no power over their own creation, they left faster than they came, leaving the realm to die together with its inhabitants.
But there was one that dared to stand in the way of the virgin fae. One small faun that, with all the love left in his heart, managed to shut the pain out of his mind and catch the raging fae in an embrace. She could have destroyed him, easily. She could have killed him right there and then. But when they bodies connected, so did their hearts. With this small gesture, holding the fae in his arms, he managed to remind her of what she once was. What once was her home. What it should be once again.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that. The visit of the strangers had left deep wounds both in the land and its inhabitants, especially the fae. Her face never grew normal again, her wings had been ripped off, her whole body was twisted by the demonic powers that possessed her. But they say that love can heal all wounds. And while all wounds leave a scar, a scar is a story that can be told. And so, up to this day, the inhabitants of Shadow’s Claw tell the tale of the faun and the virgin fae and the love that can conquer everything.
Avatar made with Fantasy Faire Items only:
Dreamcatcher Nivicola Horns by Illusion
Ibanez Aqua Glow Eyes – Salmon Roe by Ibanez Eyes
Aquamer Gills Slei Warlord by Plastik
Golden Thrawl Mask by Eldritch
Hawk2 Mesh Hair by Wasabi Pills
Outfit: Leyla’s Magic by MysticHope