Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Lunan, the God of the Moon, stepped on the cool marble floor of the open ceiling moon temple, his silver eyes studying his surroundings. Moonlight bouncing off the marble illuminated the area and revealed seven columns that were scattered in a circular pattern, reaching up to the empty air. Around Lunan, about a hundred people were knelt in a circle, keeping their heads bowed in respect.
“Rise,” Lunan said, his voice comforting like the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore but booming with ancient power.
The group slowly stood and raised their heads, but none of them met his eyes.
“What have you summoned me?” Lunan asked.
From the group, one woman stepped forward. She was dressed in silver robes and wore a pendant around her neck bearing the symbol of Lunan, a circle with two outside-facing crescent moon on either side. “Our people have been going missing, and we have no one else to turn to,” she said without meeting the god’s gaze.
“Be at ease, moon sage.” Lunan comforted his follower. “I have been keeping watch every night, and my sister, Solaris, every day. We haven’t seen any atrocities befall your village.”
“That is because the monster attacks under a moonless sky,” the moon sage said, her voice soft yet slightly strained with emotion.
Lunan furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “What has been happening?”
“Our people go missing on moonless nights. It doesn’t matter what we do or where we are. When the moon disappears from the night sky, someone vanishes, never to be seen again.”
Lunan pondered for a moment. Had someone truly been slipping under the watchful gaze of the moon and the sun to harm simple villagers? It certainly couldn’t be a mortal. It had to be a celestial being. But what would a celestial being want from simple villagers? “Then, upon the next moonless night, I shall walk the earth,” Lunan promised the moon sage. “If someone dares attack your village, I shall protect you.”
The moon sage fell to her knees. “Thank you! You are our true god and protector.”
Lunan smiled as moonlight started flowing out from his skin. Soon, every inch of his skin glowed until the light expanded, blinding all the followers. Then, the light faded, and Lunan was gone.
. . . .
As the sun began to set, Lunan appeared in the moon temple, showering his surrounding with blinding light as he stepped into the physical plane. The moon sage was there waiting for him. The last time he had appeared, he’d come wearing simple, silver robes, but this time, he was here to protect his followers; he was here to fight. This time, he was dressed in a white combat suit that looked as soft as cotton but was stronger than any metal that humans could forge. His silver hair was spiked, and wisps of air trailed along his back, hiding something that was fastened there.
“Thank you for gracing us with your presence!” The moon sage greeted Lunan, bowing before him and the godly power he wielded.
“Rise,” Lunan said.
The moon sage and the other followers slowly stood up. “Tonight, we shall sleep in peace. For no night is safer than a night under your holy gaze.”
Lunan nodded in acknowledgement. “Go to your quarters,” he ordered them, and in a few moments, all the followers dissipated, leaving the God of the Moon alone in the temple.
Lunan stepped to the wide window and looked out. Since the temple sat at the top of the hill, it offered a view to the entire village that sat on the shore and was bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. Most of the architecture was simple, with symbols of the moon god incorporated into the structures or carved into the wood. People walked about, heading to their homes, and soon, as the sun dipped past the sea line and a moonless sky filled the horizon, the village was left empty. The streets were quiet and serene, but Lunan was alert. His spectral gaze pierced the darkest shadows and studied every corner of the village.
For a while, the village seemed utterly undisturbed, but then Lunan spotted something. For a moment, he thought, it was his imagination, but when he looked closely, he saw a figure slipping effortlessly in between shadows and darting through the village.
Lunan instantly leapt out the window. He landed on the roof of one of the houses and chased after the figure that was now leaving the village and rapidly scaling the nearby mountain range. Lunan summoned the power of the midnight winds and zipped after the figure, leaving clouds of dust in his wake. He followed the figure up the mountain and stopped as the figure rushed into a dark cave.
Lunan studied the entrance. When he saw no traps, he stepped into blackness before him. Even with his godly sight, the inside of the cave was utter dark, almost like he had entered a void. This is no ordinary darkness, Lunan realized. From the beginning, he’d suspected the involvement of a celestial being, and the impenetrable darkness had just proved him right.
Lunan was no stranger to celestial darkness; being a celestial being of light himself, he had the tools to fight the blackness. Drawing power from within, Lunan channelled the light of the moon through his body and shot it outwards. The blackness vanished as silver light bathed the inside of the cave, revealing unconscious people tied to various stalagmites and stalactites, and in the middle was the figure, a figure that Lunan now recognized. Draped in a black cloak, standing before the God of the Moon, was his arch-nemesis, his celestial opposite, the God of Darkness, Dracai.
Dracai grinned, revealing rows of sharp teeth as he pounced on Lunan like a hungry predator. A black scythe appeared in the gloved hand in the God of Darkness, and he swung his weapon around, going for Lunan’s throat.
Lunan stepped back at the last second, narrowly avoiding the slash. As Dracai attacked again, Lunan dispelled the wind from his back and reached behind, pulling out a stunning silver bow in the shape of a crescent moon and blocking the attack. Most times, Lunan had to keep this weapon hidden, for it was too powerful to be viewed by mortals, but Lunan was now fighting a god, and every mortal in the cave was unconscious. If there was ever a moment when Lunan could reveal his trusty bow in the mortal plane, it was now.
As the God of the Moon evaded the next two slashes, he leapt backwards and drew his bowstring. Moonlight condensed before his fingers, forming a glowing silver arrow, and Lunan fired it with deadly precision. Dracai swung his scythe and deflected the arrow that dug into the thick wall of the cave. Lunan fired a couple of more arrows, but as Dracai deflected them, they damaged certain structural rocks, causing the entire cave to rumble.
“Why are you after the villagers?” Lunan demanded. “You have nothing to gain from them.”
“You think I’m here for them?” Dracai chuckled, his voice coarse like sandpaper. “I’m here for you.” Dracai leapt forward, slashing with his scythe.
Lunan blocked the strikes with his bow and fired an arrow that missed the God of Darkness. Dracai kept charging and swinging his weapon wildly with a maniacal grin plastered on his face, and Lunan kept evading and firing arrows that never struck the God of Darkness. They danced about the cave, flinging deadly attacks at each other and missing until Dracai pushed Lunan into a corner, blocking off Lunan’s sight and access and to the rest of the cave with his body.
“Got you,” Dracai grinned and slashed.
Lunan blocked his strike, but when Dracai struck again, the God of the Moon had nowhere to flee. The scythe cut through Lunan’s armour like a hot knife through butter and slashed his arm. Lunan reeled back, bumping against the wall as pain flared in his arm, paralyzing his muscles.
Dracai raised his scythe over his head. “I’ve waited for this moment for years.”
Lunan looked up at the God of Darkness, unintimidated by the sight of death before his eyes. “You’ll have to wait years more,” he smiled through the pain. A ball of light appeared in Lunan’s uninjured palm, and the cave suddenly got brighter.
Dracai looked around, noticing all the arrows embedded into the cave walls glowing. Just as he realized Lunan’s strategy, the arrows dug out of the stone walls and shot towards the ball of light in Lunan’s hand. Dracai was fast, but he wasn’t fast enough. The glistening celestial arrows dug into Dracai’s body, making him scream in pain. The God of darkness fell to his knees as Lunan grabbed the final arrow that flew towards him.
Dracai looked up at the God of the Moon with hatred in his eyes. He’d always seen the gods of light towering over him and only wanted to knock them off their thrones. He realized he’d failed this time, but he would try again and again till he succeeded.
Lunan gripped the arrow like a dagger and brought it down, but before it could strike Dracai, the God of Darkness disappeared in a void, leaving Lunan to swipe his hand through black smoke that was left behind.
Lunan fell to his knees, panting slightly. He’d expected a battle, but not a battle with a god. Dracai hadn’t attacked Lunan in years, and the God of the Moon had grown lax. He couldn’t afford to make that mistake again; he had to always stay on guard.
Lunan healed the prisoners using moonlight and, after acknowledging all their thanks, let them free. As his followers returned to the village, Lunan retreated to the night sky. Tonight was a victory, but if Dracai would ever dare to return, Lunan would be waiting; he would never let the God of Darkness lay a finger on any of his followers ever again.