• Published 11th May 2022
  • 1,164 Views, 85 Comments

Radiance - LSTS Connor



A failed invasion. A Race scattered. A Queen dead. From the ashes, their last cry of vengeance rises.

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Chapter One | Rise

The first thing I felt was the Sun against my body. It was hot, blazingly so, and the ground did not fare much better with its temperature equally as scorching. Feeling began to return shortly after with the muffled sound of a dry breeze sending a cloud of sand across my skin. I opened my eyes for but a short moment before I was forced to raise my hoof to protect them from the blazing Sun.

It did not do much, however, as the holes they possessed let the sun through anyway, as well as a hoof-hole-full of sand cascading down onto my face. I rolled over, sputtering and coughing, trying to spit out the sand that had fallen into my open and panting mouth.

“It worked!”

I heard a faint voice call out from behind me. Between the ringing in my ears and the strange beeps and whirls that aggravated my migraine, I was surprised I could hear anything at all.

Once the sand was vacated from my mouth, nose, and eyes I sat up onto my haunches with some difficulty. My balance was not all there yet it seemed as I got a look at my surroundings. Or, well, lack thereof.

Nothing but sand filled my vision, not even a single solitary rock or boulder could be seen against the horizon. ‘How did I get here?’ Was the thought that pervaded my mind. I tried to recall what had happened before my awakening only to find…nothing. No name, no history, no embarrassing childhood memories that refused to disappear. It was as if I had not existed until that very moment.

The beep and whirls returned and reminded me that I was not alone, perhaps they could shed some light on what was happening to me. After all, waking up in the middle of the desert with no memories or identity and hearing some creature say ‘It worked!’ usually implies that they had something to do with my current situation.

I smiled internally, yes that made sense, there was no need to panic. Panicking would just make everything worse, I knew that, I had dealt with worse after all… Or at least I thought I had, it certainly felt like it. Damndable amnesia.

Turning around I was met with something quite peculiar floating several inches away from my face. It was a small geometrically-shaped construct of black and green, its color palette matching my own almost perfectly. At its center was a small black core with a single glowing green diamond-shaped eye looking back at me. Its ‘shell’ for lack of a better term appeared to orbit the core ever so slightly. Its pieces or shards resemble that of several small black pyramids that when fully formed would resemble some geometric shape. Then it spoke in a voice that sounded distinctly female, causing my dual hearts to jump.

“Hello! Oh, you don’t know how long I’ve searched for you! I thought I’d never find my Guardian!” It flew around me in what I can only assume to be happiness. Its shell was slightly upturned as if mimicking a smile and voice just as full with giddy excitement.

I still continued to observe this strange diamond. I don’t know what but something deep down in my gut knew that whatever it is currently orbiting me happily was utterly unique. Something that should be treated with caution and respect for fear of angering it. Not that I was afraid of this little construct, mind you, it was just my instincts talking.

“What…are you?” I asked with the raspy two-tone voice I had finally found.

My question prompted the little diamond as they ceased their orbiting and floated before my eyes once again.

“I’m a Ghost!” It began with a smile that was audible despite its lack of a mouth or any type of facial features. “Or to be more accurate: I’m your Ghost!” Its shell spun around the core at a speed at which I could physically see the dust on the ground being blown off in its wake.

“That doesn’t tell me anything ‘Ghost’. Who am I? What am I doing in this desert? And why can’t I remember anything about my life before waking up?!” I yelled out with a hiss at the end, my temper getting the better of me as the reality of my current situation began to set in.

“Oh, that's a simple answer. You died, and I resurrected you! Memory loss is…unavoidable. But only the first time!” The ‘Ghost’ added that last part hastily as if to ease my fears. All it did was confuse me.

“I…died? And you…brought me back?” No, I don’t believe it. One cannot simply return from death because some small diamond willed it. Even with my nonexistent memories, I knew that to be fact. Before I could voice this, however, the Ghost continued.

“Yep! The Light chose you to be its wielder! Congratulations Guardian! Ooooh, you cannot believe how much I’ve been looking forward to saying that!” The, or well I guess my, ‘Ghost’ explained. Might as well play along until I had something more substantial.

“And, what, you are supposed to be my…guide? Now that I’m a so-called ‘Guardian’?” I continued to prod. There was no way any of this could actually be real…could it? I needed more information. Preferably some that didn’t create more questions.

“I guess you could say that. I’m here to help you on your journey, whatever that may be. If you need a door opened, call me. Got a cut? No problem. Die? Well, when you do, try to die somewhere safe. I don’t exactly have any means of defending myself here… I can’t wield the light as you can. I’m more like…a conduit for the light's connection to you.”

This ‘Light’ kept coming up. Was it similar to the energy I can feel coursing through my veins and horn? Is it perhaps something different? I certainly didn’t feel anything different. Everything just felt…normal, or well whatever that normal was before waking up here. My mind didn’t know but my body most certainly did.

“You keep mentioning something called ‘the Light’? Is it some form of magic?”

The ‘Ghost’ stopped dead in their tracks as if frozen in time. It stayed like that for several seconds before speaking once again.

“I guess you could describe it like that. It’s a thing that permeates the universe and all living things, and that's really the most I know about it. We don’t exactly get a crash course on what it is. Us Ghosts may have been created by it but that doesn’t mean we understand it.”

“…Alright.” It wasn’t the answer I wanted but it's the one I got and I had no way to know if the ‘Ghost’ was telling the truth or not. And frankly, right now in the middle of this desert, with a black-as-night exoskeleton, was not the best place for interrogation.

“Well, this has certainly been an insightful conversation. Now if you excuse me, Ghost, I must be going no-” I moved to stand up on my four holed hooves intent on leaving the no doubt insane construct to its ramblings, only to freeze in place when I looked down at where I had sat.

Dried green blood was smeared all across the sand. There was so much, too much to have been made by a non-lethal wound. Expanding my field of vision it became clear that there was much more than meets the eye. A crater, for lack of a better term, surrounded us. Behind me was a break in the crater's walls, a clear groove in the sand that showed what direction the object that created this originated from.

“I’m…sorry you have to see that. Most Chosen are not found as recently as you were. Your first death was not the most…peaceful…or clean.”

“I-I…excuse me?” Fear is not a color I wore well, and I was draped in it as the Ghost’s words began to sink in.

“I believe it was… Blunt force actually. I think, yes, basically every bone and every piece of that beautiful exoskeleton of yours was shattered on impact with the ground! And I must say that even after it was shattered into a million pieces it still looked wonderful on you.” The Ghost explained almost ecstatically, unaware of the plight this information was currently giving me before the Ghost's final words reached my mind.

“I…Thank you?” The compliment caught me off guard as my gaze switched between the Ghost and the blood-stained sand that was beginning to be blown away by the wind. The blood… It had to have been mine, there's no other explanation. I…I died. Not injured and healed. Not knocked unconscious and awoken. I actually returned from the other side. My actual death…was reversed.

This ‘Ghost’ was telling the truth.

Well…that certainly changed things. “Do you know my name?” I asked, might as well see if the little diamond at least knew that before bringing me back.

“No.” Dammit. “But I can give you one?” Okay… better, “How does Queeny sound?” NO!

“I would rather die again than be called ‘Queeny’!” I hissed out with barely restrained aggression, “Also, where did you even come up with that name?!” Once again my temper erupted at the utterance of that title. It seems some vestige of the previous ‘me’ still remains. And that included a complete and utter hatred for that nickname. A hatred I support entirely.

“T-the c-c-crown that's g-growing out of your h-head.” The Ghost stuttered out with what sounded like fear as they darted behind my back legs and into my tail.

Bringing my hoof up to check I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did, in fact, have a crown growing out of my teal mane. Perhaps… I was some type of royalty? No, then the crown would be an accessory, this one is growing out of my head. Perhaps I’m… a royal species, a higher caste, a Queen perhaps? Yeah, I like the sound of that. Queen, that will be my name until my old one is found.

“You will call me ‘Queen’ until I discover what my old name was,” I commanded like the royalty I was. Yeah, that rolled off the tongue nicely.

“C-could I perhaps call you ‘Guardian’ as well?” The voice of the ghost seemed so small as they left their hiding spot in my lime green tail, their shell hanging low. I watched the ghost float back up to eye-level as I brought my hoof to my chin in thought. My tongue ran idly over my fangs as I ruminated on their request.

“I will permit it on this one occasion but no other. However, when we are out of here you will refer to me as ‘Queen’” I acquiesce this one time, it was the least I could do for them since they brought me back from death, but no more. Once the words left my mouth, it looked like a switch had been flipped as the drooping shell of the Ghost suddenly sprung back to life.

“Yay!” The sheer childlike happiness that ‘yay’ radiated was so infectious I couldn’t help but laugh and shake my head in response. Anyway, with my naming now out of the way, we could focus on getting out of this desert. If I stayed out here any longer I would literally begin to cook in my exoskeleton.

“Now, do you know what direction leads towards civilization? As much as I am enjoying our introductions I would prefer not to die of dehydration.”

“Oh, you needn’t worry about that!” Well, that's good to kn-“ If you die I’ll just bring you back!” And there it is.

“Well, as…comforting as that sound, I would rather not.”

“Understandable, you're still getting used to this whole ‘Guardian’ and ‘Light’ business. Best not go testing your immortality right away, right?” The ghost looked at me as if one were trying to bump shoulders, not realizing that they did not have a shoulder to bump with.

They seemed to notice after several moments and instead flew down and lightly tapped their shell against my chitin. It felt…warm to the touch. I just shrugged it off, and let the Ghost have their fun. I would rather not ruin this strange relationship we now found ourselves in.

‘Queen and Ghost’ Sounds like the title of a bad horror romance novel. Now that I thought about it, did the Ghost have a name?

“Ghost? Do you have a name?” I ask the little diamond currently…rubbing against my shoulder?

“Hmm? Oh!” They ceased in their rubbing and flew back up to my eye level. “ Atarah. My name is Atarah.”

“Well Atarah let us leave this desert then, shall we?”

“I believe we shall. Let me just check my compass and…” The green eye Atarah had closed. Or at least I think it was closed, the light that was their eye simply vanished from view for a few seconds.”There!” Her shell spun around her core briefly in happiness before pointing with one of the shards that orbited her. “30 kilometers thataway!”

I had no idea what type of measurement unit these ‘Kilometers’ were and frankly, I didn’t want to ask, it would just make the walk longer. With a nod towards Atarah, I began to walk out of the grave I had woken up in. To my side, there was a *whoosh* of displaced air where Atarah once floated. She had vanished.

I looked around confused, I could have sworn she was right next to me.

‘Don’t worry I’m still here.’ Atarah’s response resonated inside my mind.

“Where did…”

‘Sorry, trade secret.’

I could just *feel* the smirk in that answer as I continued our trek out of the desert.

“Fine just warn me next time you decide to pull another one of your ‘trade secrets’”

‘Will do, Guardian’

What could only be described as a *Squeee* reverberated through my mind. Its pitch made me wince.

‘Oh! Sorry…it is just so exciting to finally find my Chosen, my Guardian.’

“Yes, now your ‘Guardian’ would like to be called Queen from now on. I may not have my memories, but I do have standards. Now tell me…What does being chosen as a Guardian mean? You say I am able to wield something known as ‘the Light’. How do I do that?”

‘When the time comes, you’ll know what to do.’

I stopped dead in my tracks. “Really?” I ask the empty air almost in exacerbation.

‘Sorry…’

“…Fine, whatever,” I say before continuing to trek across the desert. “Can you at least tell me what being a Guardian entails now that I, apparently, am one now?”

‘That I can! We are chosen to fight against the Darkness and protect the Traveller and its Light! The, uhh, last part…doesn't really apply here. It was kinda, sorta, implied that the trip here would be one way by the big guy soooo…’

“Sooooo?”

‘I-I guess we’ll find out together what being a Guardian means. Otherwise, the Traveller would have never brought me here to find you.’ I would have to ask about this ‘Traveller’ later but right now the heat was starting to get on my nerves.

“Yes, well, enough speaking of this Traveller. The first order of business will be getting out of this desert and finding out who I am. After all, If I don’t know where I came from, how will I know where I’m supposed to go?”

‘Then… eyes up, Guardian! We’ve got a wasteland to cross! Eeee, I’ve always wanted to say that!’ Atarah attempted to whisper that last part but due to it literally originating from my own mind, I heard it perfectly.

Looking back briefly towards what had been my grave, my mind began to wonder. I would be lying to myself if I said I didn’t feel some trepidation about what was to come. Is what killed me still out there? Would they return and finish the Job should they find out about my resurrection? Is seeking out my past life really worth the danger it may pose?

Well… whatever happens, I won’t squander this ‘Second Chance’ I have been granted by this ‘Light’ and Atarah.

I won’t repeat the actions that killed me.

With my resolve steeled I turned my back on the crater and began to walk into the sand dunes. My journey into this new life has begun, and I have no idea where it will lead.

Author's Note:

A new journey has begun. Will it be blessed, or full of hardship?
Will she rise in the light? Or will the darkness drown her in the deep?
Is whatever killed her still out there and will it come to finish the job?
And finally what path will Queen take once she discovers the truth about her past?

After all, the line between Light and Dark is so very thin.

Like, Comment, favorite do whatever makes you happy so long as one person enjoys my words I can call this a job well done.
-Love Connor