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Hiding in the shadows

The shadow realm, the place where the bumps come from, scares the kids in the night. A realm where mortals fear to tread but a place that Moyu loved to call her own. As she stepped into the realm a shiver ran down her spine, one of pleasure, the sound of mortals screaming and the scent of blood, causing such a motion and sensation within her. Moyu was a creature unlike anything else; she stood petite 5’ 3” frame clad in her normal attire, a simple floor length black dress made out of shadows. It exposed a lot of her skin; the dress split either side to her hip, allowing her graceful movements, even when killing.  Her long deep red hair tickled at her exposed back, the dress being backless and sleeveless exposing not only her skin but the markings upon her body; one upon her lower back, the mark of a moon goddess and the one upon her forearm showing her to be a chaotic child. Classy and alluring people had labelled her as but all Moyu knew was that it was comfortable.  Moyu’s jade eyes wandered around the room for a moment as if assessing if anyone had entered while she was way or even if anyone had been hiding within her shadows; nothing escaped her gaze. Her eyes finally flickered up to the sky, a mass of swirling blackness seeming to have an entity of its own. The sky humming with the whispers of the known universe, every person in every home, sounding like the bustle of hungry insects searching for food. As the hum mixed with the symphony of the screams and death of those within the lands it sounded just like a haunting twisted dawn chorus.

She slowly made her way into the middle of the lands, the ground crunching and crackling under her feet, even the lightest steps would have crushed the bones under the blanket of shadows. No one survived long within these lands, unless you charmed the favour from Moyu. She came to stop at the winding rivers that etched their way through the darkness of the land, they casted out an eerie light within the lands allowing the inhabitants to see and do their tasks. Moyu bent down at the river side and dangled her finger lightly into the glowing waters, from her touch the waters gave out a ghastly ghostly moan before spectral heads could be seen for form within the river. Their faces were contorted in pain, their features frozen in their last living moments of pain.  If she were to follow these rivers ebbing and flowing throughout the land she would end up at the sea of souls, the route to hell itself. After having spent some time annoying the souls within the river and seeing some new faces amongst them she wished to see how well the rest of the realm was fairing.

Her next stop just so happened to be her favourite place within these lands. She had used her magic to leak the forest into the human world yet shielded a little; those poor little humans would not have been able to handle the forest in its entirety. Finding herself within the middle of the wooded area within a blink of an eyes, after all why walk when you can transport in a matter of moments.  The hunter’s forest, aptly named, hunt or be hunted, those were the rules. The trees simply shells of their original selves, no leaves hung upon their branches, as if winter had come and never left. The branches and trunks seeming to be covered in a dust of sorts, ash maybe from things being burnt but that would be too easy of an explanation. The truth of the matter was a lot more gruesome; the dust was the powdered bones of the victims of the land and its creatures.

As she walked through the woodland her feet made no sound, within this area nothing lingered upon the ground but the shadows. Stealth was key within this deadly nature. The plant life within the land quaked and groaned thinking another victim had wandered into their lair. A familiar scent seeped into the air; the scent of blood. The trees were getting ready for their next meal; out of the cracks within their bark oozed the blood and liquidized flesh of their past victims. With a gurgle and a bubble here and there the trees past meals slowly ran down their forms, moving like thick lava from a volcano and almost as deadly.

The ground vibrated the shadows surrounding Moyu’s feet scurried and rippled seeming to want to escape what had caused the earth to become unsettled. Darting around the trees, slipping from behind one to the other, came the cause of the vibrations. A mythical creature, a manticore, the head and body of a lion yet with the tail of a scorpion and the wings of a bat all of these features coated in shadows, seeming even more ferocious than in the history books. Its eyes glowed red with anger, hate and most of all hunger; wishing only to devour the flesh off of the newest victim within the land. Moyu was not that victim. The lands even though under Moyu’s control were still unruly at best, chaos is as chaos does and there was no truer sentiment when it came to this land and all those that inhabited here.

 The manticore snarled and continued upon its warpath, its mind clouded by its hunger and anger. The blood lust of a creature is something Moyu could understand. Within the blink of an eye the manticore was joined by two minotaurs, the head of a bull and the body of a male; this combination was strong yet not smart. This point was clearly show as one of the minotaurs stumbled over his own feet, his passion for blood having gotten the best of him, as he fell he smashed into the nearest tree. The viciousness of the forest coming into the harsh light to day before her very eyes. The blood and liquidised flesh that was oozing out of the tree splattered upon his body turning into acid upon his flesh. The creature grunted in pain, the acid of the trees slowly seeping into his blood, the water within his system bubbling to the surface causing his skin to burst free into boils. As the acid dug deeper into his flesh it ripped it clean from the bone, peeling away like the skin upon a fruit. With a final heart wrenching scream and grunt from the creature he fell still and silent, death had consumed him. Now it was time for him to be fully consumed by the forest. The tree that he had smashed into now ripped its own roots out from the shadowy ground and used them like a human would its legs. The tree shook itself a little casting off the bone dust of its previous victims before standing upon the dead minotaur, like a human would a bug. With a few simple twists of its root like feet the beast was nothing more than bone dust, slowly being absorbed into the very heart of the tree which planted itself where the creature had died.

The other two creatures having seen their friend killed by the very woodland that they ran through, wounded their drive to feast. A whimper slipped from each of their lips, and the look within Moyu’s eyes only confirmed to them that it would have been best for them to back away from the battle. They stopped dead in their tracks and within a few moments the shadows that had surrounded their bodies forced them to seep into the very ground they stood upon and out of sight. Almost becoming food had made Moyu hungry so she turned herself away from the carnivorous forest and headed back towards the open lands of the shadows.

After a few minutes walking and a little jump over the streams of souls Moyu found herself at the main meeting place within the realm. In the centre of the meeting place was a larger than life dining table, it made everything else look like something out of a dolls house. The table was laden with all the foods of the known universe, not all pleasant to the human pallet but those that were ranged from fresh meats like steak and chicken to simple things like vegetable meals and fresh fruit. Moyu ran her finger lightly over the box elder wood table, with its flecks of red upon within the grain of the wood it suited to harshness of the plains here. All that Moyu was interested in upon the table this time was a single red apple; the forbidden fruit and it tasted so good.

She had one last stop on her rounds before she could relax a little and watch over the land in peace. In the outlands of the shadow realm there stood two giant rocks, triangular shaped and suspended one above the other.  In the middle of those two slabs floated a pure white ball, uncontaminated and innocent. This was Moyu’s angel soul trapped here within the darkness yet she knew if the tables were turned her shadows would be trapped within the angel’s light and she could not have that. The shadows having sensed someone close to the trapped soul rose up from the ground using the bones under the blanket of darkness as a form. Their eyes red just like the creatures within the forest had been and they settled upon Moyu. They were willing to protect the soul as they had been ordered using themselves and the other bones as weapons but upon seeing Moyu they simply bowed their heads and begged for forgiveness. She simply waved a dismissive hand and sent them upon their way. They kept the humanoid form and preformed rounds within the land, trying to keep the chaos to a minim.

Now it was time for Moyu to rest; everything seemed in order so she took her leave from the sacred place, apple in hand. The one feature of this land that could not be missed was a large jagged rocky mount. A single pathway led up the hill to the top, twisting and turning this way and that. Either side of the pathway was loitered with bodies all in different stages of decomposition, the skin of the body becoming green before falling away from the bodies. All of these bodies had been drained of their life’s essence now it was just a matter of time for the shadows to consume them then they could be a part of the shadow realm forever. Upon the top of the mount sat a large black marble chair, almost throne like; etched into the back of the chair in silver was the mark of the moon goddess, a place built just for Moyu. A perfect place for her to sit and that was just what she did, watching over her land.

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