• Shadows in The Valley
    Michael A. Hallman

    A World Apart

    For a tiger in Africa, Damion had a fairly standard life, besides the fact he was in love with a panther he had grown up with. He and his friend Yuki were inseparable no matter where they were.
    One morning as they were hunting the ground beneath Yuki began to cave in underneath her. Without thinking Damion jumped to rush her away but fell into the cavern himself.
    “Damion are you ok?” asked Yuki. More for her sake than his “Yeah, I’m fine” said Damion. “Just a little banged up from the fall.”
    “Ok well now that that’s settled, why would you do something that stupid!” said Yuki.
    “Stay put I think I see an exit” and with that he walked away.
    After wandering the cavern for awhile, he made his way towards a light, but the further he wandered towards it the stranger things got. He began to hear voices.
    “The door “said a voice, it sounded so close but so far away.
    “What door?” asked Damion, thinking it was a way out.
    The door is open.
    Then he came to a stone wall filling the cave made of the darkest stone he’d ever laid his eyes on and in it was what seemed to be the chalk outline of a door.
    “Will you step toward the aid of a periled world?”
    “What? Im just a tiger, what can I do to save a world.”
    “You are more than you appear but alas you are young and have not realized your true potential for greatness.”
    “I don’t know what I can do to help but I will go” said Damion.
    So then he found himself lying in a valley but he felt different. He pulled up his paw but, wait a second that’s not a paw. He was a human, well almost human he still had his ears, tail, eyes and claws.

    Up the Mountain, Down the Hole

    “Where am I?” asked Damion to no one in particular.
    “You” said the voice, “Are in the Drace Mountain Valley.”
    “Why did you bring me here?”
    “The Drace mountains are home to the Shade Village and this worlds’ counterpart to your friend Yuki.”
    “What! Yuki’s here?” asked Damion excitedly.
    “No she is not, but her counterpart Yuki VonBlake, daughter of Vero VonBlake, heir to the Hidden Shadows legacy.” Stated the voice.
    “Hidden Shadow?” asked Damion.
    “Yes, you will find out more at the top of this mountain.”
    “Wait, what?” said Damion, but the voice was silent.
    (Authors note: Ok by now you should realize he’s in a world parallel to his own but where’s his counterpart huh, well since he’s the main character he doesn’t have one.)
    And so our hero’s climb begins up the perils of Drace Mountains. When he finally make it to the top ,”Who are you?” yelled the guard in the tower.
    “I’m Damion”
    “Damion , who?” said the guard quite annoyed although Damion never had a surname. He was just Damion, so he had to think.
    He had never thought about a last name. He had never had a family before so he just chose a name that he’d seen on the cave wall.
    “I’m Damion Rios.”
    “What business do you have in the Outcast Village, home to the hidden shadows” asked the guard.
    “I seek refuge for the night.”
    “Come in, all are welcome in Outcast Village”, with that he disappeared. After a few minutes the gates came up and Damion went inside.
    Once inside he saw it was the most diverse and lively place he had ever seen with people, animals, hybrids and others he had never laid eyes on. The various smells and aromas filled his nostrils, he very much liked this village.
    When he was walking he continually saw people with black full face guards on their faces though they also had tails like him and armor for their body and half their tail. It was strange how they just stood there sometimes in groups but mostly alone, usually just watching what’s going on. I’d only seen one of them fight and when they did it was beautiful, perfect almost no motion wasted. They fought like they owned the city. Little did I know, they did own the city.
    Later that night he had the unfortunate surprise of bumping into one in the street and not apologizing. Later after he had gone to sleep he had a rude awakening. He woke up in a large black room with one light over a group of raised platforms and one, two, three of those black clad guards.
    “Who are you?” asked the one in the center highest platform.
    “I” said Damion , “am Damion Rios.”
    “What province do you come from?” asked the first.
    “None I do not come from any province.”
    “Then where are you from traveler if not a province?” they asked.
    For this Damion needed to think and he said the first thing that came to mind “The Valley below this mountain is the place I arrived here” said Damion.
    “Why do you disrespect the hidden shadow, young one. Do you not understand our authority?”
    “No, not really, I haven’t ever been in this village a whole day yet sir.”
    “Well, welcome to our city Damion Rios. I am Vero VonBlake, I run this organization, The Hidden Shadow.”
    “I’ve heard the name but never had the honor of meeting one of you. I believe the second highest pedestal is your daughter, Princess of the Abyss, Yuki VonBlake.”
    “You are correct in saying but you have encountered us before, we’ve been watching you. Now since you’ve seen our sanctum, you have two choices.”
    “What may those choices be um….sir.”
    “You can either leave this village forever”
    “Father!” yelled Yuki VonBlake.
    “Or” said Vero.
    “Or?”asked Damion.
    “Or you could be tested for your aptitude to join us” said Yuki offering him an alternative.
    “Yuki” yelled Vero “do not interrupt.”
    “Sorry father.” She said.
    “As she said” said Vero “your second option is to join the Hidden Shadow.”
    “I choose” said Damion “to take your test and join the Hidden Shadow Clan.”
    And so the test begans, three second class (the first being the lowest) students of Shadow came out to fight.
    “Your trial” said Vero “is to escape or evade these students” and so the trial began.
    The students were well trained and yet Damion was still managing to evade them but with each maneuver they gained ground on him till they were nearly on top of him.
    It was at this moment everything changed.
    When they neared for the final time Damion Changed. His hair went from dark brown to gleaming silver, his green eyes to a blood red, his claws sharper, and as they neared him he knocked them all out in a single sweep.
    With his claws to the throat of the largest of the three Vero stood and yelled “Enough!”then as he calmed down he spoke ”Damion Rios I now…”
    “Sorry to disappoint you but Damion isn’t not here right now” said the stranger.
    “Then” Said Vero ”To whom am I speaking?”Asked Vero “What is your name?”
    “My name is a name you’ll know well….My name is Crimson Wraith” said Crimson
    “Impossible!!!” yelled Yuki Before her father could stop her “Crimson Wraith was one of the founders of the shade village and the father of the hidden shadows”
    “Yuki! Hold your tongue girl.” Said Vero now settled into his seat “Explain yourself ‘Crimson’”
    “This…Boy…somehow pulled my spirit from its resting place and stowed it inside his subconscious” Said Crimson “I must leave you now His Brief Moment of dependence on me is near comple..” but he didn’t finish cause’ Damion chose that moment to come to.
    “What just….happened….I feel..” then Damion finally succumbed to shock and fell unconscious on the floor.
    “This will be interesting” said Vero quietly to himself.

    Another Tale

    On the other side of the map there was a utopian society of fierce loyal warriors…the home of the wolves and the city of Latratus there in the royal castle the princess of the wolves resides.

    “But dad!” said Maya. They’d been arguing about whether or not she could attend a political meeting between the ‘Three Great Clans’ or the three pillars.
    “No and that’s the end of our discussion!” said King Lyall he didn’t want his daughter to have anything to do with the army.
    “This isn’t fair dad I’m going to be queen I need to attend these thing’s….I’m already 17 dad” Said Maya


    “We need to move soon” Stated Tyko the wolf general.
    “Moving tonight would be a logical decision while the king and main guard are at the festival presentation” Said Ryian a captain in the wolves’ recon force
    “I just don’t like the plan” Said Zero the wolf prince
    “The lads fallen for her Tyko” Said Ryian
    “I trust this isn’t true Zero?” Asked Tyko. This would complicate their plans to a large degree.
    “No uncle I can guarantee I will not compromise anything.”
    “Good. Then it’s settled tonight we drink to the fall of the Cats”
    All “To the fall of the cat’s”

    That morning As the Festival began they stole off into the castle to kidnap the princess and begin a war between the cats and wolves. The few guards they hadn’t convinced to join them and didn’t fear them they took care of without much effort. Soon they would have the princess in their grasp but they were almost out of time for the royal guard’s could set off the alarm.

    After they worked their way through the halls of the wolves palace they came to the doors to the princess’s suite of rooms soon their plan would reach the end of the first stage. Soon the princess would come under their control.

    In her room Maya was talking to herself about not attending the festival “I don’t get it why was I left out….i mean I’m 17…..can’t he see I’m just trying to get used to my duties as princess…well I guess he just doesn’t like me seeing the military.” She’d had no idea that a Cu’ was being staged against her father by his generals (a Cu’ is an abbreviation for Coup de’ Ta’ or the overthrow of a king/other ruler) Tyko, Ryian, and the wolf prince Zero. Actually Maya had met Zero when they were children and he visited her more and more as they grew older. They’d become quite close over the years because they were the only friends to each other because of their political position they couldn’t make friends with the other kids. “Ugh it’s just so boring in here” said Maya absent mindedly.