There was once a time, eons and eons ago, after the birth of the numerous celestial entities we now know as gods and the subsequent creation of man, when both divinity and humanity lived in peace and harmony. The gods, whose divine power greatly overshadowed that of their human counterparts, ruled the heavens, the earth, and—to some degree—the vast pit of darkness that lay just beneath the surface of our beautiful planet. Though wary of humankind, the gods allowed man to walk upon the land, but not without a price. In exchange for their services and freedom, man was promised protection and happiness, which took its form in innocence and ignorance. This naïveté served the humans well, for they were oblivious to the perpetual darkness that threatened to swallow them whole.
The gods however, though borne from this same darkness, greatly feared its power. For darkness is as ancient as time, and therefore just as wise, devious, formidable, and inescapable. Indeed, it is best not to forget that it was out of this darkness that the universe, gods, and living beings came to be, and it should never be forgotten that those who possess the power of creation, also possess the power of destruction.
Fortunately, the combined powers of the gods was enough to keep the ever-looming darkness at bay, sealing it behind gates of blinding light that greatly diffused the darkness' power, and so, for thousands of years, god and man lived together in peace. But the darkness, which knew and understood all, foresaw its children's traitorous actions, and at the moment of man's creation, slipped a sliver of itself into the hearts of all men. This sliver held man's greatest and deadliest flaw: curiosity. Though it takes quite a while to build, curiosity is a powerful emotion that once fully sparked, cannot be simply overlooked. The darkness knew this and bided its time, waiting for the weak hearts of men to succumb to this innate desire, and sure enough, after thousands of years, one man particular young man, like the gods, has many names, but no matter the language, the meaning is the same. For simplicity's sake, we will refer to him as Curiosus.
Curiosus was the young son of a rather powerful leader, and like his name suggests, Curiosus was an extremely curious lad—even more so than the average human—and he was often found doing something extremely stupid. He was forever getting into trouble; spying on bathing maidens, stealing from the many merchants who traded and traveled through his father's stronghold, abandoning his mandatory lessons for the excitement of exploration. It was during one of these explorations that the young man came across the Voided Gates, black iron gates, engulfed in a light so dazzling, Curiosus was forced to look away so he would not go blind.
He could hear, however, and through the gateway heard a voice so sweet and sultry, he couldn't help but step closer, reaching out towards the sweltering heat as if to wrap his fingers around the glowing iron bar. Just as his fingers touched the surprisingly cool iron, the two mighty gods who guarded the gates appeared. The duo opened their mouths and in unison, demanded that Curiosus leave at once, their booming voices shaking the very ground. Curiosus bowed and immediately turned from the gates, walking off in the direction of home, but the boy was as cunning as he was curious, and he vowed to return in hopes of hearing that sweet voice once again.
The young lad was visited by the darkness that night, in the form of a dream. At the time, such a thing was unheard of. Dreams did not exist because the gods, wary of the frailty of the human psyche, removed man's ability to dream. To this day, no one quite knows how the dream came to Curiosus or how the darkness was able to enter his mind, but there are those who speculate of course. The most popular of these theories believes that when Curiosus touched the Voided Gates, the slither of darkness that lay dormant inside him awakened and, creating a tiny entrance, connected to the great darkness within, allowing more of the darkness to seep into his heart. This darkness reawakened his ability to dream and so came to him that night, whispering sweet nothings into his ear.
In this dream, the darkness antagonized the boy's curiosity, reviving in him his innate lust for power, wealth, fame, and freedom. It filled his mind with truths and falsehoods alike, playing a sick game of manipulation and deception. By morning, the darkness had succeeded in its goal; Curiosus was no longer an ignorant child, content with loving and worshiping the gods, or even living as the gods intended him and his fellow man to. Indeed, he was no longer a sweet innocent boy, but a man hell-bent on retrieving whatever he demanded be his. The darkness had promised him all he could ever want, if he could just free it.
Upon awakening, Curiosus grabbed the small dagger his father had given him, entered his father's room, and ran the blade through his father's heart. This murder was the first the world had ever seen. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the last. After the slaying of his father, Curiosus approached his people, and reiterated the same truths and falsehoods the darkness had whispered in his ear only moments before, hoping to persuade his people into rebelling against the gods. These facts and lies awakened the same feelings in many as it did in him. Those who felt the same rage agreed to follow in his wake, but those who refused were met with a fate similar to his father's, and soon, even those who disagreed, relented, fearful of losing their lives. And so, Curiosus and his people laid siege to the Earth. Killing, slaughtering, and destroying everything in their wake. Those who joined their side were trained for the battles to come, while those who refused were mercilessly executed.
The many gods, hearing the cries of their people, descended upon Earth and did all they could to stop the ensuing chaos. But the darkness in Curiosus heart and in the hearts of man was relentless, and the gods were not powerful enough to stop it on their own. So instead, they gathered together and held a meeting on what should be done. Many of the gods were concerned for the safety and lives of their people, but most were angry, enraged by the insolence and arrogance of man. These gods wanted to lay siege to the people of Earth, but the others who loved mankind, vehemently opposed this, so-called, solution. After much arguing and squabbling, the leader of the gods, who is known by many names, called the court to order.
"As leader of the gods, head of the celestial plain, superior of both man and spirit, I hereby decree that man must be punished for their arrogance and cruelty! The Voided Gates shall open, and the evil we so benevolently shielded man from will be released and the sins of these insolent creatures shall be paid in full!"
A chorus of cries and shouts pierced the air, ringing so loud and clear the very Earth shook. Those who feared for their people begged their leader to reconsider, but their pleas for mercy were drowned by the continued violence of mankind as they slaughtered their fellow countrymen. The gods' leader vehemently refused the appeals of his distressed brethren and ordered the release of the Voided Gates.
Upon it's opening, the world was shrouded in Darkness. Chaos ensued. The monsters and beasts who were once imprisoned were now free to roam, pillage, slaughter, and destroy. The once tiny amount of darkness that inhabited man grew exponentially, until mankind and monster could no longer be distinguished. Curiosus was one of these monsters. The Darkness, upon its release, found itself in need of a host—a puppet to influence and manipulate—and who better than Curiosus, leader of the rebellion and the Darkness' ultimate champion? So the Darkness fused with the mighty Curiosus, bestowing upon the warrior a kind of power no man or god had seen before. With these new powers, the sorcerer—accompanied by his legion of monsters—terrorized the world and its people. The Earth and its inhabitants slipped into madness and it seemed as though all was lost.
However, despite the Darkness' terrible reign and frightening power, there was one heart, one soul, left unscathed by its evil. It came in the form of a small child, a young girl—who, although overwhelmed by its sheer power, refused to relent. Her soul stayed pure and true, like any innocent heart, and her tiny voice rang out among the madness and chaos to the gods above. The goddess, known as Mother Earth, heard the child's plea. As creator and sustainer of the Earth and its many inhabitants, Mother Earth had an exceptionally difficult time following the ruthless commands of her leader. To ignore her dearest children while they were so mercilessly slaughtered was literally destroying her, so when she heard the dear girl's prayer, she instantly appeared.
"I have heard your prayers, child. Tell me, why do you cry? Are you frightened?"
"Mother Earth, goddess of man and creation, I cry for no one but my people, the innocents suffering from the evil that has plagued this world. The Darkness is hurting them and I am far too weak to stop it."
"You wish to stop the Darkness?"
"My people are dying…suffering…my loved ones are either dead or grieving. We live in constant fear of that which can instantly destroy us. They do not deserve to live in fear. No one does. The gods have abandoned us, oh sovereign one…and we are all but lost."
"I see…" The goddess answered, slightly surprised by the young girl's honest resolve. "And just how much are you willing to help these people, child?"
"I will do whatever I can to save my people…and the innocents of this Earth, goddess."
"Even if it costs you your life?"
"If I can save many at the cost of my own life than it is well worth it. The people of this Earth deserve to live happily, without fear or suffering. My people, those who are innocent, were unfairly punished for deeds committed by those corrupted by evil. They suffer even when they are blameless. My only wish is to save them from such cruel misery."
"I see. I only ask, my dear child, because I may be able to help you." The goddess held her hand out to the young girl. A small yet glowing crystal resting in her palm. "This is the Crystal of Light…a powerful stone possessed by the gods. It is the only thing that can save your people and this planet from ultimate destruction."
The young girl reached out as if to touch the crystal, but instantly pulled back, glancing up at the goddess curiously. The goddess smiled. "I sense that there is no darkness within your soul, child. Your heart rings loud and true. Only you can harness the power of Light to stop the Darkness." The goddess frowned, fingers curling over the surface the glimmering stone. "However, doing so will ultimately end your life, for you are but a mere mortal and such power is too great for you. So tell me, dear child, knowing this…will you accept…?" The goddess uncurled her fingers and stretched her hand out to the young girl.
Once again, with a face of absolute determination and without any form of hesitation, the girl nodded her head. "Yes."
She reached out, fingers stretching to touch the crystal, but just before she could reach it, the goddess spoke again.
"What is your name, child?"
"Forgive me, goddess…for I cannot give you a name."
"I…do not have one, milady. I was born into this world…without a name…without a place…without a mother or father. All I have left are my siblings, my people…my loved ones."
"I see…you were born into darkness…yet you still wish to save those who have wronged you." The beautiful spirit smiled softly, her sunken heart blazing with a new kind of hope as she stared at the child before her. "Your family shall forever be blessed for your sacrifice, child."
The young girl shook her head. "I ask for nothing but the freedom of my people, of the innocent. Those who are blameless deserve reparation and those who are evil deserve forgiveness. I love my people…the people of Earth, they are flawed yes…but they are good. There is as much light in their hearts as there is darkness…it just needs to be found."
Small fingertips brushed the shining surface, and with that, the crystal exploded, engulfing Earth in a blinding light. This light—in its sheer brilliance—stretched across the globe, over land and sea, mountain and valley, reaching into every nook and cranny until no darkness remained. As it encompassed the perishing planet, tendrils of light fell to Earth, touching the darkened souls of man and illuminating them. The small amount of radiance, which man was inherently blessed with and that had remained in their murky hearts even after the Darkness had laid siege, brightened significantly, until only light enveloped their souls.
From there, the dazzling brilliance only magnified, stretching out into the dark abyss of space until it reached the heavens, blinding the gods momentarily. A chorus of cries pierced the air, the many celestial deities demanding to know just where such a glaring light came from. One spirit shouted, his voice rising above the others, finger pointing to the beam's origin. The gods glanced down, their divine eyes falling upon the planet Earth, wrapped in a heavenly glow.
"What's going on?!"
"What is this?!"
The exclamations only grew louder. The other gods turning to their leader for answers, but he had none. Instead, he watched the small planet in silence, waiting for the monsters of shadows to, once again, engulf it in darkness and chaos, but the darkness did not return. As quickly as it had appeared, the light vanished, revealing a sparkling, spotless world. What had once been shrouded in eternal gloom and death now glistened with life and light. The Earth had returned to its former glory, a world of peace and hope. Once again, the birds sang, their chirps piercing the crisp air, adding to the chorus of cries from the rest of nature's creatures as they sprang out of their hiding places, scampering through the fresh green fields, eyes alight with joy.
Perplexed, the leader of the gods scanned the globe, searching for the origin of such a brilliant light. His eyes swept over the Earth, over massive mountains, glistening seas, burning deserts, and windy valleys, until they landed upon Mother Earth.
"Mother Earth, what is the meaning of this?!" His voice rumbled, the very heavens shaking under him. "You know that saving man is forbidden!"
The spirit turned, eyes rising to meet the penetrating gaze of her elder. "I am aware of your laws, Father, but what you say is not so. It is not I who saved man."
"But how-?" The goddess glanced down at her hands where two orbs sat comfortably in her palms. One was as black as night, its contents swirling in never-ending chaos. The silhouettes of terrifying monsters pressed against its walls. The other was pure white, its surface emitting a soft light. It was calm, its contents merely floating.
The goddess watched in amazement as a small hand pressed against the inside wall, followed shortly by the beaming face of a young girl, the young girl. A few tears fell from her sparkling eyes. Where they fell sprang two separate streams, whose flows gradually combined to form one river. This river became known to Earth's inhabitants as Meian, or the River of Light and Darkness.
Slender fingers curled around the sphere, brushing across the smooth surface, pulling it closer to a slightly shaking chest. The blessed spirit held the orb against her bosom, eyes twinkling as she smiled back at the face of the young girl.
"I will call you…Hikari."