“There is a story everyone in Goarahn tells. A story that keeps children in their beds at night. A story young and old parents pass down from generation to generation. The story of Jira. The name still strikes fear into some adults to this day.
The story is a little different from region to region and continent to continent but the overall message is the same. This is the story I tell to you young Findahl. For All gods want their legends told and it is our jobs to tell them.” The old man took in a deep breath and drank on his wine. A small boy with auburn hair sat attentively listening to the story his father was about to tell him.
“There was a small boy about your age who lived in a town about this size.” The man was interrupted by Findahl’s voice.
“Do you adjust the city and age for the audience?” His father smiled a frustrated smile.
“Findahl, you should be careful with your questions. There are people in this world who would not do to be questioned so opnely. You are intelligent, but it could land you in hot water one day.” The fire in the chimney cracked and popped. The warm hearth making a cozy wine-filled man, and an eager curious young boy happy to be together.
“As I was saying, there was a young boy about your age in a town this size. He would often run off in the night. He was not up to no good. Nor was he intended to do evil of any kind. He loved to explore and find the wonder of night. He often saw things a small boy should not. He saw people who should not be together.
He witnessed crimes and unsavory activity. Though the young boy did not care for any of that. They were merely milestones for the tree lines. For this young boy wanted so desperately to have something other than an ordinary farm boy life. He wanted adventure. He had heard the tales of Aeridorn the Great, and Eulden the of the Shadows. He wanted to be a legend, he wanted to do legendary things.
He strived to be great. He found himself in the thick of the woods each night looking for something new and adventurous. One morning he was returning to his home a little later than usual. His mother was waiting for him this time. She scolded him for being out without telling her, and for being out at night. She warned him of the dangers of the world. The young boy promised her he would not do it again.
He promised her he would be better and stay in his bed at night. He promised her all of these things. To be fair to our young boy, he tried. Each night he stayed in bed, he suffered great sorrow. He yearned for adventure. This went on for a week. What like the longest week of this boys life. Then he left in the night again. He could no longer stand the thought of adventure lost. It was on this night our young adventurer stumbled into a fairy. This fairy was not like most fairies, when she saw the young boy she approached him.” He took in a deep breath and another swig of warm wine. Young Findahl sat on the edge of his seat, the brown wooden chair threatening to topple over as he did so.
“The fairy said to him. “Young boy, why are you out here all on your own?” The boy wasn’t sure what to make of her. Her small glowing form was something he had not seen before. Before tonight he had only heard stories of fairies.
“I am looking for adventure. I am looking for the start of my story. I want to be great like Eulden of the Shadows.” The young boy confessed to the fairy. The same confession he had made many times before to adults in his village. The fairy put her small delicate hand to her chin and asked.
“What would you give for such a story to be yours?” The young, foolish boy said the first thing his heart could muster.
“Anything.” The word slipped from the boy like steam a kettle. There was not trapping it.
“Anything eh?” The fairy responded. The fairy pondered over the boy for a moment and then said to him, “You know that these legends you speak of, the lives they led were not easy. They do not reflect the stories we tell of them. The deeds they achieved were great, but the hurdles they had to climb. They were great and arduous. Is this still something you want.” The boy set his jaw and found the determination and confidence only a young boy can.
“Yes.” He said, trying his best to sound like the man he wasn’t.
“Very well then,” The fairy said to him. “Come back to me tomorrow night and I will set you on the start of your adventure.” The boy nodded and returned home. His mother was waiting for him again. She yelled at him. She for the first time in his young life spanked him. She warned him of the woods. He told her about the fairy. Her offer for adventure. His mother screamed and locked him in his room. She told him not to trust fairies and that he would not be returning to the woods tonight.
The boy decided he would in fact be going to the fairy that night. So, he left after she left. A locked door was nothing for him to get through. He used an old set of lock picking tools he had found in the village and after an hour of trial and error, he got out. He left in the middle of the day and waited for night time to come. He was just beginning to get hungry waiting for the fairy, when she found him.
“Are you ready?” She asked him. He nodded. He was more than ready. “Then you will be my champion. My collector of souls. You will be the very force that strikes fear in the hearts of all.” The boy scrunched his eye brows as she spoke.
“I don’t want that at all.” He said determined to get his way. “I want to be a good force, a legend of honor and victory.” The fairy smiled and tapped him on the forehead.
“Those things all depend on who’s side of the fence you are own. You will be the champion of the fairies. Together we will protect our kingdom. Jira, of the night. Now go forth and collect what I seek from your town.” The boy felt a strange sensation come over him. His arms and legs grew three times their size, his torso stretched painfully. His head morphed, it all hurt. He screamed but no noise came of it. When the transformation was complete the boy stood twelve feet tall, a large humanoid shadow figure. The shadows falling off of him like water from a cliff. “Everyone will fear the night, darkness, and even their own shadow thanks to you Jira.”
“I do not want this. I will not do it. The boy said, his voice now deep and monstrous.
“You will, and the town is already dead, I just want you to collect their souls I left behind. You first feeding should be an easy one.” She said sharply, her face much more twisted than it had just been before.
“You what?” The boy tried to cry at the thought of his mother and the village being killed. “How did you know where they were? I always get lost trying to find home. How could you have found them?” The deep shadowy rumble of his new visage echo’d through the woods.
“I followed your footprints of course.” She said slyly.
So our young boy found himself transformed. He found the urges to go collect the souls too strong. He could smell them from here. So he did, and so he would continue to do. We tel this story to remind our young that going out at night and disobeying their elders can be dangerous. Jira, of the night is out there collecting. The last thing we want for our young is to be collected, or worse… Become one of Jira’s servants.” His father stopped speaking and finished the cup of warm wine.
“Is that a true story?” Findahl asked politely.
“As true as any other story my boy.” The old man said smiling.
“What if I vowed to stop him?” Findahl questioned his father determined for an answer.
“Then you would be choosing not to learn the same lesson Jira did as a boy. Not everyone is meant to be great. Some of us reach for the stars but end up falling from the sky.”