The Legend of the Rah
Author: LCD

Chapter 3

Dworne was popular among the playing children. They laughed when he impersonated the cruel King Zylbersdyne in an theatrical way, howling and roaring. And then he went rushing toward them, trying to get hold of them. He always let them escape his snatch, though, and let them run to their safety pods, pretending that he couldn't see them anymore. Myquenna's dark blue eyes followed the motions of her brother and mused at the careless and cheerful way in which the other children played. She felt that the game was a bit below her level of maturity but it let her forget her sorrows for a few moments. She adored her brother and regretted her harsh words from earlier on. They had come in anger and shock. Dworne was the best brother any twelve year old could wish for, together with Loar. But Loar was ten years her senior and had always been the more judicious of her brothers. Dworne could make rash decisions at the spur of the moment when Loar would reflect about all the consequences his actions could have. And now that her parents were gone Loar was also something like a second father to them.


The other children were sons and daughters of Loar's generals. They lived together in this makeshift city behind the palisades that were supposed to protect them from surprise attacks by Zylbersdyne's men. No one knew how many had barricaded themselves in the Tower. In fact, they seldom saw anyone move around on its terraces except for the times when the Crah were launched on some mission or returning from one of them. But the Tower was twice as far away from the rim of the canyon than it was high, so it was hard to see more than a few moving specks in the distance. The Rah people  were always afraid that some day the King would send his men out with the Crah for an attack on them. But so far, they hadn't so much as circled above them.


“That's enough for now children! It's almost time for eclipse nap!”


Myquenna looked up and saw that Hoordaan's mother had entered their play area just outside of the commanders' building. The woman looked up at the sun as if to reassure herself that it soon would be dark. But the first contact was impossible to see with one's eyes. The timing was in the blood of the Rah. Every day just before noon, Rahmoon would pass in front of the sun causing a total eclipse that lasted about an hour. It was actually the darkest time of a Rah-day, which lasted forty eight hours. Rahmoon was the companion of Rahterr, together they formed a double planet system somewhat like the earth and the moon, except that Rahmoon was much closer and larger than the earth moon. The two planets revolved around each other on their joint path around the sun and the planes of the orbits coincided almost perfectly causing mutual eclipses. Just as the daytime eclipse would cause darkness on Rahterr, the planet would in turn block the sun and darken the bright full Rahmoon at midnight. That would leave a ghostlike reddish glowing Rahmoon among the myriad of stars of the galaxy.


As the other children scurried on in, Myquenna waited for her brother. They smiled at each other and when he got to her, he laid his arm on her shoulder,


“Are you alright?” he asked. Myquenna nodded. She didn't move on in as the others did but turned around and looked up to the bright sun that was reaching its zenith. But she knew that the sun would disappear behind the Rahmoon before she actually did.


“Do you miss mom and dad?” the girl asked subdued, her face still angled upwards.


“Course I do.” He said pulling her closer. “See how Rahmoon is moving over the sun?” He pointed his finger upward. The light had become fainter. Myquenna squinted. It was still too bright to look into the sun directly.


“Don't look too long into the sun now. It will hurt your eyes. But in a few minutes you will see the final flash when the sun disappears and reveals its beautiful crown, the corona.”


“I know, I've seen it many times.” Myquenna told her brother a bit bored.


“But do you know what it means?”


Myquenna looked at her brother now and shook her head. He smiled.


“They say that the souls of people who die go to Rahmoon where they live on for all eternity. The evil souls are held underground in caves forever but the good souls...” He looked at his sister, “The good souls may roam Rahmoon as they please. They look down on Rahterr and can see us in daytime. And each eclipse they gather on the side of Rahmoon where the corona of the sun crowns them. It's their greeting to us on Rahterr. So when you look up to see the flash...” Dworne pointed his finger high again, “ will be looking directly to mom and dad... and all other souls of the good people who have gone.”


Myquenna held her breath. It was getting dark as the shadow of Rahmoon was taking away the last rays of light from Rahterr, leaving it in darkness for the next hour or so. And then it happened, like it had happened so many times in their lives. The final flash of light merged into a display of the faint light from beyond the edge of the sun creating a crown of light on one  side of Rahmoon. Myquenna gasped. Never before had she felt her heart pound so hard when this happened. She looked up and goosebumps formed on her arms. The sudden chill in the air had amplified the effect but she imagined that she somehow could connect to her lost parents for just a moment. Her breathing returned to normal after a few seconds and the corona light was slowly swallowed up as well by the eclipse. But in her heart she felt the light of the flash linger on.


She turned to her brother and smiled. The flickering light of a torch that someone had wisely lit in time was illuminating his face now in the pitch black darkness.


“You should get some rest, little one! Take a nap like the other kids!”


It had been a long first half of the day and there would be another eleven hours of sunlight after the eclipse before the long night began. But the night was not completely dark due to the reflected light from Rahmoon, which made the nights much brighter than a full moon did on earth. Only when Rahmoon was eclipsed around midnight it was really dark again for some time,  before it emerged from the shadow of Rahterr. The sleeping patterns of Rah people were more irregular than common on earth. They slept in short intervals and deepest during the eclipses when darkness was tightest.


Myquenna yawned involuntarily. Her eyelids were becoming heavy quickly. It was almost impossible to resist the impulse to find a place to sleep. Even Dworne was fighting against his wish to do the same but adult Rah learned to manage without the extra sleeping hour at noon. Both of them went inside where it was all quiet and peaceful. The other children had already dozed off into their dreams. Dworne tucked his sister in and patted her head but she was already asleep. He stifled a yawn and sat on the edge of the bed. He looked at the tranquil face of his sister and smiled for himself, happy that his story had touched her heart. He hoped that would one day her wish for a peaceful world would come true. But before that would be the case, he would make sure that Zylbersdyne would meet his rightful fate. At the tip of his sword. He knew that he hardly would be the one that would be in the front lines, being merely sixteen. He knew that Loar was at least as keen on being the one to slice the throat of their worst enemy and that his brother was the more experienced and skilled warrior of the two. But the thought was what was keeping him going and prevented the sorrow for his parents to overwhelm him. Hatred was killing the pain for him at the moment, he thought. But then he saw the soft lines of his sister's face in the faint light and thought better of it. It was the love for his dearest that weighed more. Whatever happened, he would let nothing harm Myquenna.


Now the softness of the bed was too tempting for him. There was some space next to her on the edge of the bed. Careful not to wake his sister, he lay down to rest. Just for a minute, he told himself. But when his head touched the pillow he was lost to his dreams as well.






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