Introduction to the Eternals, an ancient race of immortal beings...
Another dark, empty highway stretching out away into the oblivion of night. I have seen so many, it never matters where I am, they all look the same. And it never matters where they lead, because I always end up in the same place... Nowhere.
Windows down, music up, and the late summer air whips through the cab to tear at my long braid of white hair. It can only manage to pull a few strands loose from the main plait, but those thin tendrils dance wildly across my forehead as if experiencing their first taste of freedom. I pay them no mind. I keep my eyes fastened on the rapidly receding asphalt in my rear-view, only occasionally glancing ahead. There is the rumble of thunder somewhere above in the clouded night sky, the herald of a downpour.
The rain begins in a delicate mist of hesitation. I leave the window down even as it gradually becomes a confident deluge, enjoying the needle-like lash of water at 65 miles per hour on my bare arm. Lightning flashes in tandem with a deafening crack of thunder, turning the landscape briefly to ghostly daylight. I have always loved storms. When there are few things in this world that I have felt strongly for, they have always given me a sense of joyous freedom. Outside the realm of control, their beauty, power, and unpredictability speaks to me. In my earlier years I made a habit of standing out in thunderstorms with arms outstretched, lost in a rapturous trance. My habit quickly became an obsession.
I have been struck by lightning two hundred and seventy three times in my life.
They have not left a mark on me.
Something like that tends to get attention, and for a few years, long ago, I was followed by a group of zealots who believed that I was their Messiah at last returned to Earth, and the proof was my immunity to Heaven's electricity. But when I tired of them, and they still would not leave even after I had commanded it, I told them that I was not their Messiah. Rather, I was a demon sent from the abyss to collect their souls and feed upon them. I thought it was amusing, but they did not, and neither did the angry torch-wielding mob they sent after me. I could have stayed and taught them all a valuable, hard lesson about the downside of persecution, but who am I to try and change thousands of years of human thinking? So instead, I slipped silently into the night, moving on without a thought, as I am so given to doing.
I have been called many things, assumed many identities, played many roles over my lifetimes. 'Messiah' more than once, and 'demon' so often that I have begun to believe there may be some truth to it. 'Angel', 'vampire', 'goddess', I am none of them, and yet, perhaps I am something of them all.
There was a time when I was still quite new and drunk with my own sense of power, and abused it. I eventually grew wiser, though not much more kind, and moved on to a more low-key lifestyle. Now I see myself as neither good nor evil, but a creature filled to the brim with both in equal amounts. I am capable of both great mercy and compassion, or ferocity and cruelty. It is this balance in me that has caused me strife, as I struggled to understand myself and know which part is truly me.
There are others like me, though We are very few by comparison to humans. What you would consider an 'endangered species' of sorts, except that We are unknown to the majority of the human race and will never be any more, or any fewer, than We are currently. It has always been this way. I suppose the best word for what We are is 'immortal', but that does not exactly describe it. We are much more complicated than that simple word conveys, but it is difficult to explain the rest of it. To each other, We are the Eternals, and to the very few humans We have found it necessary to consort with over the centuries. Each of Us has a chosen name that we go by in everyday life, which there are many variations of, as well as many aliases.
My chosen name is Talon Darksong. Just 'Talon' to most or 'Darksong' to a few others, but I can count on one hand the number of humans who know both of those names. Just one. Other Eternals know me by my chosen name or by my title, the Huntress. Most of the mortals I have come to know refer to Us simply as 'Perfects'. It is a name that I have never thought We deserved, because I know what darkness dwells in Us, despite Our somewhat angelic appearance. I have watched a man's opinion of Us change in his face as Our true nature was shown to him. They do not think We are 'perfect' for long - at least the 'good' ones don't. And any human who thinks that We are has never met a Shadowed One.
Some of Us have chosen to embrace Our inherent dark side, giving themselves completely to the shadow in their souls. Those became the Shadowed Ones. Others took up opposition to them, choosing the dawn side of existence for the sake of protecting humanity - they are the Shining Ones. The rest are the Veiled Ones, those of Us who remain uninvolved and isolated, away from mankind. Most of Us belong to one of these sides of the Trinity, and always have, but there are a small number among Us who could not find it within to be any of these. Those Eternals became Drifters. I am one of those few, and there are only four of Us who fall into that small faction, although I once ruled the Shadow Way as a queen. That time has long passed for me; I never plan on going back and I am, to this day, the only Eternal who has belonged to one Way then abandoned it for another. Now I switch between staying out of everything or getting reluctantly involved on the rare occasion that I feel my intervention is necessary.
The Shining Ones despise me, thinking I cannot be trusted - "A shadow cannot shed its darkness," or so they say. The Shadowed Ones want me back on the throne, leading them. The Veiled Ones think that I am a dangerous variable in the scheme of things. The other Drifters don't care, keeping to themselves. And though I prefer to keep to myself as well, it is always a fight to remain that way.
Someone always wants a piece of me.
Catch a glimpse of Chapter 1 here!: