There was a time when they lived “happily ever after”. At Graceland lived a princess named Eudora, along with her (widowed) father, King Hadrian. She was given this name by her mother as it meant “good gift”. That was exactly what Eudora represented: a sweet and beloved princess who loved flowers and fruits and who enchanted everyone in the castle with her beautiful singing.
It is hard not to feel impacted by Graceland’s atmosphere. Flowers bloomed from the immense garden of the kingdom, which blended in with Eudora’s long dress. From her head came a bow of hair that emitted rays of sunlight. For that reason, it never got dark in the realm.
One day, while growing flowers and fruits in her garden, Eudora met a handsome prince, named Ludwig. His hair was a woody shade, and his eyes looked like two black seeds. Considered highly intelligent by everyone in his realm, he could spend hours talking about science and the mysteries of the universe.
Once while they were talking in the garden, Ludwig had been impressed by the princess’s care in making everything bloom: from the smallest rosebud to the most beautiful seedlings of plants that developed beautifully and bore the most delicious fruit.
Because they live in realms far apart from each other, they both started to correspond by letters, which used to be long and full of emotion! And how both had so much in common! It was as if time flew, along with each correspondence. It didn’t take long for Eudora and young Prince Ludwig to fall in love.
Sometime later, Princess Eudora and Prince Ludwig got married on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Leaves covered and adorned Eudora’s long brown hair in an intimate, open-air ceremony. From this union, the couple’s only child was born: Lunara, which means “light in the darkness”.
The little girl got that name because she was able to bring out good memories to everyone her eyes penetrated. Her eyes were such a translucent gray, that were able to project the most beautiful and vivid memory anyone had ever lived. Therefore, it was almost impossible not to feel filled with peace and love beside her.
Day after day, Lunara grew in grace and stature. Along with her parents, she learned about natural sciences, and how to cultivate flowers and fruits with mastery, in addition to being able to penetrate the depths of the human soul behind her translucid eyes.
It was impressive the gift of joy that Lunara was able to provide to anyone who looked directly into her eyes: the most beautiful images of memories that were once forgotten came to light in the translucent tone of her eyes. When her mother, Princess Eudora, stared at her, it was possible to visualize the exact moment her parents fell in love. As for her father, Prince Ludwig, the joy projected in the girl’s eyes had to do with the exact moment he knew he was going to be a father.
Thus, Graceland was also a kingdom known for providing good memories to everyone who lived in it, as Lunara was the soul of that place.
In everyday life at the castle, what Lunara and her mother liked to do most was plant seeds together. They also had the company of the blue rook Penina, which with its beak buries pine nuts, giving rise to beautiful trees.
One day, while walking through the garden, Lunara was enchanted by the “aerial ballet” that some seeds performed in the air. In a beautiful performance, they flew to the sound of the wind, like a melody, having the rays of light from Eudora’s hair, adorning the beautiful natural scenery.
Happy and radiant, Lunara bounced along with the seeds, playing catch in the air. In her seven years of life, she had never yet experienced such beauty and grace. She ran and ran and jumped, jumped in so many ways, that she could only hear her mother’s voice in the distance, saying:
– Watch out for the highlands, daughter! Don’t run so hard, or you’ll get hurt!
However, at this point, the little girl was only able to hear the sweet echo of her mother’s voice far away. Suddenly, without waiting, her body was being lifted, along with the dancing seeds. She was literally with no floor, flying through the air. Her screams were muffled by the force of the wind, but they did not go unnoticed by an angel that hovered in the air.
Faster than the wind, and like a great winged shadow, the angel immediately enveloped the little girl with its great black wings. Her face was extremely pale, and her skin was as icy as ice caps. Lunara did not fear the angel’s cold appearance and wrapped herself as closely as she could in its wings. However, she had been unable to penetrate deep into her eyes, as they shone like stars in the universe. To protect the girl’s eyesight, the angel dropped a black feather into each of Lunara’s eyes, giving her a sort of celestial mask.
With their sight restored and joined to the angel’s wings, both entered like a ray of light through a crack that opened in the heart of the nameless forest, towards an unknown place. This place, which was a kingdom, contained a great valley at its entrance, and high gleaming gates with the following inscription: “Nigredo Valley, guess my name.” The gate was guarded by a huge three-headed dog with dark fur and teeth as sharp as a knife point. The angel introduces herself to the “canine doorkeeper” hugging the young girl, who looks at the animal in amazement. The angel, however, aims at Lunara’s (heavenly) eyes and says:
– Don’t be afraid, the dog only attacks those it doesn’t know.
Thus, at the howling of the dog, the heavy gates of the Vale are opened, and together, the angel and little girl enter the Kingdom. Shortly after crossing the high gates, a chariot awaited the sweet little girl to cross the sparkling, whispering waters of the River. The angel bid the girl farewell and entered the deep waters of the river.
A river of living waters flowed in the Nigredo Valley, in which the sound emitted in it was the equivalent of many voices, decipherable only by anyone who had an identity with the place. From the deep waters emerged strong lights bright as moonlight. This brightness contrasted with the darkness of the unknown realm.
At the end of the crossing, the chariot disembarks its newest passenger, who looks at the waters in amazement. From within them, the figure of a beautiful woman emerges. She had long, blue-black hair, pale skin and eyes as translucent as water. She carried a pendant around her neck that contained a liquid and opening it, she poured small drops into the girl’s eyes saying:
– The eyes are the windows of the soul, may the brightness not hurt you anymore.
Immediately the girl’s pupils became two small shadows, and she no longer had the feathers in her vision.
She looked into the woman’s lifeless eyes and said:
– Thank you. What is your name?
– Name? I don’t have a name, because there are several. But let’s say I’m the soul of this place. But guess what? You will have all the time to discover and get to know each one of them. The truth is that they cannot be pronounced, but felt. And yours, which one would it be?
– How funny, I don’t know how to pronounce it. I can only be able to feel an air of mystery.
– Okay, Mist, said the woman. Come with me, we have a lot to talk about.
The girl’s screams did not go unnoticed by the mother, who ran as fast as she could to meet her daughter. Eudora was completely devasted, realizing that the girl had disappeared.
– What happened to my little angel? Is she hurt, bruised, or attacked by some wild beast? I won’t rest until I find her, exclaimed Eudora in tears.
At that moment, Eudora and Ludwig called on everyone in the kingdom to look for Lunara, and the searches began. In deep despair, Prince Ludwig sets off with his horse in search of his beloved daughter. Every being that lived in the Kingdom and outside of it, began to look for the little princess, without success.
With that, days, months, and years went by without any news from the little princess.
Graceland, once a kingdom full of life, had the joy interrupted along with Lunara’s disappearance. The soul of that place had been dissipated like leaves in the wind.
Eudora became so downcast that she could barely feed the Kingdom with the seeds and fruits that she used to grow in the garden. The leaves withered, the fruits rotted, the planting of the earth took a back seat, and the flowers in the garden were blackened.
The light that once came from Eudora’s hair and illuminated the entire kingdom, turned into small luminous flashes, like points of hope that never go out.
Worried about such a shortage that had taken over the Kingdom, the residents of Graceland decided to organize a new expedition in search of the little girl. On the land was Ludwig and his horse; in the deep waters Princess Eudora on her boat; in the air, the birds of Graceland circled the vastness of the sky in search of answers.
However, during the investigations on the land something unusual happened:
Prince Ludwig heard what sounded like a groan of pain from an animal near a bush. Touched by the sound, he got off his horse to help the animal. As he got closer, he saw what appeared to be two diamonds that glittered amidst the underbrush. As he got closer, he realized that it was a cat that had a huge thorn in its hind leg. Compassionate for the kitten’s pain, he decided to take it to the kingdom, to treat the wound, and thus, return it to the wild.
The animal was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. It had an elongated black body, a tail with white plumes, and eyes that shone like two ruby stones.
Upon arriving in the kingdom with the animal, Ludwig placed the cat on a small cushion and personally cared for the feline until it was fully healed from its wound. To which the cat thanked him saying:
– Thank you very much, my Lord! Now I can run and jump again, and go on my adventures. But not without first helping you in return for all the care and hospitality you have had with me. So tell me, what can I do for you?
It was clear the sadness and melancholy in the prince’s eyes because of the absence of his daughter. For this reason, the young man pleaded with his newest feline friend:
– Please help me find my daughter. Her name is Lunara, she’s seven years old, and she’s been missing for years. She is a very cheerful girl, companion, and friend of animals and flowers and has beautiful translucent gray eyes. Her eyes are like water mirrors, reflecting the best in every human being. She is undoubtedly special in everything she does. She disappeared while playing with white feather petals in the air.
– I’m sorry for your loss, my Lord! I promise I’ll help you with whatever you need. Call your wife and ask her to separate the flower your daughter played with in the wind. I will put my muzzle on the petal and follow in your daughter’s footsteps. Give me time for this. I’ll be back soon with the answers, said the cat hopefully.
Princess Eudora could hardly believe what she had just heard from the prince, and she ran desperately in search of the feather flower. She had saved some petals that were lying on the plain, and gave them to the mysterious cat:
-Thank you, my noble friend. May the petals of this feather return with good winds and bring my daughter back, said the great mother with a contrite heart. As a sign of gratitude, she kissed the cat’s snout and it fly away with the wind.
Meanwhile, in the Nigredo Valley…
The woman took little Mist to your throne to speak about the mysteries of the Kingdom. Her throne was made of the purest crystal, and beneath it ran a river of water that heated and cooled at the same time. When she sat down, she had one foot immersed in the water and the other fixed on the earth. To which the astonished girl said:
– So you’re a queen? – exclaimed the little girl. A queen of the night! She completed in amazement, bringing her small hands to her mouth.
The queen laughed at Mist and replied:
– Queen of the Night. Guess what, I liked the name. Call me Nix.
Nix and Mist spent hours talking about the Valley’s mysteries. Like the moon, the girl was growing in light, beauty, and energy.
One day, while watching the whispering waters of the Valley, Mist saw in the lake the image of a beautiful little girl who, smiling stretched out her arms wanting to envelop her in a hug. Enchanted by the image, Mist dove to meet the little girl. At this very moment, she felt as if tiny hands were pulling her down, whispering words that mingled with the roar of the water. As she sank into the lake, the waters changed color, until they became total Nigredo. Tired of fighting the force of the water, Mist ends up getting carried away and feels her body floating like a feather, light and smooth.
Opening her eyes, Mist found herself at Nix’s feet. Still catching her breath, the girl asked:
– What happened?
– In the waters where the healthy sail, the crazy drown, my dear. Said the queen, stroking Mist’s long hair.
– I remember seeing a new friend to play with. As I tried to hug her, she pulled me into the lake. As I dove, I heard the sound of many voices, but I couldn’t understand them. When I realized, night fell into the lake, and I fell asleep. Whose are these voices that echo from the waters? Asked the girl, curious and worried at the same time.
– They are waning souls. They are there because they stopped growing. They found themselves filled with knowledge and stopped shining. They try to get out, but they can’t do it alone (because when they try, they always drown again), said Nix, with a sweet and soft voice.
– As they can’t do it alone, maybe I can help them! I would very much like to rescue them one by one from the darkness. But since it’s so dark down there, I’m afraid I can’t see- Mist said in a dismayed tone.
-Why does the dark bother you, my little one? Why fear something that is part of us? Have you never played with shadows? They are the counterpart of light, and they have a lot to teach us- Nix replied.
-I don’t remember playing. I only remember the day I got here,” lamented Mist, putting her hand to her chin, not noticing in the color of her dress that it had turned as black as the waters of the Valley.
– In this case, how can a blind person guide the other? If you don’t know what you came for, you won’t be able to help such lost souls either – explained the Queen of the Night.
After the long conversation they had, the sweet girl decided to walk around the lake. As she walked, she felt a sharp pain in her chest, so strong that she began to cry, leaning over the lake. In deep anguish her tears mingled with the waters of the Valley, and suddenly she was again over the figure of the same little girl she had seen before. With her eyes fixed on the water and her hands resting on the lake´s border, Mist was enchanted by what was formed in the water: the image of a child (whose face was covered by sun rays) that floated next to a beautiful dancing petal.
That image filled Mist’s anguished heart with hope. She wanted to be as light as the petal of that flower, and be a part of that moment of love. Little by little, the tender image dissipated along with the water bubbles, when she thought: “that by drinking this water, this scene in my mind never goes out”.
And taking a portion of water in her mouth, she took the drink and got up. At that moment she felt lightness in her whole body, which made her compare it with the petal feather she had seen in the waters. Just like the child in the image, Mist felt her body float little by little. She was no longer the same. When looking again at the lake, she came across the image of her reflected in a beautiful dress of white feathers.
Mist was in awe, filled with love at what she had just seen. Her joy was so great, that she began to sing and dance around the lake. Her steps were so light and her movements so smooth, that she didn’t notice the beautiful ballet she performed on the heights. Yea! Like the petal of that beautiful flower, Mist could now fly!
While dancing through the air, the girl was surprised by Nix, who said:
– Well, well, I see you’ve discovered a new skill, a new way of playing around here. How do you feel, Lesser Light?
– I feel light, as light as a flower petal! That was the gift I got from the lake. It drew a beautiful scene in the waters, and after drinking from it I became like the beautiful child it showed me – said the girl with a wide smile.
– My dear, the lake is not magical. It does not have the power to transform one thing into another, but to reveal what is hidden. These waters are nothing more than reflections of our existence, like mirrors of the soul!
– Mirrors of what? Mist said, confused, as she slowly descended from the air.
– Come with me, let’s take a dip in the lake and collect some precious stones. I want you to take care of them for me.
– What about the souls who asked for help? Can we bring them too?
– We can, and that’s exactly what we will, although they’re a little hardened- Nix replied as she led Mist into the depths of the lake.
Nix and Mist entered the depths of the lake as if an underground staircase led them. Having acquired an identity with the waters (drinking from them), the girl could now see the darker layers, which contrasted with the glow of the pearls they had picked up from the bottom of the lake.
Together they collected 7 beautiful pearls. They were black and were stored inside 7 shells. After opening them and collecting the pearls, they rose to the surface.
While playing with the pearls, Mist noticed that each one made a different sound, which made her very curious. She liked the pearls so much that she wanted to make a necklace so they would never come apart. However, she hesitated as she realized that in addition to emitting sounds, the pearls also made beautiful movements in the air. Amazed, Mist asked:
– Hey, pretty things, do you want to be my friends? Do you want to say something?
Nix, however, intervened saying:
– Certain things don’t need to be said but perceived. If you take a closer look, you will see that they are nothing more than the apple of your eye!
And taking the pearls from the air, the girl placed them in the palm of her hand and looking closer saw that the pearls reflected beautiful scenes of affection. Each pearl represented the girl’s years on Earth, completing her first seven years of life. Like the hardness of a pearl, so was the girl’s heart: hardened and unable to recognize itself in the beautiful images presented to her.
– How I wish we were together! You are so beautiful and give me so much peace! – Said the girl as she contemplated the inner purity of the scenes reflected in the pearls.
“A pearl jewel, for a girl who is a jewel,” completed Nix.
– So be it, and may each of you never leave my head.
Saying this, the pearls formed a beautiful adornment around Mist’s forehead and remained there to her delight.
The Kingdom and the Cat
A week after leaving the Kingdom, the mysterious cat returns with Lunara’s petal on its snout, bringing good news to the child’s family:
– Greetings, noble friends. Behold, I bring good news, your daughter has been found. But I must warn you that it was taken to a Kingdom that is not of this world. That’s why prudence and caution are what I wish for your reunion.
– What do you mean: “a Kingdom that is not of this world?” What world would it be from? – Eudora replied, unhappy and distressed.
– Certain things cannot be explained, but experienced – said the cat with his eyes fixed on the mother.
– Noble friend, you don’t know the relief that brings us with such news. So, how can I get my girl back? – asked the father.
– Well, wanting and being able to, are very different actions, my Lord. What I can do is take one of you there. And I can already tell you that it won’t be easy, because that Kingdom is hidden, and paved in mysterious terrain. No one that has penetrated such distant lands has ever returned to the surface. Except for beings that can transit between the two worlds.
– Well, I will. Courage and determination are all that I have to get my little girl back. I would ascend to the skies, scour the whole earth and descend to the depths of the seas to have her with me. My daughter is my life. Without her presence, I cannot coexist. Please, kitten, take me to where my soul is – pleaded Eudora in tears.
As you wish, solar princess. There’s only one problem. The rays that emanate from you are too visible to enter that Kingdom. For you to cross it, it is necessary to embrace the shadows. Take your girl’s petal, chew it and swallow it. At first, it will taste bitter, but in the end, it will be as sweet as honey – said the cat.
And as soon as Eudora chewed and swallowed the petals, her sunbeams turned into twilight. And so it was only possible to see the shadow of the princess.
– Wow. And now, what will become of my Kingdom without my light? – Eudora said, scared.
– Don’t worry, princess. I will put your kingdom to sleep so that no one perishes. However, I can only do it for up to 3 days. If it passes, then your shadow will disappear along with your Kingdom.
– As you wish, cat- Eudora agreed.
After the princess’s consent, the cat, with its eyes fixed on the sky, made a rain of poppies descend, covering from the gardens, to the lake, and passing through all the vegetation, animals, and people of Graceland. Immediately the entire Solar Kingdom fell into a deep sleep.
– Now let’s go, my lady. Because time roars against us – said the cat in hurried steps.
In this way, the shadow and the cat went out fearlessly in search of the Unnamed Kingdom.
Long was the road and narrow was the forest that led to the Unknown Realm. Finally, they arrived in front of a tree never seen by Eudora. Curious and observant, she realized that it wasn’t just any tree, but an inverted tree. Its leaves and branches descended into a deep abyss, partially covered by fog.
– I can only take you this far. Now it’s up to you. Go down through the root of this tree and soon you will feel your shadow hit the misty leaves. There will be who you lost. Go and be at peace with your soul – said the cat.
However, before the Shadow could say goodbye, the cat disappeared among the foliage.
Reunion: Umbra et Lux
Following the cat’s directions, the Shadow descended through the roots of the inverted tree and had her body muffled beneath the foliage. Upon arriving at the mysterious place, she came across a large river and following its course through the land, she saw that it flowed into a throne. Sitting on it was the Queen of the Night, with one foot in the water and the other on land. Next to her, still enchanted by her newest pearl adornment, was Mist.
Before The Shadow could reach Nix’s crystal throne, she felt her form fluctuate with emotion at finally meeting her beloved daughter again.
The girl, however, was no longer the same. Once flushed, her face had turned pale as marble; her hair, once golden as sunbeams, was now as black as coal, and her eyes, which once emanated with life and love, now seemed distant and deep.
– What did they do to my girl? Thought the mother, still not believing what her eyes had just seen.
– It doesn’t matter what they did, or what she became. She’s still my little ray of sunshine, and I’m going to rescue her so she can shine again – The Shadow reflected silently.
However, before The Shadow could touch Mist, Nix intervened with a half-smile, and rising from her throne said:
– Hello, Light Soul, what good winds bring you to my throne?
– My Lady, Queen of this Kingdom of Darkness, I come in search of my little daughter – said The Shadow, in reverence to Nix.
– And did you find her? – Asked the Queen of the Night.
– Oh yeah! It’s this beautiful girl who plays beside you! – replied The Shadow, trying to touch Mist’s face.
– Who? I? I’m sorry but I don’t remember you. I don’t know how you know me,” Mist said, ducking as she readjusted her pretty pearl ornament again.
– My dear, you must have lost your memory because of the accident you had. You were playing catch-up with the feathers coming out of a flower while we were planting in the garden. You ran so far, and so far, that I couldn’t see you anymore. But neither I, nor your father, nor the entire Kingdom have given up hope of meeting you again – exclaimed The Shadow, weeping.
The Shadow’s tears touched the hollow heart of Mist, who said:
– Oh, my sweet Lady, I’m sorry I can’t help. I’m not the soul you’re looking for so much. But if you tell me what your daughter is like, maybe my Queen and I can help you,” Mist said, looking at The Shadow tenderly.
Without holding back so much emotion, The Shadow hugs Mist tightly, wrapping her arms around the girl’s icy body, while gently kissing her forehead.
The Shadow’s tears dissolved the hardness of the Pearls in Mist’s head, one by one, so that each memory contained inside was integrated into the girl’s mind:
“Mommy!” cried the girl, looking into Eudora’s eyes.
– Now I remember, I know who I am, because I see myself perfectly in your eyes! – Lunara sobbed, kissing her mother’s cheek incessantly.
– My Queen, please allow me to return with my mother! – The girl pleaded.
– Come back? My dear, everyone who has crossed over is a resident of this Kingdom. Do you not remember that you were brought by wings, and by the waters you became intimate with this world? That you drank from the fountain of dwindling souls, but that you returned to the feet of this one that welcomes you? You became Mystery in order to explore the hidden truths of this Vale that is Nigredo- Nix argued.
“I am not Mystery, for I have a name: I am Lunara, and I have come to bring Light, and light in the darkness,” Lunara replied, her fists clenched.
– Then you found your place, because for all darkness, a light is present. What difference will you make, in a realm where the sun is king? Light needs shadow to shine! – intoned Nix, looking at the darkness of the Realm.
– Please my queen, don’t leave me without my little girl. I came a long way to rescue her. My heart and my Kingdom will be soulless. From my shadow, only one breath will remain.
Nix, touched by Eudora’s pain and suffering, made a deal with the Solar Princess:
-It is a fact that your little girl belongs to this world, for since the day she floated, her soul rests under the sun. It is also clear that from the day she was born, she was destined to give hope to every lifeless look, and every forgotten memory, making herself always present. Thus, I see no greater representation than to transform her into a great star, so that she may continue the good work of illuminating the darkness not only of souls but also of the high heavens- evoked Nix, loud and clear.
– A star? – Lunara said, surprised. But what about the Nigredo Valley? How can I lighten such darkness?
– You are so special that even the waters belong to you. In the same way that you rescued your memories in the form of a pearl, many other gemstones that reside here need your help. They can’t remember what they came for, and our role is to shed light on what still needs to be polished,” Nix clarified.
“And how do we do that?” asked the girl, curious.
– Solve, coagulate, solve, and coagulate, my child. But we have all eternity for that. For now, that’s all you need to know,” Nix said, kissing Lunara’s forehead.
The girl turned astonished at her mother´s shadow, which was getting weaker and weaker. Nix, however, intervened and said:
– Go in peace beauty princess, along with the feather that brought you here. From today, there will be darkness in the sky of your Kingdom, so that you can always behold the brightness of the star of your soul.
And suddenly, Eudora regurgitated the petal she had swallowed, and it began to float in the air with such force, that the winds took her back to Graceland.
Coniunctio: New Sky, New Earth
Eudora landed at Graceland safe but sad. Your Kingdom of Light will no longer be the same. The challenge now will be to fill the void of each day, with the starlight of each night.
At least now she knows where her little one’s life rests. And that despite her absence, she will still feel Lunara’s presence every night, like the brightest and most alive star in the sky. The sky that will now turn black, like Lunara’s long hair, dyed of night, just like Nigredo Valley.
Upon entering the Palace, all the inhabitants awaken one by one, very slowly. There was no need to explain anything, for as soon as the people returned to the waking state, they reported the same dream they had. The cat didn’t just make them sleep, but dream about what was happening in real-time in the Nigredo Valley.
Everyone regretted Lunara’s physical departure but still rejoiced to gain a night sky with the most beautiful and brightest star ever seen before. A star that would not only bring light but hope to everyone who needs the rescue of the most life memory of life:
“Memento Mori, remember that you are going to die. Nothing that is yours can be taken away from you”.