BY: Jordan link

The sky was ablaze with purple lights that hovered about, illuminating the ominous darkness that hung over the Swamp of Gloom. Steam rose from the depths, masking the view of a single boat that cut through the haze, the boat that I just so happened to be in, leaving a trail of clear water behind it as it went. As I peered through the fog, I couldn’t help but noticing the creatures that stirred silently behind the tangled roots that twisted through the islands of bramble, flitting about, following us. I kneeled down and continue to explore the new land, anxiously charting the world before me on a thin sheet of parchment as it passed hazily by.
“Look there.” My friend Duncan murmurs, pointing upwards, and his whisper echoes across the blue. The demons pick up the chant, and soon the sound of Duncan’s voice is everywhere, eerie and dangerous.
I look in the direction of Duncan’s curiosity and instantly notice the luminescent floaters as they bounce about, lit by some special chemical within their bones. I look more closely, sure that this is not the source of Duncan’s distress, and squint past the canopy of slowly rotten trees.
The boat slowly comes to a stop—Amarina, who has been paddling steadily through the wasteland, comes to our sides as we stare upwards dreamily. “Are those the balls of light that they call stars?” She asks, though she knows the question is on all of our minds.
There’s a white orb, partly covered by a branch, hanging miles and miles above us. Streaks of orange light hit the dark and fade, passing countless more orbs on its journey. The three of us are looking up, just black silhouettes in the dark, and I wonder if these stars are looking back down at us.
Amarina breaks the wondrous silence as her paddles suck the water softly, and we continue on our somber quest. Once again, the haze is broken as we pass beneath it, and we reach the Isle that they call Gloomsday. I recognize the strange, sparkling gold light that pours down from an unknown source from the Book of Legends that was given to me when I was a youngling. It is said that all who sit beneath the light will be safe from any ills or evils that could possibly destroy them.
The tip of the boat rests against the Isle, bobbing silently as we tie it to land and retreat into the light. It is warm, unlike anything I have ever felt before, and I am pulled into its splendor. As I touch the ground with my hands, I notice how green the grass is, how flowers scatter across it as if the Earth had never been contaminated at all.
I pull at a tuff of grass and a butterfly is released from within, dancing around our heads as we begin to laugh. It is a scene that can only be described as pure joy, and a scene that I will not soon forget as I continue in my quest to uncover the secrets of this new world.


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