Where the Dark? Here the Dark. 
Not dark, Darkness.
Laughter in the dark is Madness in the Darkness,
To laugh at the dark is a fool’s play,
To laugh at the Darkness is to die in denial,
But better a fool in denial
Than to See in the Darkness.

—Tomes of the Touched

From a distance the Lûxu might be mistaken for humans, but upon approach, it didn’t take long to notice their distinct and famous features.  When Lêsonlin first spotted Captain Ilêu Pô, she was immediately surprised by his exotic beauty. His eyes were pastel topaz, and the hue of his skin was a blue so pale that from a distance it appeared chalky white, but it wasn’t the pallid color of a cold corpse as she had imagined. Rather, it was warm and vibrant, not implying death at all. And if these features were not striking enough, it was the hair that inspired fascination. It was as if someone had taken black feathers, tinted with greens and blues, from an exotic jungle bird and managed to give those feathers the consistency of hair.

When he stepped from the gangplank of his caravel, greeting her with a sweeping bow, he surprised her yet again, speaking fluent Êdân. “Ilêu Pô, Captain of the Ôtoku Methênu.” 

She returned the bow, albeit with less flare, and she was so much taller than he that in mid-bow they were finally face to face. “Lêsonlin of Vlinêu. She glanced to his caravel, a ship that seemed as sturdy as the Lûxun reputation for sailing prowess. “A fine ship you have, Captain.”

Ilêu’s smile was prideful, “The Methênu has served her crew well for many years.” He craned his neck, glancing to the satchel slung over her shoulder. “You travel light? My wife should take a lesson from you, I could double my cargo and profit every trip!” He laughed and gestured to the plank. “Please, after you.”

“You travel with your mates?”

“Yes, our beloveds always travel with us... unless the mission is war.”

Lêsonlin boarded the ship, dodging several children that chased each other around the deck. She smiled. “The sound of children’s laughter is a rare commodity on the seas.”

Ilêu dismissed her observation with a flick of his hand. “Lesser ships and lesser sailors, perhaps that is wise, but we are Lûxun.”

“Then I count myself in the safest hands.”


Background Art by Jon Gibbons

© 2018 L. James Rice