PROLOGUE: THREE MOONS
A Tale of Magic, Mystery, Good, Evil, and Everything In Between
In the vastness of space, circling a distant planet, were three moons. The first, or Illuminated Moon, was always full. The souls who lived upon this Moon were happy, because there was no pain or suffering there.
The second, or Shadow Moon, orbited its planet in a state of “auroral twilight”. It was never fully light there, but also never fully dark. In what was considered daytime on the Shadow Moon, the auroras swirled with bright, warm colors: scarlet, tangerine, gold and coral, peach and crimson. In the evenings and what was known as night, the auroras cooled, filling the sky with emerald, mint, sapphire, indigo and violet. Upon the Shadow Moon, there were such things as pain and suffering, but also bliss and joy. The souls who lived there sought perpetual happiness, as on the Illuminated Moon, but this prospect lay beyond their reach.
The third Moon, known ominously as the Void Moon, was always dark. No light existed there at all, and the only reason anyone upon its planet knew there was a Void Moon was through infrared telescopes. The most horrible thing about this Moon was that, incredibly, there were souls who dwelled there in a state of constant anguish. They had mouths with which to scream, and ears with which to hear the screams of others, but no eyes with which to see. Over the countless centuries which they had spent upon the Moon, trying to escape its central Void, their eyes had atrophied and fallen out. No hope lay in store for them.
Each of these Moons had a Master, who had ruled them for as long as anyone could remember or even imagine. The Master of Illumination was omni-benevolent. Goodness permeated and radiated from his very being; thus, he could not stand the presence of evil. The reason why no one suffered or experienced pain upon the Illuminated Moon was that there was no wickedness or wrongdoing. No one ever murdered, stole or coveted. Lies and deceitful words were never heard from the mouths of Illuminated Souls, because truth was the source of all light upon the Moon. Besides being eternally good, the Master of Illumination was also eternally just. He treated all of his subjects fairly, never placing one above another. Perhaps the greatest thing about this Master was that, like his domain, he had no darkness in his soul.
The Master of Shadows, in turn, was neither completely good nor completely evil. Unlike the Master of Illumination, he was vulnerable to temptation from the Master of the Void. It was impossible to tell whether he mirrored his subjects, or his subjects mirrored him. This Master was forever at war with himself, trying to do the right thing in his own life and for those whom he ruled. If one were to look into his eyes, one would see the flickering phantoms of conflict, brightened by the light of the auroras, which he believed represented wisdom. If the Master of Shadows had one wish, it was to become powerful enough to vanquish his tempter and tormentor. He knew the Master of Illumination could do it, but for some reason, he had not. In the meantime, the Master of Shadows was haunted by what he had seen of the near future.
The Master of the Void had seen it, too, and his heart was glad. Upon his cold and lightless Moon, he lived in its central abyss, which had no bottom and, presumably, no boundaries. The only things that contained it were the surface rock of the Void Moon and the attempts of his subjects to keep it - and themselves - in check. If that rock ever crumbled, or if the souls there succumbed completely to the evil which enslaved them, the Void would expand and devour everything in its path, including the Shadow Moon. The real prize for its Master, however, would be to conquer the Illuminated Moon. How this was to be done, he did not know, but in visions he had seen that a Shadow Moon dweller would be instrumental to such an endeavor. Once he had brought the Master of Illumination and his subjects to heel, he would consume them all. In the Void he had more food than he could possibly eat, for some of his own subjects fell into the abyss day after day. However, they weren’t enough. There were some souls upon which he nibbled, and some upon which he gorged. Still, his appetite was never satisfied. Hunger and need had nearly driven him insane.
The people who lived on the planet below, orbited by these three moons, said strange things about them. For one thing, they said souls chose to live on the Shadow Moon, and unbelievably, that they chose to live on the Void Moon as well. Life on the Illuminated Moon, however, was a reward and a promotion. If you were pure and good enough, the Master of Illumination would let you dwell in his presence - but only then.