Chapter 1: No Light Without Dark
Ravi scanned the blackness, feeling the various discrepancies in the pitch black. Each one was a shadow tied to the world they were on. They didn’t mind the darkness, in fact, they thrived in the darkness. But over the 146 years they had been outside of their former cage, they had come to love colors. Outside of their home world, they had been to 2 other worlds, one of which they were currently still exploring. Through one of the ripples a flash of color caught their eye and they stepped into the open. A rush of cold hit them and they opened their eyes, satisfied with the place they had chosen to explore. Ravi had stepped into the shadow of a tree at the edge of a forest. Flowers of all sizes and colors littered the landscape before them peaceful creatures moved through the field, content with their surroundings. Ravi loved these types of places. The fields were so quiet and weren’t worried about the rush of life like many of the towns and cities they had visited. It was a direct contrast to where Ravi had come from. Sinking down into a sitting position against the tree, Ravi remembered the times that they were first coming into their powers as they stared at the field.
Ravi was always connected to the shadows, which made sense, as they had been made from shadows. When the humans first realized that Ravi understood them on a speech level, they explained to Ravi what Ravi was. Ravi was a shadow; the absence of light. As long as there was light, there would be shadows. One cannot exist without the other. Both are eternally connected, as their names are only to distinguish them from each other. The humans talked about how they kept Ravi down here because of something called the sun. Apparently the sun was the ultimate light and it would have hindered their creation if they had been up there. Ravi was glad they were here though, it sounded like the sun would be bad to be around. There were pictures presented to Ravi of the outside, showing that there were even shadows in the sky.
The first time Ravi encountered their powers was a complete accident. It was the second time that the humans had turned off some of the many lights, and allowed shadows to thrive in their enclosure. There was one particularly dark spot that caught Ravi’s eye and they quickly moved towards it. Ravi wasn’t expecting to feel anything but once they were completely in the shadow it felt like a current was trying to drag them away. It felt powerful, dangerous, and Ravi feared what would happen if they got swept away. However in a matter of seconds, Ravi tumbled into somewhere beyond the shadow.
It felt like someone had blasted a beam of light at Ravi’s head, creating a relentless migraine. But that wasn’t possible. None of the humans had seen them or followed them to wherever they were and they certainly had not shined light at them. Their migraine pounded at their mind, and all Ravi wanted was to get out of this painful place. Ravi pushed back in the direction they had tumbled from and fell straight through back into their familiar enclosure. They laid on the floor as the humans turned the lights back on and the deep shadows quickly disappeared.
They felt drained, which was an odd contrast from the previous time they had gotten shadow time. Ravi knew it had something to do with that shadow hole, but they had no idea what it was or what it was supposed to do. The humans never mentioned Ravi’s disappearance so Ravi figured that they must have not noticed. There was one thing that Ravi did know; that this was not normal. And if they can do this without even trying, what else could they do?
By no means was it a clear cut path to learning their powers. Ravi had no one to instruct them and also was trying to keep this hidden from the humans. By using what little shadows there were, Ravi started trying to shape them like they did with their own body. It was slightly different from using themself to form shapes because they couldn’t feel the shadows' exact detail. It was harder to keep the shape together as well. One of the biggest differences was that the shadow stayed a shadow. As opposed to their body, which was solid, the shadow appeared and felt like a normal shadow.
This frustrated Ravi for many months as they weren’t quite sure how to change that. They continued practicing making shapes and drawing the shadows into themselves. Because they could draw shadows into themself it got them thinking and they soon learned how to pull shadows from themself as well. The shadows they pulled from themself were significantly easier to control, and also held a solid form. However, Ravi’s power was not limitless, so any shadows that they pulled from themself would tire them out more. If they pulled too much shadow, they would black out for a period of time. Which ended up being pretty often in the beginning, because they had a hard time telling if they were pushing themself to far.
The next time that the humans allowed the lights to be turned down/off Ravi purposefully went to the darkest shadow and felt themself fall in once again. Even though they were expecting it, it still hurt. It hurt just as much, if not more, as the last time they had fallen through. Now that Ravi was less panicked, they took the time to look around their surroundings. Despite it being almost pitch black, it didn’t bother Ravi and they could still see almost perfectly. There was a haze to their surroundings, but Ravi wasn’t sure if that was because of the darkness or something else.
By pushing themself a little through the ripple they came through, they could see the room that they had just come from. A dull pain ran through them as they stayed, but once they pulled back it reduced to a lingering headache. Intrigued, Ravi went to another ripple and repeated the process. As they peaked through they saw that they were now looking into their enclosure from a different angle. They also saw the humans getting ready to turn the lights back on. Worried of what would happen if they got trapped here, they quickly traveled back through, enduring the pain once more.
They had discovered a way to escape, one that the humans wouldn’t be able to stop them. If they could travel through shadows in their own enclosure, then if they went far enough they could go to outer areas as well.
Ravi startled from their thoughts as they felt something rest onto their lap. It was a fox. Careful not to spook it, Ravi gently placed their hand on it’s back and began to stroke it. On the world they were currently exploring, the animals were very peaceful, and many creatures of the night would seek them out. Ravi figured it was because they understood their love of the darkness and that the animals probably felt some sort of connection with them. Their thoughts settled as they realized how far they had come with their powers. However, the beginning was by no means the hardest obstacle to overcome when it came to their powers. It wasn’t even the most painful. But that pain wasn’t something Ravi wanted to recall right now. Shifting themself into a more comfortable position, Ravi elected to take a nap.