It started as dark smudge on the horizon. Most people didn’t even notice it. The warriors squinted and felt a sense of foreboding. It grew bigger with every passing week, until no one could ignore it. It was blacker than night and blotted out an entire stretch of sky, relentlessly growing broader and higher and deeper.
No one understood it and everyone argued about it. Plants began to wither and animals fled. And then the noise started, an awful furious anger of souls damned, harsher than nails on a chalkboard. The darkness came faster, it encompassed everything. The warriors looked on in horror as it closed in on them in rage, disintegrating their shields and sucking the light from their staffs.
The land was swallowed in screaming, hateful darkness so thick the people could barely breathe. Many became depressed without the sun and despaired against the heavy weight of the pounding, insatiable darkness.
Then the warriors began to notice that just dimly nearby, they could make out the flickering, struggling lights of other warriors. And so they began to find each other and pool their light. As they did, each light strengthened in brightness and the group together shone greater than the sum of its lights. Then the warriors began to hand lights to those in despair and offered them hope and solidarity and the circles of light grew.
So the darkness was pierced by small, beaming pools of light. The darkness howled and stormed, but the lights together could not be put out. Instead they grew stronger. And those who had been lost in the dark forest for ages could see these lights and find their way out, renewed with purpose to fight as warriors and end the darkness.
The groups of warriors began to find other groups, to forge connections and to coordinate actions. And with each action their lights grew brighter. But it was hard. So everyday, all day, they reminded each other, over and over again:
We must keep working together, shining our lights, until the darkness is vanquished.