Hope is often portrayed as a delicate thing.
An ephemeral promise, a whistle in the darkness. Something to distract the mind from potential doom. Falling through the fingers like sand, where you might be at the beginning of the hourglass or the end. And sometimes the hourglass shatters entirely, leaving you in a weird, in-between place.
This is where Layla is at the start of Shadow Light. As the personification and keeper of Night, she brings rest and comfort—but has long been blamed for fear and nightmares. When true evil shrouds the land, she’s unwilling to aid the kingdoms. She’s lost hope in them and in her own place in the world.
Then, Aeric comes. He keeps the Day and seeks to stop the great evil, but he cannot do it alone. Yet the kingdoms also choose not to help him. Only Layla eventually listens to his pleas and comes to his aid. His hope strengthens her, and in turn, when he falters, she gives him rest and peace.
Their hope that light will overcome darkness, that good will overcome evil, is not a whistle or a reckless laugh. It’s a potent, powerful trust and belief in something beyond themselves—a goodness that they are willing to stand up for. To fight for. To sacrifice for.
It this message of powerful hope and love, wrapped up in lovely storytelling, that caused me to burst in to tears when I first read this story. I’d just gone through a hard couple of months, and I was exhausted. Yet reading this stirring story gave me the courage to keep going. To keep facing the difficulties, and also, to face them together with others.
It can be easy to just put your head down and push through life, to separate yourself from others to try and numb the pain and difficulties of caring. But we are called to more than that. To hope, not in something fleeting and ephemeral, but a true and lasting glory that is worth sacrificing for—and which brings joy that nothing else compares to. And I am incredibly thankful for stories like Shadow Light that bring me back to that place.
Now breathe deep, go forth, and be awesome.
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Night lived in a tower at the end of the world. Her name was Layla, and the world did not know her.
Day had no tower. His name was Aeric, and the world held no refuge for him.
Yet with the evil Coroc and his army of shadowfiends terrorizing the lands, Layla and Aeric must work together to restore light and hope before all is lost.
Night and Day must unite to save all peoples from eternal, terrifying evil in this lyrical tale that combines the wonder of George MacDonald’s fairy tales with the beauty of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.
About the Author
Sarah Delena White was raised by wolves in an alternate dimension. She writes eclectic speculative fiction that reworks mythology with a fine balance of poetry and snark. She’s an experienced world traveler who loves to weave world folklore and ancient concepts into vibrant, original story worlds. She is the administrative manager for Uncommon Universes Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found making elegant designer bead jewelry, traveling to festivals as a professional ballad singer, drinking tea, and seeking to create the perfect latte. She can be bribed with dark chocolate.