[STORY] Dan-Ah

  • 1 year ago

Once upon a time, when the phoenix ruled the skies and a two-headed turtle swam in the ocean...
Above the vault of heaven lived the supreme gods and their servants, the Heavenly Beings.
Among them was Lady Dan-Ah, a warrior who belonged to the underworld, the realm of the dead.
At the command of the Underworld's king, she enforced the laws of death.
And guarded the wildflower fields of the afterlife.

Then, one day...
A wretched human child who had come to the underworld alone appeared before this warrior.
Heavenly one, please help me find my mother...!
If I can't bring her home, let me die so I can be with her!
The warriors of the underworld maintain the integrity of death. Their hearts cannot be moved by pleas, bargains, or bribes.
But when she was confronted with a pitiful, vulnerable living child, a long-forgotten sense of longing awakened within her.
...Indeed. I once knew love like this.
A dream I left on earth, when I swore to protect the order of life and death.
My heart is filled with longing for a face I can't remember, a name I can't recall... My precious...
...Child. I will bring you to your mother.
You won't be alone anymore. I promise.
And so it was that the warrior came to risk it all and defy the inviolable laws of the underworld.
For the sake of her own unfulfilled regrets.
She retrieved the soul of the child's mother and used one of the wildflowers to breathe new life into her.
With her help, the mother and child returned to the land of the living.
This rare heavenly flower can cure any ailment.
If your mother grows ill and you fear you will lose her again, use it.
Thank you, heavenly one. I'll never forget your kindness...
The child's jubilant smile and grateful tears stayed with the woman as she sent them off.
...Now, I have no regrets. None at all...

That same day, Lady Dan-Ah knelt before the furious King of the Underworld.
Human lives are no more than wildflowers.
They bloom for a moment then wither away.
Why would you defy the natural order for them?
When that mother and son die and return to my kingdom, it is they who will pay the price.
O supreme King of the Underworld. Might I not be punished in their place?
I have done what I believe in my heart to be right and have no regrets.
So please, show mercy to that poor mother and her child.
Blasphemous child. Why do you allow yourself to be swayed by mere human feelings?
You've committed a grave sin by resurrecting the dead.
Therefore, you will take on the punishment of those two humans.
Once you have finished your sentence in the flames of hell, you shall be trapped within a fragile human body. And exiled to the living world forever.
No matter how much you suffer from sorrow, wrath, hunger, pain, and disease, no matter how much you wish for death. You shall never reach the underworld.
Blazing hellfire, exile to the world of the living. And the cruel curse of endless suffering and rebirth.
Lady Dan-Ah submitted to her punishment without protest.
The image of the child's bright smile as he returned to the world of the living with his mother... That was enough to dispel all of her regrets.
Believing her suffering would ensure the happiness of the mother and child, she wordlessly endured her punishment for ages.
Finally, after many long years in hell, Lady Dan-Ah was trapped in a human body and abandoned on earth.
All she had left was her soulsword and a fraction of the heavenly power that allowed her to control souls.
However, the presence of a woman who mingled among the dead without ever dying herself was a source of fear for mortals.
In the end, she could find no home in human society and wandered the earth alone.
Instead of feeling resentful, Lady Dan-Ah, a former Heavenly Being, held a deep sympathy for humanity.
There were so many souls, living and dead, who needed help, just like that mother and child.
And so, Lady Dan-Ah used her powers to become a manshin.
By helping those in need and tending to the souls wandering in limbo, she began to find the meaning in her fate...

One day, many years later...
A mysterious manshin armed with a long sword appeared in a rural village besieged by an evil spirit.
To save innocent lives from the scourge of the village, the woman waited for night to fall.
Ugh... Ughhh...
What made you so resentful that you would do something like this? What tragedy left you like this?
I will bear all your sorrow and anger, so cast them away and be free.
Yet despite her earnest appeal, the ghoulish spirit only continued to spew venomous rage.
And then, as she looked up... she saw something.
The evil spirit saw the heavenly flower on the woman's hairpin and began acting strangely.
It can't be...!
A flood of memories from another life surged forth.
After returning to the world of the living with his mother, the child lived in happiness...
Blessed by the heavenly flower they had been given by the warrior.
But when the village was struck by a terrible famine, the mother and child became targets of the village's envy and resentment.
Then one night, the pair lost both their flower and their lives in a brutal attack led by the village elders.
As he slowly starved to death within the deep pot where he'd been entombed...
...the only thing the child could feel was a burning rage.
After a tragic life and an agonizing end, the child Chestnut turned into a terrifying evil spirit, that wreaked havoc for many years...
I'm so sorry... I can't imagine how much suffering you endured all these years.
Even so, you cannot harm innocents. The more harm that you do, the worse you will suffer.
Take your fury out on me. Release all of your anguish until you are at peace.
Weeping at the tragic fate of the child that she had so desperately tried to save, the woman held the evil spirit to her bosom.
No matter how many times she was torn to shreds and revived in agony, she held tight amidst its savage on slaught.
She continued to cradle the evil spirit, as though declaring that she would never sever their bond.
When the long night came to an end, its bitter rage finally subsided...
Finally, your burden has been lifted.
Ravaged and weary, the woman turned her back to the purple light of dawn and used her soulsword to spin a heavenly whirlwind.
My precious child. You restored my heart, so let me give yours back to you.
My sword is a rite for the dead. With it, I will cut the chains of bitter karma that bind your destiny.
Be free from your pain, my child.
Suddenly, the dark curse that had cast its shadow over the child...
...Was carried off by an indigo wind, as the sun rose over the horizon.
And then...

I can't let you enter the underworld like this.
Come. Stay with me in this world for as long as you'd like. I will be your taeju and guide your spirit.
Let us make happy memories until all the resentment in your soul has disappeared.
Though your life was empty and mine without end, we shall find meaning together.
Lady Dan-Ah then took the soul of the child not ready to pass on, and contained it within her soulsword.
And so, the woman and the ghost child wandered the world for many years.
Throughout the ages, legends of an immortal woman and her soulsword spread amongst mankind.
Many years have passed since then, but that immortal woman is said to still wander the continent to this day.
They say she appears out of nowhere wielding a blue sword to help those in need...
...Then vanishes without a trace.
And now...
A woman in Eastern attire suddenly appeared before a band of mercenaries cornered by a surprise Fomorian attack.
It's a Fomorian invasion! The Fomors are here!
Stay back! No ordinary fighter can handle this alone!
As the mercenaries struggled against the onslaught, a lone woman appeared before them and unsheathed her sword.
She stood before the mercenaries in a protective stance and spoke out.
I was tracking an ominous energy, which led me here. How can I help you?