VANILLINNE IN A NUTSHELL
At first there was nothing, just sheer darkness. A pitch black void.
An eternity went by, or maybe it all lasted for just as long as the blink of an eye… All of a sudden, out of the blue, there were Gods, just like you.
One of those deities was Vanillinne, goddess of sweets, guardian of a golden chest brimming with legendary, unparalleled, dessert recipes…
Vanillinne is syrupy sweet, with a sugar-coated heart. She’s essentially kind and merry towards everyone, unless you’re unlucky enough to come across her before she’s had one of her many daily cups of coffee… As she likes to say,
’Coffee first. Giving monsters the slip later ☕ ’
Vanillinne is whimsical and unpredictable… Don’t let yourself be fooled by her name, she is all but vanilla, especially when supporting her hero in the Arena.
What else could be said? Vanillinne has her head in the clouds more often than not, she confuses and forgets things a lot… That’s actually how she crossed paths with the man who would love her more than anything else, praise her unconditionally, shed his foes’ blood in her name… The man who became her hero.
THE STORY OF SHADOWY GUY
Legend has it that on a cloudy autumn afternoon, wind blowing and imminent rainfall, Vanillinne was feeling lonely and bored, in need of someone who wouldn’t leave her feeling ignored. Lately, many fellow deities had started fancying humans and electing the stronger, more resilient and more gullible ones as their loyal heroes and heroines.
‘Maybe I could do the same…’, she thought.
But then the brightest of ideas lit up her mind…
‘Or I could just bake a gingerbread man! That would be sweet and unique… And with some god power I’d make him alive and a tough human! I mean, a tough cookie…’, she giggled. And so she got down to work.
She labored long hours to get her gingerbread man ready to go to the oven. Whisking the ingredients together, mixing, adding more sugar, mumbling some prayers to embed god power in the dough, adding yet some more sugar… At last, she rolled the dough and grabbed a gigantic cookie cutter… And her gingerbread man was ready to be baked!
That was also the moment when things took a turn for the worse… Exhausted, Vanillinne sat on a chair. Slowly, her eyes started closing and in no time she had fallen into a deep sleep. As she lingered in the land of dreams, she had the feeling something wasn’t quite right: the cotton candy clouds above her head were grey, the air smelled of cookies but… burnt ones?! All of a sudden her eyes were open and she was standing by the oven. It was too late, though. Her gingerbread man was black as coal, burnt beyond repair.
Bitter tears of rage ran down her cheeks as she left her house, slamming the door. She roamed without a destination for a long time. When her anger faded away, she was too worn out to go back home. Looking around, she realized she was hovering over a human settlement: a dull looking town, with dirty narrow streets and decrepit houses, smoke rising from their chimneys. Soon, she spotted the signboard of a tavern and decided to descend and have a hot cup of coffee to cheer her up.
As the solid wooden doors of the tavern closed behind her, her nose was invaded by a strong blend of aromas: beer, stew, sweat and blood. The place was filled with filthy repugnant humans, many of them displaying black eyes, dried blood clots all over their bodies and stained clothes.
‘Disgusting barbarians…’, she muttered.
Heads turned and many pairs of eager eyes scrutinized her pristine scintillating figure. Vanillinne took no notice and in no time everybody seemed to forget about her existence. That’s the way things work with divinities: non-believers are oblivious to them, many won’t even notice a god they don’t believe in entering the room, unless that deity wants them to.
As she approached the barman, her face lit up in the cutest and merriest of smiles.
‘Good evening dear sir, would you be so kind and serve this worn out lady a cup of coffee?’, and she winked and softly whispered a pair of magic words.
In no time, a steaming mug of coffee warmed Vanillinne’s hands. The barman, as expected, didn’t even remember to ask for gold. As soon has he handed her the hot beverage, he completely forgot her presence.
Inexplicably, something drew her eyes to the darkest corner of the room. There, surrounded by shadows, a mysterious looking man quietly sipped his beer. The man stood out from the rest of the sickening crowd, for his serene stance and collected demeanor.
Vanillinne walked up to his table, sat across from him and made herself noticeable.
‘Good evening, shadowy sir, mind if keep you company?’, she asked. He was actually decent looking…
‘Greetings, luminous lady, please make yourself comfortable.’, and he had some sense of humour. ’I’m just an ordinary guy enjoying his beer. Hopefully a few more will follow and I’ll be able to slip into deep sleep afterwards.’
His eyes were grey like the stormy sky, his hair dark and dishevelled.
‘Well, shadowy guy, why do you want to catch a wink so bad? And why do you rely on beer to take you to the land of dreams? I can’t deny I find your behavior disturbingly odd.’
’You’re an inquisitive one, my lady.‘, he stared into Vanillinne’s eyes and in his gaze she could recognize tedium, detachment, fatigue and ache. ‘Normally I shove off nosy individuals like you, but something compels me to satisfy your curiosity…’
‘So tell me…’, her big eyes opening wide because of her intense desire to understand him.
‘I have trouble falling asleep because I’ve seen the horrors of this heartless world and, every time I close my eyes, repressed memories crawl out of their crypts to haunt me. As for the reason why I don’t want to remain awake… Well, I’m disenchanted with life and I have no dreams or ambitions. I may be physically alive, but at my core I’m as good as dead. I lack a purpose…’
She was at a loss for words. Vanillinne was convinced humans were shallow swines, whose lives revolved around drinking, brawling, sleeping and procreating. But here was someone defying her beliefs.
‘So, you long to feel alive again and to have a purpose in life. And you yearn for forgetfulness. I can grant you those wishes, if that’s what you desire.’
‘Can you?’, he appeared skeptical.
‘Just follow me, shadowy guy.’, an inscrutable smile played on her lips.
Maybe he was intrigued by her uncanny words. Or maybe he was convinced she was just looking for a one-night stand. Nobody will ever know what crossed his mind as he followed her outside the tavern and through the murky streets of the unsightly town, towards its outskirts.
Suddenly, Vanillinne stopped walking and murmured some of her magic words. A magnificent candy cane stairway rising all the way to the skies materialized before their eyes. He followed her without a word all the way to the top.
They were above the tumultuous storm clouds when they reached the last step. The night sky was black as treacle, for it was a new moon. Myriads of stars glimmered like glitter. They sat on what seemed like a cotton candy cloud, but he didn’t dare to taste it. He was sure he was hallucinating, but one can never be too careful, especially when standing on a cloud thousands of feet above the floor.
’You’ve followed me all the way up here, shadowy guy. I’ll keep my promise. I’ll make your dreams come true.’
Her pale face seemed to have its own light and her big eyes shone more than all the constellations in the night sky. That was the moment when he surmised he wasn’t standing by a human being. She was from another world.
‘You shall worship me every day until the last of your sunsets. You’ll honour my name battling monsters and dueling the heretic for as long as your body can take it. And you will love me unconditionally until the moment when your heart stops beating and your eyes close for the last time. I’ll be your reason to live.’
Invisible forces made him step closer to her, stopping so close their noses nearly touched.
’I’ll also erase from your memories all the cruelty you’ve witnessed in your previous life.‘, she whispered tenderly. ’Now, tell me your real name…’
Never averting his eyes from hers, he told her his name.
‘By the power vested in me, you shall forget that name and all the stories and memories it caries. From now on, you’re Shadowy Guy, Vanillinne’s hero… My hero…’
Without warning, she leaned over and kissed him. A deep, everlasting kiss. He forgot everything. All he could think about was how delicate she was and how his whole world tasted like sugar and vanilla.
And when Shadowy Guy opened his eyes, he found himself in Godville, with a clean slate, a vague recollection of Vanillinne’s face and a distant echo in his mind,
‘Make me proud…’