The Children of Shadow (formerly, You Can Never Go Home Again): Prologue
Sunday, December 10, 2006

Set at the begining of the war on Shadow. Mal tells his childhood girlfriend that he's going off to war.


This is a prologue to a series I'm writing to give you guys a little history on my character Annaleigh Men and a little of what Mal could have been like before the war. Chapter 1 is going to pick up almost where BDM left off.

NOTE: I’m just borrowing this ‘verse from Joss because a 14 episode series and a feature film aren’t enough to satisfy my needs! All of his characters, etc. belong to him, and the rest belongs to me.

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Prologue: What Was Then Is Now the Past

Shadow, 2506 Shortly after the beginning of the Interstellar Civil War…

The sun began to set low in the western sky over a heard of cows in a lush, green field on the Reynolds ranch. Annaleigh Men and her younger brother Joey were rounding them up with several other ranch hands on horseback. Annaleigh was a beautiful young woman for the age of twenty. She was soft and innocent despite growing up on the ranch where good, hard labor was every day’s requirement. Her gestures and movements were usually delicate. Her physical strength showed through when she got to work with the animals. Her long brown hair was in a braid down her back, touching the top hem of her split riding skirt. “Annaleigh, Mal wants to see you at Anderson’s Summit,” said Mama Reynolds through the radio on Annaleigh’s hip. She unclipped the radio from her belt. “I can’t. I’m bringing in the cattle,” she said into the radio. “The boys can take care of the cattle. My son says it’s important, he wants to see you up there,” replied Mama Reynolds. Annaleigh took a beat to consider. “I’m going,” she replied. Kissing sounds came a few feet away from her 16-year-old brother. “Your boyfriend wants to see you for a secret rendezvous,” he teased. She gave him a look, and began speaking into the radio again. “Mama Reynolds, I’m thinking its time for Joey to learn a little discipline. I’m putting him in charge of the heard.” “Alright. If he doesn’t do right, he’ll be washing every dish after dinner,” replied the ranch owner. Joey’s clownish expression immediately disappeared from his face as Annaleigh turned her horse west towards Anderson’s Summit. She rode her horse up the mountain as far as she could and had to leave it tied to a tree as the slope became too steep for the creature, but the trek up on foot was no difficulty to her as she had climbed this trail since she was a child. She knew where to step. She and Mal always came here to talk, especially when they wanted to be alone. As she reached the top, she let her eyes take in the serene view around her. The green mountains rolling off into the distance turned a deep, hazy blue the farther away they reached towards the setting sun. She turned her attention to the trees and rocks around her. “Mal? Mal I know you’re up here, where are you?” Her eyes couldn’t see him anywhere. Mal’s system of searching failed her, so she turned to her father’s advice. She closed her eyes and tried to listen to any evidence of life around her. She thought she heard something make a faint sound behind her. Her lip curled up in a smile and sharply turned around to try and catch sight the sound’s maker, thinking it was Mal. Her jump instead scared a jaybird from its hiding place in a bush. She watched it fly off, befuddled. “BWAA!” “AHH!” jumped Annaleigh in surprise to see Malcolm come out of his hiding place from beside her. “Malcolm Reynolds, what did you do that for?!” “For fun,” he smirked. “You hwan dan!” she said playfully slapping his arm. “Where have you been all day? I was being to think you had left me for some jien huo at the Shimmering House. I was about to send Shepard Cornwall after you.” Mal laughed. “I didn’t go anywhere near that whore house, and I’m gonna fetch the Shepard after you for cussin’ and makin’ up lies about me.” He looked deeply into her in the eyes, as if he was going to kiss her. Then his smile disappeared from his face and his tone became serious. “I was in town, though. I’ve, uh… I’ve joined the Independents. I’m leaving in a week to start training.” Her face fell. “Mal, why did you do that? You know this war scares me.” “I know. But, sometimes you gotta do things you don’t want to.” “‘Older men declare war. But it’s the youth who must fight and die!’” she argued, quoting Herbert Hoover from Earth-That-Was. “I ain’t plannin’ on dyin’. I plan on winning this war to keep those tyrants from leavin’ us out here to fend for ourselves and still expectin’ taxes from us.” He smiled and took both of her hands into his. “And when its over, I’m gonna come back here and marry you.” She grinned at him with difficulty. She knew he was right and there was no way to stop the stubborn ranch-boy from going, but she had wanted to marry him since she first saw him when she, her mother, and brother arrived on Shadow fifteen years earlier. “Okay, but I haven’t exactly agreed to this great plan yet, have I?” she said. “You still want the one-knee approach?” She nods. “That’s what I figured,” he said, getting down one knee and pulling his mother’s diamond engagement ring from his jacket pocket. She gasped. “Annaleigh, will you marry me?” She got down on both of her knees in front of him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and whispered into his ear, “Yes.”


Sunday, December 10, 2006 9:35 PM


Ah, sweet but sad knowing what followed with the war and Serenity Valley. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, December 11, 2006 2:06 AM


This sounds great, can't wait to see what happens.

Monday, December 11, 2006 4:48 AM


Good job capturing the old Mal. Still Mal, but not. Sad, but i like shere this is going. Can't wait to read on.

Monday, December 11, 2006 9:18 AM


Yep...wonderful stuff here, PhyreLight. Though I was momentarily confuzzled by your title, since it's might close to another author's work. His and your story ideas are way different...but the titles could cause a moment of "Huh?"-ing;)

Still...gotta wonder if Annaleigh is still alive and waiting to hold Mal to his promise. Gonna make for fun times between Annaleigh, Mal and Inara;D


Tuesday, December 12, 2006 4:44 PM


Man, that guy just can't catch a break!


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The Children of Shadow (formerly, You Can Never Go Home Again): Prologue
Set at the begining of the war on Shadow. Mal tells his childhood girlfriend that he's going off to war.