Ashor the Black Night, One of my Favorite Mythical Characters

Since Atlantis Reborn has its roots in Plato’s myth of the lost island of Atlantis, I thought I’d share a quick recap of one of my favorite but lesser known myths, Ashor the Black Knight.

The story begins with two kings at war. As is usually the case in myth, one of them was good and fair to his people, and the other was oppressive and cruel. Fearing his army would be defeated, the good king sent a messenger to bring a man named Ashor to his court. Ashor was an old knight, but in his youth he’d specialized as an assassin. In spite of his advanced age, he remained surprisingly strong and skilled. Ashor traveled back to court where the good king implored him to go to his rival’s fortress city and kill him. Ashor said that he must see for himself, but if the other king was as terrible as he’d been told, he would do it.

So, Ashor skulked around the enemy’s city until he’d seen enough to know the king was truly awful to his people. As agreed, he assassinated the tyrant and made a hasty retreat. He stopped long enough to free a priest who had been unfairly imprisoned, and the two rode through the fortress gates on Ashor’s battle horse. With the king’s soldiers in pursuit, Ashor realized he’d been seriously wounded. Believing he was going to die, he dismounted his horse and urged the priest to ride ahead to safety. Weak and bleeding, Ashor made his way to a tree and collapsed.

A demon and an angel then appeared. Both claimed to own the old knight’s soul…the demon because Ashor was an assassin, and the angel because he’d freed people from the tyranny of bad rulers. In the midst of their argument, a figure in a black cloak appeared and introduced himself as Anonymous. He told them that Ashor’s good deeds were equal to his bad deeds, so neither the demon nor the angel could have his soul. Instead, Ashor’s soul belonged to Anonymous.

After the disappointed demon and angel had gone, Anonymous healed Ashor’s wounds and made him immortal. Anonymous told the old knight he could go anywhere and do anything he wanted. There was a hitch, though. Anytime Ashor did a good deed, something bad would happen somewhere else in the world. Similarly, anytime he did something bad, a good thing happened. Anonymous told him that when he got bored with it all, he was report the real purpose of existence back to him.

Though Ashor couldn’t change the universal balance between good and evil, he chose to do good deeds anyway. According to the myth, he roams the world today in the black cloak of Anonymous doing good works as the Black Knight.

If you enjoy myth the way I do, I think you’ll love how the legend of Atlantis is woven into the modern-day life of Alison McKye in Atlantis Reborn.


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