|Denizen of the River
Author: London-Green PM
A lone spirit makes its way back to Life and freedom. Just wanted to get a POV from one of the many foes of the Old Kingdom.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Words: 830 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-27-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7328545
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
If I ever had a name Death swept it away long ago. The few scraps of memory that the river has not taken from me do not reveal one, nor will I regain any without the voice of Belgaer, whose wielders I would not meet.
The thing I remember most about Life is the warmth. There was the Sun, blazing above, and a field of green stretching out in front. And something cool and soft entwined with my hand. Cloth? Leaves? My hand is grasping it tightly...
I can't remember anyway. It's lost, as with so much else, lost when I thrashed in the Fourth Precinct years ago. I'd thank the necromancer who made the dark bridge that I helped me get out last time, if I could ever find him. The last I saw him he was under the iron-grey water himself, struck by my twisting claws.
My shadowy limbs are gripping the obsidian black silt beneath me. Though unsuited to tool or handle, they have their uses here in the river. They stroke against the river stronger than any man's, and grasp the squat necks of my neighbours with ease after I slink towards them, my head lowered to hide the embers that smoulder there. The sudden roar of waterfalls behind me almost brings relief- I enjoy a quieter river.
I creep slowly, watching for ripples against the river's current. Dark shapes bob and thrash in the grey distance, others struck by the waves of the Third Precinct. Only the fast and the wary last in Death.
The stone above my jagged head sifts and freezes to its own tides, but I ignore it- only fools keep their eyes off the river. Scattered teeth in my jaw freeze against the water flowing through it, and my eyes hiss as the odd fogged drop splashed too high on my snout
Then to the right, I hear singing. It hangs in the air and feels across the water, tenuously feeling against the night of my skin. I halt in the water, feeling the drag increase, back to where I crawled from. I twist my shoulders towards the source, my embers burning. Through the thick, bleached air I see a too-tall figure striding, the steam billowing around it, while tendrils sift the water in front.
I lie and watch as it walks far past, carefully eyeing its distance from me. Only as it fades into the gloom do I resume my crawl towards the Third Gate. Death has many mysteries I'd rather not learn of.
Only once have I come closer to Life than this, edging through time immeasurable. I grew close to the border, I sensed the invisible veil in the river, but some whistling drove me back. It filled my heads with howls and dread words, as clawing iron hands seized my limbs and tore them into step, dragging me back through Death until a wave struck me. It was only eons later in the Sixth Precinct, whispering with other resters that I learnt of walls, and the dread family that stalks the Dead, striking and enslaving them to final rest. In the raging pool I learnt and planned.
The stars wink above me, as wisps of night brush below and smother them. I lever myself up, pale hands clumsily splayed against the rock. Dry eyes scrape in sockets, as I see the dark streaks and chunks on the cobbled road I'm stretched on. All is still but the grass that slowly shivers in the fields on the either side, and the far off orange lights spluttering among the dark hunks by the far-off river bed. I claw out and snatch a rock by me, sticky to my gnarled and twisted fingers, tiny nails of ivory already protruding from my new hands. Matted hair still clings to it.
I clamber onto booted feet, brown cloak draped around a body that no longer felt cold. Muddy horse prints and scattered, poor possessions litter the road, but I pay no attention to them. I lumber off into the fields, hands stroking the taller sprouts out of my path. A hill looms of in the night, suggesting of cave, hall or lone hut to shelter in. The sun would now provide no warmth; it would only drain my spirit from this gift. I stop for a second, just one, to peer at the moon hanging above me, its faint light familiar and yet fresher after countless years. And a memory of something cool and soft to touch flickers in the rotting lump of dead flesh my shadow now occupies.
Enough. I resume my trek. For now only the safety of gloom beckons me, as I remember the murmurings of others who tried and failed. I would stay out of the River. Next night I will sneak into farm and bedroom. I would find life, warm throbbing life.
It is all that matters.