Deep Water

By otakuprincess

I'm afraid. I fear for my people, souls without a place in this world. Forever damned, they do not even have the privilege of being called "living". Empty shells, they no longer serve themselves. No, they serve him. Constantly building and breaking, halting their tasks only when the sun rises from her bedchamber. As soon as she veils her face once more, they return. It is like this every night. The faces of my brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, all rotting. Dead flesh hanging from their bones like streamers from a mantelpiece. I try not to look closely as the maggots swarm through every crevice, claiming the bodies as their own.

I think I am all that is left of my village, unless one escaped far away from this horrid place. I was lucky to be bathing when the attack came. Funny that I, who was breaking village laws by bathing in the morning, should be the only one saved. I suppose Mother can't punish me this time. As soon as the attack began, I made my way down the stream into deeper water. It keeps back the Dead, you see. The stream ran into the river and from there, I washed up on a small island. I must be lucky – had the rapids pulled me any farther to the left, I would have been tossed like a grain of sand over the rapidly approaching waterfall.

The island isn't much. There are a few fruit trees from which I can gather plums and apples. I survive. Granted, it has only been five days. The Dead will surely be here soon; already they are throwing boulders into the churning waters. The bridge isn't much, but it will be enough. I have built a small shelter here, and stored fruit for my journey tomorrow. If I hope to survive the trek to the next town, I will have to return to my village one last time to gather supplies.

Quiet. I can hear Him, even now, miles away from the terror that was my home. I think...yes. He is calling more of them to him. Other helpless ones. I hope he is not there when I return tomorrow. I have not the strength to fight an enemy so greater skilled than I. He deals in Death, and I only in physical battle. Who is a swordswoman to confront a Reaper?

I can see his very image in my mind. A man, taller than most. Muscular and strong. Red hair, the color of a flaming sunset. Deep brown eyes. Those eyes that looked down upon me in battle in my dreams. Every night, eyes that haunted my sleep. Once, I even felt his rough hands slide down my neck, chilling...repulsive. I woke up then, thankfully alone except for the wail of a small child at the moment of destruction.

Please tell me that I do not dream of the future. I hope, for all our sakes, that I do not. I do not wish to confront the necromancer, no matter how much the Charter demands it. The flows through my veins, weaker than ever. He was some power over it, I think. All its magic has been called forth to Him. I would, I could pull it back. But her would know I am here. Even the strong pull of the river would not stop his crossing.

As I create a weak triangle of protection, I think of tomorrow. Drawing the North Mark, I wonder if this will be my last night before I feel the pull of another river, one much stronger than Life. If that is my fate, I will pass the nine gates without regret. But that is tomorrow.