Author's Note/Background- I do not own the musical Elisabeth. Any character or event not spoken of in the musical is taken from records of the real Sisi's life. I personally pictured Pia Douwes and Uwe Kröger from the Essen production as my Sisi and Death, though they are open to different interpretations. This takes place after Death's rejection of Elisabeth at the "Totenklage" scene, and during a time in which Sisi was, both in real life and on stage, very depressed and wished for death. Reviews on this would be much appreciated!
Elisabeth took a deep breath, allowing the salty aroma of the Ionian Sea to engulf her senses. It allowed for her first perfectly serene moment in quite a while. Having managed to escape from her overbearing entourage for the evening, she could finally slip away into much-welcomed solitude on one of the more beautiful Greek beaches of the island of Corfu, one of her many retreats from the Viennese court.
Her travels this time, however, had been in order to protect herself from the heartbreak she felt within her. This attempt, she soon discovered, was in vain. She could not shake the familiar, haunted eyes that searched her soul only weeks previously in Regensburg.
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted when she felt a presence behind her. Believing it was one of her ladies-in-waiting asking her to get some rest, Elisabeth prepared to snap at the one awaiting her and quickly dismiss her. The words caught in her throat upon turning and she found herself rendered speechless.
Standing before her, as calm and collected as ever, was her Dark Prince—Der Tod. His expression was carefully neutral and his piercing gaze indifferent.
"You have no business here. Leave me." Elisabeth spat coldly, attempting to leave him at that, beginning to stride back to her horse and ride to the house.
She had barely taken another step when slender, meticulously-moved fingers wrapped themselves around her wrist and spun her to face him once again.
"You are hardly deaf, Der Tod. Did you not hear me correctly?"
His silken voice flowed through the air, reaching her ears for the first time that night. Its sound caused a shiver to weave up her spine and she pulled her arms closer to her body, dispelling the icy feeling that had begun to overtake her.
"Why, Elisabeth, do you attempt to push me away? Especially when you are fully aware of just how much you yearn for me."
"Why did you do it?" She hissed suddenly. "Why did you take Néné?"
"Surely you should be grateful. She spoke her final words to you—'Life is a sorrow and a misery.' I would not have thought you wanted your sister to live on in such anguish."
"So you will take pity on Helene but not upon me?" The sentence had come out before she could even think about what she was expressing. She hesitated, then continued. "You have taken my first daughter, my only son, my closest friend—Andrássy, and now my dearest sister!"
He spoke calmly, "Yes, as I believe you said to your youngest daughter recently—You are too old and too tired to struggle. Your wings are singed, and the only thing you want is rest."
She bristled and a fire blazed to life within her eyes. "You won't dare take Valerie! She is the only precious being remaining in this world to me. You will not strip her life away when it has just barely begun."
"Ah yes. She is to be married on the final day of the month, is she not?"
Elisabeth nodded curtly, but shot him a venomous look. "If you show yourself to her on her wedding as you did to me, I will never forgive you."
"Well, fortunately, I have no interest in your daughter."
"And what of me?" She met his gaze with desperate fervor, silently begging him to answer her question. "You have sought me out for decades, Der Tod. And now when I am willing to comply, you do not do so? Your logic is far from sensible."
Der Tod was silent for a moment. His fingers weaved into her loose chestnut locks, causing her to involuntarily release a single breath. Her eyes slipped closed as the angel of her childhood and the lover of her adulthood moved to languidly caress her cheek. His very touch seemed to delve into the depths of her soul, effectively arousing her senses and stimulating her ache for the feeling of his lips pressed upon hers. It would be so terribly effortless to do so. Only one kiss would be needed, and she could finally escape…
Der Tod's smooth voice cut into her reverie, "I never believed you would wish to give in, despite my own feelings on the matter. After all, you promised to always be true to yourself, Elisabeth."
A flash of anger glowed in her gaze upon hearing his words. She raised her head slightly. "And I have never allowed that to deteriorate, Der Tod. Freedom is what I yearned for, and it is what I continue to yearn for. My perception of the word has changed over time, but that single truth has consistently been sincere. When I was young, I believed freedom to be living life as the Empress of Austria. Now I know freedom to be an escape from that very life I had once wished to hold onto."
He regarded her once again in silence. The waves on the beach before them continuously crashed upon the shore and retreated back to the sea. Its cycle was eternal; as one wave withdrew, another would emerge.
A speck of white caught Elisabeth's eye and she turned her gaze to look upon a seagull as it rested on a rock by the shore. It raised its head to watch the water but never ventured off of the rock.
She noticed halfheartedly that the sun was sinking even further below the horizon, casting an array of colors into the sky. She turned away at last, leaving Der Tod's side and walking to her horse at the border of the land and the beach. A light breeze touched her face as she mounted the stallion and she suddenly felt compelled to turn her head. Der Tod had disappeared at some point after her departure. Elisabeth huffed, mostly to attempt to shake his azure gaze from her mind as she started back to the house.
She had barely gotten a few steps when the caw of a seagull rendered her to stop once again. The bird she had been watching only moments previously was now soaring over the surf, twisting and gliding through the air.
The familiar, sensuous voice of her Prince flowed into her ears from seemingly nowhere, "Have patience, dear Elisabeth. The black gull will once again take flight. Wait."
A stronger breeze now swept into her hair, enveloping her in an embrace of sorts. When the wind ceased, her eyes locked upon the bird and watched it soar into the sunset and slip out of sight.