Salt Sisters · Short Salt Stories

The Mortal Shore

This is a Jardithan Fairy-tale.

Everybody fears Death.
People think that they can run from Death. They think that they have to. It isn’t until Death arrives that people realise that there is nothing to be scared of. But still, everyone fears Death until she arrives.
Death even feared herself once, when the world was young. She thought she was mortal then, and did not know who she was destined to become. Death tried to run from herself and by doing so, she trapped the souls that had left their bodies before her. Those souls never met Death and so they had no rest. No rest until she stopped running.

Death fell in love with a mortal man. They loved each other dearly so when his mortality took him, she was devastated. Whenever she closed her eyes she saw his face. His eyes had longing in them and the corners of his mouth were turned down.  He shed no tears but she could see them building up behind his eyes. But mostly, his expression asked why.
Death’s nightmares always followed her lovers face. At night when she closed her eyes to sleep, she would find herself on a lonely island at dusk. She stood out in the waves with a heavy mist all around. She could make out the outline of a dark mountain on the Island before her. She guessed there must be a cave somewhere in the mountain because she could hear the waves crashing against the rocks. A continuous crashing that seemed to be counting something. One. Two. Three. Four. The crashing never ceased and Death could not figure out what they were continuously counting.
On the shore was a dark shadow of a man. When Death’s eyes landed upon him, he would reach out his hand to her. It was almost like a plea, begging her to take his hand but the hand… oh the hand. It would stay there, waiting in the beam of the moonlight, his long skeletal hand. Every time he stretched out that frightful hand, she would back away from it. Every night she would back away and every night she would seem that tiny bit closer to the Island, the Mountain-Cave and the Dark Shadow.
And so Death ran.
She ran from that nightmare, not knowing what it was.

It was the Mortal Shore of course. The last place a mortal soul will see. The Mortal Shore standing there against the time counting waves crashing upon the walls of the Immortal Caves. The invisible walls, that is, for no one could see through that cave. No mortal being could looking within the cave and see the other side with Mortal eyes. The Immortal Cave’s wonders were for only the immortal to see.

The further Death ran, the closer the Mortal Shore got. Each night brought the figure closer with thicker mist. Each night he held out his bony hand and each night Death tried to run.
Every night except one. Her last one.
In this last nightmare, nay, not a nightmare but a dream. In this last dream Death was close enough to see the figure. Mist still blurred her vision and the figure wore a hood but something about this time made Death stop and change what she did. Instead of running when she saw his hand move she waited and watched. She was so close she could reach out and touch the shadow. Her gaze left the hand and traced up the shadow’s arm and to his hooded face. Eyes could be seen within the hood. Not harsh and cold eyes like Death had expected but warm, longing eyes.
The mist cleared as their eyes locked and they looked into each other.
Death took a deep breath as she pushed back the hood to see if what she thought was true. She pushed back the hood and saw his face; her lover’s face. His eyes filled with longing and his mouth turned down in a half frown.
“Why? Why did you not come when I called?” He asked when she had taken in what she saw. “Why did you run from me, My Lady? Can you not see all the souls that are longing to meet you? Help them through the Immortal Caves. They have no guide and cannot rest. I have no guide and I cannot rest. My Lady, we need you. I need you,”

Death looked around and saw that the mist was no mist at all. It never had been mist. It was the countless souls of mortals waiting to be taken through the Immortal Caves. Trapped and having no rest. Death breathed heavily as she looked around and her lover’s words sunk in.
“But who am I to be a guide, my Love? I know not the way,” she sighed.
“Who are you? Why, my Lady, you are the Lady of Death. You are the only one who can find the way through these Immortal caves. For look, you behold what others cannot see,” He turned around and pointed. Death looked and she did behold. She saw the wonders of the Immortal Caves. What she beheld cannot be told; it must be shown and shown by the Lady of Death.
“Come to me now, my love. Come to me now, my Lady. Finally, come to me in your sleep, my beautiful Lady of Death. Let us walk hand in hand, leading all souls from the Mortal Shore through the Immortal Caves. Come to me. You shall be my Lady and I shall be your Prince. Come to me, Oh Lady of Death. Come to me, my love”
And with his last words, Death passed from the waking world and onto the Mortal Shore.

And so, there she stands, upon the Mortal Shore, waiting to greet you and take you through the Immortal Caves. She waits there with her Dark Prince, waiting while the waves count the days upon the rocks. The Lady of Death is there waiting for you, waiting to show you the wonders of the Immortal Caves upon the Mortal Shore.

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