The Eternal Song, Part Fourteen: Light

Rain, shadows moving, dim fragments of sight.

Not much pain, now. The poppy draught had taken Eldest Grandmother’s pain away. It brought sleep, and tangled thoughts.

Hushed voices of women, soft footsteps.

“Riadne comes.”

Images of a little girl, blue eyes intent on her lessons, a well-inked brush in her small fingers. But no, Riadne was grown. She served the Earth Mother at a new temple, Hulda had said. A temple filled with light.

Rain, still falling, always falling. Damp air, thick with lavender: the scent of the death candles. That was one of the tasks allotted to the Earth Mother’s priestess, setting ablaze the candles that guided a spirit on the journey home to the Gods.

A question, unvoiced. The Gods took whom they would. Such was the way of things. But what would become of the People, in their dark exile in the forest? How would they endure?

The weight of the body, less than it had been. Above, a bright path taking shape. Spirits of loved ones beckoning, their faces clearly seen, smiling in the warm glow. Yet there were strong ties binding, thick as ropes: worry, duty, fear.

A struggle for breath, words gasped from failing lungs.

“The People…”

Open hands, empty and limp on the bedding; they held nothing more to give. But a woman—Riadne?—took up one of them in her own rough, scarred hands, tracing a shape across the wrinkled palm. Circles overlapping one another, the symbol for eternity.

The People will endure forever.

Eldest Grandmother felt herself smile as the ties holding her to earth parted, thin and insubstantial. Spirits reached to help her into the light.

Continue to Part Fifteen

Part Thirteen: Pilgrim.
Part Twelve: Priestess.
Part Eleven: Scout.
Part Ten: Lost.
Part Nine: Mountain.
Part Eight: Forest.
Part Seven: Shards and Dust.
Part Six: Warning.
Part Five: Gifts.
Part Four: Midsummer.
Part Three: Hunters or Hunted.
Part Two: Rehearsal.
Part One: Beauty.

on 07/27/11 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | 2 Comments | Read More

Comments (2)


  1. Stephanie says:

    A short, beautiful way to express the passing of a leader among the People.

  2. Gwen McKay says:

    Thanks for your kind feedback — it’s much appreciated!

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