Chapter 10: "I Will Arise at the Sound"
Three days had passed within the walls of the Great City as the travelers enjoyed daily celebrations and nightly comforts. The citizens seemed infinitely appreciative of their guests and offered praise and luxury at every turn. The group had journeyed so far and experienced so much since they had left their homes and, though the city’s extravagance was odd, it was also very welcome. And the travelers reveled in it. All except for Lesedi.
But the Old Man kept watch over all his companions, so he knew exactly where to find Lesedi. The solitary man was down at the end of the pier, staring out over the tides as usual. But today—since it was the last day before their journey must move onward—the Old Man forced his company on Lesedi.
“What are you seeing out there, my friend?” the Old Man asked gently as he approached.
Lesedi did not even flinch at the Old Man’s sudden appearance, as though he hadn’t even noticed. After a moment of silent contemplation, Lesedi did answer. “I believe I am not seeing anything, but rather looking for something.”
“Ah,” the Old Man breathed deeply, “That is a very different thing, isn’t it?”
Lesedi nodded almost imperceptibly. “I must tell you something. And it must be told before we disembark.”
The Old Man urged him on with a soft expression.
At that, Lesedi delicately revealed the tale of how he was called to the inn that day…how the Woman had reached him.
Lesedi didn’t know where he was or how he’d gotten there. His eyes were stinging from salted waves and angry winds. The only sight was blue; the deepest and darkest blue that one could imagine. A sea. It was as though the whole world was this sea, both above and below. But, somehow, he knew that he was not alone. There were things beneath him. Monstrous and ancient things. Things that chilled the Soul of a man.
But then a voice rang out to calm the waves. The things shrank away to a distance and Lesedi was left to float in peace…comfort even…as her voice sang to him.
She was suddenly there floating beside him. A woman who seemed to be the very embodiment of kindness and beauty. Her hair shimmered every color and no color, her eyes did not so much look upon him as cradle him. Her voice an eternal song. “Lesedi, do not be afraid. Endings are beginnings too. But my heart breaks for what comes next, my precious Light. Be so strong.” Then she vanished.
But, although she was gone now, her song remained to echo through him. “You are the light in the sea, the luster in the shadows, the beast’s enemy. You are the strength of them all, the brightness in the shadow, the beast’s down-fall.” And it was over…