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gaborrero t1_jeahrks wrote

The sound of joyous laughter echoed just outside the humble hut that this peasant's family called home. The children playing were full of vigor and life, pretending to be knights and monsters, engaging in battle with one another. It was almost cruel to subject this poor, young boy to the sounds of people his own age making merry when he couldn't muster the strength to speak.

Nobody knew for sure what was wrong with him, and to be honest, it didn't matter to Arian. She emerged from the shadows of the boy's room, and her arrival stirred him into wakefulness. He saw her as a fair-skinned woman with long, straight, silvery-white hair and iridescent eyes. She was wearing a simple black robe on her slender form, otherwise barefoot. Arian approached the boy, but stopped a couple of feet from his bed.

"It won't be long now," she whispered to him soothingly. "It will all be okay."

"Do I... have to go?" the boy rasped out. He would be surprised at his ability to speak if not currently more awed by Arian's arrival.

She reached out a hand to him, but stopped herself from making contact. "The longer you stay, the more it will hurt," she responded.

The boy looked at her outstretched hand. He struggled to lift his own hand and took hers, holding it. "Will you stay with me?"

Arian smiled sadly. She noted that his parents were not home, and his siblings were among those playing outside. She closed the gap between them and nodded, standing beside his bed. "Of course... would you like to hear a story?"

"A... a story?"


The boy's eyes grew teary. It had been so long since anyone paid him enough mind to spend this much time with him. "Please."

"Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Underworld was a dark and dangerous place. Nobody could traverse it, save demons, the Lord-and-Lady of War, the King of the Underworld, his Queen, and the Winged Sisters. When someone would die, their soul would be set to wander the Underworld aimlessly, no matter how bad or good a person was, searching for any hint of life. If they were lucky, they found nothing. If they were unlucky... they were eaten by a demon and gone forever.

"For a long time, this was just how things were. One day, however, the King and Queen had a child of their own making. She was not their first, but she was their youngest. The young girl, unlike her siblings, was not born with any powers of which to speak. It wasn't until her third year that she came into knowing what she could do. She kept her powers a secret from her family, but not from humanity: she was the Lady of the Beyond Lands.

"She discovered she could summon a door in the Underworld that would open up to a world not unlike that which the mortals had come to know and love in life. Green, rolling fields; a perpetual, gentle sun; friendly, fluffy white clouds. From that age onwards, she would attempt to arrive before the Winged Sisters, and would gather up the souls of the innocent, the kind, and the reformed to come to the Beyond Lands with her. She still, to this day, searches the Underworld for any older, wayward souls who may have deserved to retire to such a place but had not found their way to her."

The small boy, in his bed, coughing, found himself smiling by the end of her story. "Is anybody I know in the Beyond Lands?"

"Do you remember your grandparents?"

"Nana is there?"

"Yes. She is. She talks about you often, and how you were when you were a baby."

Tears began to flow freely from his face. "I miss her."

"You don't have to miss her. We can go to her, together."

It's hard to say what goes through the mind of someone when they exhale their final breath; still, he did, like a long, relieved sigh. He sat up from his body and climbed off his body and bed, hand-in-hand with the woman before him. "Please, take me to Nana."

"As you wish."

The two of them, together, descended into the shadows of the room into the frightening, crimson underworld with its wine-dark sky full of baleful stars. As soon as they arrived, Arian outstretched her hand and a red, white, and gold door appeared before them. She opened the door inward, and behold, before them, the lands of which she had spoke: there was grass on endless hills and valleys! A warm sun, which he had not seen in weeks! People!...

... and an elderly woman with her arms outstretched, calling to him.

"Nana!" He sobbed and laughed, and ran through the door off to the woman. "Nana!!"

Footsteps were approaching Arian on all sides, and so, she closed the door as quietly as she could and allowed it to vanish before the unclaimed demons descended on her once more.

An endless cycle of misery and suffering, all worth it for that moment.


nallywallu t1_jeakvim wrote

Wow! Is it your original lore or is it based on a folktale from someplace? Either way I really enjoyed reading it, quite captivating and game me the warm fuzzies.


gaborrero t1_jeal2yw wrote

Original lore. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope you have a wonderful day!