OF :: The River Runs In Your Blood

Title: The River Runs In Your Blood
Arc: The Deathwalkers
Rating: PG-13
Written: 2004?
Summary: After twenty years, Nandiealmae finally returns to the realm her family is meant to guard.

These characters, stories, and ideas are the original, copyrighted work of Nicole Sharp and are protected under a Creative Commons License.


One need not be a Deathwalker to cross from Life into Death. I daresay that the experience is somewhat more pleasant for one who is not a Deathwalker, for upon crossing there is still some measure of Life’s light and warmth on the far shore. Then there are but a few meters of beach to cross before one reaches the swift, icy current of the River. The River, they say, is the domain of the Deathwalkers. Few of the Living will enter that treacherous water and far fewer actually reach the shore of Death. The Dead do not welcome the Living but as a willing offer of Life, a way to reach the sunlight once more. Without protection, the Living soon become the Dead.

My father used to tell me that a Deathwalker has fundamental similarities to Death. It is difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that some part of a Deathwalker is Dead to begin with; this does not accurately portray the situation, but it is the easiest way to begin understanding the precarious line a Deathwalker keeps. They are meant to manage the balance between Life and Death, but, at the same time, they are themselves a balance. A balance the River seeks to tip.

***

One moment I could feel the warmth of the fire on my face, and, in the next, I was surrounded by something so cold I could hardly move. Involuntarily, I tried to breathe in, and water filled my lungs. Flailing, I shot up out of the water, coughing. Here the water just reached my waist, but it felt like it should be ice, it was so cold.

My skin was deathly pale, with hardly any color to it at all. Just the palest touch of peach. Likewise, my clothing had lost almost all of its color. Around me was a world of absolute gray. No color at all altered the flat, dimly lit sight. To my right, there was a splash. I whirled to find Vallen at my side, as colorless as everything else.

“Are you alright, Mistress?”

I shuddered. “No.” I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing my father die. I couldn’t hear the River for my own screams. It was all I could do to walk downriver without being blinded.

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