|The Woman Who Came From the Sea|
|Summary:||Saffron's own continuation of the Banefort folktale.|
|Date:||07 May 2012|
|Related Logs:||On the Waterfront, The Man Who Loved the Sea|
Once, long ago, there was a woman. She was the only daughter of a widowed lord, and, in his grief, had left the care and peacekeeping of their lands in her hands. Beautiful and sharp in intellect, the woman swept from village to village on constant rounds to uphold the promises her father lord had made to their people. Soon her face became known, and with it her deeds. She had skin as pale as the moon, with hair the color of frost-covered wheat and eyes like the summer seas.
As her father continued to be lost within his own grief, his daughter's care of his lands became known even beyond their holdings. It traveled to the ears of a squire, and with it to the ears of a lordly knight. He became so enthralled with the tales of this beautiful woman that he decided he would travel to her lands and meet her himself. The moment he laid his eyes upon her, he felt the love in his heart grow. Within weeks of their first meeting, a betrothal was arranged. But only with the promise that they would look after her father and his lands with the same care that she had done all these years.
The knight left so he could prepare for their wedding, and she promised she would join him in a fortnight. Little did the knight know that that would be the last time he would lay eyes upon his bride. During her journey to join him, her retinue came upon a decrepit keep that overlooked the sea. The lands themselves looked like flesh-stripped bones — barren and lifeless. The keep itself looked as if it was trying to return to its natural state of rock. Curious and tired by their journey, they approached the keep with the hopes that someone — anyone — might be there to host them for the night.
Within, they came across an old lord that looked as old and lifeless as the lands he ruled. There was also something terribly unsettling about him, something that set her nerves on end. He begged them to stay despite his meager state. They agreed, while also making it clear that they will be leaving with the coming of the sun.
Their journey, however, would come to an end here. During the night, all of her guards were dispatched and the old lord took the woman and made her his. She first felt fear and then anger, swearing to him that her betrothed would seek her out, would find her. He laughed — nearly cackled — and swear he would put her where he would never find her.
He put her in the sea.
For years — decades — there she stayed where the currents swirled and the sky looked drunk through the constantly moving waves. Every day, she would look up into the face of the man who held her captive. Every day, he would admire while she would scheme. He swore he would hold her forever, and she swore she would one day again know the feel of the sun on her naked skin.
Perhaps when he died, she thought. But, he would never die.
Perhaps when he grew tired of her, she thought. But, he would never grow tired of her.
Perhaps when she was strong enough, she thought.
And there she found it, churning beneath her breastbone, churning within her heart. She began to whisper to the sea; she told it all she was, all the joy and love and loss. It whispered back. Like so many, it fell for her beauty. It vowed itself to her, and it would give her the freedom she yearned for.
The waves around her began to churn and crash upon the shore, and with each tidal assault came with her the strength to step from the water. She emerged from the watery prison with vengeance in her heart. So long beneath the sea, what had become her prison became her ally. She commanded it, sending it in a great surge over the rocks that held the man's keep. She heard him scream, and knew she was free. She felt the sun on her skin, heard the wind in her ears, and knew she was free.
But there was nothing left for her — her father dead, her betrothed old. So, she returned to the one place she knew. She turned her back on the shore, and stepped into the tides once more. Into the sea, but not as its captive, no, but as its Lady.
For, there was nothing she loved so much as the sea.