Dalisay – Echidna’s Daughter
(continues from Makisig)
“Just kidding love,” Charon said, grinning ear to ear. “For you and your hurting heart, I’ll make an exception. No coins needed for tonight’s passage. But next time…” He held up a bony finger and waggled it at her. “Do bring a coin for the ferryman.” With that he swept her a bow and resumed his poling while she sat poleaxed, leaning against the gunwale.
What had just happened? She blinked at the ferryman not at all certain if she should trust his change of heart. “Thank you,” she said and then recalling his comments about a ‘big to-do’, she pulled his raven-feathered cloak tightly about herself. Maybe he’d answer this time. Or maybe not, considering the sickle smile cleaving his thin lips and the whistled tune issuing from them.
“So what’s this big to-do?”
“Ah but if I told you it would ruin the surprise. Just wait and see dearie, it’s not far from here and if rumor is correct, and it’s seldom wrong down here, it shall be quite a show, yes quite show and one worth seeing.”
Well she hadn’t expected him to answer. Not the ferryman who liked his air of mystique too much to risk losing it. So she contented herself with watching their progress up the river Acheron. In fact they headed back the way she had come not long ago.
The insane dead wailed on the shore and tore their hair and clothes. A few pointed at them as they passed and one enterprising fellow, who’d lost a leg, stretched out a hand. Maybe he held a coin in his closed fist or maybe not. Charon ignored him and kept their craft arrowing for a light up ahead.
Out of stygian gloom and the subterranean Tarturus they passed into Elysian sunlight and verdant fields. The river changed its name here, from woe to peace, and its character altered as well. Light sparkled on its surface and the river sighed with bliss. Charon tipped his hat at a nymph who waved as they passed but he kept on poling and her heart leaped into her throat.
Time had no meaning here and neither did distance, not in these lands. So there was no reckoning how long the ride lasted because neither she nor the ferryman felt the passage of time. If it did pass in this realm, it might not.
Still to her it felt like all too soon the Elysian fields gave way to a place of sorting. A rather plain land with not much to recommend it except for one feature. At the center lay a giant viewing pool which framed a blue marble called Earth. Of course she couldn’t see it from the river. There were too many wings in the way. A heavenly host thronged the pool watching events projected on it with quiet intensity.
And he was there too. She saw those luminous keys hanging from his belt. He was looking over a shorter angel’s shoulder. And he had a restraining arm hooked around that angel’s middle to keep him or her anchored. The angel in front of him leaned too far out over the pool and two other angels had hold of him.
What was going on? She glanced at Charon who had leaned his chin on his pole. “What are they waiting for?”
“A dalisay, a pure soul like you. One who’s dying down there on earth. Rules are rules but them younger crowd wants to go down and personally escort that soul. That’s against the rules. So your beau and his mates are trying to keep the youngsters from doing that.”
She blinked at his assertion that she was a pure soul–a dalisay. She as Echina’s daughter. Yeah that Echidna from ancient Greek Mythology, the mother of monsters. How could she be pure when she came from a womb that had carried monsters? She pulled Charon’s raven feathered cloak about her and shivered.
to be continued…?