Date:Nov 2 1995
My life has been a long and fruitful one. I have been on many journeys,
and studies virtually every religious text that exists. Over this time nearly
every question I have ever asked has been answered. But a few still remain.
There was one question whose answer had always eluded my grasp. It may
seem trivial to you, but to me it is important. This question was about the
man called Death. Who was he? What was his purpose in running around
This ran through my mind as I walked on into the night. The day's
travels had been long and tiresome. I hoped that soon I would see a campfire
I could stop and rest at.
As if to answer this hope I spotted a campfire to my east. I crossed my
fingers and changed my path to intercept this fire, hoping that its creator
would let me stay.
As I approached the fire I noticed two individuals. There was a man I
took to be a bard sitting next to the fire. He was strumming what looks to be
a lute, and I could hear him singing. The other person was lying down near
the fire. He was covered with a blanket.
Gathering up my courage I called out, "Hello campfire!"
The reply was quick. "You may approach stranger. I am not one to turn
back a traveler from my fire on a cold night."
I hurried to the fire and sat down. I then thanked the bard for his
He waved his hand. "Think nothing of it." He then gave a comforting
He studied me for a second. "You look like a holy man to me. Maybe you
can help that poor soul over there." He pointed to the man I took to be
sleeping. "I discovered him a few hours ago. I know not what injured him,
but he is very bad off."
I got up and walked over to the wounded man. He was seriously injured
and in a coma. Even with my powers I held little hope that I could save him.
But I still starting casting my spell.
"Mumbo Jumbo" I uttered.
The man did not stir.
Dejected I sat down. It always pained me to see a person in that
condition. It was my job to save people, not watch them slip away into death
before my very eyes.
I started rummaging through my pack, hoping that some food would take my
mind off the wounded man. I extracted a couple of can and a battered fork
from the pack. I wiped off the fork on my robe (no need to waste water on
it), busted open one of the cans, and started eating.
We stayed silent the next couple on minutes, me eating, him playing his
guitar and singing. The song was in a language I did not understand, but his
voice was beautiful. I found myself smiling a bit in the presence of this
My thought strayed back to the wounded man and that all-important
question that had dogged me all my life. Without realizing, I said aloud, "I
wonder who Death is?"
He stopped singing but did not stop playing. Without looking up he
murmured, "No one really knows. It is a subject few tak about and even fewer
study, for they are afraid of the man called Death. But I have heard a story
of him. I cannot vouch for its validity though."
Knowing he had my full attention he began his story. "The true name of
Death is shrouded in the mists of time. It will very likely never be known.
But it is said that the man now known as Death used to be an evil man. He was
a thief and a murder."
"This man was no ordinary person. He seemed to have powers no one else
had. He performed the most extraordinary feats. We might have never known of
half the crimes he committed if he hadn't left the message "DEATH was here"
scrawled whenever he robbed a castle or killed a man."
"Because of this, his reputation grew, and so did the people's fear of
him. He seemed unstoppable to most people. No one had ever been able to
corner him. He always found a way to escape if caught."
He stopped for a second and tossed a couple of sticks onto the fire.
Sparks flew up into the night and just as quickly faded away.
He continued. "One day word came to this thief that in a castle far away
lived a powerful holy man who possessed a cloak of black. This was no
ordinary cloak; its threads were said to be made of Faerwon's power. The
thief decided that he would have it."
The wounded man breathed hesitantly, as if it were his last, then
returned to normal breathing.
"The thief plotted for weeks. He knew the cloak rarely left the castle,
and that the castle was guarded so well that only a god could have gotten in.
The thief bided his time and waited for the day that the cloak would leave the
"And one day the holy man took the cloak from the castle. It is not
known why he would do such a thing, but the thief struck quickly. He snuck up
on the holy man and stabbed him in the back 3 times. The holy man fell
forward, mortally wounded. And the cloak soon became one of the thieves
"But his joy was short-lived, for when he donned the cloak the power of
Faerwon swept through him. He blacked out."
"When he woke, the first thing he saw was Faerwon. The mighty god looked
at the thief for a second then roared, 'You are an evil man. You have
performed many evil deeds in your short lifetime. I will not allow it any
longer. You wanted that cloak so bad you would even kill one of my
worshippers to get it. You will keep the cloak.'"
"'I also grant you Immortality, but you will not enjoy it. You will wear
that cloak of black, and collect the corpses of the dead. You will suffer the
agonies of the dying along with them, except for will feel it much greater
than they. This is a sentence that will never end. You will never be
"'Go now, and start your new life as Death.'"
"And with a twitch of a finger Death, clad in black, was born."
"That is a fascinating story," I said.
"Aye," he said silently. "I am afraid I have grown weary and must rest
now. Remain here if you wish. I do not care."
He quickly prepared a bed and went to sleep.
I prepared a bed as well, but could not sleep. I instead lay there,
looking up at the stars, and thinking about Death. I figure if he had a mind
left he would have gone crazy by now.
I must have drifted off to sleep at some time, becuase the next thing I
remember it was daylight and the wounded man was gone. Death, clad in black,
had arrived to collect his corpse.
I gathered my thing and the bard and I parted company. But I will never
forget that bard.