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Library: The Deathmaiden


Author: sigh
Date:Sep 28 2009

 I was once known as Alvena Evergrove, but I cannot remember who that person
was, or even when exactly. It could have been a long time ago, or just a few
years. Nevertheless, here I am, asking myself who I was or when. But I get
ahead of myself. Between my supposed death and this moment a lot has happened.

 I am what they call Death's Handmaiden. For reasons unknown to me, I was
chosen to carry out the deaths of those who had lived long enough and escort
them to the life after. This is what I was told, and this is the task I have
performed for as long as I can remember. I do not know who chose me or why,
nor did not receive any training or briefing. I was simply compelled to do
this, but it turned out that I am good at it.

 You see, there are two ways to die. The good way, where the trauma does not
cause any permanent damage and the bad way, which is less fortunate. Some of
us Handmaidens make such mistakes more often, but I have not in a long time.
As they transition from life to afterlife, I shed my duties of a kind of
midwife and become a shepherd and a guide. I escort them through the deadlands
until we find their final destiny. They do not get to choose their afterlives,
as their afterlives choose them and they are pulled into the mists when they
arrive at theirs, and I will never see them again.

 The cosmology of the deadlands consists of an endless grey mist. It is easy
to get lost here, despite the paths laid out before us. These paths look very
similar, and it is very easy to confuse them for one another. There are also
winds, each one with their own scent, and knowing the winds is vital to
navigating the deadlands.

 I must admit that I miss some of them when they are gone, as they are better
company, though they all seem rather wary of mine. Or perhaps they are simply
distressed by this unexpected turn of events. Nevertheless, my service to them
ends here, but I cannot help wondering what happens to them. Will they reach
places that make them happy or fill them with pain? Have their faites been
preordained, or is it something they did in life? Is it random? Can they
affect that fate? Is there even anything beyond the mists?

 But I digress. As I said, I am good at what I do, but that does not mean that
I like it though I cannot say that I do NOT like it either. But why then do I
feel such grief for taking the life of one, and nothing when taking another?
Is it something I could have felt when I was still alive? Is that person still
there, buried deep inside my ephemeral soul? Is it something that could not be
removed, though it should have? If only I knew.

 I never hesitate, but I sometimes get the feeling that I should. I cannot
call it regret on good conscience, because I don't have one. And yet,
something stirs within me whenever a child is orphaned or taken from their
parents, lovers torn from their partners or simply friends separated by
unfavorable fate. Of course, ridding the world of murderers and other monsters
is almost gratifying.

 And yet I almost pity them too, for they all share this look of bewildered
terror.Though I can make them less fearful and more accepting of their new
state, most of them have questions that I cannot answer. Most of them want to
know why they had to die right now, but I do not know. The best I can offer
them is a shred of hope, that there is someone who knows what they are doing,
and that everything will be well in the end, but of course I have no way of
knowing if that is true or not.

 I wish I knew, but I do not.

 I can only believe that everything in the universe has its time and place,
whether there is someone controlling it or not. There are no reasons for birth
or death or anything else, because they are only separated aspects of an
unseparable whole as far as I can tell. Everything simply  happens and I will
never know why. Mortals often make the mistake trying to learn the reasons for
any given happenstance and do not realize that this only diverts them from
their true happiness.

 Those who dedicate themselves to answering questions will most often find
life rather dissatisfying, incomplete. Then there are others who simply see
life as a thing of beauty to be enjoyed. Though they are also saddened for
having lost so much, they at least have known fulfillment.