In the Catacombs of Badb
I awoke all at once, from an untold tale, the memory of another life glinting in the shadows. Where and when I could not recall, I was merely haunted in the hammering of my heart. It plagued me then, the remembering. A question unanswered, a song whistled without the true tune, an emptiness at the corner of the mind grinning inanely with its' dirty secrets. How could I not journey back into the depths in search of Death then?
I have cracked open the catacombs of my memories in search of the echoes of lives long past and distant. I swept aside the curtain that hung in the doorway that covered my fingertips in finely milled dust, and with one steady heave ripped it from the precipice. I covered my head as I knew I must, wrapping myself in the folds, the once white layers blessing my skin with their stillness, rippling in the breeze. Shrouded, I pause.
"Guide me, Badb," I murmur as I reach out to the sand stone archway, naked without the cloth, the darkness within so barren of life, or movement, or sound... I panic a little, but the curiosity is worse, the dull ache in my heart from not knowing. I step within the archway, and as my barefoot lands it splits on broken glass. I scream.
The sound shatters the silence and tears flood my cheeks as blood pools down into the sand. The price of blood is paid amongst a thousand broken mirrors, their empty oval stands against the walls, taunting me with their lack of reflection. The pieces that have pierced me are strewn across my path, covered in blood, some my own that freshly adorns, some in rust flecked souvenirs of journeys long since passed. I should have known that pain would find a way, though my head is veiled against an onslaught of egregious memories, stepping onto the path is never easy. Sometimes the answers never come or the inspiration falters. Success is never guaranteed, and more, sometimes the lesson is in the failure. Or bleeding feet.
The chamber flickers then, as fire licks the walls and torches burn, showing this is but a simple room, not the descent into the labyrinth that was expected, and at the far wall sits Badb, atop a pile of bones. Her hood is heavy silken damask, woven by generation after generation of dying hands, threads dyed red in their passing. "It's never quite what you expect, is it?" She croaks in that Raven way, tilting her head to the side, feigning curiosity. It seems certain that her black eyes have prophesied my answers and little surprises Her, but still She enjoys the feint. "I have come seeking answers from other lives," I answer, and she cackles. "Why child? Are you so done with this one?" She leans her full weight against her scythe, that scratches into the floor as it rotates. I have no answer, for no, I am not done, at least I assume I am not. But that in itself might be human hubris, and I have long respected Death. She sighs, "So cautious," and winks at me, "Not like the heroes of old." "They died quick deaths," I respond, knowing my tales at least, of how pride before a Goddess led to untimely ends. She eyes me then with a smile, "Quicker wits I see. Well then..." Badb pulls the scythe upright and clicks it against the floor and bears her teeth in a blood red smile; "Know that you are not here for the answers of what was, or was not. For now, there is only what is. All must rest, for the Battles to come. Honour these small moments of Death that I have invited into your living space. Succumb to the dreaming of what must be known. I send fair scenes and foul ones alike, to hint at what bright days are to come, and when you shall be beset. Breathe deeply, for when demise comes, breath will seem so precious in its absence. Go now, and spread these words."
And so it is.