To Reap The Wind: Chapter 2

Grave plot with several broken and toppled stone crosses near castle once known as Camelot, 877 AD

"Rise, Sir Owain, to do your duty to this world! You may be dead, but your work is not done. Rise, I command thee!"

The large, heavily cloaked figure with the bony hands, very large, razor sharp scythe and eyes of flaming red, had to repeat the call.

"Rise, Sir Owain, I call you forth to walk among the people again, to do a duty that might, over time, calm your troubled soul. Rise!"

This time, a wavering, silvery shape slowly crawled out from one of the graves without disturbing the physical grave itself in any way. The process of the spirit doing so took some time, and the heavily cloaked one stood, waiting patiently, until the spirit stood and faced him.

"Why hast thou called me from my long sleep, old spirit? My life is done, I hast no duty left after foul Tristan murdered me!" Owain snarled.

"You know not of what you speak, Owain, knight of the Round Table. Physical death does not always end one's true life. Your spirit has come from its grave e'er so often to roam the lands near the castle, seeking the foul one who killed you so long ago, I suspect.

"Tristan de Bois was eventually slain, by Sir Lancelot no less, about a score of years after you had died. He rots in the pits of hell below."

"Then I hast no reason to exist, the vengeance I wouldst have like to make against that foul one hast been done by another!" Owain growled.

"And that, my good Sir, is why you must take up my offer. By doing so, you may regain that balance you so sorely need," the spirit declaimed. "Much time has passed, the world will not know you, so you can do my duty without fear of harm arising from your past life."

"How much time, spirit? The castle lookest to be slowly falling apart!" Owain howled, advancing with arms raised toward the large spirit.

"Much time, Owain. About two hundred of your years have passed since your death," the old spirit told him, speaking in a softer tone.

"Two hundred? That be several lifetimes, old one!" Owain gasped, the shock quite apparent on the smaller spirit's face.

"For your folk, that is quite true, Sir Owain. It is rare for a knight to reach his thirtieth summer, much less his fiftieth, as you well know."

The spirit of Owain slowly lowered itself to the ground, taking a seat on a slightly higher hummock, and faced the old one again.

"Why shouldst I take up your call? What duty hast I to this world? It hast long forgotten me, hast it not?" Owain asked.

"Some have forgotten you, some have not. King Arthur and his knights inspired many a tale for wandering men to tell over their campfires."

Owain nodded, that made sense to him. He knew that the common folk often forgot anything beyond their simple duties unless the tales had become bits of legend, which some tales do after having been retold many times. "What wouldst thou wish me to do, then, spirit?"

"Become one of my reapers, Sir Owain, and collect the souls of the dead as they leave their mortal bodies behind," was the response given.

"You sayest that my doing this mayest aid my heart and soul to heal from my death at the hands of Tristan?" Owain enquired.

"That is quite possible. I cannot say for sure if it will or not, Sir Owain, only time may tell," was the bigger spirit's reply.

The knight sat there, sinking slightly into the hummock every so often until he noticed it and sat properly again. He could see the moon rising to the east, so it was most likely the early hours of this lonely early summer night. He hardly noticed the mist as it began to fall from the sky.

The moon had risen nearly halfway up the sky as he sat there, thinking and pondering on this great spirit's words. What if they were true?

Finally, he made his decision and slowly rose from the hummock, into which he had been sinking once again.

"I shall join you, as your reaper, in the hopes that I mayest find healing and some small bit of happiness again," Owain stated, speaking quietly.

The quietness of his voice didn't prevent the large spirit from hearing him. He was the Lord of Death, having dominion over the dead.

"Then come close to me, Sir Owain, and let me lay my hand upon your head to claim you as my Reaper," the Lord of Death declared.

Owain advanced somewhat nervously toward the Lord of Death, until he finally stood within the greater spirit's reach.

The Lord of Death placed his hand upon Sir Owain's head and focused intently for a moment.

Just as Owain was thinking that nothing would happen, an arc of puissant purple power passed from the Lord of Death into Owain's body. The arc set off what could only be called a spasming fit, which lasted for maybe a quarter hour, during which time Owain's body slowly changed.

As the spasming fit finally ended, so too did the changes, which left Owain utterly confused. Why? Quite simply, his new body was female.

The utterly changed Owain laid there on the ground, looking at herself, her expression going from shock to surprise to a sense of wonder.

Finally, she looked up and asked the Lord of Death, "Just how didst this happen, great one? I be not the person I was!"

The Lord of Death looked down at the new Grim Reaper, shaking his head in surprise at what had happened. "I do not know, Owain."

"Owain be not right for a girl to be named. Mayhap I couldst be named Owaina, as a way to recall my former life?"

The Lord of Death nodded, agreeing to that simple and heartfelt request. "So shall it be. From this day forth, you are Owaina, a Grim Reaper."

The new Owaina looked around her. Not far away, lying on the damp earth, was a new scythe and a simple grey cloak and cowl that should fit. She picked up the items, donning the cloak and cowl first, which quite oddly was not wet, even after lying on the damp ground next to her.

She stared at the scythe, then at the much larger one held by the Lord of Death himself, and picked it up, swinging it to test its balance. It felt right for her, as if it were made just for her. A moment's thought made her chuckle as she realized that was the plain and simple truth.

A moment later, after a brief nod, the two of them vanished from the small cemetery plot near the slowly crumbling castle of Camelot.

**********

Various parts of the known world, 877 AD & onward

The next few years were spent with Owaina training under an older Grim Reaper, one Albertus, who had lived around the time of Christ.

Albertus was a rough and ready Grim Reaper, rarely taking more time than was truly necessary to gather the newly dead souls.

Eventually, in the early fall of the year 881 AD, Owaina was allowed to begin her duties as a Grim Reaper without an overwatch.

Time passed, and the world changed little by little as the years went by, with Owaina claiming souls in various parts of the known world.



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This story is 1258 words long.