to die, to sleep

Chapter 3: hadopelagic

Chapter Summary:

The daughter of the depths receives an unusual visitor.

It has been such a long time since the witch of the deep-waters last had visitors.

The dark she calls home, embraced and surrounded by the pearly gleam of her mother's many limbs, couldn't exactly be called welcoming. Between the crushing force of the water above and the many maws waiting below, the most she sees in an age are priestesses, making their pilgrimages to the shrine she keeps for them, laying their offerings and begging the daughter of the depths for her mother's blessings. She is kind to them, and aids them as she can, but they are hardly company, least of all for long. And she cannot leave -- for who, then, would tend to the shrine and to Mother?

She has not seen a visitor of the small one's like in a long, long time. Ever, in fact. The pale mask they wear is of an unfamiliar custom, instantly intriguing, and their cloak, which drifts every which way in the water, suggests the make of a foreign land. They have tied themself to a bulging sack of stones so heavy they must drag it along the coral paving, as if too buoyant to reach the seafloor without the weight.

Her curiosity swells and breaks the surface, and she approaches with a gleam in her eyes entirely apart from the sunlight that cannot reach this place. The little visitor appears unimpeded by the dark, and when she swims closer, she notices the spill of shadow like squid-ink that blurs the waters around their hollow eyes.

"Hello, little wanderer," she says. "Are you here on a pilgrimage?"

Not all visitors come with purpose, but the way the rocks anchor them to the sacred grounds seems too careful to be anything but deliberate, and hospitality is hospitality. The usual rites may as well be observed.

The little visitor does not answer her in words, but instead looks up in her direction with a start. Perhaps they cannot see in the murky midnight of the depths after all? They must be a brave soul, then, or foolish. Her surroundings are no place for the unaware, though they at least carry a nail on their back. She waits patiently a moment as they turn their head, searching, before she takes pity and swims closer still until their gaze can fix upon her.

They go very still for a second, sizing her up, then bounce in place, once, precisely. She watches them fumble about under their tangled cloak before withdrawing a flat stone etched in a script she hasn't read in centuries. The little visitor hands it over with both hands, which is a refreshing change of pace from the ritual shrine offerings.

She accepts it, and reads.

hi feferi!

some stuff happened on the surface so i thought you should know! whatever happened in that mountain kingdom finally cleared up, and we might even be able to find the void now if we dig deep enough.

i asked this little abyss creature from the kingdom's ruins to give you the message, and they'll probably take one back if you ask. they're really helpful like that. you should probably thank them!



Chapter End Notes:

and then i never updated again lol