She of the Tide
|She of the Tide|
Another in a series of tales taken down from oral tradition, “She of the Tide” is a story about Elléa’caesíë, the Lady of Chaos and Liberty in Estel’s Pantheon. It is a favorite of anarchists and revolutionaries, much like the deity herself. In truth, the tale has many variations, but Pilye’iea Yajenseth is regarded as the “official” or “basic” version.
She of the Tide
A clap of thunder masked the cry of a dark-haired woman who was perched on the crest of a wild wave. Her dress was a dusky, twilight blue, and adorned with a spray of pearls and mysterious, silver flowers. As the wave crashed to the shore, it was revealed that the woman rested upon the brow of a Rockback Whale, which was partially submerged. She jumped from her standing place onto the sand as lightning crashed into the violent, tumbling sea. With a wicked grin, she dismissed her companion, who retreated into the deep with a bellow.
Fresh-faced, with indulgent and haughty Altalar features, the woman marched purposefully onto the sand, while the storm raged behind her. She lifted her arms, leveling her fingertips with her shoulders. She made a lazy gesture with her left hand, swirling it. As she did, the storm intensified, and her expression darkened. A smile played upon her lips as she called down a lightning strike to illuminate her path. In the flash, the outline of a fine estate was revealed, surrounded by orchards. She approached it with cruel determination as her dark locks flowed in the wind behind her.
She approached the edges of an orchard, and flung her arms wide open. As she wiggled her fingers, the tree branches grew heavy, laden with fruits native neither to those trees nor the land. She smiled, made another gesture, and the original fruits all rotted at once, falling to the ground. Marching onward, thunder seemed to clap above her head, and mist swirled at the skirts of her dress. She lifted her chin, approached the gates of the estate, and threw them open. She laughed mirthlessly, and knocked on the doors of the house with unnatural strength. A young servant answered, in terror and sleepiness.
“Let me pass, girl, and you shall be free from the bonds of your servitude.”
She did so.
She touched the serving girl’s shoulder, and the pearls upon her dress vanished, appearing instead on a string around the young girl’s neck. The disheveled child gasped, curtsying deeply, then scampered away into the night with its rotting orchards and treacherous storm.
The woman continued onwards and rain poured mournfully on the manor. With her fine shoes clapping against the polished floor, she ascended the staircase, her mere presence supernaturally using other members of the household staff. They came to her, one by one, and one by one, she released them, handing a beauteous, blooming flower to each one.
Of the last she asked a simple question.
The kitchen boy, with shining eyes responded, bowing deeply, even before she spoke. He offered a prayer and she kissed his forehead.
“Where does your master sleep, my child?”
“Up and to the left, Lady Elléa’caesíë.”
“Thank you, my dearest one. You are blessed. Fortune shall find you, and subservience is scratched out from your destiny.”
She turned away and he looked to his hands, with new and terrible knowledge. The woman ascended the steps, walking towards the chambers that had been pointed out to her. She opened the doors, effortlessly, and approached the sleeping man. Impiously, he did not wake.
She scowled down upon him, and thunder clapped. She breathed out, and electricity crackled. His eyes shot open, reflecting the sparks of energy that flickered from the woman’s hands. Apathetically, she plucked the last remaining flower from her dress, and placed it on his lips. Its petals shon with their silver color, and she made a simple gesture. Metallic vines sprouted, and spread over his face. The man gasped and struggled, growing pale. His life began fading. The vines enveloped him, and more silvery flowers sprouted.
Thunder clapped. The woman brought her hands up, then slammed them down. The ensuing crack of lightning momentarily illuminated the terrified, glimmering eye of the master of the house; the only part of him visible beneath the vines, as well as the vindicated face of the goddess.
After it, there was only fire.
- Many adult Estel worshipers still fear thunderstorms after being terrified by this violent tale in their youths.
- It is said the fruits that Elléa’caesíë caused the trees to grow in the story were some sort of massive, golden apple. A province of the Elven Empire was said to harvest these apples to product many delicious foods until the Cataclysm and subsequent Orc Invasion.