Daughter of Mountain & Sea

This is a Shifting Realms story, set in the fantasy world of Berlund.

“Listen…” The wind sighed.

No one came to the Black Shore. No one, besides Maria.

Eyes closed, chin tipped and arms spread, she embraced the sea breeze. The wind grew. It howled and lashed her skin with spindrift and sand, but Maria welcomed the scouring. A full month she had dwelt beneath the mountain known as Little Brother, delving in silent depths, working metal and stone, sweating with the steady pulse of the volcano’s sweltering heart. The buffeting gale enlivened her torpid soul.

The wind remembered, and it sang with the sea. Once, the black sand of this beach had teemed with commerce. A great bridge had extended from the basalt cliffs and reached across the cold water to the Last Island, where Mother had built her citadel. It was known as the harbour on the edge of the world, a crucial stop in the safest route around the Quiet Sea. Traders from distant islands had come here, anchored their tall ships in the placid bay. Billowing sails and the cries of merchant seafolk had filled the air, all year round.

Gone now. Mother and island. Lost in the Eversea, ten long years ago. The wreckage of the bridge lay tumbled in the bay. Only storms visited now.

The squall lightened to a breeze and Maria’s arms hung limp, her head bowed. A gull cried in the empty sky.

“Maria…” The wind wept sorrowfully.

A month, toiling in darkness. But now she had her Heartstone. Now, she was a Stonecaller. She had earned the freedom to travel across all the islands. To follow her heart.

Soon, she would return home. She would gather her things, and bid her friends and father farewell. Every new Stonecaller was required to travel among the tribes of the Free Isles. To practice and hone their craft in service to all. But Maria had different plans.

“Come to me…” The waves whispered. She waded into the cold, foaming brine. When the waves reached her knees, she stooped to wash herself clean of stale sweat and brimstone ash.

Breakers crashed on the other side of the bay, where the broken sea wall held back the Eversea.
“Come, come…” Echoes of a distant roar.

“Soon enough,” Maria replied. She turned and left the lonely beach, climbing the broken stairs that led up the shattered cliffs, back into the mountain.