The Salt Queen’s Labyrinth

The Salt Queen stood on the rocks, waiting. There where sea meets sky, a storm was brewing. The gray clouds were swirling and rolling closer. Her white dress blowing in the wind was reminiscent of an old sail, or a white flag.

Behind her, time was frozen in the summer heat and the Aegean waves lazily lapped at the sandy beach. Off in the distance music blasted, and laughter ensued. The island knew not of the approaching storm, nor the meaning of change. It was a bubble of stagnancy, happy, but certainly monochromatic.

Her thoughts swirled with the looming clouds and she teetered between worry and tranquility. She was as prepared for the summer storm as she could be. The moon would be stronger than usual, and cast its light through the clouds, guiding her. Rain would fall, but skin, unlike her dress, was waterproof. It was only rain.

Her violet eyes shown bright. She had the will of Artemis and the mind of Athena. Poseidon chuckled, daring her to become flooded with uncertainty. But she held her ground, and patiently waited. Nearer and nearer it barreled closer, snowballing in size and sound.

This is it, she thought. She boarded the wooden ship she built, and set sail. Sirens waded in the waters around her, humming to the storm.

At first it felt like a drizzle, with the warm winds from the island blowing her forward. But then all too soon, a gust of cold chased it away. Chilling her, she kept her eyes to the moonlight. The boat rocked and rocked. In any other circumstances, it could have been lulling, like a cradle. But she knew better than to think otherwise. This was indeed a storm, not a cradle.

The Sirens were always with her, but the walls of the ship kept her from communicating too much. She could barely make out the songs they tried to sing, and their voices would get caught in the wind, swept away before ever hitting her ears. She sailed on.

The Tempest wracked and shook. It sent angry waves to attack her, meant to capsize. Distractions, the fresh rainwater mixed with the saltiness of the sea. But she was the Salt Queen, and though she was no Poseidon, this was still her territory.

The days were hard, as sunlight never shown through the thickness. Again and again, the Tempest angrily tossed her around. She battled, she swore, she grew tired. But she sailed on. Endlessly, desperately.

 

And then one morning she woke up, drenched with the teardrops from the gods. Her ship was in splinters before her. Tall grass and wildflowers bloomed beneath her body. Her dress was tattered and falling apart, as if made of sodden ash.

The Salt Queen lie still beneath the sun. The Tempest had disappeared, like shadows at the sight of light. She smiled, finally understanding the irony.

To conquer is to surrender.

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