A Short Time Alive
It was cold on the boat, deathly cold. The water sprang up around them in monstrous waves and the wind whipped the rain against them all without mercy. The storm had come seemingly out of nowhere, thrashing the small vessel in the water and threatening to turn it at any moment. Briar Mortem fought his way across the deck toward the door of the wheelhouse, being quite foolish to have ventured out onto the open deck of the boat during such a horrendous storm. Still, he made it to the door with some effort and wrenched it open so that he could get inside. The stairs took him up to the wheelhouse where his father was busy trying to navigate the storm without capsizing the boat.
"I had a bad feeling about this trip, father. We need to turn back and go home. The gods are angry with us." The young boy had to shout to get his normally timid voice above the sound of the thunder and the waves that crashed against the side of the boat. Long black hair stuck to his skin with salty water, making him look a mess. The man at the wheel paid him no mind and Briar furrowed his brow slightly. "Father, please. We need to turn back before we're taken under." He closed the distance between them and placed his hand on the older man's shoulder. In an instant the other turned and backhanded him hard enough across the face to send him sprawling to the floor in both pain and shock.
"I told you once, I told you a million times." His father barked at him. "Question my judgement again and I'll throw you into the sea as a sacrifice to the gods for our safe passage." The words were harsh as they were shouted down at the boy still on the floor. His father had hit him before, but never with such conviction. His cheek stung and there were tears forming in his blue eyes. "Get up and get out. Go and find your brothers and stay with them until the storm has passed us by. I'll speak with you further when this is all said and done." With that the man turned his back on Briar, his undivided attention on the wheel.
"Yes, father." Briar spoke, getting uneasily to his feet. His legs were shaking as he descended the stairs back to the door and pushed it open. The wind slammed the door behind him as he made his way back across the deck. Water swung to boat to one side, causing the young man to loose his footing and slide to one side of the deck. He grabbed the railing just in time to steady himself, but a large wave came rampaging over the side and onto the deck. It covered the boat and Briar in salty, ice cold water. When the water cleared the young man was no longer on the deck but had been swept into the sea. He screamed desperately, but no one could hear him over the storm. He screamed again before being dragged down beneath the surface.
That's the last thing he could ever remember.
An Everlasting Death
This was never the job that Briar wanted, simply having been handed it upon the instance of his death. It had been fated, or so that's what he had been told. He had what it took to be a reaper, to help souls pass from the world of the living to the world beyond. He was given assignments everyday, patrolling a certain city that had been claimed as his own. Every day there were deaths in his city, and every day he was forced to go and attend these events, watch as humans perished, and then lead them to the other side. It was all he could do not to intervene as he experienced death after death. He couldn't even remember his own death anymore because he had seen so many.
It seemed like a normal routine death, and Briar was ready for it. He had wandered into the alleyway before the event and watched as a demon took the life of a human before his eyes. It made his stomach clench and he wanted to be sick. Of all the things he had to see, petty nonsensical violence was always the worst. He would never know what possessed someone to kill another person, even if they had the ability to do so. The soul of the human looked confused, that was where he came in. Though, before he could reach it, words rang in his ears.
Something came at him from one side. Flames leaped through the air. Fingers wrapped around his arm and tugged him roughly to the side. A soft cry left Briar's lips, mostly from the confusion that had overtaken him. He looked up at the man that had grabbed him, wondering what was going on. Was this man here to hurt him or to save him? He couldn't really be sure. Then he looked down at him and apologized for grabbing him so roughly. "No, he didn't hurt me." The confusion was evident in Briar's voice as he spoke, his eyes searching the alleyway for the soul he was meant to help cross over... and it was gone. Dammit. He cursed inside of his head, knowing he would get chastised for that later. It had been a while since he'd lost a soul, but this time had hardly been his fault.
"Who were they and what did they want with me?" The reaper asked, fixing his long black hair around his pale face. He looked dead, he always looked dead, because he technically was. This new life, his life as a reaper, was not what he would have considered a life at all. He was a minion of death and he wasn't very keen on it. "Who are you?" He tacked the question onto the end, figuring he might as well ask. It was obvious that this man meant him no harm, but he still wanted to know who he was. He didn't do very well with strangers, which was why he had very few friends. It was better for him to be on his own, at least in his opinion.