Once there was a sailor. Though he was born to an influential family he had never lived with a great amount of power or fortune. He was intelligent and had an education that surpassed most of his peers but his power was in silence and solitude, in his ability to survive an apocalypse he knew was sure to come.
This man was a spiritual man. He believed in the elements. He knew that the same wind that pushed his little boat about the waters whispered to the craggy peaks high up in the mountains. He knew that the streams and rivers that were the lifeblood of the forests were the same currents that held him aloft in rocking cots and mattresses.
He spoke with the mountains this way, and heard their distant reply through water lapping against his hull. Thus grew a desire to spend some time visiting in the mountains, to bring greetings from the sea and give thanks to springs and streams.
And so he did, and chance had it that on one of his sporadic mountain escapes he chanced upon a mountain girl. This girl told him stories of flora and fauna, of living alone, not relying upon the conveniences available only in the small communities at the foot of the mountain. She told him of her own silence and how it had taught her the ways of the forest.
His visits to the mountain became more frequent as they grew accustomed to one anothers’ company. After delivering his greeting from the sea to the imposing peaks he would always stop to see the mountain girl, each time of course thinking it would be the last.
The sailor had fallen in love with the mountain girl. For years they continued their tryst, though she swore she would some day leave him. “For I am married to my mountain, you silly sailor!” she would tease him.
She liked to watch him burn, he knew. But he knew of love, and knew the commitment she had drawn from him. It was no longer his place to forget his debt to her and her mountain. He thought perhaps one day she would be ready and either way that he would like to be there for her. He would offer up what friendship was accepted.
Their love continued to grow of course. They were lovers, cousins, siblings and parents to one another. They fought and argued and made love. Offered unsolicited advice. Eventually they would go for months without seeing one another but in the end one always broke and sent word intending communion.
Every visit would end the same however. “Go away, for I am married to my mountain!”
And he would stand tall and shed his grievance and leave.
Came a time when their secret desires came to pass. Shorelines receded and cliff faces crumbled. Roads washed out and the docks were crushed under the might of their shared deities, those of the ocean and the mother earth.
Death came easy to most, as they disappeared under the weight of their own creation. Others struggled on for years before they succumbed to disease and starvation. The sailor was swept out to sea, his charts rendered useless compared to the ravaged horizon. The mountain girl was sealed into the wilderness, with roads demolished, then quickly overgrown.
Both survivors were stricken with grief, not knowing of the others welfare. The sailor lost at sea and the mountain girl finally entombed in complete solitude. So then in desperation, to one another, they each made a solemn vow.
The sailor gazed east from the mast and whispered into the wind he would not rest until he had found the woman the gods had charged him with. And the winds took the promise as true.
The woman, from atop her mountain, prayed that the river deliver her to the sailor at sea as she plunged off the heights into the rivers below. And the river accepted her in flesh rending rapids, sending her crushed and broken body down the valley and out to the sea far below.
And the gods held their intentions as true. The stricken man, unable to die and driven crazy by lack of reprieve, forever lost in an unending ocean. And the poor woman, having delivered her spirit at the sacrifice of life, drifting bodyless and unseen in the sailors wake.