The Nine Gates of the Raven King's Kingdom -- Part 2
Gunuld shuffled her feet.
She did not have an answer apart from her scorching mother love.
"Take my life" -- she said again. She now stood right before him.
The Raven King stood up, colour flushing his cheeks for the first time, and said:
"Go back to your world, woman, or else wander in my kingdom alone."
Gunuld said: "I won't leave your kingdom without my son." And she plucked a black feather from his wings.
The Raven King disappeared: only mist was where he had been sitting.
Gunuld was alone.
She meandered through the maze of halls and heard the voices of many who had entered through the nine gates of the Raven King's kingdom.
She could not see them, though.
They asked for help in wistful voices.
On the walls, Gunuld met her reflected image everywhere, for everywhere there were mirrors.
She picked an iron sword hanging in mid-air, held by invisible threads.
She could have killed herself, but she hit the mirrors.
One by one, she smashed them all.
She could no longer see her own image, the deserted halls crumbled down and children and people of all ages, who had been trapped behind the mirror walls, swarmed forward.
Some cried, and rejoiced. Still others turned into birds, and flew away.
Only, Gunuld could not see her son, and when she ran out of the crumbling mansion on the gigantic fir tree, a big white raven watched her from afar.
It flew down to her, spread its wings and she sat there. She marveled at the pure white of its feathers. They soared.
From above, she saw towns, forests and fields, and the nine gates too.
All the guardians were asleep.
The raven landed on a boulder in the sea. As the sun set, its feathers fell and slowly it turned into a young man: it was Gunuld's son.
They embraced and cried. Then he said:
"Mother, we'll fly back to the world of the living, before the Raven King is strong again. I can only bring you back, but won't stay."
"Why"-- Gunuld said with tears in her eyes.
"Because I vowed to contain the Raven King's greed before dying. Thus, I was granted this life. Live to tell the tale of your white raven-son, Mother."
Gunuld tried to convince him: had she not set free the Raven King's prisoners? They would find a way to trick him again.
The boy shook his head.
"You didn't trick him. He has always been and always will be, as long as men and women get lost through any of the nine gates.
Gunuld gasped. She felt that her motherly arguments would not persuade him. His will was set.
His eyes had the gift of the second sight and were suffused with a mellow, sweet light of compassion.
Gunuld said: "Why you, son?"
The boy raised his shoulders: "Why not me?"