A Grim Reaper Rests
On the high plain of Rose Plateau, Gladys the Grim waded through chest-high stalks of golden ripe barley. The crisp blue sky and wind-stretched clouds rolled on and on until the towering mountain range separating the two squabbling kingdoms that gave Gladys so much work.
Gladys didn't greedily profit off the war like so many others around her had, no. Her occupation paid about the same since the dawn of man, two coins, one for each eye.
She didn't care for a raise.
However, from time to time, she did care for a respite from her endless duties.
Gladys halted in the middle of the field when she heard a small sound of something living jostling the barley stalks.
Time to clear the fields of some dim-witted creatures.
Her bony, sun-aged hand swung her rosewood scythe with precision and power, severing the barley stalks around her in a perfect half moon. Sky pheasants, stone rats, and all manner of other mildly enchanted creatures scattered away, but none were slain.
Her rather toilsome duty to death did not apply to her in the Free Space.
Instead, a blade flipped through the air, seeking one of the fat pheasants with intrepid aim.
Gladys pulled down the dark hood of her muslin uniform with her free-hand to better view the spectacle. She was maybe only a handful of entities to cause then witness such a feat.
From such a height to starve a dragon of oxygen, the black chevron slimmed to a spear-point and dove.
Her cracked, thin lips curled upwards, an action that her mouth hadn't done in centuries, watching the inevitable end of one pheasant's life.
The sharp point accelerated, and from its tail, a magenta afterglow was left in the clear, boundless sky. Gladys the Grim's favorite past-time was flushing out prey for those predators worthy of it. And few other predators were more worthy of it, than the fuschia-tailed falcon.
Only these raptors could endure the high-altitudes of Free Space plateaus. Even the very plateau she stood on, Rose Plateau, was rumored to be named after these birds, and not the flower that humans cherished so.
Though Gladys had lost her eyesight to the human realm long ago, here she could capture every movement of the falcon's wings as if capturing a slice of a memory and painting it onto canvas.
The falcon zeroed in on her prey.
Any second now.
The grim reaper's empty eye-sockets brimmed over in tears as the raptor struck the lolling pheasant with such force, tufts of downy feathers burst into the air.
She lifted her onyx-bladed scythe to the sun and let out a banshee shriek in victory as the wind rustled the barley that she hadn't cut down.
After the rippling plain calmed and stilled, like a pond long after a thrown stone, she could hear the tearing and ripping of flesh.
Gladys the Grimm took a single step towards her fuschia-feathered friend before a dark door opened behind her.
Gladys the Grimm composed herself, resenting her cursed occupation, and turned about to enter the portal. She didn't look back at her beloved Free Space.
She'd ascend her way back one day.
Power in Numbers