“I think it is best to take a closer look, Lord Rant. I of course am young, and Benjaffe not much older. I am still a student, but I think it is fortunate for you that Dulah came with us. How old is your settlement here? 40 years?” Rant nodded.
“Well, Dulah is 96 years old. If I am not mistaken I have heard him speak of Therlydrath and the Dralyth before. Not tales, but experiences. I can speak with him tonight, after teh funerary rites are given and perhaps before. After that, I think it is best that you show him what it is you are seeing. Thdorin’hart is a mere 10 hour ride from here. I think you are right that time is of the essence, in this colorful situation.”
The night pressed on slowly. Lord of the House Rant finally retired to his quarters after a restless meal and the total absence of company. His worry and frustration the past two days had made him tired. Rant did not believe in the observation of death, Life is Eternal he thought. Part of the reason he would not attend Elyion’s funeral. It was funny though, this is what he was faced with in his own home now. Observing the precursors of death it seemed.
He walked over to his desk. It had a bureau full of writing contents, his seal, and a leather carrying case. He removed the case from the bureau and stared at the contents inside. Some old papers, the village charter, and a stick figure like those the Grays used to mark their territory only carved in bone. If not for that fact it would be fragile. The head however was different. Large and bulbous it had a depiction of woe on its face. Much like a wailing ghost. His father had left it in the bureau when he passed and Rant had found it along with a large leatherleaf on which was scrolling in black blood, “Buk’rar’muir.
Outside the window near the desk he could see the gathered throng for the funeral. Thirty or so residents of the estate, most dressed in simple black garb except the soldiers who now stood at full honorary salute in a semi-circle around the bed of large wood logs where Elyion’s corpse had been laid. Hasser was there standing with Benjaffe and Dulah. All three of them had their hands pressed together as if in prayer and held against their faces. Rant could hear the priest reciting a ward from condemnation of the soul. “Let his spirit stand form against the Winds of Division. We stand here to see his Soul depart and arrive in the after world. Unblemsihed and forgiven as he has suffered Death and will now be granted Life.” It was the last of a few prayers, the Departing Word and the Living Word.
With it the funeral began to draw to a close and Bairn stood forward from the crowd with a lit torch. It was the first time Rant had ever seen the man shed a tear as he lit the bottom of the funeral pyre which caught quickly and sent Elyion’s primitive body into a roaring blaze. The entire procession would stand there for another minute or so, the honor guard would remain through the night to see the boy off to the after world so that he could not be swept up by the Winds of Division and the Many Wraiths of Death.
Beneford Andrews is the pen name of Andres A. V. Meza III. He writes fantasy fiction, short scenarios, and is trying out short stories.