November 20, 2012 16:50
‘Rest easy, Emma,’ said the elderly dwarf in his resplendent holy robes murmuring a soft spell over the semi-conscious form on the large bed. ‘I can alleviate much of the pain and make your transition as effortless as possible, but even Myn, herself, is powerless against Death, He who comes for us all.’
The frail woman ceased her struggles and calmed somewhat breathing more easily, and whether it was the divine prayer invoked by the powerful cleric or just his presence in the room, who can say?
’I’m sorry, Gaedin,’ said Zyf, devoted of Myn, to the towering male watching from the other side of the pallet, ’it’s only a matter of time now. There may be moments of coherence; there may be moments of insanity; Death affects all of us differently. But, your mother was always head-strong and fearless. If any could escape Death’s clutches, it would be her.’
‘How-how much longer?’ asked her emotional son as he took her tiny hand in his.
‘Soon,’ was all the dwarf said, and so they waited.
A slight knock at the great oaken door broke the silence and Zyf opened it to find Ke-Ri and Quintain, the final two surviving members of the great traveling band, Zyf’s Talons.
‘Are we too late?’ asked Quintain, the years barely made a shadow in his elven face.
‘No,’ replied Zyf, ‘but her time is near. It is good of you two to come. She should be attended by those who knew her best in life.’
‘Nothing could have kept me away,’ said Ke-Ri flatly. ‘Nothing.’ Quintain nodded in agreement and the two joined Gaedin and Zyf at the bed.
‘Have you contacted Flann and Smuj?’ Quintain asked the high cleric.
‘Yes, they await her on the other side. Myn was kind enough to intercede to have them released for this; she knew it would make it easier for Emma. Myn always like Emma, although Emma would never admit it,’ said the dwarf with a slight smile. Ke-Ri and Quintain smiled a little, too, at that.
‘And your father?’ asked Quintain to Gaedin after a moment’s pause.
‘I did contact her,’ said Gaedin. ‘My father is…complicated, and does not understand…feelings. But, I think that she was moved that I let her know. She does try to influence me, but without my mother, I would not be me at all so she accepts my feelings although they be foreign to her. She will cause no trouble, although who can predict the actions of a succubus?’
And so they waited.
Meals were brought in, but very little was eaten, and day became afternoon, and afternoon became evening. Attendants arrived with lamps and candles and messengers arrived with notes from as far away as the Southern Empire offering condolences to the great lady who was sleeping softly. The evening bells were just finishing their chiming when there arose loud shrieks from the courtyard and the roof shuddered as if a great beast had landed.
‘Sophia is here,’ said Zyf and went to the balcony doors to let the great wyrm inside.
‘Zyf!’ she said as she jumped down to the balcony in her human form giving the dwarf a tremendous hug. ’I’m so glad I made it in time. Gaedin,’ and she ran to the huge half-demon giving him an equally large hug. ‘As much as you are her son, I am her daughter. Her influence on me has been profound, and I owe her a great debt as do the people of the Empire. What can I do?’
‘There is nothing to do. Here,’ he said making room for her on the bed’s edge, ‘sit and wait with us.’
And Empress Sophia d’Carabas did just that, and so they waited.
It happened just before dawn. Emma Carlyon never regained consciousness. There were no memorable last words or miraculous interventions. Sophia cried openly and her acidic tears burned small holes in the bedding. Gaedin, being immune to acid, wiped them away with his thumbs and held her tightly. The members of Zyf’s Talons wrapped the body in the bedsheets and carried it downstairs to the funeral pyre. All of Magh Tuireadh mourned and the Carlyon Architecture & Technology University (CAT-U!) gave its students the day off for the memorial service.
The ashes of Emma Carlyon were placed in a simple leather sack and given to her son, Gaedin, Half-Demon, who kept them as a treasured possession. Woe be to any who disturbs these ashes for they will incur the wrath of the Empress Sophia d’Carabas, Grandmaster Ke-Ri, Master Wizard Quintain Galjohnt, and Zyf, devoted of Myn!
Read all of Zyf’s amazing writings HERE!
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