On the next dawn will the Valkyrie ride

[Funeral][non-mandatory]

POSTED: Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:14 pm

Silvano Sadira
On the shoulders of oppressed men was a world like this made


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It went without saying that Silvano was a broken man. His wife had been found dead, beaten to death by the same person everyone in the family believed it to be. They all blamed Mistral, and their hatred began to grow into flames. It did not take long for news to get out, both that the King was no longer being guarded as closely by the usurper Queen, and that he had lost his wife.

So much of him went into keeping her face covered as he recruited his family into building the pyre upon which he would place the woman who had born him six children and suffered alongside him. It had taken the entire day to both move her and to assemble enough dry wood. Some of the Hotel's scraps, fallen from the third and forth floors, were added as they were the most dry and most likely to burn first. Silvano found it hard to speak, silence a comfortable specter around him.

His son was silent, too, as they worked together. When the pyre was done, they delicately placed the mother, the wife, the warrior, onto the platform made of easily flammable planks. Myra mewed nearby, wordlessly, reminding him that there was no time to dawdle but that he needed a moment.

Silvano stared at her body, dried off, face covered by a nicer cloth and secured beneath her head. His heart broke more than he had ever imagined. His hand grabbed one of the two that rested clasped to her chest. They had dressed the body with one of her lovely dresses, her staff found and put beside her. The blood was hers, they could tell, and it made it hurt all the more.

The former King leaned forward, pressed his nose against her cold, still hands, letting out a soft whine as he let his fingers slip from the stiff grasp. He had almost left her cat totem to burn with her, but knew that it belonged where Vinatta once stood.

He did not realize that people had gathered and that night had fallen. He looked almost surprised at the faces that had come. A man who was not his son, but a newcomer, had a set of sticks on fire, bundled together in his grasp. Mayne offered it to those that would participate, though he shook his head at those that were not family. Silvano took a torch, his son taking one from the man, too. He did not see if any others did, only that he went around the side, facing the small group.

< Goodbye, my love, > said the man softly to the woman who had walked a thousand miles beside him. He was the first to set his torch to the pyre, waiting for some of the sawdust and scraps in the center to catch, then wedge it between narrow logs. He shut his eyes as the flames grew, then raised his head to cry a mournful howl into the falling night.

It is assumed people have come. Say goodbye to the fallen. Torchbearers are expected to be family.

SILVANO SADIRA
Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.

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Luperci Equites Mate to Shiloh
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POSTED: Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:51 pm

Wilson had wanted to return her body to Vinátta.

He’d argued as much with the mourning husband, though in the end his demands were overruled. The Vikings’ former territory was far away and wild now, an unsafe journey for the family to take especially when their Kingdom needed them here. But some of her ashes would make it there, Wilson was promised, and he’d deflated with exhaustion. That was all he had really needed.

But all Wilson could think was that, had Shiloh not left, had she not been drawn to this Kingdom and this King, she would still be alive. If she had children it would be with someone else, and he wouldn’t have had to see their lives broken up so terribly.

He knew he was being selfish. He needed Shiloh.

The cat could not move a body or build a pyre, but he along with her Stormbringer-raised children made sure that this was done right. In the end, he came along with the wooden cat pendant—worn, weathered, and bloodied—dangling from his neck and knocking against his chest as he walked. He raced to the man with the torches and took a small piece of wood carelessly between his jaws, not caring when they singed his whiskers. He brought this to the pyre and nudged his piece in.

Then he crouched as the first flames flickered up around Shiloh’s faceless form, the firelight reflected in yellow eyes.

It would be an easy thing, to leap, like the flames were a bird he could catch in his claws. His muscles tensed and bunched under a coat already dirtied from lack of care. He counted some seconds. Instinct won out.

Defeated, Wilson murmured to the woman, his friend. “You’re in Freyja’s hall now.”

Then he crept back to sit, feeling Muddy pad up beside him and lean into him for her comfort and his. She began grooming his fur fussily, as if she wasn’t trembling beside him, casting the occasional timid glance to the pyre.

Wilson watched the others. Watched Dreyma with a torch, her expression contorted with a thousand emotions, her chartreuse eyes lingering on Silvano with a strange intensity before she stepped away to be with siblings who shared none of her blood. Watched Skoll Haskel break down and sob like a baby while his daughter stood by him helplessly.

He shut his eyes and focused on the heat of the flames.

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Raze
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nine times to die

POSTED: Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:14 am

Serena avoided wearing black, even for mourning – it made her look a wisp of shadow – but it was not mourning that Serena felt, and so black hugged the slim development of her figure as a testament to solidarity in her outrage at this outcome. She watched as Alessan and their father prepared the pyre, taught by those who had lived outside of the Court, where Vinattan traditions were learned and remembered. She watched as they lifted the body of her mother atop it, face obscured. There wasn't enough of a face left, Serena supposed, to let it be seen – Mistral the Usurper had smashed much of it in with the staff that had belonged to Shiloh. Footsteps and movement alerted her to others that came to witness, but since the news had been revealed by dear, sweet Abigail, the darkest Sadira had become akin to a gargoyle: silent and cold. She had no smiles, or warm words of comfort. Instead, she retreated into her own mind, leaving a husk of herself behind for others to talk at, but not to.

The stars came out, and Serena wondered if Shiloh was among them now. She didn't look to see.

In the darkness that fell, she was difficult to see, but as the torches were crafted and lit, her eyes were set afire with green-gold light. She waited her turn to take one from Mayne, and waited her turn to set the flames to the wood. A conflagration was better than a burial. There would be nothing left for Mistral to take from them when the fire died.

Her father spoke, but she failed to understand the words. She supposed she, too, should say her goodbyes – but goodbyes were such a final thing, and finality was not something Serena could bring herself to touch upon. So instead, when she sought to say farewell to the golden woman who had raised her, it was not her words that sprung forth – instead, it was poetry, from one of the library's books:

Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in the winds that blow. I am the softly falling snow.

I am the gentle showers of rain. I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush, and I am its swift, uplifting rush.

I am in the flowers that bloom. I am in a quiet room.

I am in the birds that sing; I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

Her words paused there as the fire from her torch caught on wood left unburned, to add to the flames sprung by her family members. She watched them lick at fur and bark, and gave a great sigh, one of many smaller sighs.

I am not there. I did not die.

Her face screwed up, brows together. It was the most emotive she had truly been since the gathering of she and her siblings to hear this grim announcement from the mouth of their own. I'll miss you, momma, she told herself, silent to others. She had yet to cry, but emotion crept into her throat as something dear to her was burned away.

[wc: 546] Some nice Mary Elizabeth Frye recitation.
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POSTED: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:36 pm

For her family Abigail had done her best to hold herself together. For them she had kept her head upright on her shoulders, and for them she had promised that Mistral would pay. But once her responsibility – the weight of telling them all – was off her shoulders, it was much, much harder to stay in one piece.

Cicely and Ajax sat close to their Mother’s feet. They hadn’t gone far since Shiloh’s death. They sensed a change in her and she knew it frightened them. She still looked at her babies with a tender gaze but when she wasn’t watching them her gaze was hard and full of fire. Abigail wasn’t much for scheming and plotting but she was on the lookout for some opportunity to end this – even if it wasn’t by her own hand, this had to end.

Pale fingertips ran along a length of fur and leather, stitched together hastily many moons ago. Before the Sadira woman had had the patience to sew properly; before she had been Grand-Duchessa; before Mistral had taken so much from them all. Shiloh had taught Abigail to sew and now she needed her Momma to stitch her back together, but the Araedi was gone.

Abi had donned the cloak with shaking, aching hands before going to help add chunks of wood to the pyre. Her children sat nearby and watched with wide, wet eyes. They were too young to fully understand why their Grandmother was to be burned; they were Courtiers, not Vikings, and they did not understand the Vináttan ways. Abigail had hoped Shiloh would have a hand in teaching them some of the traditions of her birth pack. She could hope for that no more. It would be down to her and her siblings, now.

Faces gathered as Abigail stood a short distance behind her Father, watching the sagging of his broad shoulders, the way he seemed shorter than he once had. Truly, she didn’t know how the dethroned King would cope without his love. It was one of many worries which grabbed at her, demanding resolutions she hadn’t found.

Mayne handed torches to the family and Abigail let the flames blind her. She didn’t want to see Shiloh’s covered face, nor the expressions being worn by the ones she had loved.

She thought she felt her heart crack when Serena recited words. Whether her younger sister had found them or invented them Abi didn’t know and the last few were lost to her beneath her own sobs.

Abigail stepped forward to touch her torch to the gathered wood with drooping shoulders and a tucked tail. Amber danced across both sets of snowy fur and the prickle of tears in her eyes forced out a great, shuddering sigh wrapped around a single word:

“Farewell.”

Abi returned to her children with heavy paws and a heavier heart, knowing it would never be buoyed by her Momma’s strength or her wise words again. Ajax and Cicely pressed against their Mother’s legs and shivered as they looked at the pyre. Abi didn’t stop them from looking as the flames rose.

[500+]
AbigailSadira

Let me light up the sky, light it up for you
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misuse of imagination

POSTED: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:01 am

For all the damage Mistral had done to her body and her heart, Thyri Dawnbringer felt numb.

She stared, unblinking, at the pyre that they had helped to build. Her mother lay atop, her face covered and her hands folded delicately over her chest. A flower, Thyri thought. Shiloh had always loved flowers. But it was winter, a time of cold and cruelty, and there were no flowers to be had. Somehow, this simple, uncontrollable failure felt like yet another stake to her already ruined heart and a tear rolled down her pale cheek.

As her family one-by-one set fire to the wood upon which Shiloh rested, Thyri thought of another time — another pyre; another mother; another death — and a choked back a sob. At that funeral, her mother had been the pillar against which she had leaned for courage and warmth and strength. Mistral had taken that pillar away from her — away from all of them. Never again could Thyri seek out her mother for comfort or advice. Never again could she turn to her when she was upset and needed support. Never again could she feel Shiloh's warmth or look upon her fair face. Never again. Never.

She took the torch offered to her by Mayne almost mechanically, holding it with the fingers not broken by Mistral. Distantly, she could hear murmurings from her family to the woman they all loved and admired, but she could not make sense of their words. When Abigail returned from Shiloh's pyre, Thyri hobbled up gingerly and stood silently before the woman who had given her so much more than just life.

"Thank you," she whispered as her tears glinted in firelight. "For being my mother and for all the things you've taught me." Thyri sniffed and lowered her torch, adding her own flames to the pyre. "Be with Sága now." Gentle sobs broke from her chest as she slowly made her way back to where she stood, wishing Myrkr was near.

[WC — 336]

don't leave this world to me
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POSTED: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm

[WC: 350]

How real and terrible this concept they called death became the longer Gaia saw that nothing could be done to turn back the hands of fate. She had wept bitter, angry tears alongside her family, clung to her father (oh he was so thin, she could not remember him ever feeling this way and hated it) until she could not bear it and finally gathered her senses to do as he had asked.

Gaia Dawnrunner came to realize that her name was her mother's legacy, and in the long hours which followed, each time she spoke to someone who did not know her thoughts ran wild to recall every story she could remember, every detail that seemed so terribly important. Eventually, exhausted by trying to maintain the false-face, Gaia escaped to her quiet room and wrote down everything she could remember.

It didn't last long. She kept sobbing and shaking, and her heart broke anew each time death and its finality struck her like a godly hammer.

The fire that night was the most beautiful, horrible thing she had ever seen. When she had put her torch into the funeral pyre Gaia had felt her hand tremble. Heat washed over her the longer she stood there, watching as the flames licked ever skyward, enough to move her hair and whiskers. She imagined it was the last time her mother would ever touch her in this world, and so Gaia lingered even when the smoke began to irritate her eyes and throat.

Her father sang her mother's spirit on, but this was not the end of it.

She could see Wilson across from her, white as a ghost against the night, with her mother's talisman around his neck. Fresh stains upon it reminded her of the more terrible, nearer future awaiting them.

Eventually, when her body could bear no more, she settled to the earth and shrank, shrank, until she was as her mother had brought her into the world. She whined softly even after familiar small, warm bodies curled into her side and did their best to ease her suffering.


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Mel
Luperci
A new day, a new way
and new eyes to see the dawn

POSTED: Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:15 am

He stood in the back, as far away from the family as he could while still being able to see the funeral clearly. He watched with shame and despair in his heart as each of Shiloh's loved ones took a torch from Mayne, stepped up to the Dawnbringer's still body, and set the pyre alight. There was no characteristic brightness on his face, no life in the tail that usually curled against his back. His ears were drawn back and a quiet whine quivered in his throat.

Death was natural, he knew, but there was nothing natural about this.

He thought of the night he had found Thyri's staff at the training grounds, conspicuously abandoned. Reblin had brought it back to the hotel room but couldn't get the nagging worry out of his heart. So he went back and he tracked her. He followed her scent through the territory, over snow and under trees, until he saw what Mistral de l'Or — the woman he had defended and accepted as his queen — was truly capable of.

The image of Mistral's cruelty was burned into his retinas.

He had brought Thyri home and he had taken care of her — as well as he could with how little he knew — until she was conscious enough to guide him. His apologies — for sticking up for Mistral; for making excuses for her; for believing in her; and, perhaps worst of all, for accepting Silvano's denouncement — would never feel acceptable... especially not now, not when Shiloh lay amidst a sea of flames.

So, with shame hanging from his shoulders like a shawl, Reblin watched the funeral proceedings with tears in his eyes and the stirrings of dissent gripping his heart.

[WC — 291]

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POSTED: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:56 am

;(((

Skoll was crying, unashamedly, his one green eye bright with pain when it wasn't squeezed fiercely shut to keep the tears at bay. His whines sounded like those of a puppy rather than a warrior, a middle-aged man. She had never seen her father like this.

Or once -- perhaps just once, when she was very small and he walked (or was carried) out of the ocean, when he curled around her trembling and saying he was sorry, when they both realized her mother was probably never coming back to them.

Galilee wrapped her hand around his arm and looked at the torchbearers: at old Silvano murmuring to his dead wife; at strong Thyri whom she'd always admired from a distance, sobbing and broken; at the sisters, her peers and friends, Gaia and Serena. She was younger than them when she "lost" Aurelya, but there was no body, no confirmation that she was dead; Lee couldn't imagine having to watch as her body was swallowed up by the flames.

The thought and sympathy for her friends made tears spring to her eyes and the reality of what happened finally sink in. Shiloh, who babysat her when she was little, who showed her how to use the staff and taught her so many things, was gone forever. Murdered. Her teeth clenched, but a hiccup escaped her, and Skoll turned his head at that. Their eyes met.

His face crumpled all over again, and he reached and pulled her into a tight embrace that lifted her feet off the ground, even though they were of a height now. She didn't care; she buried her face into his neck and trembled.

I'm going to miss her, Lee murmured.

Me too, ma raison d'être, Skoll wept. Me too.

Her sobs broke anew.


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