“Today, we remember our leader,” Hectaius said, standing at the head of the small mound of pebbles which marked all that remained of Right-Leader Ingnat.
The rest of the group, only four of them now, raised their tin mugs of whiskey to the sky. Geegi looked haggared, her face laced with cut marks from the Bervu jungle that had claimed Ingnat’s life, Keloriar looked even more weathered than his leathered skin made out and Jessi stared ahead with a fifty yard stare. They all processed death in different ways. They all processed failure in different ways.
Hectaius was the one abstaining from the alcohol on this occasion, he would be lighting the wooden stake that sat in the middle of the pebbles, releasing Ingnat’s spirit into the afterlife.
“We remember someone who fought by our sides, who died by our sides. Who believed in what she followed, who believed in us to make it happen. We’ve all followed her to this god-forsaken planet, we’ve found the Shard of Yelesium, and now we’re going to get this shard back to her Holiness before another rebellion quashes her empire!”
“Here, here,” the group rang out, downing their whiskey in one.
“We remember someone who died protecting her squad, and who believed in each and every one of us,” Hectaius said, forcing himself to keep his emotion out of his voice. He was the leader now, he had to lead, like Ingnat had once done, to make sure they completed the mission.
He took his light and held it against the wood, watching the flame lick up the wood. It took quickly, the sap sucking up the flame and crackling into life. Hectaius stepped back, nodding sombrely as the smoke rose up to the sky, taking with it Ingnat’s spirit with it.
“Goodbye, Evalie,” he whispered into the sky. He wished things had ended differently, for all of them. That Ingnat would have returned to her family a hero.
Now, they would only return her nametag, and the memories that were locked within it.
Featured Image by Alice Hampson on Unsplash
- We’re not going that way“Why not?” “Why not?!” Favian’s voice rose another octave, “because I don’t want to die, Renglat. I like all my limbs on me, not in the mouth of some gods forsaken … More We’re not going that way
- Do you recognise this song?“Do you recognise this song?” The words were raspy and barely formed. Marlie moved her head slowly on the bed towards Ranlen, looking up at him through gauzes and bandages. “Do … More Do you recognise this song?
- March of the ValentasAshayra was taller than Miaken expected. He knew that she was from the South, and like all Southeners was always going to be tall, but he did expect her to have … More March of the Valentas
- You can’t re-write history“Stop this!” Vashna screamed, pulling at the ropes around his wrists, “for the sake of yourself, Maynie, you need to stop!” Maynie looked up from the alter, hair askew and magic … More You can’t re-write history
- No way I’m eating that“There is no way on this side of the eleven circles of afterlife I am eating that,” Tanker scrunched his nose up at the proffered sandwich. “Oh come on,” Flanks said … More No way I’m eating that
- No One of Importance“Who are you exactly?” Ratve’s voice broke through the silence around the campfire. He asked what they were all thinking but he was the only one brave enough to actually ask … More No One of Importance