Prophecy Story Index
In Memory and Honor
"We come here today as one people."
The words rang out over the low hills, in and amongst the silence of the quiet listeners. Small children were hushed, babies rocked to still their cries. The few old men and women among them stood tall and strong once more, guarded and cherished by their families. Young people leaned forward slightly, eager to understand, to gather what they could from memories they did not have. Those of age in between the old and the very young blinked back tears as those few simple words brought back memories of days and weeks and months and years past, of joy and sadness, of comfort and pain, of life and of death.
"We come here today to honor."
Soldiers and guardsmen, dressed in uniforms and black arm bands stood at attention, swords held up in front of them, a sash of green and gold knotted at the pommel of each. Among the trained soldiers were those who had fought even though not trained or raised to be a fighter. But with honor and pride did they join the regiments, wearing only the best clothes, heads held high, shoulder to shoulder with fellow countrymen and women. Their place in the honor guard was far from being disputed, but rather was accepted and valued and highly praised.
"We come here today to remember."
Stefan paused as he looked over the faces of the people of Rillanda, his people now. It only had been two months ago that everything he saw before him had been held by Seth. But now Seth was gone and it was time to mourn, then move on. It was time to rebuild, to remake their lives. The tour of the newly reopened Ancestor Hall would be in two day's time. Camella and Dorien had been working nonstop to get everything in order for the entire past two weeks. And his daughter, acting as Kell, was pulling together their troops, trying to organize them quickly. Ever since they had arrived back in Brightstar, she hadn't really appeared as Linet much. He knew that she preferred being Kell. He hoped in time she would begin the transformation back to Linet. Her country needed her, as did her parents.
Setting aside those thoughts for the moment, Stefan cleared his throat and raised his voice again. "And we come here today to mourn."
He stood on a low hill, nearly level with his people. He wore only loose pants and a tunic, a cloak thrown over his shoulders to cut back the brisk early spring breeze. His head was bare, his crown left inside. Today he was only Stefan, son of Randal and Tayna, husband of Raven, father of Linet. The three of them had losses as well to grieve, to mourn, to remember. Lives had been given in exchange for theirs, lost so that they could live, so that Rillanda would live. For today was a day to remember those lost in the war and invasion of Seth fifteen years before and those lost in the retaking and restoration of Brighstar and Rillanda just two months before.
Behind and to one to one side of him stood Raven. On his other side stood Linet. For once she hadn't argued, had simply acquiesced, maybe realizing that Linet had to be there, not Kell. And Stefan knew that it was the Linet part of her that was still holding on to Terel's memory.
Stefan stepped back to stand between his wife and daughter, gesturing for Dorien to come up. Dorien, newly proclaimed Royal Bard and Historian, walked to where Stefan had been standing, then turned to face the people of Rillanda. He closed his eyes and lifted his face to the darkening sky. The sun setting low in the distant horizon framed him, the bright oranges, yellows, and pinks highlighting him, setting him apart. He then began to speak, his strong and melodic voice reaching every ear tuned to listen.
"We come here today in memory of those who fought for the freedom of our land and our people.
In memory of those who stood between us and the darkness that descended upon us.
In memory of those who were lost to us in our time of deepest need, giving all to save all.
In memory of those who sacrificed their lives so that another could be spared.
In memory of our friends, our family, our brothers, our sisters, our parents, our children.
In memory and honor, their names will be never be forgotten.
For we are their legacy."
A bard stepped forward and raised a long horn to his mouth. At the first note, the soldiers and guardsmen raised their swords in salute as the bard played a slow tribute to those fallen in battle, whether solider, peasant, or noble. Stefan reached out and took Raven's hand, gripping it tightly, hearing the catch in her breathing as she worked to control her emotions. He glanced to his other side where Linet stood, too far for him to reach out to her. Her eyes were closed and her face lifted to the sky. The rays of the sun crept over her face and he watched as a single tear glistened as it rolled slowly down the curve of her cheek. Her mouth moved and Stefan caught a low whisper, just barely heard over the final notes of the horn solo.
"Goodbye, Terel. I miss you."
- The End -
Prophecy Story Index