Tales From the Universe Tree: Wolves of Ice and Fire. Part Nine: Family
Yuska's Funeral Was A Quiet Affair.
(Continued from Part Eight)
Yuska’s funeral was a quiet affair. A pyre had been built in the garden, soaked with oil and her little body placed on top. She had been dressed in a fine blue silk dress with white lace along the hem, her blue ice hair had been cleaned and neatly arrayed into a bun on the back of her head. A Shada Priest stood over the body, saying a prayer that Risa hardly heard. Her knees trembled and she only kept her balance by grasping Shenal’s hand till The Queen whimpered silently and slipped her hand free, flexing it as if trying to undo knots in the muscles. Risa's gaze floated over the woman for a moment and gave her an apologetic look. The Queen’s injuries had not been as serious as they had feared. Bongal had shoved her back before he struck, but he had been sloppy with his follow-up attack. Risa felt her insides shudder. If she'd few inches closer when he struck. She thought grimly. She'd be...She shook her head inwardly. She was lucky. That's all. Thank the Tree for that.
Flames Consumed Her Daughter, Her very Life.
Beside her, clutching the hem of The Queen’s dress, Satsuka sobbed into her hands and Damian put a comforting hand on her shoulder, looking somber. Yalm stood on Risa’s right side, looking down at his feet respectfully. The Gilannri exile had liked Yuska, he had played with her and had guarded her with the Princess for most of her life. Risa glanced at him for a moment, but if Yalm did not look up. The Priest ended his prayer and a light, steaming aura curled off of him like mist. He traced a star in fire over Yuska’s body. Slowly, reverently, he placed the star onto Yuska’s body and stepped back. The body and pyre flared up with a ‘woosh,’ both instantly.
Risa was transfixed to her daughter’s face now. The flames caressed Yuska's face, welcoming her. The heat of the fire assaulted Risa like a blow to the face. “When summer finally comes,” She whispered. The flames climb higher and higher, consuming her daughter, her very life. “Then I’ll finally find Yuska a father…” Her grief forced her to knees. Her Tears made rivers in her cheeks. “…I’m sorry...mother,” she beat her fists into the ground, sobbing. “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry I broke my promise. She’ll never have one now, never--!” her sobs drowned out the rest of it into incoherency.
You Kept Your Promise.
Shenal knelt next to her and wrapped her arms around Shogun. “She was more than my ward, Risa.” She whispered. Risa looked up at her, blinking back tears. “She was...our daughter. Family.” she tried to say more, but Risa threw her arms around the other woman, bawling into her chest like a child. Shenal winced but recovered quickly stroking the Shoguns’ hair. Satsuka joined the embrace, wrapping her arms around auntie Risa and her mother, still crying.
Damian can and stood over the Shogun, hands behind his back and shaking at the effort of keeping his face smooth. “She was like a little sister to me,” he said simply. “…I, I only wish that I could have done something to prevent this.”
“The Lord of Creation welcome you into his bosom, little one,” Yalm placed his hand over his heart. “May his love shelter you until the end of time.”
Shenal petted Risa’s hair softly. “Yuska had everything you wanted for her, Risa. You kept your promise.” She said.
Risa didn’t look at any of them, she didn’t say anything. She was grateful for all of their words, but she could not take any more sympathy. She kept her face buried into Shenal’s chest.
(Continued in Part Ten)
© 2017 Will English.