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Friday, January 19, 2024

William Woodhawk Memorial

They arose from a shadow cast by a great tree with silvered green leaves.  At their appearance, a wind stirred up, and the sound through the foliage was of a hushed crowd in sudden and sporadic whisper.  Aylvryqh, caught in the foreign majesty of the somehow familiar tree's beauty was then most rudely taken away by her outstretched arm's point.  The Silver Sorcerer peered with his metallic pink eyes at a group of solemn attendees.  A green carpet, not grass, had been lain and upon it all who were present wore black.  A lovely silver-haired woman of strong, noble spirit, wept quietly, buoyed by friends on either side; she had a quick smile, and could easily bring to mind the very best times with her departed love.  For this was unmistakably a funerary service.  The current speaker eulogised the dead -- man from what Aylvryqh could discern -- the local dialect a near relative to his Aynglysh tongue.

"She is rather remarkable; bore up under a very long decline with such effusive joviality despite her private storm of misery and sadness.  These sorts of prolonged deaths -- so...," the alien woman seemed at a loss, her uncharacteristic emotion, her words choked, underlined what she thought of the couple and their work, "noble an agony.  Admirable, she."

Aylvryqh always preferred Lthrus when she was silent; -- it was the rare creature which made him feel human in comparison to her mechanistic organy.  His sneer must had been apparent upon his skin of paperwhite, as the graphite-hematite skinned woman mummed.  She moved closer, although still near the river vegetation as cover.  The eerily twilit ceremony only brought mild irritation to her skin -- her species' engineered-weakness would had immolated any of her kinfolk at even one stellar photon alight.

A man, with stylised facial hair and dark, thick rimmed glasses now spoke, promised to keep to a brief speech.  He made note of first encounters of Woodhawk's writings, of the demon-blessed swordsman's earliest adventures across the ruined landscape of the First Empires, as the cursed blade which wielded him spread the tyranny of riot and madness across those incalculably ancient lands.  He spoke of Zarozhenit and Aurien Twinblade, Aylvryqh's companions --

Aylvryqh stifled a curse,
-- $"What manner of doom is this, cinderwitch?!"$

Lthrus X'a turned, her luminous lime green eyes like lurid coals in her shadowed orbits,
"It is as when thou hadst thine Otherselves met in crisis, Jaren Israe, and the Bronzen Count, at the Urgnomen of Blackfell, or as when Erren Tra of Olde Maska when Leer Jagger sought to summon Sionbrragh Herself to Iminos -- the Alignment --"

He impatiently waved her off; could had struck her for how those terrible events had unfolded, the losses suffered -- his pain -- his pain...
-- "You would do well not to try me further with your overshadowed wisdoms, woman; your entire oeuvre is banal and yet, loathsome for its paucity.  I am, -- my life has more meaning than mere sketches of my history -- the things I have done," he, now, choked on his words.  In their silence, a new speaker's delivery of happy remembrances was made in a twang of the East Drylands Doych.

--- 'Will, he always had me call him Will, with two, L's mind ya', amirite Lydia?'  She nodded, cried and wiped away new tears, 'had a bet with me that before he passed, I would become more famous for my chili recipe than he for his entire Aylvryqh Cycle; what a cutup, our ole' Will.  Well, buddy, that day will never come; hat's off to you ole' pal, pard.'

"A mincemeat stew with optional legumes--" Lthrus could feel those almost red eyes bore into the back of her head.
-- "Why have you brought me to this -- scrying sage's farewell?  Have I not suffered enough of your mocking ways, brigand of reveries?"

Lthrus smiled; the play of westered sunlight upon the beauteous curves of her marble-smooth granite skin shone like hellsfire trapped in crystal.  There was pain there, his barb had found a home, but she -- this thing which was a she -- must had found a way to consume the like as a liquor; so enrapt was she with its sting.
"Oh, Champion...  If only you could recall all the times we have spoken, made love, and parted; ha!"

Aylvryqh's eyes flit to the congregation in ode; the widow alone looked in their direction, but was distracted by a friend on her right.
-- $"Quiet, hellspawn, care ye not at all for the mourners?"$

She turned fully to face him, those ghastly orbs of lichen fire pressed back; he felt her inhuman mind, and that abhorrent Thing behind it,
"Champion...  I had brought you here to see that you yet live; your reality is unshaken despite your chronicler's demise -- you, You, in truth, are a worthy one -- and this, my homage, not only to him," she cast her glance in the direction of the coppery urn, "but to you, his most favoured and beloved of all subjects -- rather, topics, oh Scarlet King."

Something about that last epithet rang with another woman's voice; and like the sound of a great bell in unfathomed deeps, it shuddered his entire being.  He nodded, almost apologised, but respected her enough not to try.  Vidkelph knew that they, in many ways, were alike; and that made her utter outrĂ© being that much worser for it all.
-- " I would leave them to --"

Her upheld left hand stayed him.
Lydia, Woodhawk's widow, spoke her final goodbyes as she cast his ashes upon the lazy green waters of William's beloved river.  Her farewell was smooth, and her strength impeccable in Lthrus' ears.

The silence was long lasted and saw even the sun's set behind sad and bent trees with great shaggy boughs of tearlike leaves.  Lights, pale yellow and blue-white, began to cut the evening gloom fast come upon the shore.  Lydia lingered, and would had stayed longer, but was ushered off by loved ones and the like.  She, this noble woman, once more looked in their direction, smiled in sadness and cheeks wet anew, and nodded as she was led away, arm in arm.

Aylvryqh had dust in his eyes and battered his lids to flush it out.  He turned away and waited as the Dryvv woman glid to where the mourners had gathered.  She found a red rose and she lifted it up.  Lthrus pressed a thorn of its stalk into her middle finger's pad, and its petals drained of all colour.  With a sad smile, and silvery tears went down her inhuman face, she placed the white flower upon a raft of felled palm fibre.  Sent on its way after the man's ashes, -- river run.

In Nomine

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