Monday, July 27, 2015

July, Day 13


Monday

Writers tend to doubt whole passages of their writing.  I am having that issue today.  I am not sure where I really wanted to go with the celebration of life; I definitely didn't realize Vilenok would leave so forlorn.  I will just have to see where it goes from here.

 

Argora and Vilenok

Solemnly the celebrant dwarves ambled up the long aisle toward the front of the gathering hall.  Argora waited as the first dwarf led the rest.  He wore brown leather breeches with sturdy leather boots that laced up to his knees.  The brown leather tunic he wore hung down to the edge of his boots.  A wide belt with a gold buckle held a black apron in place over the tunic.  He wore thick leather gloves that continued up to his elbows.  In the crock of his left arm, he carried a midnight black forger's helmet.  A large hammer he swung in his right hand.  Wavy brown hair flowed down his back.  His beard formed a long braid down his front.  His presence filled the hall with authority by just his confident stride and demeanor.

Behind the chief forger, two dwarves in similar attire pushed a gold plated cart with a matching casket that rested atop.  On the top of the sarcophagus, at the front, a circular glass section revealed the deceased dwarf’s face.  Argora and three other collectors in a variety of dwarf formal dress finished the procession.  Argora held her head high trying not to let her nerves show.  This was her first time as a collector for the dead.  She noted some of the people who sat in the long benches on both sides of the center aisle.  A frown crossed her lips when she saw the dwarves she confronted the day prior.  She stopped when the chief forger turned as he reached the platform and helped guide the casket to a stop.  He climbed the platform with the other forgers.  Argora and the collectors returned to their seats.

The three forgers took seats on the platform.  The family of Kathina sat on the right hand side of the gathering all.  Grogrim stood.  Argora couldn’t help but think he looked like he aged in the last months of Kathina’s illness.  He climbed the stairs and turned to address everyone.  He thanked everyone for coming on such a sunny day.  Pulling at his beard, he talked about the merits of a good dwarf wife.  His Kathina contained all of them and more.  After he finished up his speech, all six of their children talked, telling funny stories of being raised by their mother.  The crowd laughed and cried as they mourned their loss of a friend.  Finally, the chief forger stood.  The room grew quiet.

"In the name of Brokkr, we bring our sacrifices to his forge to honor our sister Kathina."  He motioned for the collectors and forgers to join him at the forge.  "May Brokkr guide me during the work of my hands and let my hammer strike true." 

Everyone stood as the forgers began working with the liquid gold.  Argora took up her large basket and followed the other collectors down the steps of the platform.  They spread out on each side of the casket.  One by one, people came forward, bowing to Kathina's body.  They stood in front of a collector and spoke the words of honor, "Bless our sister of Brokkr on her journey to the cavern of new life."  They placed their gifts for the Kathina into one of the baskets.  Most of the gems gifted were rubies and emeralds.  During her days, Kathina adorned her beard and hair with them.  Gold was also given by those closer to the family.

Argora smiled as she saw Vilenok walk towards the platform.  Her friend stopped in front of her and dropped a ruby into the basket with an awkward bow.  A few puzzled looks were directed at them, but Argora appreciated her orc friend's attempt to participate in the celebration.  Once the last person dropped their gift, the collectors placed the baskets along the edge of the platform.  Later the gifts would be turned into a beautiful piece of artwork.

The chief forger dipped the gold circular object into a bucket of water.  Mist floated up in the air with a hiss.  He walked the creation to the casket with a long set of tongs.  With a gentle hand, he placed it on the round glass.  In the center, Grogrim placed a large ruby to represent his and Kathina's marriage.  Each of the children placed emeralds around the ruby forming a circle.  Around this, their grandchildren placed sapphires.  Kathina's youngest daughter added a sapphire for the baby in her womb who would never meet their grandmother.  Argora felt a tear fall from her eye at the missed memories for the babe.

"This concludes our celebration of Kathina, may you go in the peace of Brokkr to prosper in wealth and family."

Argora led Vilenok around the outer edges of the hall until they left the cavern. 

"Thank you for the opportunity of seeing a death celebration.  I always thought death as such a final element of life.  I appreciate the coming together to remember the good."  Vilenok stopped walking.  "I was just ten summers when my father died.  I missed him terribly.  One minute he was there, the next, he was gone.  I was never able to talk about him."

"You could tell me a story."

Sadness filled Vilenok's expression.  "I have none.  As orcs, we push it so far away that the memories are lost."  Vilenok growled.  "I am losing the memories of my son as well and he lives.  Sometimes, I don't like being an orc.  I must go."

Argora watched as her friend ran.   Usually orc ran with the grace of a gazelle, but the dwarf clothing impeded Vilenok’s movements.  Argora wondered about the situation with Vilenok’s son and wished she could help in some small way.  With a heavy sigh, Argora started her trek back to her cottage.  She would check on her friend the next morning.

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