Chapter 4 | Lores Unheard
"Today, we fought a battle we never expected to fight and came out neither a winner nor loser. We were forced to take arms against those we swore to protect with little knowledge of what we were against, knowing only that we must protect our present.
Tonight, the fire we will light shall guide our lost ones back to the Lighting Tree– to the soil, the invisible current, the solid blue, and the blaze. Let the fire that alights from those we've lost, be the fire that keep you going.
And tomorrow, with regret, we will leave the town of Hempholme and Orkney, towns we called home, behind."
The fire was loud– brightly yellow, orange, and red– mended by the bodies of the dead. Drakons stood as guards to the large fire and the small few fires stationed at the sea dragon statues.
Dolls, bracelets, necklaces, weddings gowns, baby clothes, and such were placed into the smaller fires.
"We cannot idly stay, my lord."
"I hardly call a cremation, idle activity, Panu."
"We don't know enough about this infection–"
"The people have lost much. This is the least we can do and... the only way you can convince them all to leave."
The young lord was determined.
He was still wearing the old ceremonial uniform. The others were the same. They had not changed out of battle-worn clothes.
"You're the lord, just say the word." Asena polished her vambraces to a shine, wiping all of the blood– hers or Jerome's.
She noticed a nick on her upper left arm that she quickly shrugged off.
"I don't want to order them to leave their home without giving them the time to mourn."
"We should at least check anyone who's been wounded, Lord Aleksi."
A man with relatively long white hair spoke up.
"Dyadya, please just Aleksi."
"Aleksi's right," Rusen stepped into the house with a feast, "let them gather their energy now."
"No carriages, limited horses," Asena counted on her fingers, "when do you plan to arrive at the Firebird?"
"We will not be going to the station, Lady Asena."
Panu brought out a circular device from his pant pocket and pressed an apatite crystal embedded on the front face of the cover. It was a pocket multifunctional device called Millegen, used mainly for communication or a watch. Like its name, there are around a thousand combinations one can configure their Millegen into.
"We have a few records of how some of the infected have been acting. As you can see just from these short clips," projected on the wall was a compilation of video clips from around the empire, "they react to sound. This... ceremony we are holding is as much of a threat to us as a child singing at leisure."
"I understand," Aleksi pressed down on the creases between his brows, "but you cannot convince me that this is wrong. They need to bury their dead, our dead, and the least we can do is say goodbye. Let us worry for their safety."
"Asena will stand guard."
Aleksi would not hear anymore. The commanders standing around the makeshift conference table, who hadn't spoken the entire time, remained silent. His uncle and advisor dropped the subject while Rusen and Asena took to the door.