We stood quickly when King Blackthorn walked in. His eyes were filled with sorrow as he greeted us. "Greetings citizens."
"HAIL LORD BLACKTHORN," Nuba replied.
"Greetings," Melodie said.
" My Liege," I said bowing.
Rubbing his head slightly, the King waited for us to be seated.
Glancing my way, Elessa sighed softly, "Poor Anne."
King Blackthorn began to tell us of Anne's history. " I wanted to share with you a little of Anne's story.
"Many moons ago a tiny babe was left on the bridge before the castle proper, I don't know who her parents were any more than I know who Harriet's parents were.
Being who I am I, of course, tried to find out Just to find out why such a beautiful baby was left behind. Her hair was almost white... pale green eyes looking up at me. I was smitten." He paused smiling at the memory.
"I knew a couple of citizens outside of Skara Brae who had been trying unsuccessfully to have children. I spoke with them and before the offer was complete they agreed to adopt her. They called her Anne after the woman's mother."
I wiped away a tear.
"I frequently checked on her through the years Harriet did as well. Even though her teen years where she rebelled and dyed her hair purple." King Blackthorn chuckled.
"Nothing wrong with purple," Nuba laughed. "The color of royalty.
"She was still a good kid no matter how hard she tried not to be she just couldn't be bad. Which is why I knew immediately that something was amiss when she started talking about Orc Prince." He shook his head as if remembering something long ago.
"Horrid beasts," Nuba commented.
King Blackthorn continued, "She wanted to join the mages in Moonglow. It was such a passionate dream for her. Poor peasants adopted child dreaming of such a grand future. I blamed Harriet for that." He laughed.
"And let me tell you the child took to it. As the most powerful mage in the kingdom, I recognized her talent. "
Elessa nodded, "A noble wish."
"Magic was in her blood. Perhaps her parents were mages." I mused.
"She had the potential to be one of the greatest mages of our time. I believe she saved all of our lives. Who knows how bad it could have gotten had she not come across this potion first." The King looked at us. "Consider for a moment how more wide-spread it would have gotten. Had she not come forward immediately"
The room filled with gasps. "She could have saved thousands, "Pacem exclaimed.
"Wise beyond her years. "Nuba stated.
King Blackthorn straighten his spine before continuing, "Harriet will be along to speak, she has chosen a place for her memorial. I have approved of the location and ordered Anne's ashes to be spread into the starry abyss."
"Please give me a moment and I will send in Harriet." He left, sorrow etched on his face.
We didn't have to wait long before Harriet entered. "Hello, friends."
Our greetings were quiet...not our usual shouts.
"Harriet frowned. "It is a sad day the King has informed me that you all are ready to memorialize Anne."
"Yes," Elessa assured her. "We are prepared.
I nodded. Noticing her black dress, I muttered, "Wish I hadn't worn bright colors."
Harriet the Hag smiled. "We had such a wonderful outpouring of gifts of flowers and plants. And do not worry about being in beautiful colors Anne would have loved it. She was a very colorful girl."
Elessa and I returned her smile.
"Sadly her parents are too bereft to attend this evening They still are not ready to receive the public." Harriet sighed. "She had such potential."
I heard several sobs. "To lose a child, It is understandable.'' I wiped away more tears."
"I have chosen a spot near our reward hall and my home to be her memorial," Harriet told us. "We had over 60 donated plants and flowers."
That made me smile. "I knew our gardeners wouldn't let you down."
"I hope you love what I have done with them. She told us walking to the empty Oce love potion jar picking it up.
"I felt it would be a good memorial" Harriet stared at it. "Remember her gift to us was her life itself. The jar serves to remind us that we can't always trust what we see."
"Seems strangely fitting." I said."
"Yes...." Elssa agreed with a sob.
Harriet's eyes filled with tears. "PLease follow me, I will take us to the spot." She lead us outside. "I have used strong Magics to place flowers out past the land itself so they appear to float."
"She would have loved that." I smiled."
"Come let us go see the flowers." Harriet lead us to where the flowers where. The sight was breathtaking.
"Ooh," Elessa smiled. " Lovely.
"I hope you all like it. I used as many of the donated flowers and plants that I could." Harriet said hopefully.
"It is perfect." I sobbed.very much"
"Very much," Elessa assured her.
"Beautiful," Pacem added.
Sir Patrick nodded. "Pretty"
"NIce" Firestarter agreed.
Harriet the Hag then cast a spell that made her seem to hover over the flowers. "Just enough to say a few words about Anne, the girl who seemed to come from nowhere."
"And her magic ability was even beyond my own, though she didn't realize it. Or perhaps she just never let on that she knew.
It is that which made it impossible for anyone to resurrect her Her spirit was so well evolved There was nothing left here in the mortal realm to use.
In order to resurrect, you must have a spirit here on Sosaria to use. Hers had already ascended." She paused opening the jar.
"And place this urn as a memory of her sacrifice. Please come here and remember our dear Anne."Harriet sobbed.
"We will,"Crying Elessa nodded. Sobbing, Nuba handed her a hanky.
"God speed little one, may the Gods watch over you. "Vixen Sonoma bowed.
Pacem lite a torch for Anne and placed it at the corner.
"Sorry for your loss" Sir Patrick told Harriet."
Harriet sighed. "Thank you all for coming here. It is very meaningful."
In my bunny form, I snuggled up to comfort Harriet.
"I am happy we now have a place for her." Harriet gave me a hug. "She would have loved all the flowers. And her love of animals had me choose the spot near the horses."
"It needs a marker here." Vixen Sonoma told Harriet.
"Make a plaque." Sir Patrick suggested.
"I am having a plaque carved," Harriet told us. "I hope to have it back from the carvers before the month is over."
Harriet sniffled, "I hope to see you all next week for the King's Council meeting. He said he wanted suggestions of Circus activities."
Sir Partick handed her a tissue.
"I always think that a stiff drink is what one needs to be holding now if you are alone. "Vixen Sonoma commented. "Or hug a close friend."
"Um...oh yes" Harriet the Hag sighed looking again at the flowers. "I must bid you good night friends. I am old and weak and very sad."
We gathered around her. "Feel better Harriet." Elessa gave her a hug."
" Good night." Sir Patrick, Lesser Deamon, Pacem, and TOTO said together.
"Good night, It was a lovely service. "Nuba told her.
"Good night. Vixen Sonoma waved and touched her heart. "Always."
"Love to you all. Thank you for being here." Harriet walked slowly home.
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A Good Bye For Anne
I have returned often to Anne's Memorial. Toasting her memory with a fine glass of wine. Her death wasn't wasted. All of those affected by the...