Metagore, The Battle For

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: House of Ghosts


After a long wait since their lord's death, the residents of BrightHelm send his body off into the Abyss to forever be at peace.

Chapter 46 (v.2) - A Light In The Waves

Submitted: December 06, 2016

Reads: 135

Comments: 3

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Submitted: December 06, 2016

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Topaz and her family arrived at the coastline of Galdwulf, where there were already people gathered to witness the ceremony of their late lord being taken away by the Abyss. The pit of her stomach seemed to weigh heavily as she stepped out of the carriage. She looked down at the snow-covered ground, thankful that the harsh weather had stopped just for that day. The cliffs around the coastline were thirty meters high and towered over the jagged rocks below them. The banks in Galdwulf were one of Lord Brighton’s favorite places to play hide-and-seek with the children when they were younger.

Topaz could feel a jab at her heart as another memory came to her. She bit her lower lip, trying to hold back the threatening tears she had been keeping throughout the whole ride there.

Topaz took a breath and fixed her posture as she began to walk towards the crowd---her children and Shada followed behind. The citizens of BrightHelm still looked upon her with elegance and beauty, even as she walked broken before them. She tried not to let anyone see the pain she had been suffering. She aimed to look strong in front of the people.

The crowd---wearing all black and grasping onto small wreaths---heard her steps get closer, and the crackling of her hair as it sizzled with sparks. There was so much sadness in their faces for they understood what Topaz was going through. She saw some of the villagers Brighton helped build sturdy cottages for just outside of BrightHelm to help protect them from the cold. They had never stopped thanking him for his kindness and determination. She also saw some of the lords from the other realms that had been good friends with Brighton over the years of their marriage.

Everyone who had known Brighton was there to say their last goodbyes to him. Topaz was almost brought to tears as each and every one of them captured her hands and squeezed them tightly in respect and comfort. She heard sniffles and sobs in the crowd. So many people knew the pain that she was in, and they shared in it with her. She received tight hugs, kisses on the cheeks, and teary smiles as she kept going deeper into the crowd to get to the front. Her heart was burning with love and gratefulness toward the wonderful townsfolk. She tried very hard to not cry, but the tears were already flowing down her face. Her husband had affected so many lives during his reign, in both BrightHelm and all the other kingdoms.

Topaz was making her way to the front of the crowd when a hand gently caught her arm. She turned to the source of the touch and came face-to-face with Duchess Zorie---her eyes rimmed with tears as well. The two had been good friends even before Zorie had been granted the role of duchess. Topaz had shared many stories and laughs with her, but she never until then shared in sadness and sorrow. That day would be their first and hopefully the last time they would share tears.

Zorie had worn her chocolate hair in a tight coronet with little pearls pinned into it. Her face was pale as the snow on the ground, and her freckles seemed to blend in as Topaz studied her face. Zorie's black gown spilled onto the snowy terrain like ink flowing out of its bottle.

Zorie took a deep breath before speaking, trying to find the right words to say without crying. "My...Lady Topaz," a shudder came from her voice. "It is so good to see you."

Topaz sniffed back some tears. "Duchess Zorie, it is good to see you too. Thank you for coming to my husband’s fu-ner-al," she broke from the word as it was too hard to say.

"I am so sorry that you had to go through this loss. Lord Brighton...he did so much to see everyone happy. Especially to see you happy, my Lady," the duchess said.

Topaz turned away for only a second to gather herself before speaking. "I am sorry for your loss as well." She paused, trying to force the words out. "All of us loved him very much."

Zorie nodded and squeezed the widow's hand. "I have something for you, my Lady. I know you had loaned it to Lord Cornelius just before his coronation, but he will no longer be in need of it."

Zorie retrieved a worn leather book from her black coat---sniffling as she brought it out. Topaz knew exactly what it was---one of the many journals Brighton had written in over the course of his life. Topaz clenched her jaw, fighting the horrible sobs that might escape from her mouth as Zorie handed her the book---the only thing she had to keep the memories they had shared alive. Topaz embraced the duchess tightly and thanked her for all that she had done for her and her family over the years.

Her gloved hands shook as she held the old book. She was saddened to know that there would be no more memories written about, but she did know that she wanted to spend time with Brighton before the ceremony started. It would still be several hours before it would begin, and she wanted to use that time to say her final goodbyes.

Her heartbeat grew stronger as she took steps to the front of the crowd. Just ahead of her---in a clearing in front of the crowd---laid her beautiful husband's body, glowing with a blue aura. She felt her heart shatter once more as she gazed upon him. He was laid on a raft bed, placed before the gentle waters. Sat in the bedding of the raft---surrounding his body---were a hundred unlit candles. His aged face still looked beautiful to her as she did not care for the wrinkles under his eyes or the sag of his skin---he would always be young in her eyes. He wore a white tabard and pants with gold outlining. A pelt of white fur draped over his right shoulder to give him a wealthy stature. His fingers wore the many rings that he had worn over his reign. His hair and beard were brushed neatly, and the silver and ivory crown rested on top of his head. His sword was sashed to his hip, displaying the artistic skill and craftsmanship of the blade. His appearance was still majestic and powerful even as he laid lifeless on the raft bed.

Topaz wanted to stroke his white hair again and braid it into a fine fishtail. She made her way closer to the raft to finally be able to touch her husband once more. Unfortunately, as she was about to lay her hand upon Brighton’s glowing figure, a strong, authoritative hand grabbed her shoulder and jerked her away from the body.

"Ma'am, you may not get close to the body," a scratchy voice inform Topaz---her eyes widening in shock as she turned towards the Senturian knight.

"How dare you not let me come near my husband! I am his wife!" she shouted as her hair produced flames from underneath the veiled headdress.

"I could care less who you are. My orders are to let no one approach the body," he grumbled as his hand tightened on her shoulder in warning. "That includes you as well."

Another memory flashed through Topaz's mind of when she and Brighton had first met. They were trapped in a Penéné cell, trying to figure out how to escape from the labyrinth. They were sore and tired, but they had to stay on their toes; for the guards of that wretched place had only one thing on their minds, to hurt and rape them. The guards had approached Topaz, but Brighton tried to fight them off. One of the guards had grabbed him and thrown him down when another gave a hard kick to his ribs.

Topaz remembered her fire soul building as she became overpowered with rage and latched herself onto one of the guards. Her anger was so strong that her burning touch heated up the armor of the guard to such temperatures, that his body burnt and melted inside the metal plating. She had become the monster she never wanted to be, but the only thing on her mind was saving the elf she had just met.

"Ma'am," the raspy voice spoke once more, bringing her back to reality. "You must return back to the crowd, or I will have-"

Her instincts kicked in, and fire started to radiate off of Topaz's slender body. The knight didn't even notice until he was cut off mid-sentence by the small figure prying her fingers between his chest plate and helmet, clawing and ripping at his throat. Blood poured out from under his armor as he gave off a loud and painful cry. She watched as the fire from the wounds traveled up his face and across the rest of his skin---burning him alive. The red glowing armor fell to the ground, surrounded by spilled blood and small puddles of fire.

Topaz glanced up at the other knights that had made their way towards her after hearing the cries from the first---but they immediately stood down after witnessing their fellow comrade melt before their very eyes. They feared to tempt the widow, whose full body was still surrounded by the flames.

Topaz gazed down at her husband as the fire around her faded and sat at his side. Tears swelled up once more as she touched Brighton’s hand. It pained her to say goodbye.

Taking in a deep breath, she stroked her husband’s face. "Hello, my love. I...I have missed you so very much. I really did not want to say goodbye to you....Not ever." Her voice broke with the last two words.

She brought out the journal and rested it in her lap. She was hesitant to open it---afraid that she would start falling apart while reading it. After a moment of debating, she shook the thought away and opened the book to a random page. In the corner of the page was a small drawing of their wedding day. Topaz looked up at the sky, trying to gather all of the courage she had to read aloud to her husband.

Before she began, her children and Shada gathered around her---tears already visible as they wanted to say their last goodbyes as well. Kieran, Collette, Breanna, Jeanetta, Leon, Jonah, Angelique, and Ryant gazed at their father’s lifeless body. Angelique and Ryant embraced each other as they looked away. Brighton had loved each of them and taught them many life lessons before he passed.

Collette covered her mouth to force the tears away---her hair flaming a little in her sadness. Jeanetta and Leon held each other’s hand for comfort as they looked at their father. Kieran put his hands on Jonah’s shoulders as he cried softly to himself. The children tried hard to control themselves and keep their flames at bay, but it was too hard with their emotions getting the best of them. Kieran was the only one who managed to not let his powers control him, but he was crying as hard as his siblings.

"Now, now children. We are supposed to be proud and happy for what your father has done for us all. Let us enjoy this time we have together with him one last time before he leaves us," Topaz spoke through her tears, trying to be strong for her family.

"Why is papa's body blue?" Ryant asked as they all settled in around his father’s body.

Shada wrapped her arm around the boy and gave him a quick squeeze. "It's there to preserve his body for the ceremony."

Topaz had opened his journal once more and had already begun to read the pages. So many adventures and memories came flooding back to her as she read each passage. They laughed and cried, sharing in the beautiful moments that he had written about. He wrote about the wedding and the birth of the twins. He wrote about the times he would gaze at his wife with such adore in his eyes as she would sit in the garden, or breastfeed one of the children. Upon each of the pages, he would always mention how beautiful and blessed he was to have Topaz in his life.

The pain that once ached Topaz's heart had all seemed to have disappeared as she read the journal. She was glad that Zorie had decided to return the book to her at the funeral, and not on some other day. It was just what Topaz needed to make their goodbye a little easier on her and the children.

She finished reading from the journal as the archbishop and two Helanian guards finally made their way up to the raft bed. The priest looked down at Topaz and her family with such sorrow in his yellow cat-like eyes, knitting his boned hands together as he bowed humbly to them. He did not tell them to move away, for he knew they would greatly appreciate it if they were allowed to stay by Brighton until it was finally time to release him to the Abyss.

The archbishop's black robe draped on the snowy ground as he chanted something under his breath. The blue glow around the late lord's body vanished as he laid there, looking the same as the day he had passed. The archbishop glanced back at Topaz and gave her a reassuring smile, then looked back at the still mourning crowd.

"We are gathered here today to witness the passing of thy beloved late lord, Lord Brighton," the archbishop addressed the crowd as Topaz and her family stood to their feet.

The widow stood there grasping onto the journal tightly---tears strolling down from her eyes---as the skeletal face of the archbishop glanced back at her. "Would you all like to light the first of the candles?"

Topaz responded quickly as she bent over and picked up the candle that rested in the crease of his left shoulder and neck. She cradled the candle in her hand for a moment, then pinched the wick with her fingers as a small flame burned brightly. She closed her eyes and held the candle close to her heart---embracing the warmth of her husband one last time before she placed it back into the raft, then kissed Brighton's cold lips. Before she raised back up, she leaned in and whispered into his ear, "I will always love you with all of my heart, my beloved Brighton."

Shada and the children each followed her by lighting a single candle and replacing it back into the raft.

Once the ten of them had concluded lighting their candles, the archbishop waved his left hand over the raft, igniting the wicks of the remaining candles. His yellow eyes looked over the mourning crowd as he began to speak. "Unto Iden we commend thee soul of our majesty, thy late Lord Brighton, and we commit his glorious body unto Artus' deep waters as Zallah takes thee away. In sure and certain hope that Afria will rest thy fragile minds, for Nya's taken a great soul from thou midst. Libras grant thee thy strength to carry on with our days on Trillis' humble earth. May we never forget how humble thy great lord was as Taac guides thy empty vessel through the crossing to thy other side."

The two guards that had been standing behind the skeletal lich, stepped forward and placed the raft into the water, giving it a slight push as it floated away. Many of the townsfolk in attendance placed wreaths that they had made in remembrance of their late lord into the ocean and gave them a nudge as they drifted away following behind their lord's raft.

"Beacon in thy darkness," the archbishop spoke loudly, "light of hope. From thy stars we came, to thy stars we return. Let thou soul be a light in the waves, and thy's memory a fire unto thou's heart."

The crowd watched as their lord and their wreaths all floated out into the Abyss---fading away into the horizon---as the ceremony, short as it was, had completed.

The archbishop approached Topaz and her family, giving his condolences before he left. Followed behind him was the large group of citizens who also had wished to say their goodbyes and condolences to the widow and her family. So many tears poured from their eyes that the snow melted beneath their feet.

***

Hours had passed when the last of the audience paid their condolences and tried to comfort the family---then alas, only they remained. The children all huddled around their mother and aunt as they stared out over the empty and still waters. After a moment of silently looking out into the ocean, Topaz pulled the last memories of her husband out of her coat and opened the book once more.

This time when she opened it she noticed a page further back, protruding out ever so slightly. She eagerly turned the pages to find a piece of paper placed in between the sheets. The ink looked fresh and wasn't faded like the other pages of the journal. Her brows furrowed as she began to read the piece of parchment.

My darling Topaz,

Please do not be sad of my passing. I do not want to see you cry any more tears for me, than what I have already witnessed. Remember all of the things we have experienced together. All of the happiness we have shared. All of the love we have shown to each other. I am so happy that I got to meet you in Penora, that forsaken place that it is. I had never imagined I would find my best friend and the love of my life there of all places.

You have made my life such a blessing and a joy. You have given me eight of the most beautiful children to love and cherish. I don't regret anything that we have had together. You have made me the happiest and luckiest man in the world.

I don't want you to remember my death in such a horrible way. I want you to remember that even though this is goodbye, I will always be with you. I will always watch over you.

My Lady Topaz, oh how I have loved you for so many centuries, growing stronger with each passing. You have been the light of my life, the rock that I seek, the haven that I need.

You know that I hate saying goodbyes, but Archbishop Bolkan has told me that there is little hope for me to make it 'til the next moon. It breaks my heart that I have to leave you in this world, but I want you to know that I have loved you so very much. There's not been a day that's went by that I hadn't thought of how happy you've made me.

Topaz, my love, I need you to do one last thing for me. I need you to continue to be happy and watch over our children as they grow. I am so proud to have been called your husband, even more so than being given the title of lord.

This is our final goodbye, my lady, but I will still be with you in your heart, and watch over you from the stars. I love you, my darling Topaz. I love you with all of my heart.

Goodbye from your beloved, Brighton.

As she read the letter, Topaz covered her mouth, trying to keep the sobs from coming out, but she could not stop them. She clutched the letter close to her heart as the tears rained down her steaming face.


© Copyright 2018 D. L. Stewart. All rights reserved.

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