Tuesday, 15 September 2015

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Sister Murcia leant against the last survivor of her party and wept. Before her lay nine unlit pyres, eight held the remains of those who had followed Sistar Pilar, and the last one was empty. Around them the engines of the reinforcements she had called in were loud in the desert silence and she was making damn sure that no one got in the way of this ceremony. That the natives had come and attacked them was annoying, that they were the most likely people to have taken the Dewieks body was unforgivable. She pulled out the bone necklace that was her friends and placed it around her neck and took the flaming brand from the last survivor. Standing by the pyres she turned and faced the group that was there, taking care to catch eye contact with the Zealot Ezikial and his native guide.
"We have lost over the last few days a considerable amount. People have died, friends, loved ones, the faithful. Butchered by the attack of the Flagritz, attacked by the natives of this planet, and finally, at the hands of this most noble Dewiek."
She moved from pyre to pyre, lighting each one.
"I have not fought in many battles, but I have seen strength, and I have seen courage. And I tell you truthfully, with the True One as my witness, that without the honour of the Dewiek Elder, none of us would have been here to tell this. I looked into his eyes at the moment of his death, I held his hand as the life faded from his eyes. I saw..... "
With a faltering voice she stopped at the last, empty pyre.

Empty, why had they taken the body? What would those savages do? How dare they interrupt such an important event? They would burn, their villages would burn, their children would burn, they would reap what they had sown and the True One would judge them!

"We have a choice.... We can ignore what happened here, and let it blow away in the dust. Or we can honour the fallen. Our fallen, and the Dewieks. They have already offered to take us away, transport us to safety. But I say no, our honour demands we stay. We can not stand by while the godless heathens desecrate the body of a fallen hero of the Dewiek. I will return to Ascension and I will ring the great bells in the Cathedral to let Gath's ancestors know he is coming and he died a worthy death, which is all a great warrior can ask, and honoured by his foes! I care not if the Inquisition comes for me, for I have the righteousness of my faith as my shield, and I will carry this spear, with his blood on, to the Altars of the True One and bless his name this most holy relic. I will ring out his name with praise and let everyone know that he died a true Dewiek, a noble Elder, and a leader of his people!"
She threw the torch onto the empty pyre and watched the flames dance high and started to sing a hymn, her voice shouting out so all could hear, and before long everyone was singing, everyone was remembering, and none would forget.

The Desert Rat looked over at the Zealot with a little confusion in his eyes.
"Can she do that? Will your superiors not punish her?"
"Probably. But do you think that would stop her?"
"No. I will go to my people, I will ask them about the tribe that stole his body. Maybe they know who it was."
"I hope so, because I very much doubt that this has ended for her."
The Zealot turned to the camera mounted on his shoulder and turned it off.

Inquisitor D'morenta watched the transmission with interest. That such things would happen now, at this time. Was this fate? Or just faith? Perhaps she was right in her belief that the True One touched not just her people, but others. It was dangerous talk, but once more she would talk with the Dewiek. She pressed a button on her desk and waited for her assistant to arrive.
"Send a message to the Cathdral of Ascension, start the bells ringing. We are honouring those who fell. And get me the Dewiek Ambassador and ready my estate for a week of hunting."

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