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Blessings Of A Curse - 2012 USA Edition - chunk 03 (standard:fantasy, 9422 words) [3/6] show all parts
Author: Wayne Edward ClarkeAdded: Apr 07 2012Views/Reads: 1276/927Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Part 3 of Blessings Of A Curse.
 



The Council Hall of the High People had long ago been a tunnel between
First Valley, where Yazadril and his family lived, and Kemsah Valley, 
the second of the Nine Valleys.  Over time the tunnel had been expanded 
into a great hall, a hemispherical hollow in the bedrock two hundred 
and twenty feet across and a hundred feet high, it's floor and the dome 
that formed the walls and ceiling polished to a smooth light-gray 
shine, brightened by skylights and glow-spheres. 

Today a few hundred elves were within, most gathered into small groups
scattered around the vast floor-space, talking quietly among themselves 
or softly weeping.  A few were standing at one of the two gleaming 
white marble open caskets that had been placed twenty feet apart near 
the center of the hall, viewing the deceased and paying their respects. 


Yazadril and Nemia were offered many subdued greetings and condolences
as they slowly crossed the vast floor to Dalia's casket.  Their 
relatives and Dalia's closest friends were gathered around it, a few of 
them crying softly, all with tear-tracked cheeks. 

Dalia's body had been expertly prepared, and at first glance she looked
like she was merely sleeping, clad in a white silk robe, her blonde 
hair softly flowing over a white satin pillow.  It was difficult to 
believe that this was the same flesh that had lain so twisted and 
broken on the forest floor beneath her window on the previous day's 
afternoon. 

Nemia would have collapsed at the sight if Yazadril had not supported
her, and they were again overcome with weeping. 

Nemia drew them away until they could no longer see Dalia, and they
cried a few minutes more.  Silently, they prayed that Dalia's spirit 
had found peace, though they knew that the missing gods would never 
answer. 

Then they made their way to Bezedil's casket, which was loosely
surrounded by forest elves of The People of Life.  Those made way for 
them, and as they drew within sight of Bezedil's body, they saw that 
Alilia sat beside it on an ornate wooden chair, her hands folded in her 
lap. 

“Alilia,” Yazadril said, then choked on the lump in his throat.  He
cleared it a bit, then tried again.  “Alilia, we are deeply sorry for 
your loss.” 

“As I am for yours, Yazadril, Nemia.” Alilia calmly told them.  Her face
was a rigid mask of self-control, though tears still slowly trickled 
down her face.  “And I must apologize for my behavior yesterday.  My 
treatment of you during Bezedil's Reading was... atrocious, Yazadril, 
as was my threat to your life, Nemia.” 

“We do forgive you that, Alilia, as it was quite understandable under
the circumstances.” Nemia softly said. 

“Thank you.” Alilia nodded, never looking away from Bezedil's face. 

There was a strained silence for a moment. 

“I have lived four thousand, eight hundred and fifty-six years.” Alilia
quietly stated.  “And during that time, Bezedil was the only child I 
have ever borne.  I am not very fertile.  I will probably never have 
another.” 

“I...  I did not know that.” Nemia stammered.  A moment later, she began
softly crying again. 

At this, Alilia rose from her seat and embraced Nemia and Yazadril, and
all three cried together. 

Those gathered around moved back, to give them a semblance of privacy. 

When their weeping had subsided, Alilia went back to her chair, and to
her contemplation of Bezedil's face. 

Yazadril cleared his throat as he tried to think of a kind way to ask


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This is part 3 of a total of 6 parts.
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