Since Jae’s death the day before, she’d felt drained. Empty. The person who’d given her life had lost his.
The clicking of boots against stone reverberated about the arched corridor as four Mé’Draak carried Jae’s body toward the doorway of his tomb. Placed on a thin stone slab, his body had been covered with a cloth in order to hide the gruesome injuries he’d sustained during his altercation with Kint. The pure white fabric seemed disgustingly cheery amid everyone’s despair.
The four men chosen as Jae’s bearers carried him past her and Ganmér. The pounding of their boots died away when they came to a stop outside the entrance to Jae’s final resting place; the silence grated on her soul.
Removing his hands from her shoulders, Ganmér took a step forward and placed his hands on Jae’s chest. The Master’s rich voice cracked with emotion.
“Jae was a remarkable young man who touched all of us in profound ways. Because of him, we have evolved more as an order in the past few months than we have in centuries. He was taken from us far too soon, yet his legacy will live on in all of us, particularly in young Juriel.”
Ganmér bent forward and kissed the sheet covering Jae’s battered head.
“You are an inspiration, my friend. Your killer will pay for his crimes. Everything you fought and died for won’t be for naught. You will be avenged.”
Ganmér backed away and motioned for the bearers to continue into the tomb. When they returned after placing Jae’s body inside, they pushed the thick stone door closed before sealing it shut with a metal bar. The clicking of the key turning in the lock finally brought tears to Juriel’s eyes. She buried her face in Ganmér’s chest. He held her tightly against him; his heavy woolen tunic muffled her sobs.
She didn’t want to leave. Doing so would only acknowledge that Jae was truly gone. She could no longer pretend otherwise. She couldn’t listen for his voice to rise above those of her companions. She couldn’t hope for him to knock on the door to her quarters with a huge, quirky smile on his face.
It was over. He was gone. She had nothing left but loneliness and sorrow.
© 2016 by Andi O'Connor