Spirited Homage

By the eleventh day, Vadiim felt it was time to move the entourage to the Citadel of Velour, where Lord Bilal had arranged for them to meet. There were no stars that shined that night. Vadiim became frustrated that they could not move in the right direction and chastised the lead scouts as they were lost.
Even the moon was hidden behind the darkest clouds that had ever been seen. The group marched on in the dead of night in misery. Inconsolable suffering loomed over their heads as they trekked onward with no hope in sight. Countless minutes of agony encompassed them. The sickly and wounded honey badgers were picked off by imminent death. The entourage had no choice but to halt their journey to attend to the demands of aiding the helplessly afflicted.
A wicked drizzle of rain poured down from the sky. The seemingly impossible situation became dire by then, as six badgers perished right before their eyes. The remaining badgers grieved amongst each other as their kinsmen could no longer evade the reality of the situation.
The late Chieftain’s sole heir to the clan was a young honey badger called Breonas. He was overwhelmed with rage and grief, as he suddenly found himself thrust into leadership. The Honey Badger clan were merry folk who lived a peaceful way of life. Their world had been thrown into chaos because of the attack on their beloved city. They marched along with Vadiim’s men in somber silence.
Keinah suddenly became heartsick for the Honey Badger clan. She recalled the heaviness of despair that plagued her dreadful human existence. A tear rolled down her cheek as she went to comfort young Breonas and his remaining clan members. Along with the frustration of being lost, Vadiim’s soldiers scowled when she requested the party to halt and allow the Honey Badgers to grieve the loss of their elder chieftain and deceased families.
Vadiim instantly rebuked his men; “Stifle your protests and take heed! The Emerald Princess has commanded we reserve this moment to care for our wounded allies. Though it is not our customary tradition to memorialize those who have perished, we will honor the outstanding efforts of Elder Chieftain Cabrera and the Honey Badger fellows who laid down their lives. Sorrow is a sentiment that Celestials do not contend with, but who better to give testimony than the woman who successfully walked through the gates of Sheol of her own volition?”  
Keinah addressed the camp somberly; “When my grandmother was near the end of her suffering, she spent several days struggling bitterly between the living realm and the afterlife. Finally, the time came where death had won the battle. She took her last breath, and it was such a relief. She had been released from torment to transition into beautiful peace. I have hope in that place. We can all be grateful that our loved ones could depart in the same manner. Though our hearts are laid with heavy grief, we must carry on with eyes pressed towards the prize of victory over our persecutors,” she preached.
After her eulogy, Keinah spoke an eloquent incantation that brought on an enchantment over the entire camp. Suddenly, the moon shined brightly, breaking through the clouds. The North star appeared directly over Keinah’s head. She became a reflected illumination of the millions of dazzling stars in the sky. The scouts were no longer confused or lost. The party made haste towards the Citadel to meet with the awaiting battalions.

The Far Side of Hereafter, Ch. 17


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