One of the robed figures standing behind Amerasu who is seated in her ornate chair moves forward: nothingis said as the First Grandmother, without looking up, reaches out her left hand. The robed figure named Hiska, takes her mistress’ hand gently in her own as they watch the three figures make their way from the garden. As the distance from them increases Hiska notes Amerasu’s grip is also increased. She looks down at her charge but knows not what to say for comfort. Instead of words she gently brings her left hand to clasp that already held by her right. Nothing more is required.
Without a word of command from Hiska the other comitati that surround Amerasu move forward instinctively. The ‘hounds’ know all is not well but they can do nothing other than remain at their mistress’ side. All that is heard is the soft mumbling of prayers from the depths of hoods as Ashan takes her place in the clear night sky surrounded by the light of stars.
* * *
Avarin is holding her child’s hand firmly and looks across to Tirandel. “All will be well”, she says quietly. Tirandel reaches down and takes the free hand of Avarin’s son as the three walk from the rose gardens.
ne of Farewell, are found a ring of trees that are the home of the crows. Almost four score crows nests adorn the treeline and look down upon the burial mounds of the dead that have been laid to rest here within the walls of Aquila. These barrows have a weight of history that go back to the naming of Aquila te Lunashaed and as such make a natural homing for the winged harbingers of the dead.
As the three stand at the burial mounds they look up to the tree line, which is coloured a pale silver in the rising moonlight. A large shadow rises from within the branches of the trees and takes to the night sky. As one, the crow shadow rises up from the tree line and descends upon the city and the three that stand before it in the shadowed garden of the dead.
She then steps forward approaching the stone steps that lead up to the entrance of the barrows. As she does so she lets her cloak fall from her shoulders. Beneath she is wearing a black ruffled mourning dress with a patterned laced bodice that falls gracefully around her and marks her as a widow yet also consort to the Crows.
Tirandel also lets fall her Aditu cloak revealing a more simplistic black dress of similar design without the bodice patterning, for that is reserved for the daughters of First Family as a mark of their position and placing within the House: roses entwined with stars symbolising the House and it’s goddess’ children that look down upon all Aditu.
As Avarin gracefully walks up the steps into the shadows of the barrows and trees that surround the burial grounds of the elves two crows alight upon the stone bannisters. The First Daughter of the House Aditu is also a CrowSinger and tonight is taking her place and exercising her position among these creatures of the light of the living and the shadows of those that have passed beyond the realm of life. She turns to the crow upon her right for she is named Seeker and Avarin answers to her before all others.
From Tirandel’s vantage point she observes that the crow that has claimed Avarin as her own Singer is speaking with her and Avarin is listening intently. The folds of Avarin’s dress fall to the stone steps as she gives her full attention to the words of the crow. She then turns to the second crow, sat upon the stone railings to her left, as Seeker also looks that way.
There is no mistaking the aura of this creature for he is Rauxlor – the eldest of the Crows and the one who took Navarre as his own and vice versa. Both were masters and also servants to one another for never before had such a pairing of Crow and Elf been given freely and without inhibition. Now though, only one of that partnership remains and the loss of the other is clearly showing on the one that has survived.
In comparison to Seeker, Rauxlor, despite his magnificence and clear elder status, is weary and on close inspection carries a weight of overwhelming sadness that defies anything felt by mere mortals. Jingizu, or sadness of spirit, is well known to the immortals and long lived races of the world. The Elves are masters of this melancholy which only they can also turn into a stubborn fight for survival against insurmountable emotional odds.
After a few brief moments upon the steps Avarin returns to her child and her fellow CrowSinger. Taking her son’s hand she leads him up the steps into the shadows of the Garden of the Dead of Aquila and it’s ages of legend. Tirandel follows.
The crows that reside within Aquila are all gathered within. They are sat upon the burial mounds and around the steps that lead to this shadowy place located within the city of beauty crafted by the three elder tribes of the Elves. Avarin leads her child to the place where both Seeker and Rauxlor await them.
Tirandel stands to the child’s right with her mother in front and to the left. A somber look is passed from mother to fellow crowsinger, which instigates Tirandel reaching into her belt pouch and closing her fingers around that which she has taken out. The child looks to his mother for reassurance. In return she takes a knee and gently runs her hand over her son’s face in a loving caress before then looking for Tirandel.
Avarin remains kneeling embracing her son saying “This will make it easier my love – trust us both for this will be over quickly and I and Tirandel are with you, I promise you that”.
Her fellow crowsinger then opens her hand and blows the kei-vishaaa taken from her pouch into the child’s face.
It is then that the crows descend upon the child engulfing him and his two guardians in their brooding shadow of night black wings.