“That doesn’t make any sense. Show me again!” Zyvian demanded to Theron.
The two of them stood in a grassy patch near the shoreline with the forest behind them. The summer’s heat was dwindling only slightly with the sunset, and all around the grass and back among the trees the firefly’s glows winked in and out as they bobbed and flew all around the two Tomeites.
Both had their training staffs and the sweat of their brow was evidence to the practice they had been doing. Considerably more pronounced on Theron.
“All right. Just watch. Start with the staff at your side like this,” Theron demonstrated, facing Zyvian and moving his hands slowly. “Then, as you grab the staff with the other hand, you push it down towards your feet, then reverse the grip, and now the other hand is pushing down.
Theron slowly spun the staff around in slow arcs. Zyvian’s eyes darted back and forth from her staff to his, trying to copy it. But once again the spinning stopped as she lost control.
“Arghh!” the Greylock yelled in frustration. “That doesn’t make any sense. How come you’re able to do it and not me?”
“Look,” Theron offered. “Brother Smiv taught me, and he was an expert in weapons, and I am not. Maybe you should ask Carro, Lillith, Valen, Ayin or, really just about anyone else and they could teach you better.”
“Nooo” she whined in reply. “I want to look good so I impress them!”
Theron only breathed to collect himself. “Fine. Then let’s try again.” And try again they did unto the exact same result as Zyvian clumsily waved her staff around.
She growled and snarled in frustration and pulled her staff back like a cricket mallet. “Stupid Theron!” she yelled and swung her staff hard, swiping the grass in anger. As it came back up a streak of light came with it and flew towards Theron until landing at his feet. Both noticed this and watched it with wide eyes until looking each other to confirm they both, indeed, saw the same thing. “Did I…hit a lightning bug?” she asked hesitantly.
Theron looked down into the grass. “Yes,” He confirms with a bit of surprise as Zyvian’s eyes go wide. “And I think you broke it. It’s glow isn’t blinking out, it’s stuck.”
Zyvian dropped her staff and rushed over to see. Kneeling down she cupped her hands. “Did I kill it?” she asked with worry and scooped the little glowbug up and cradled it in her hands. “Nooo, it’s dead!” She sniffled and her black tipped ears drooped. After a few sniffs she bolted up and held her hands to Theron. “Fix it, fix it, fix it!”
“I don’t think-“
Theron’s mouth twisted some, but he relented and lifted his hand, hovering over the small bug. He breathes in and exhaled, intoning a spell. “Grace of the Lady heal thee.” As blueish tendrils of mana sculpted into the spell. They anchor into the tiny form and disappear into it. Though when completed, the only glow left in her hand was the yellow of the firefly.
Zyvian’s lip quivered a moment. “Why didn’t it work?” she asked with big eyes staring at the creature.
“Zyvian, that would be like trying to heal someone who was smashed with a giant’s club. The spell can only do so much. It’s dead."
“We need Carro!” She concludes quickly. “Where is he? We need him to resurrect it!” Theron shook his head. “He’s on patrol. We won’t reach him in time. Or any other ritualist.” He says interrupting her demand that was about to burst out. “Besides, I don’t believe insects have enough soul to resurrect anyhow.”
Zyvian sank back to her knees and looked at the little light in her hands. “I killed it!” she mourned. “It was just trying to get laid and I killed it!”
Zyvian answers in quick succession. “Uh huh. Boy lighting bugs fly around lighting up their butts and girl lightning bugs sit in the grass and when they want to do it they light their butts back, and then they mate. And all this little firefly wanted to do was find somebody to glow back with and I killed it!” she pouted and began scooping a small hole in the dirt with her finger. “We have to give it a funeral!”
Theron stares down with her. Entirely unsure how serious she is until she looks up at him. “You need to say the Eulogy.” She insisted.
“The…for a bug?” he says dryly.
“You’re the Primas, so you have to!”
“That would be the Chaplain’s-“
“We don’t have a Chaplain, Theron! Brand’s not here, you are! You’re the Primas and this IS the kind of stuff you gotta do, and Kessiel told you to take care of me, and your grandfather was a skald so you know all about dead people shit, and I can’t do the Eulogy because I killed it, and the murderer isn’t supposed to talk at the funeral, so you gotta do it!”
Theron bristled slightly but relented when she looked up at him. “Fine, just. Finish burying it. Let me think.”
The pair remain in silence for a time. Zyvian carefully digging the grace for the firefly with one hand while holding it with the other. She sets it down into its final resting place, and scoops the dirt back in. Even as it is buried the little thorax is still lit as the dirt covers it, eliciting another sniffle from its gravedigger. She plucks up a few small field flowers and lay them in a circle around the spot. Once she is satisfied she pokes Theron in the leg with her finger. Indicating it is time.
Theron cleared his throat, looking out in no direction particular. “We lay to rest an innocent, now. We mourn their passing, and the loss for this world, even as we celebrate the life they lived. The sadness is for us alone as their spirit passes to join the ancestors, for even in death, they will find themselves brought into the fold of family. As one day they will greet us all when we join them. Take heart, all gathered, that the world of the living goes on and it is our duty and privilege to live in it. So with the living gathered we say goodbye, as one of us goes ahead to light the way where we will rejoin them.”
After a moment of silence, Zyvian looks up expectantly and whispers. “Is that it?”
Theron nods. “That’s it.”
She stands up, facing away from him and he can see her wipe at her face. Finally she snatches her staff back up and walks past him towards the trail heading back to New Haven.
“All right, good. I’m hungry now.” she said.