|Inspiration artwork courtesy of artist (?)
The procession carried on, under a black and swirling sky, where beauty lay in still repose upon heavy shoulders and heavier souls.
They gathered from every hovel and tier and tower. Sisters saw sisters, mothers daughters and children mothers. From house to house and street to street, whomever was loved most, they saw carried on the bier. They gathered to hold her in their eyes, as if in the beholding she might tarry, every hand reaching as an infant reaches to be known, if only to be assured that she was lost. And despite the very certainty, the procession carried on.
Even in eternity, even in that dreadful sleep that awaits us all, the Taker could not steal away her beauty; her lips like ripened berries, her braids like sun gilded wheat, though a pall of lifelessness lay upon her cheeks. And the people seeing her remarked, is this the face of one that’s dead? Shouts rang out her name. Rise! Give us a sign and rise! But death makes no exceptions. So she did not stand to greet them, nor stir to allay their tears. And ever uneventful, the procession carried on.
A deathly chill befell the land, not of snows giving promise of rebirth, but the bitterness of absent daylight, the sun remote and indifferent and black beneath the moons. It was a blight upon the world, a sickness growing from the root where she was fallen, from where her heart had been cut out. And still they went on seeking, the princess on the bier, hoping where hope was nowhere to be found, in streets where every eye was turned and faithful hearts were broken. And ever the procession carried on.
In the surrounding dell the silence was pervasive, for birds knew no cause for singing, and the mammals in their burrows of decay lay down to darkness, whispering not of children that may come, or of any future spring, but surrendering to dreamless sleep. All was stillness and shadow, but for the crack of timber and hush of falling leaves, the long naked pines standing out like gallows. Wherever things once bloomed, was only shrinking, shriveling; colors muted, fading, gray; petals winking into death. Still in distant Tyrnael the procession carried on.
Across that lonesome sphere, where she was known by other names, they mourned softly her procession. They mourned on dying fields, where rains did not fall, and they mourned her where crops failed to allay the hungry. Storms of dust arose like primordial beasts, to bury the living, and swallow nations whole. On endless plains, devastation moths churned, violent from their cocoons, sweeping homes into the sky. In desert lands, flames devoured what little grew, and mouths went parched by sand swept riverbeds. On rocky shores, waters reddened, and the fishers’ nets were filled with dead. But where the land itself held loosely, the world belched magma and hemorrhaged fire, and the living and non-living alike were indifferently consumed. Even where joy ran deepest, in the hearts of expectant mothers, expectation turned to horror and despair. For on that day, no infant was born but born to stillness. And still in mourning for infant laughter that would never echo, their eyes bent to infant mounds, wives held fast to husbands and carried on.
As they did across the world, so in Tyrnael they toiled and tarried, over earth that would not yield. Yet still they followed, reaching, ever reaching toward the bier where life had fallen, from every roof and window, for every eye to witness, under a swirling cursing sky.
And ever the procession carried on.