Endings: The Grim Man’s Funeral

August 14, 2009

Only one brother received a funeral  – but it wasn’t the one you think.

It was a lovely service, held for Anthony Grim, the twenty-third (and final) caretaker of the Blue Sky Estate. The locals came. The travelers, from across the land. The far people, from over the seas. Even the children of heaven flew above in formation, fleets of birds signalling with colored wings their respect for the depth of this man’s courage and honor.

But the body in the coffin wasn’t his, but that of his twin. Only the survivors of the last battle knew the truth – myself, Aunt Madra, the Winsom Brothers, the Tinker. My darling Lisa wasn’t there, but she suspected – never had I spun a magic trick that she couldn’t see true, and today was no different.

We had no choice, though. Anthony deserved the recognition, and without a body, his name would never be entered into the records. His spirit would never rest, never move on to its final reward, without the king’s words set down on paper – without his file carefully completed and shelved.

And, amidst the terror and confusion of the battle… his body had vanished. When the smoke cleared, and the day was won, all we were left with was his brother’s corpse – the one who had set this terrible tragedy in motion! What choice had we? We had in our hands the chance to give an honest man a proper rest, and all we had to do was deceive the king. After all that we had already done – all we had already seen… such a task was as nothing.

So we stand here today, and share words of regret, and memories of joy, and proclamations of heroism. We do not acknowledge the truth we know in our hearts, that those words go out not to the lie in the coffin before us, but out into the unknown.

To the mists we cast our words, and they ring out true and brilliant despite the lie woven amidst them… because all else is true. We regret the loss of the Grim Man. We remember the moments of peace we shared, the rare smiles we received, the unexpected laughter that warmed us through the dark days now behind us. Our words resound with the certainty of what he accomplished, what he sacrificed, what he did for us all.

Before that thunder of sound and memory, I am confident the lie is forgiven by the spirits above. The gathered people weep and cheer our words in equal measure, and celebrate his spirit as the sun sets above his grave.

The truths of the matter and the cries of his brother’s unbound spirit are swept away by the restless winds, and heard by us no more.

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