The Bonecaster’s Vigil for the Dead

JP with winteroak and Gonyaul:

Suddenly as he was getting ready to set up camp, Gonyaul caught a glimpse of of movement in his peripheral vision. A shadow seemed to pull itself from some of the corpses. For a heartbeat he thought they were rising.

But quickly realised it was the Bonecaster he had fred from Voah's shackles.

The man was holding a large hunting knife looking gloomily at Gonyaul.

Gonyaul’s imagination flared to life and he played out an entire horrific scene of the dead coming back to life and chasing him through the ruins. In this fictitious mind scape, Gonyaul almost perished if it wasn’t for the sword skills and witty banter of Amu.

He blinked again and came back to reality. It was the Odsier survivor he had freed. Gonyaul glanced to the large hunting knife and remembered he had no one around this time to rescue him.

He bowed in greeting and signed <hello>. Then trying it once more, he pulled out the Odsier necklace he now wore, made from the small bones and trinkets the Odsier women weaved into his hair during the night of festivities, so the man could see it. He was hoping this time around there would be a connection that he was friend not foe.

“Erewhon …” Gonyaul spoke. He was making the assumption the man didn’t speak either language he knew.

The man stood for a few heartbeats, the knuckles of the hand gripping the hunting knife turning white, before he turned away.
You cannot be sure what made the man back down, if your words, the necklace or the fact you gave him is freedom back.

The man has been moving some of the bodies you can tell but he looks tired.

He is starting a small fire nearby and sits in front of it once the sparks of his flintstone spark to life.

He looks at you and gestures that you sit across from him.

Gonyaul remained patient and calm. He did his best to look amicable and approachable. He would have offered something, but he had no food.

He smiled softly as the man gestured for him to join him. Gonyaul was encouraged that perhaps he was building bridges and changing hearts as he had hoped.

He came over and sat across from the man. He signed as he spoke, something he was enjoying doing more and more of whenever he talked.

“Thank you.”

The man bowed at Gonyaul almost imperceptibly. He started to talk in his language in a slow cadence, pointing at the corpses around you. With his knife, he pointed to the sky and at the circling carrion birds. He points around the circling Plain that grows darker with each heartbeat and finally points to the fire...

Gonyaul listened very carefully and even leaned in slightly closer as if that would help hear the foreign words forming out of his mouth. Eureka! His listening skills paid off and he discerned he could make out every syllable but had absolutely no idea what any of it meant.

He had to rely more on the body language and followed the direction his knife was pointing. He looked noticeably confused. He gathered it had something to do with the bodies, and perhaps they would be eaten by beasts of the plains and birds of the air if not taken care of. Did that mean burn them, he wasn’t sure though.

“I help … you show?” He tried gesturing his words but wasn’t sure if he was doing a good job of it.

The Bonecaster made a gesture that seemed to indicate that they should wait with his hands, both palms facing down. And then looking up to the sky he began singing. Softly at first as if he was whispering but gradually the pitch of voice rose.
The words formed by the man were unknown to Gonyaul as he started to pound his free hand slowly into his own chest in relative rhythmic simplicity as if drumming. His pitch would raise and fall in easy to follow patterns after a while intersected with whistles that recall bird-songs.

It soon dawn on Gonyaul that they were holding some sort of vigil for the dead.

Gonyaul was mesmerized by the ceremony the man was performing. The Vaux had ceremonies and rituals for everything; everything had meaning and even the way you poured a drink or folded a piece of your clothing meant something purposeful.

He sat patiently and learned. He didn’t join in even though he picked up the rhythm and beat, but instead sat there still and in support of what obviously was a difficult time for the Odsier. Gonyaul didn’t want to do anything to disturb the grieving and special vigil.

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