Lyaru’s body was slowly lowered into the grave. The surrounding members of the Lodge, dressed in blue, bowed their heads in respect. Maikyl finished up his eulogy and looked up to see how Kevyl was holding up.
Kevyl stood silently with a blank expression on his face, his grief masked except for the constant fall of tears from his cheeks.
As the grave tenders stood aside, the funeral party slowly filed back towards the Lodge. Once the last mourner had left, they made short work of filling and putting the grass back over the grave.
Maikyl didn’t have to quicken his step to catch up to Kevyl. He was shuffling along, head down, obviously mourning one of his favorites in the kitchen staff and a fellow Pamnyki. Kevyl was lost in the swirl of memories of his parents, of his native Pamnyki, and of Lyaru and her special meals that she would fix when Kevyl was young and homesick. Maikyl walked up behind Kevyl and put his hand between Kevyl’s broad shoulders.
“Is there any I can do to assuage your grief?” Maikyl asked, concerned at Kevyl’s morose walk.
Kevyl said nothing but kept shuffling back towards the Lodge. He kept shuffling and sniffling all the way back into his old quarters when he was the Steward of the Lodge.
Maikyl stood outside the door, pleading for Kevyl to open it to no avail. Kevyl was locked away in his quarters. The layout of the castle was such that the only way out besides the locked door, would be to jump out a window. Hours passed and still Maikyl was outside the door. He had long since given up on standing and was sitting with his back against the door, waiting for it to open.
As the first hints of dusk began to color the sky, Benjyl approached and demanded that Maikyl come and sup with him. Benjyl wouldn’t take no for an answer and before long, Maikyl found himself sitting in Benjyl’s kitchen as Benjyl and his wife, Sulea, made a fine home cooked meal.
Benjyl sat a goblet of wine down in front of Maikyl as he told Maikyl what he already knew, “He’s fallen into a pit of despair and grief.”
“I know Benjyl, I know. I just don’t know how to help him through this. It’s killing me to be away from him right now, especially with him being locked up in his old quarters. Even I, as the ruler of the land, can’t force that door open. Only the Great Wolf.”
Benjyl nodded solemnly and agreed with Maikyl. Maikyl quickly drank the goblet of wine and slammed down the goblet shattering it causing Sulea to drop the clay bowl she was carrying, adding to the shards of clay from the goblet.
“By the Great Wolf! I am not leading my people. I’m sitting here whining about my mate who is locked away in sorrow. Why have I not summoned Kevyl’s parents. There are too many things for me to do besides sit here.” Maikyl shouted as he quickly got up knocking his chair over behind him.
For a brief moment, Benjyl summoned up all of his strength and faced Maikyl.
“No Maikaj, as the Elder Healer, I command that you sit here and have a relaxed dinner with us.” Benjyl spoke in a commanding tone that left no room for opposition. Maikyl’s eyes grew large and he quietly picked up the chair and sat back down.
“Yes Benjyl, I will stay for dinner.”
Back in his chambers, Kevyl was curled up under his traditional Pamnyki blankets. The swirl of thoughts had not lessened but had grown. Kevyl realized that he is the one who should have eulogized Lyrau at her funeral. She was Pamnyki and he was the highest ranking Pamnyki in all Taljira.
I can’t stay locked up in here but I don’t want to burden Maikyl with my sorrow and the children will see that I am upset which will upset them as well.
“Perhaps what I was told is true, my power is slight without Maikyl. Does that make me dependent on him or does it mean…” Kevyl trailed off and was surprised to hear the echo of his own voice in the room.
It means that Maikyl and I are at our most powerful when we are together and we are working as one for the betterment of our people and land. It is our strength to be able to rely on our partner and to be there for our partner in our times of celebration and sadness.
And now I understand why Maikyl left the door earlier and went with Benjyl. I needed my time to get the beginnings of closure and to begin to heal as well as begin to grow.
Kevyl jumped up out of his bed and ran downstairs to get to Benjyl’s house as fast as he could.
The Lodge settlement was spread out over a distance but Benjyl’s house was still within the inner walls of the Lodge. Kevyl was so wound up that he didn’t even knock, he just opened the door and ran in.
As Maikyl, Benjyl, and Sulea turned to look at him, he realized what he had just done and his face flushed a dark crimson.
“Benjyl, Sulea; my apologies. I needed to find Maikyl as quickly as I could.” he rushed and then turned to Maikyl.
“Maikyl, my love, I understand the Gift you have given me now. It is the power of Talija and it’s people along with the power and people of Pamnyki. The responsibility for them and their future. The raw energy that the land provides.” the words poured out of Kevyl, “That Maikyl, that is the Shaman’s Gift.”
As Kevyl finished, a wide chorus of wolves was heard throughout both lands.
Maikyl smiled sweetly, “No my love, that was the Great Wolf’s Gift.”
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