By Amanda Kear
Characters: Mengk/Terzian, Cobweb
Word Count: 3127
Spoilers: The Bewitchments of Love and Hate
Summary/Author’s Note: I was intrigued as to who Mengk was and how he ended up looking after Terzian.
Disclaimer: The world of Wraeththu belongs to Storm Constantine.
Lord Terzian was dead.
Mengk sat on the bare, scorched earth where the pyre had been. The smell of charcoal was in the air, and nothing but that remained of his Lord. The fire had been encouraged to burn fiercely – hotter than any wood fire had a right to burn – and no fragments remained. No hunks of charred wood, no cremated bone, not even the metal of a ring or belt buckle. There had been ash of course; the flaking residue of flesh and bone indistinguishable from that of timber or clothing. Yet that was now gone as well. Cobweb had taken the scant handfuls left from the fire’s hunger, powdered them in his hands and had thrown them one by one into the wind. All that was Terzian erased from existence by the breeze.
His Lord’s family had ordered the huge pyre to be constructed in the farmland out beyond Galhea. Mengk had thought at first that choice of location might be to permit all the hara of the town to attend the funeral, but that was not the case. The mourners were few: Terzian’s blood relatives, his consort, a few house hara and some high-ranking soldiers who had remained with the garrison at Galhea. Of course, there was that one Gelaming there too – he might call himself Seel har Griselming, but he was of the Gelaming mould and mindset. So a Gelaming was permitted to be present, yet of the ordinary hara that Terzian had ruled, and the rank and file of the army that he had commanded, there were none.
No, the location of the pyre had not been chosen to celebrate Terzian’s life, but because the place was isolated and undistinguished. There was to be no memorial to his lord. No gravestone, no statue, no plaque. Terzian was to be quietly forgotten. The Gelaming had no doubt insisted upon it. That seemed to be their style; to edit the universe and the hara in it until they conformed to the Gelaming ideal of perfection. Terzian’s name would undoubtedly be erased from history as smoothly as those of the myriad human rulers and warriors that Wraeththu had already forgotten.
Mengk would never forget. His grief was raw and sharp and burned as hot as the flames of the pyre. Every day he would remember Terzian’s name.