They flow and glide around her like tender winds, each passing with a solemn nod or a quiet smile before moving on to the greater festivities, rejoicing in the life that they have lost for they know that all too soon the grief will come.
She moves like a shadow of herself, her every step soft and submissive, her every gesture light and ethereal. The weight of her heart and the sadness it holds is all too clear in her crystal jade eyes. Yet she moves with purpose, the long shimmering robes trailing around her body like the hands of phantom lovers hiding little from the eyes of man or god.
Such as we all are in birth, and in death.
Their song is low and haunting, the melody alone like a siren's song ensuring her heart will shatter on the jagged rocks of her grief. Still she is drawn in, her voice rising then lost amongst the growing harmony, joining the eternal song. Together their notes lift and fall, peak and valley, their love and their grief for the man they called husband, father, King poured out to the heavens while amidst the fires and tables behind others of his people share in his joys and failings as if all were sacred and nothing profane.
Dozens upon dozens had gathered, perhaps even more, and though her village was less then a hundred strong after the Empire's raids Maero guessed over three times that had come to pay homage and witness her father's final fate. Noble shamans and lesser queens stood amongst their retainers garbed in robes of crimson and sapphire, dandelion and mead. The petals of flowers and the bright berries from the trees served to stain and darken the robes before the touch of magic once more gave them the vitality of life.
Ornate or simple, as thin as lace and stroking every inch of flesh, the robes of the gathered glowed as bright as the stars to beckon their eternal eyes be cast down.
As their song carried towards the starlight and the gods distant home Maero found her eyes locked on her father's aged and nude figure. Every strong line he once possessed seemed hone to perfection, every muscle and sinew still taut as if he carried his blade to victory. She had never known another man as handsome as her father, and even when her eyes shifted to scan those present and revealed in all their humility she found none who held his strength and grace.
It made her weep all the harder and give greater power to the song as it rose again, as the ancient words spilled form her lips with neither thought or shame.
Together they sang and begged the gods would listen.
Together they grieved.
With every softly whispered verse of rites more ancient then the sun she worked on her courage, she steeled her nerves, for when the spellwords stopped she would sacrifice the man she had first truly loved.
Her steps were solemn, her harmony flawless, and with every final word drawing her closer to the rough hewn casket that served to cradle her father's earthly form she hoped the starlight would bless her tears and carry her love with him on his final way.
She sealed her prayer with a kiss, then let the flames consume him.
Her head could not lower, not now, certainly not today, and while no smile touched her lips she turned and let eyes raw with pain stare out over those who had come and those further on who still reveled and rejoiced in the night.
She did not speak it, such prayers are best offered in silence, but as the embers rose high above the village and sought out the abode of the stars, Maero prayed they guide her to her revenge.