Part Seven

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The only word he could find to describe the building he was in was 'church'. It didn't look like a traditional one from Earth, it looked like all the other buildings in the village. It was a long shack made of the same pale wood as every other building, chairs placed at semi even intervals along its length. Tapestries and windows covered the walls, one huge and colourful tapestry hung at the far wall opposite the door. In front of that wall was a wooden container that could only be described as a coffin.

There was a person in every single flimsy chair, the sounds of their sobbing filling the room. Eli stood at the back, behind the very last chair next to Korian. He stared at the closed coffin, knowing who was in it, knowing it was his fault Amos was in there.

It was two days after the Mage had shown up in the village, two days that had been filled with a strange eerie silence. Korian had taken him back to the tree base the day after to let everyone there know what had happened. The people at the base had been lucky enough not the be affected by the Mage's attack. They had only stayed one night, heading back down to the village the next morning to see what damage had been done.

The people were quiet that day, wandering the streets like zombies. They didn't seem to know what to do, they had given up. He did see some in the fields trying to tend to the crops, but more than once he saw them throw down their tools and walk away.

The stalls were closed, the children gone, the sun beating down on the dirt road and its inhabitants. When the pair arrived, the villagers turned their heads to the ground, not daring to even glance at Eli. He wouldn't either, it was his fault.

They had spent that day trying to help out as much as they could. Eli helped look after those who had been injured when the Mage had attacked and dragged them all out into the street. Korian used the little magic he had left to try and fix the crops, giving all that he had back to the land. It didn't do much, but Eli had been told that they would survive for a little while.

They had spent the night in Amos's shack because despite the help they had given the people, they still didn't want them around. Amos's house was the only building where they would not be turned away. Eli had barely slept that night, the guilt that was slowly consuming him only worsening as he stayed in the dead man's house.

Now, early in the morning, he stood in the hall with Korian and the rest of the villagers. The yellow morning light seeped through the windows, casting oddly shaped shadows over the walls. It lit up the coffin as if something holy hid away inside of it.

Everyone had been seated for a while and yet no one had come up to say anything, unlike a normal funeral on Earth. He wanted to ask Korian what was going on but knew that doing so would be disrespectful.

There was no signal that anything was about to happen, but without anyone saying a single thing, the villagers began to speak at once. It took him a second to realise that they were singing, every single one of them. He glanced at Korian, watching his mouth move with the words. He could only assume it was a tradition in Arumnian funerals.

The song was slow, almost haunting, the voices of the villagers melting together into a powerful harmony. He stayed silent, not knowing the words. He allowed the foreign words to fill his ears, closing his eyes and losing himself in the sound. There was a longer note and he found himself able to pick up the sound of the deep baritone men and the high pitched voices of the women and children. It was beautiful.

He didn't know what it meant, couldn't even understand the words now that they were stretched out. Despite it, he felt like the song fit the situation; that its hauntingly long notes and the hundreds of villagers voices singing it spoke perfectly about how they felt about Amos.

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