Eulogy of a Ranger | Short Stories of the Anhult Wildlands

Eulogy of a Ranger

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The assembled crowd approached the ceremonial knoll. The small hill built up over time, like the ceremony about to happen. The people of the region added layers of dirt until the hill stood higher than the mangrove forest. Today, they gathered around the top in a ring and knelt. The oldest presented Lutra with the Banner of the Steward. It was an elaborate illustration on a thick reed paper.


Lutra's son, Ardelis, took the position in the ring reserved for family, with his back to the setting sun. No one spoke. They waited in silence, heads bowed, as the sun dipped low in the sky.


Lutra's husband had been gone for two years. She stood at the center of the ring and took a deep breath. She considered that perhaps the ceremony had been delayed too long. Her eyes closed and opened slowly with a long breath.


"Oorsahn." she paused and cleared her throat. "Oorsahn lived as the epitome of devotion and stewardship to the Unilynn. He knew its needs first among us. His leadership, courage, and expertise brought us together. He knew our community's needs and brought us closer to the Unilynn."


"In the dark of my dreams, I see him. During the day when the air hangs thick, I hear his footfalls." She raised her hand, "I am glad for these memories, I no longer grieve for the past anymore. He calls us to continue on- to continue our walks through the Unilynn. He asks the young among us to listen for their call and to answer. Nothing would make him more proud."



Maybe Lutra had more to say, but she trailed off and stood for some time. The calls of animals and rustle of the wind made her silence seem more of a prayer. She turned toward the sun, indicating she finished.


Oorshan's cousin stepped forward first. "His service will not be forgotten. My family will heed his words. Please accept our sincere condolences." Then the elder ranger that had handed Lutra the illustration stepped forward. "He answered the call as few could. His sacrifice was an honor to us all. Please accept my condolences."


They each approached in turn. Lutra put her palm to each attendee's palm and bowed her head low. She spoke a quiet "Thank you" to each.


Each person moved to acknowledge Ardelis as they left. They wrapped a multi-colored string around an arrow the boy held. They all left the knoll heading East, away from the setting sun. By the time the last one left, the sky had turned a deep orange. The sun's light receded steadily behind the horizon.



Lutra and Ardelis remained. She picked up her bow. Ardelis stood and brought her the arrow. "Here you are, mae."


She prepared to fire into the fading light. She whispered, "leadership, expertise, courage, devotion, love. stewardship" and let the arrow fly.


"It's time for us to move on Ardelis." The mother and son walked down the knoll heading to the East. At the base of the knoll, Ardelis noticed a cat in the tree. "Look!" He pointed.


Lutra stopped for a moment. "Hmm. That is an Ocelot, Ardelis. Perhaps your father sent it to keep an eye on us." She hugged him as they walked home.


I appreciate you reading my flash fiction article. This story compliments my River Writing Challenge submission - The One River. Thanks to my Twitter friend Anne Apart for the Eulogy prompt. One time, Ardelis told me that he saw an Ocelot with his mom and it was an important memory...

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