"Officer, how did it go?"
The lead officer of the mercenary group looks at her with sadness on his face. His expression does not give much hope.
"We have been sorely diminished by that raid, mistress. We lost about forty percent of our men, not to mention the damages to 2 of the wagons, and a few merchants who died in the fight as well."
I can see he is pained by the memories of the fight, so I let him go. "Very well, officer. I will be helping with the burials. Carry on."
A puzzled look overcomes his face. "Are you sure, mistress? I mean, we have more than enough soldiers for the digging."
I look at him in the eye, sternly. "Just because I have a wax seal on my forehead and can do pretty light shows with my hands does not mean that I am less human than you all are, or less affected by the events that transpired."
Embarrased, he stammers "Yes my lady. Sorry, my lady", quickly bows and leaves. A quick survey of the battlefield confirms his report: there are 2 wagons smoldering from fire arrows, a few bodies in noble clothes, in addition to the twenty-something bodies that litter the landscape, all able warriors who died defending their charges. Any who says that mercenaries are driven by money and have no honor should just take a glimpse of this scenery. Maybe then they'd understand.
As I go over to help with the digging, I can't help but think of their individual lives, their families, the very reason they joined this life. I know I joined to hide from my family. The money is good, the life exciting, and since we move a lot, I don't stay in one place too long for my family to find me. But other than my quite-extreme circumstances, why would any mortal choose such a life? Is general life so bad that the money offered by a mercenary band is so good in comparison?
By the time the digging is done, a profound sadness occupies my heart. I feel guilty for this massacre, since I didn't go out to help them. No, I was selfish enough to think of myself first. A group of Dragon-bloods was outside, searching for me, with their oh-so-glorious caste marks in their foreheads and their animas in full glory. To go out would mean to be captured, to go back to that blasted isle and it's twisted inhabitants, pale mockeries of what they destroyed so many years ago.
So it is not with hipocrisy or for courtesy that once all the bodies are buried, and everyone is turning to leave, that I get my flute, stand near the center of the makeshift graves, and begin to play.
I play my heart, my thoughts; emotions given fleeting form in sounds that touch others, transmitting echoes of the sadness that wells up within me. I play for them, so that their passing may be in peace. I play for their families, that they may know that someone honors them in their last moment. I play my tears, now streaking my face, for they will never again see the sun set as it now does over this land. Alas, the sun set over their lives, and they shall not awaken from this sleep.
While I play, I pour my all into the song, into the melodies that flow from my instrument. My body relaxes, giving everything to the minute lip and finger movements that shape this requiem. The wind around me begins to buffet my short hair, lifting the dirt and dust off the ground, so that it not taint their resting places. Soon after the emotion is so much, that my anima flares, and amidst the lightning arching from my fingers and the flute, the silhouette of an air dragon can be faintly seen, coiling around my form. It just stands there, bearing silent witness to my sorrow, to the sadness I release into my song.
Today has truly been a sad day, in the lives of many, and in mine.