"The small town of Sirus only had about 500 occupants. Sirus wasn't big enough to warrant walls so it was an open community of homes and shops. Its nearest border was the Gerf border however it was quite far away from it."
"The town wasn't particularly wealthy so generally they only had a few merchants or adventurers pass through and rarely did anyone stay for a long time. Although one day a visitor showed up who was quite different from the usual ones."
"At a quick glance he looked like an unassuming young-man, he was of medium build and height and had a head of disheveled black hair that slightly hid his eyes. Initially the townsfolk didn't know what to make of him as they saw him walking down the street holding a shovel lazily across his shoulder. Some more astute individuals noticed he was humming and had a soft smile on his face, this led many people to believe that this visitor was friendly so a few townsfolk went up to the young-man to say 'hello'."
"They asked him his name."
"Names Yule' he replied."
"They asked him why he carried a shovel."
"I'm a gravedigger' he replied."
"They all laughed thinking he was joking. The young-man wasn't laughing, he only kept that unchanging soft-smile on his face. So they awkwardly stopped laughing and asked him where he worked."
"The young-man smiled a bit wider as if he had heard something amusing and curiously shifted his head slightly to the side revealing a pair of dead eyes which made the smile he wore appear very, very misplaced."
"I'm your* gravedigger' he replied."
"The young-man spoke softly but despite that they all felt a cold chill run through their spine. They all quickly found excuses to leave the conversation."
"Nobody approached the young-man after that."
It had been about a week since I had arrived at Sirus and to be honest nothing much had happened since then.
For my gravedigger job I talked with the town mayor about the position and he told me where the graveyard was and he even told me I would get paid two silver a month which is more than enough for food.
The graveyard was a short walk outside of town and was a bit shabby looking to be honest. But at least it came with housing, a small one person shack came equipped with a bed, table and small cooking furnace.
When I first showed up at Sirus some townsfolk had come up to greet me, I'm sure I looked very curious carrying a shovel around. But when I told them I was going to be their gravedigger they all got weird and left, nobody has approached me after that.
Not that I mind really.
I just finished frying up some bacon, eggs and toast and man did it smell amazing! I sat down at my table and enjoyed half of my meal then leaned back on the chair kicking my feet up onto the table closing my eyes in delight.
I haven't had to bury anyone yet, I guess people don't die that often in a small town like this.
Also, oddly enough I've hardly thought about the events from Itzes which should probably be concerning but It wasn't for some reason. Luckily Izmus didn't talk much either and I didn't talk much to him as well, I didn't want to look like some wacko talking to himself after all.
Actually, I think I am quite enjoying this.
I haven't had to do any work at all, I can cook good food and I can sleep in as much as I want and nobody bothers me. Guess being a gravedigger was my dream job the whole time!
Damn, I jinxed myself.
Maybe it will go away if I ignore it?
*Knock Knock Knock!*
Sighing I dragged myself up from my chair and opened the door. There I saw a little girl who was probably around twelve years old. She had messy auburn hair with big hazelnut eyes and wore simple commoner clothing. She was also breathing heavily and had sweat on her forehead.
She seemed surprised to see me open the door.
She looked at me then paused, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath.
"Um.... Little miss?"
She opened her eyes and looked at me again.
"Eggs, Bacon and Toast."
"You were eating eggs, bacon and toast right?"
"Oh, um, yea."
"I knew it! It smells de-li-cous!"
I saw the girl nod as if she was proud of herself then she looked past me at my table which still had my breakfast sitting on it.
"Oh! You still have some left, you don't mind if I have some do you?"
Before I could react the girl had slipped past me and was sitting at the table eating my breakfast. I could only stare wide eyed as she scarfed down bite after bite of my delicious hand-crafted breakfast!
"Oh mister- *nom nom* this is really good! *nom nom* You should be a chef or something! *nom nom nom*"
"Oi stop! That's my breakfast!"
"Hmmm? *nom nom nom*"
A vein popped on my forehead.
I rushed over trying to move the girl to save some of my delicious breakfast but this girl had clamped her legs on the chair, she wouldn't budge!
"Fine if you wont get off the chair, I'll move the chair and you!"
I used all of my meager strength to lift the girl and the chair to move them away from the table to save my breakfast. I plopped them down by the bed and turned back to the table to see it empty, where was my breakfast?
"Ha ha *nom nom nom*, you're pretty funny mister!"
I looked back to see that the girl was still sitting on the chair but was holding the whole plate of my breakfast with her. She finished off the last bits of toast, put her fork and plate on her lap then bowed slightly to me, clapping her hands together.
"Thank you for the meal!"
Demon, this girl was a demon.
I sat down weakly on another chair holding my head in defeat.
"My breakfast, my delicious breakfast..."
"Yup, it really was good mister. Next time put more salt on the eggs though."
To walk into my home, eat my food and have the audacity to critique that very food, this girl had balls bigger than kings!
I let out a deep breath.
At least I had been able to eat half of it.
I looked up at the girl who was sitting on the chair swinging her legs back and forth humming contently. Who exactly was this little girl and why was she here to torment me?
"Oi little girl, why did you come here?"
She puffed up her cheeks when I called her a little girl.
"My name's Julie and I'm not a little girl, I'm strong and independent."
I swear my jaw dropped, the audacity for you of all people to call yourself 'independent'.
"Uh huh, and why are you here?"
"I came because someone needs to be buried."
Oh, someone finally died? Kind of odd to send a little girl for such a task though.
"Mmm, and where are they."
"I brought them in a cart, they are just outside."
"Alright, show me and let's get this done with, I want you out of here soon otherwise I fear for the security of my lunch."
Julie laughed softly and stopped swinging her feet and just looked at them. She looked a bit sad.
"Mmm. I'll show you."
She then nodded and then led me out of the shack. Just as she said there was a cart covered with a sheet of white cloth. For some reason Julie didn't get much closer to the cart so I walked over by myself and removed the cloth.
There laying in the cart with her hands folded across her chest was a pale and thin woman. She was nearly all bone and evidently she had died from some sort of unfortunate illness as she didn't appear to be too old. Looking at the dead woman's face I saw she had a head of auburn hair and hazel eyes.
The exact same hair and eyes that Julie had.
I turned back to look at Julie, she was looking away from the cart staring off into the clouds.
"Julie is this..."
"It's Mommy. Mommy always got sick easily."
"Does the rest of your family know?"
"It was just me and Mommy living together, Mommy has a brother with a family but when I told him he just said he was too busy to deal with it. But I didn't want to leave Mommy out so I pulled her here."
This girl pulled her dead mother all the way here from town? No wonder she was breathing heavy and sweating when she got here. Also, isn't that just a bit too much for a little girl?
I really wanted to punch that supposed uncle right now.
"I see, well lets get her buried then."
I saw Julie nod and so I went back into the shack and grabbed my shovel. Then I went back out and went to an opening under a large oak tree and was preparing to dig when Julie objected.
"Not there please."
I looked at Julie curiously and she pointed to a spot farther out from the oak tree.
"Mommy really loved the sun so I want her to be out of the shade and in the sun if possible."
Ah, I see.
I moved to where she pointed and started digging a grave, Julie sat a little off to the side, as I was digging she apologized to me.
"I'm sorry about eating your breakfast."
I nodded and didn't respond, I wasn't upset about it anymore, it was more amusing than anything.
"It was just really familiar yenno. Mommy made eggs, bacon and toast all the time but when she got sick she couldn't cook anymore. I tried to cook it for her when she got sick but I think I always burnt it, Mommy always ate it, smiled and thanked me though..."
I paused for a moment looking at Julie. Her eyes looked a bit watery and she looked surprised when she saw me looking. She quickly pulled her legs to her chest and hid her face against them.
I continued digging.
"You don't have to hide it, you can let it out."
Julie shook her head.
"Mommy said that I shouldn't be sad when she goes. Mommy said that I had to be a strong and independent girl and that nobody was going to help me once Mommy was gone. Mommy made me promise her so I did."
I nodded then stabbed my shovel into the nearby dirt pile.
Sad to say but her Mother was right. Just from hearing about Julie's Uncle I could tell that this girl had a hard lonely road ahead of her, she had to be independent and strong.
Who was I to tell her she shouldn't?
I wheeled over the cart which contained Julie's mother and gently picked up the body placing it at the bottom of the grave, unfortunately only the wealthy here built caskets for graves. I gently closed the eyes of Julie's mother then began filling in the grave.
I could hear the quiet sniffles of Julie behind me as I filled in the grave.
I didn't say anything though.
Eventually I finished filling in the dirt and I left the curled up Julie to go back into the shack to get a headstone. I also grabbed a chisel for engraving a message.
When I walked out I saw Julie was standing there with no trace of tears on her face. She had obviously cleaned up while I was inside the shack.
I didn't say anything though.
"So, what was your mothers name."
"Her name was Delilah"
I chiseled in the name and the year of death.
"Is there any message you want on the headstone?"
There was a long moment of silence where Julie was just staring at the recently dug grave.
"Just put 'I'll miss you Mommy.'"
I nodded and chiseled it in.
Then I placed the headstone in the dirt, lifted up my shovel and clanged it down three times.
On the third clang I felt the aura in the graveyard change. It became morbid, just as these farewells usually are, but in the background the soft chime of a church organ could be heard.
The funeral had started.
I truly wished deep down that I could give this girl's mother a proper farewell.
I cleared my throat.
"Delilah I'll be honest I don't know you, I hadn't even heard of you until your daughter brought your body here today. However, I have met your daughter."
I looked at Julie who was standing beside me.
"I know your daughter loved your cooking and I know she tried very hard to help you through your worst times. I know she loved you very much."
Julie had weakly reached out and tightly grabbed the hem of my shirt as she began to sniffle and her eyes watered.
"And I know that your daughter is doing her absolute best to upkeep her promise to you, she's definitely one of the strongest and most independent kids I've met."
Julie nodded and continued to sniff back the snot and tears that desperately wanted to rush forth.
"While I didn't know you Delilah I can tell just from meeting your daughter that you were a great mother. So you don't have to worry anymore, you've done your job, you can rest now."
I stuck my shovel into the ground in front of me and bowed my head slightly.
"May you rest in peace Delilah."
While my head was down I heard Julie finally give in and the tears and cries she was holding back were let out. Loud sobs and cries continued as she held onto my shirt tightly.
"I'm sorry Mommy I miss you so much, I couldn't be strong..."
"It's okay Julie."
I looked at her snot and tear covered face. She looked back.
"But I promised to be strong..."
"Crying at a funeral isn't weak Julie."
"No, it just means that you loved them dearly. So it's okay to cry at a funeral, you can cry and keep your promise."
A long time passed as I stood there with Julie as she cried for her dead mother.
Do you see what I see Izmus? This is the pain death brings.
Eventually she stopped crying and I waited for her to let go of my shirt. But she actually had the audacity to grab my shirt and blow her nose into it! I recoiled in disgust.
"Ha ha ha!"
I looked on surprised as Julie laughed at my obvious annoyance. Well at least she rebounded quickly.
"You brat. So, do you have a place to go now?"
"I'll go stay with my Uncle I guess, after a lot of begging he said I could stay with him and his family as long as I work for him in the stables."
Tsk. Making a little girl work just for a place to stay.
This Uncle sure was scum.
"Mmm I see."
"Yup, I should get going back. Yenno you're not as scary as the other townsfolk said you were."
"They said I was scary?"
"Yup, they said you have dead mean eyes and were weird."
"Oh that's lame, you know must know I'm not like that now huh."
"Nope, they were right, you do have dead mean eyes and are weird."
I stared speechless as Julie was walking away. She turned when she reached the road smiling at me.
"But in a good way yenno. I'll be back sometime for breakfast! Bye Bye!"
Ugh. I rubbed my forehead.
She was going to come back to steal more of my breakfast, what a troublesome girl.
However, when Julie was leaving I could definitely see that her eyes were red from crying and her nose was stuffed but I could also see closure on her face.
I guess today's funeral was a success.