Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.
It was on a beautiful midsummer morning that I discovered the torn and mangled bodies of my wife and son.
My son was nearing his sixteenth summer. I had never noticed until that moment how long his legs had grown, how strong his arms. His chest was covered with fine curling hair, as dark as mine, though the hair on his head was closer to the auburn of his mother's.
His mother. I had known her all my life; we were born in the same village, grew up doing childish things together, and she had chosen me to be her mate when we'd both been not much older than our son.
Their broken, twisted bodies were drenched in blood. Already, hungry insects had found them...
I knelt down to give them a final farewell, to send their spirits to the Great Ones. I bowed my head over my clenched hands, and felt the water of my tears going with them on their journey into the darkness.
I cried for them. But most of all, I cried that I could not yet accompany them into the dark of the next world.
Not yet, at least.
First, I had something I must do.