What color do you feel like today?
The air was crisp and fresh, the wind carrying the smells of freshly cut fields to my nose as the carriage rolled on along the hard packed dirt road. I was a bit envious of the wind, free to flow as it wished while I was restrained on jostling wheels. I smiled. Despite the sadness in my heart, I was glad the wind was speaking to me again.
It had informed me there would be fine harvests of sage and mint this year. The farmers were overjoyed with the abundance of their initial output. “Has the interim Windspeaker arrived at Lord Rothmar’s estate yet?” I whispered.
The wind swirled in through one window and out the other. Not yet. Of course. I’d only left two days hence. “Well, be sure to pass that information along to them when they do.”
The curtains in the carriage stirred with a light puff of air. The wind was amused that I would even tell it such a trivial thing. Naturally, it would tell the other Windspeaker.
“Master Galin, we’ve almost arrived.” The portly driver hollered over the breeze unnecessarily. The wind had already told me that as well. As if I couldn’t tell when I was at the outskirts of the village where I had grown from a boy to a man.
“Thank you,” I answered. “I am looking forward to being home, despite the circumstances.” My throat tightened as I thought of what awaited me at the little cottage on the hill, but I swallowed my grief. I had to put on a brave face for my sisters and brother.
The carriage dropped me off at the village green. I could walk the remaining mile to my mother’s house. It gave me time to stretch muscles sore from sitting and bouncing across the countryside at any rate. And to brace myself for my siblings.
The wind buffeted me onwards, giving me strength and encouraging me. They were waiting in the garden. They had spent many hours under the pear tree since mother had gone. They could not hear the wind telling them they were not alone in their grief. I promised I would tell them. They knew how much she had loved the wind. After all, there was something of the wind in each of their names.
I didn’t go in through the front of the house. I rounded the corner to find them exactly where the wind had said they’d be. Where I took after father, blond and stocky, Aria took after mother, slender and dark of hair and eyes. At 19 she was the next oldest after me, old enough to be married and starting a family of her own except for her bullishness and grand ideals keeping all suitors at bay. I’m not sure there’s a man within a thousand leagues who could tame her.
The afternoon sun was hot, and the younger ones dozed in her lap in the shade of the pear tree. Tuuli had grown a bit since I had left the village, but not quite as much as Samir. I couldn’t be sure, standing at a distance as I was and them curled up in the cool grass, but I thought he might be taller than her. Two years separated them, but I would have wagered that Samir had an inch on his older sister.
A light breeze blew across their faces, and they stirred to waking. I grinned a small thanks to the wind and strode across the garden to my family. “Galin! You’re home!” Aria exclaimed.
Samir and Tuuli rubbed the sleep from their eyes and scrambled to their feet to embrace me. “Big brother! We missed you!”
Their relief that I had finally returned mixed with their grief as they laughed and sobbed into my traveling cloak. Aria stood just to the side, her face contorting as she fought with her own emotions. The last few weeks had been hard on her. There were new lines in her forehead. She appeared to have aged ten years.
I reached out my hand to her. “I’m home.” The tears that she had been holding back spilled over as she joined the huddle under my arms. I sank to my knees and cried with all of them. The wind swirled gently around us, caressing us and drying our tears.
The next day we went down to the temple to retrieve mother’s body. The priestess had preserved her well, and she looked resplendent in her emerald Order robes. Aria said she had asked to be laid to rest in them.
The funeral pyre had been assembled at the edge of town, far enough away that an errant breeze wouldn’t accidentally set the whole place ablaze, not that the wind would ever dishonor my mother like that, but close enough to be considered within the heart of the town. My mother had been the pride of the town. Everyone had come out for her funeral procession.
My siblings and I carried her litter down the main thoroughfare. Aria was in blue that matched the sky. Samir’s navy was almost too dark to be proper, but Tuuli’s green matched mine.
When we reached the edge of town, the parade of people fanned out around us. Samir and I lifted mother to the bed of the pyre. Aria and Tuuli arranged her robes and decorated her with flowers. We stood to the side to allow the rest of the villagers to lay wreaths and bouquets on her, to pay their last respects, and to impart their blessings for us.
There was singing from the priestess as she performed the final rites. A whispered chant arose from the delegation of Windspeakers sent from the Order. I wanted to join them, but as a family member of the deceased, the chant was for my comfort as much as it was to honor her. The air rippled in the open space, dancing with their voices.
A torch was passed through the crowd. Everyone had one, and lit theirs from their neighbor’s. Samir stepped forward and dipped his torch towards the priestess’s. Then Tuuli. Aria. Me. A hundred torches raised in the air. The wind whipped through and snuffed out all but the four held by me and my brother and sisters. We laid them on the pyre and stepped back to the crowd.
The priestess began her song again, this time joined by the crowd. It was a cause for celebration. We carried the Windspeaker’s soul to the heavens with our song. The green flames dancing in the wind reminded us that this was an occasion of rebirth.
Yes. My heart ached to know I would never see my mother again as I remembered her. But this was no time for feeling blue. It was a green day.
Notes: I honestly never expected to go back to Galin so soon. I was brainstorming for this one and I decided I wanted to go with the color green. I’m not sure how or why but somehow Galin took the reins and this is what came of that. The ending is weaker than I’d like but it’s getting late and I have another long day scheduled tomorrow to get ahead of hours before the next snow storm hits on Wednesday.
This was a fun prompt to work through. Far more creative than some of the others have been, in my opinion anyway. How would you equate a feeling to a color? What feelings come to mind when you think of specific colors? Make a list! It could come in handy some day.
Tuesday’s prompt: If you were to teach as a career, what would you teach?
Probably math. I tutored a lot in high school. I bet I could make a story out of that. We’ll find out tomorrow! Have a great night!