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Landsbyen -Into the North- An Epic Poem 103

Two days passed without event before the ceremony to re-inter Joulupukki's parents began. Because of where it was being held, the number of elves to participate had to be limited. With the last minute nature of the event the Village was unaware of the rite and, mostly, only close family and friends, and, of course the Council of Six attended. As they entered the courtyard the first thing Joulupukki and Jessica noticed were the new death boxes that Seileach had prepared for Erlenkönig and the Queen. They were superb yet understated with beautiful hand carvings of many of each of his parents' life events embedded in the wood, including images of them, and Joulupukki as well, carved in both boxes. Glass covered the top of each box and lifelike images were painted on the cerements in which the bodies were wrapped. The headstone that Joulupukki had carved, with the simple inscription 'Aisling', was embedded into the wall above her. An identical stone was placed above Erlenkönig with the inscription 'NydeligEn'. Starting above these stones was a beautifully carved remembrance of the two of them leading down to the ground between them and creating a path that ended at the base of the willow. Both his and Aisling's date of birth and death were written in the text. He looked at it. December “I see why you are so handsome,” Jessica said as she turned away from the boxes. “Your mother was beautiful, Joulupukki. Whomever created the painting is very skilled. It looks just as I remember her but younger. Is your father's accurate?” “From what I remember of him, yes it is,” Joulupukki replied. “He is as beautiful as your mother.” “Yes, I guess he is. I don't think I would ever have thought to refer to him as beautiful, but you are right he was beautiful.” Joulupukki followed his betrothed over to the chairs on the dais. The ceremony began shortly after and there were many speakers who told of the honor and goodness of Erlenkönig and the strength and determination of his human wife. As the ceremony came to a close he noticed a small amount of magic being used close by. It was nothing that felt to be threatening and would probably not even have noticed it if not for it's unusual nature. He reached out with his own magic and found it difficult to pinpoint the origins of the energy being emitted. “Is everything OK,” Jessica touched Joulupukki's hand. He looked at her. “Yes,” he said as he continued his search for the origins of the magic. “I feel something strange.” He relayed to her. He saw the look of concern slowly take over her expressive face and calmed her by saying, “It is nothing to be concerned about, my Love.” Then he realized where the energy was coming from. It was the old willow tree. He reached out to it and followed the line of magic as it flowed up the tree, through the boughs and into a small branch that had grown through the window into the Royal Suite. Joulupukki was intrigued by what he felt. The tree struggled to supply enough energy to complete the task that it had set forth for itself, but continued with single minded determination any way, even to the point of damage to itself. He felt for the old tree and allowed it to tap into his own magic until it had revived itself. There was no thanks offered by the willow. There was not even an acknowledgement of the existence of another living presence. The tree simply accepted the magic and used it toward its own end. Seileach turned from the burial and noticed Joulupukki staring up at the window. He wondered what was going through his thoughts. He was rather surprised at his answer when he asked what he was thinking. “Have you noticed the willow branch growing through the window of the Royal Suite,” Joulupukki asked Seileach? “What,” was Seileach's response, expecting Joulupukki to say something about the ceremony. “Seileach, that was a beautiful ceremony and the new death boxes are exquisite. Thank you so much for your hard work in making this day as dignified and respectful as you have. I'm sure that Joulupukki feels the same way. Please forgive his absent minded rudeness.” She nudged Joulupukki which revived him from his intense wonderment affixing him to the branch of the willow tree. “Uhh, I'm sorry Seileach, the ceremony could not have been more reverent. I know Erlenkönig would be pleased at such an exceptional tribute to he and his wife. Thank you for your help, especially with such short notice.” “You are very kind, both of you. Now what were you saying about the window?” “The window to the Royal Suite has a willow branch growing into it and the willow is sending magic through the branch. I see no reason to think that the magic is dangerous but I am awfully curious as to what it is being used for. Would you care to join Jessica and I in exploring our little mystery?”

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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