The burrial

The Never Ending Quest - Episode 88715

Fred had nothing to dig with, and Velus had strong canine paws, so Velus soon realized that "help" baically meant "you do all the work while I watch." Naturally Velus was outraged, but couldn't think of any way to argue the matter.

After a while, the hole was quite deep, and Velus was quite tired. Fred picked Astra's body up carefully and put her in the hole. Velus appreciated it when Fred started pushing the dirt back in, since he was so tired. The ghost took some rocks off her own cairn, and put them over the tomb.

Fred looked from Velus, to the ghost, to the tomb. "I suppose I should say a few words now. Ahem:
"'A doleful damsel I heard cry,
"'Astra, we hardly knew ye'."

Velus growled, interrupting Fred; he clearly did not appreciate the reference. The ghost looked at him quizically; she clearly did not know the song, and had no idea what Fred was talking about.

"Not to worry, people. I have a better one:
"'Alas, poor Astra! I knew her well. A lady
"'of infinite temper, of most excellent speaking, she hath
"'scorned me b'hind my back unnumbered times; and now how
"'abhorred in my imagination it is!'

Velus had actually bitten Fred for that.

"Velus! What was that for? You didn't even let me get to the rhyme!"

Velus said nothing; he didn't even move. "He knows what it was for!" thought Velus. "Had he no respect? No delicacy? Of course, Astra didn't show much of either during her life, but still... why couldn't he say something sensible?"

The ghost looked on even more confused now. She had thought it was quite beautiful; why had the dog objected to it?

"Okay! Okay! I got the point! A-hem!
"'We thus commit her body to the ground;
"'earth to earth,
"'ashes to ashes,
"'dust to dust;
"'in sure and certain hope of the afterlife promised by our Almighty Lord'."

Fred looked down to Velus. He knew he had said something wrong and was sure Velus was going to chastise him for it. Velus, however, did nothing of the sort. Maybe he wasn't a Christian? Or maybe he, like Fred, couldn't remember it correctly?

Velus approached Fred's leg, and leaned against it. Soon Fred noticed he was crying! He felt something cold on his shoulder, and turned to realize the ghost was also crying! And was doing so on his shoulder! Oddly, the ghost's tears were not dripping down his armor, but were disappearing into her robes.

He let them cry it out. When he got tired, he sat down, but they still cried over him. He did not know how much time passed, the three of them in silence crying for the new tomb, but finally, tears subsided, albeit only a little.

"Well Velus, now we must go on. Astra said she, like me, was here to slay the dragon, and I think we must do that."

As he approached the tunnel leading back to the market, Velus whined in a way he never had before. Fred didn't initially know what this new sound meant, but when he saw where Velus was looking, the message became clear: "What are we going to do about the ghost?"

  1. "Never mind the ghost; someone is sure to come by later to help her."
  2. "Ghost, you're coming with us."

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