Chapter 64 - The Funeral Essay

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It was mid-morning, the following day. Gentry, Cannon, and O’Frell followed the cart that carried the linen-wrapped remains to the open bay of the sea.

Four men, strangers, walked ahead of the cart; the men Ben Hadal had provided to carry the body. One of them held a lead rope attached to one of the two horses that pulled the wagon.

The group traveled in silence. The only sounds their little procession made was the crunch of the wagon wheels on the stone, the sounds of their feet on the cobblestones, and the occasional snort from one of the horses.

O’Frell kept his eyes to the ground. Occasionally, he stole a look at Gentry or Cannon. The girl dabbed at her red eyes; the older warrior was stone faced. O’Frell reflected on
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He noticed that behind them, two sandy hills, dotted with green, rose above the flat of Alexandria. He was momentarily distracted by the calls of the seabirds that sailed high above the hills, and glided down into the bay.

O’Frell turned at a noise. He saw Cannon kneeling by one of two oil torches that had been placed in the sandy beach near the boat. Cannon was striking a flint with a steel, showering the head of one of the torches with sparks. It caught, and dark smoke rose above the yellow flame of the torch.

Cannon shoved the flint and steel into a pocket, and rose to his feet. He took both torches in either hand, and lit the second torch with the first. He carried both torches to Gentry, and handed one of them to her.

Cannon curled an arm around Gentry’s shoulders, and walked her to the waters edge. He waded a few steps into the water, took his sword, and cut the rope that held the boat. With a shove of his leg, the dinghy began to bob out into the harbor.

He returned to Gentry’s side, and said some quiet words to the girl. The pair tossed their torches into the boat.

Moments later, the little wooden vessel was an orange ball of flame, Cannon and Gentry could feel the heat of the fire on their faces. Clouds of smoke shot high into the sky, wood popped and cracked in the blaze, and the linen wrapped form disappeared in the flames.

“A funeral pyre fit for a hero”, said Cannon. “I’ll miss you old

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