Tala found Lasrial sitting morosely on a rock on the edge of their practice ground. The older angel was usually serious and solemn but today he drooped. The shades of the dead that thronged Thaladneth’s halls usually ignored the angels but they were crowded around Lasrial, so many in number that they made a barely audible susserating murmur.
“Lasrial,” Tala put her hand on his shoulder to make sure she got his attention, “what’s wrong?”
He looked up and asked eagerly, “Does our master have a task for me?”
“Not that I know of,” Tala replied, “but you looked so sad, I was worried about you. What’s wrong?”
“Today would have been my first master’s highest holy day,” he was solemn again and a tear might have glistened in one eye. “It’s a day I like to be busy on.”
“But today you’re not busy and you miss him?” Tala couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to lose her divine master, and she didn’t want to know.
“Humans mourn their dead by going and putting flowers or lit candles on their graves,” she offered. “I could come with you if you would like company.”
“Thank you,” he smiled at her, “but with a dead god that’s too close to worship to be safe.”
“Oh Lasrial,” she knelt down beside him and put her arms around his torso, and only his torso, under the point where his blue-grey wings sprang from his back, “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s all right little one, it’s not your fault.” He still hugged her back and he may have cried a little while she couldn’t see him as he petted her hair.
When he let her go she stood up. “If you want something to do,” she offered, “you can come and help me put all the books I pulled out in the library back on the shelves. If there’s time left after that, then you can take me through my spear drill again.”
“Your spear drill’s okay,” Lasrial observed in a why-would-we-do-that tone.
“Given the amount of time I’ve been doing it, you can’t tell me it’s up to your standards!” She flashed a smile at him.
“Well, no. You have a point.”