Parting is Full of Sorrow
"Must you go?"
"Talitha, you know why I must go," he told her once more. As he stepped foot into the boat, she quickly grabbed onto his arm to stop him. He looked back down at her. "You promised …" He gently removed her hand and said, "I will not forsake my Prince for some whimsical promise we made long ago."
"So you cherish your Prince more than your own family?" she asked.
"How dare you presume that! I go to protect the ones I love whether it be my family or my Prince," he told her. She hung her head ashamed that she had used such an underhanded measure just to keep him with her.
"You're an honorable man, Icetas, and if you were to stay with us, I would be asking you to be less than you are. Go," Talitha said gesturing towards the sea. His eyes thanked her finally understanding. He softly lifted her hand to his chest and whispered, "Keep this safe until my return."
She knew his heart longed to stay with them but his soul ached to feel the burn of battle. Pools were starting to form in her hazel eyes but she would be strong for him. No amount of tears keep him with her. She knew the life that awaited him across the sea would be filled with hardship for by now age had caught up with him. The passing years had not been kind to him.
Their son sat on horseback on the null behind her. He sat straight and firm in the saddle just like his father had taught him. Cropped hair stuck out at all angles; the blond ends glinting against the dark clouds that lay in the west. The eyes of his mother looked back at his father from his face.
He, too, knew that there was no stopping his honor-bound father from answering the call of his prince. The young boy only wished he could be riding into battle along side his father.
"The day will come when you will protect our Prince from his enemies but this is not that day. This day you must watch over your mother as I will not be here to," his father told him as he was handed the reins of the horse he sat upon. The stallion stood tall and proud, displaying every bit his ancestors' blood; his grey coat shown in the early morning sun. The horse seemed to understand that the duty of watching the young lad had passed unto him.
As the knight motioned to the oarsman, his wife cried out from the shore. In seconds, she had possession of her son's horse and then woman and horse galloped into the sea. Water sprayed them and her robes were drenched. Her husband looked in shock and their son stood helplessly on shore.
She steered the horse to the side of the boat. When she reached it, she threw herself into the arms of her dearest and the tears she had been holding back spilled forth. He held her until she was only coughing and gasping. She felt as if this was the last time she would ever see her husband again. All the times before had never been like this. There had always been some hope within her that he would return. He rubbed her back and whispered sweet nothings into her ear.
"Please come back home," she murmured into his shoulder. Above the crashing of the waves and the water lapping at the hull of the boat he almost didn't hear her. "I always will," he promised. They both knew his promise was empty but neither wanted to voice what the future held.
In the years to come she would stand, waiting, on the shore for a soldier who was never coming home. He would die in battle; a death befitting a man such as he. Their son would grow up, wanting the same glory his father had gained.
A barge would bring his fallen body back to her. His Prince and his fellow knights would accompany it. They would present her with his sword and shield as further evidence of his demise but his Prince's presence would prove that he had done his sworn duty. The sword and shield would remain unused above the hearth until the time came when their son would take them up just as his father before him.
She would grieve for the rest of her living days until her eyes closed in death and she met her beloved in the afterlife. That was the future that awaited, she knew, but never could she take away her husband's yearning for the battlefield.
"Live your last moment protecting your Prince, Icetas, and take my love with you," were her words of goodbye. "Teach our son to honor and protect his Prince. Live to see his children and their children and know that I will wait for the time when we will be reunited, Talitha," Icetas said as he gave her a final kiss.
He set her down in the shallow waters, her hands still reaching out for him. The oarsman had slowly rowed back to the beach and the stallion had swum back. Mother and son watched as the boat carried the man, who they both cared for, to his glorious death.
48 years of age
Lay here in peaceful rest
After he was felled in battle
Protecting His Majesty
With his courage and honor
85 years of age
A loving Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother
Though she lived many years without her beloved
She never stopped loving him and was faithful
Until her dying breath
We, who left behind, know that those
Who die with love in their hearts
Will always be reunited
In the life after this
AN: This is another story that I had up a few years ago.