Another scenic exercise. I challenge visitors to Mt. Hope Cemetery to find this location!
Mt. Hope Cemetery is large and old, encompassing trees and hills just a few blocks away from the lilacs of Highland Park. The wizards entered past the wrought iron gates and wound their way up and down the old cobblestone roads to their destination, a secluded hollow too steep and isolated for anyone to use for burial — any Mundane use, that is. Its very isolation made it a preferred spot for the internment to be performed tonight.
Patton followed Dr. Feeley and Mr. Orenda as they climbed up and over the ridge that separated the hollow from the nearest road. The descent was quite steep and made more treacherous by darkness and fallen limbs hidden by years of crumbling leaves. At the bottom was a flat area not fifty feet across, divided by the trunks of a couple of fallen forest giants. This spot was completely hidden from view of the surrounding city, and even the sky above was only revealed when winter winds moved the leaves overhead down to the valley floor. It was summer now, and the patches of stars above were few.
Once they came to a halt the silence set in. At this time of night there were no squirrels to disrupt the leaves, and any mice that might be about were beneath so many layers that they might as well be underground. The hills and vegetation were just as effective at blocking traffic noise as they were lines of sight. Even though the wizards were in a city of over two hundred thousand people, they could have been alone on a desert island.
“Is this the place?” asked Patton as he peered into the darkness.
“This is the place,” replied Dr. Feeley as he dug into his pocket and pulled out a handful of tiny crystals. They started to glow, and he threw them up into the leafy canopy where they scattered and stuck to the bottoms of leaves and branches, leaving an artificial starlight that was just bright enough so they could see what they were doing.
“Nice effect,” said Mr. Orenda. “How do you get them back?”
“I don’t bother. They’ll run out in a couple of hours, and then fall and be mixed in with the leaves. If any Mundane discovers one they’ll just think it’s a pretty rock. They’re pretty easy to make — remind me and I’ll show you sometime.”
Dr. Feeley then turn his attention to the ground, seeking out a spot that was free from major obstacles and big enough for a grave. When he was satisfied he cast a spell that was a reasonable imitation of a leaf blower, minus the noise, and blew away the debris to reveal bare earth.
Meanwhile Mr. Orenda dug in his backpack and pulled out a large piece of silk. “Here, Patton, you take this edge and help me unroll this. No, the other side up.” Patton did as he was told, and moments later the silk burial shroud was flat between their outstretched hands. They stumbled sideways in the dim light to Dr. Feeley’s patch of bare earth and laid it carefully on the ground.
“Step back, Patton,” said Mr. Orenda, and he squatted down next to the shroud and stroked it with a couple of complex gestures. The shroud deformed as if a body was rising up out of the earth underneath it.
“Wow! What is that?”
“The silk is a special type of foldbox,” replied Mr. Orenda. “The body has been in it all this time, waiting for this moment. Now let us proceed with the ceremony.”
“Patton, will you help me place the candles?” Dr. Feeley asked. The two of them placed and lit the candles around the body while Mr. Orenda squatted next to it, chanting a Seneca prayer. Once the candles were all in place the two wizards stood respectfully behind Mr. Orenda, observing the ritual. Eventually the shaman stood up, raised his arms and looked skyward. The lump under the shroud slowly disappeared as if the body were being lowered into the ground.
When the silk was once again flat on the ground a faint wind stirred through the hollow, blowing out the candles. Dr. Feeley raised his hand, and one by one they flew to him and he placed them in his bag. Mr. Orenda gathered up the silk, and the wind picked up, stirring the leaves. In moments the only indication that anyone had been there was the magic specks still glowing in the trees.