Still, I think tonight's 800+ words were worth the trouble, and highly informed by the "Day of the Dead" mood of the evening. A lengthy sample of it follows, after this section break.
As Niles crested the hill before the mound where he’d found the Cache, the smell of freshly disturbed earth made his heart sink. Stones and scree covered the side of the mound, with bare rock and fresh loam showing where the plant life had been scoured away by the rockfall. [...]
Niles saw the small group of Muurari gathered around the unlit pyre at the new foot of the mound before they saw him. The wails of the two prostrate women carried to him on the breeze. The bundles on the pyre cut him to his marrow: one broad-shouldered form which could only have been +++NAME, and one tiny bundle with mismatched arms. Had they been caught in the rock fall? Niles thought they had to be.The villagers milled around the women and the pyre, aimless. Tears streamed down Niles’s face as he stopped, still unnoticed, a few paces from the villagers, steadied his crutch, and reached within his habit for his copy of the Dictavit. He leafed to the back of the book, where the saddest and most-used appendices lay.Sancta mater, nutrix Creator omnium, his Tuis filiis vestris perducat amantem pectore, [Holy Mother, Creator and Nurse of all, bring these your children to your loving breast,] Niles sang, once in Holy Latin and once in the tongue of the natives.Several of the men lurched to their feet in surprise, and one ran at Niles, only to be tackled by his friend.Niles continued. Cultusque consolabor eos, et deducet eos ad quiescendum est. [Nurture and comfort them, and guide them to their rest with you.]+++NAME’s mother sat back on her heels and sobbed anew as her heart broke over again. Her husband knelt beside her, his face wet and shining though he could not voice his grief.Defunctorum et eos in aeterna vita infer vobiscum communionem, ab omni calumnia et dolor libero, a tincidunt debita eorum iniurias aliorum. [Bring them and all the departed from this life into everlasting communion with you; free them from all oppression and sorrow; release them from the debts of their oppression of others.]The group gathered into itself: families clustered together, and many bowed their heads despite themselves in reverence.Et dimitte nobis Mater enim iniuriam fecimus in his vitam nobiscum: vicibus enim eos lædere, sic errare viis eorum verba vulnerant eos diximus. Intercede pro nobis ipsis, ut remittat nobis in suis temporibus, modis et verbis. [And forgive us, Mother, for the wrongs we did these in their lives with us: the times we hurt them, the ways we misled them, the words we said to wound them. Intercede with them for us, that they may forgive us in their own times, ways and words.]Niles hobbled over to +++NAME, took the flaming torch from him and thrust it into the base of the pyre. The woodpile was dry and well built, and began crackling immediately.Nos ad te dimittam, Mater, ut iam amissa, eas vobis commendamus, ut iam recepit eos in altera vita eis expectamus, sicut iam lumen et duxit eos in caritas tuo hortis. Ut bene instruant, ut credimus. [We release them to you, Mother, as we have already lost them; we commend them to you, as you have already accepted them; we hope for them in the next life, as you have already guided them into the Light and Love of your gardens. As you instruct, so we believe.]Ut credimus, said a few of the people. So we believe.Niles bowed his head, spent, and nearly fell. No one leaped to help him, but none had driven him away or attacked. The families either drifted away from the pyre or stared into its depths.It was a start.
The Latin, I'm sure, is abominable, because it's straight from Google Translate, but I will firm that up in revisions, with a little help from a good buddy of mine in the clergy. ;-) Also, do you see how I nearly doubled my word count by including both translations? Huh? Huh?
Also, to field the inevitable questions: no, this religion isn't Christianity, nor descended from it. But I tried to work in ecclesiastical tones similar to those I was raised in, so it ought to ring familiarly in the ear.
And so, off to bed. More tomorrow.