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The Nation Mourns

Thirty days after the harrowing massacre, a solemn hush fell over the gathering of thousands in Oranim. They had come to honor the fallen Queen and her innocent children, their hearts heavy with grief. Prince Avigdor stepped forward, his voice resonating with sorrow and reverence, echoing the ancient Hoshiyan traditions passed down from the original settlers of Choron.

“Our Father, our King, watch over the souls of Company B of the Queen's Guard and the women of the Seventh Company,” he began, his words carrying the weight of a nation's mourning.

“Though our enemies surrounded us like a swarm of hornets, the souls of your people rose in prayer. The hornets stung us, and we swelled up in pain and suffering, yet our souls soared in the world's winds. Higher and higher on angels' wings did our prayers reach the Seat of Mercy.” As he recounted the valiant sacrifices made that fateful day, his voice grew thick with emotion.

“Their tears and blood mixed with the soil. The arrows of our enemies pierced their flesh. Their blood flowed like a mighty river, cleansing and consecrating the land. The guardsmen formed around their beloved Queen, and their shields protected her flesh, and their souls guarded her innocent baby daughters. The tears and blood of the babies washed the land of its profanity.” Avigdor's words painted a vivid picture of the guardswomen's unwavering courage. “They fought like banshees, whirling and striking at the murderers' black hearts. Each one died, hallowing the name of their Creator. Every cry of those babies stabbed their hearts like hot knives. They fought like lions, but the evil swarmed over the righteous, tearing at their flesh.” A hush fell over the crowd as he spoke of the ultimate sacrifice.

“In a profane country, their holy blood sanctified the land. The earth cried for mercy. The clouds begged for salvation, and the dying animals howled for deliverance. Yet no man came to their rescue. The Angel of Death wept for the souls of the righteous. He brought each hero's neshama before the Judge of the Universe and pleaded their cause.” Tears streamed down countless faces as Prince Avigdor's voice rose in a crescendo of reverence.

“The gates of Heaven opened to the men and women of the Queen's Guard, and they sit on the north side with the righteous of the world, awaiting patiently for the Meshiach and the rising of death. Who are we to understand our Creator's justice? None of us are worthy to praise such holy giants. May my soul sing your praises all the days of my life.” A collective sob echoed through the gathering as Prince Avigdor's words struck a chord deep within their souls. Even the stoic General David Aluz and Crown Prince Elisha Arieli, standing on the far edge of the field, found themselves heaving with sobs, their chests rising and falling with the weight of their grief.

In a spontaneous response to Prince Avigdor’s eulogy, the soldiers of Hoshiya drew their swords. The King, seeing what transpired, pulled his sword together with Judge Drori. Together, as one nation, one soul, they silently saluted their martyred Queen.

 

******

 

The King and Yossie understood Yehuda's distress, for this was the second time he had lost a family. Yehuda had poured his heart and soul into the three children, and now their loss left a gaping wound. The King and Judge took the deaths with a stoicism that Yehuda could not comprehend, his heart shattered by the tragedy. Avishag, too, was crushed by the news of the massacre, taking two days to regain her ability to function. Everywhere she went, memories of Queen Dina and the children haunted her. Dan could find no consolation, his anchor in the tempestuous emotions of Free Hoshiyan lost with Yonatan's passing. Only Yehuda could calm the boy as they clung to each other like lifejackets in the turbulent sea of grief. On this day, a nation mourned its heroes, their sacrifices etched into the collective memory, their valor, and courage forever enshrined in the hearts of those they had sworn to protect.

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