The smell of rain mixed with the dust of the Frontier Graveyard. Gray ash floated in the wind to settle into drifts like dirty snow. Crosses teetered on the mounds, but didn't fall. Those of questionable faith ended up here, between Heaven and Hell, with Earth in between.
Lucy Belladon rode the unpaved road towards the graveyard. Her homespun shirt and pants used to be white, but its original color was lost under layers of grime. Lucy wore her hat low on her brow, like the other drovers. She longed for the open range, but there was something she had to do first.
Telemachus snorted as he stopped at the gate. Lucky dismounted and patted him before walking into the Graveyard.Her eyes scanned the unmarked graves. "Fourth from the left, straight on till sunset," she murmured to herself.
The fourth grave from the left had a huge dirt mound over it. Lucy stood next to it, then oriented herself until she faced west. She followed the long lines of drunken crosses until she came upon the last one. The pale lines of a dying sun turned the earth bloody. She stared at the recently turned plot for a long moment.
"Forgive me," she murmured again.
Lucy knelt at the grave, took a deep breath and plunged her hands into the mound. The rancid smell assaulted her nose and bile rose within her stomach. Still, she scratched and scraped through the pile, clawing away the clods. Finally, a gray hand appeared, clutching a black scabbard. She dropped the limb and brushed the dust from the scabbard. Dark ebony, with caramel highlights, gold symbols etched along its length.
She slowly drew the weapon. The blade reflected the crimson sunset within its deep ruby shaft, glittering like congealed blood.
Lucy held the sword to her face in salute. "Thank you...I will not fail."
Behind her, the first drops of rain fell into the ruin of decaying bones.