The bell toll echoed through the damp air, signalling the death of a noble.
It wasn’t a large church. Arianna may have been from a family of wealth and fame but her life had been cut short of the chance to make connections and a difference. It was a church that knew her, though, and so the huddle of people moving into its four small white walls was not to be sniffed at. Her mother and father, of course, led the group followed closely by her three siblings. Wider family, and a few other nobles, had also turned up to show their grief at the young Terrec’s passing. They filtered in, ushered by the tender priests - who had helped raise the girl - bringing up the rear.
Four figures dressed in black watched from the rooftops.
The smallest of the figures narrated the scene to her fellow roof dwellers in a sober tone, her body curled into a crouch at the very edge of the tiles. Her wild mess of black hair was flattened by the rain and her body shivered from cold, but she was careful, not missing a single detail down to the shade of the hemming on Marian Terrec’s dress.
Another of the figures spat at his feet.
“Fuck ‘em,” he snipped bitterly, turning his back on the scene below. The remaining two figures shared a worried look but the girl couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from the church, even as the doors slammed shut, locking her gaze out from the rest of the proceedings.
“Seriously, fuck ‘em! They didn’t know Amadine at all - barring us from saying good bye. She hated the nobility!”
“Jack, you know that’s not true.” The third of the figures - face hidden by the dark hood of his cloak - reached out to put his hand on Jack’s shoulder only to have the other pull away. “Amadine loved everyone.”
“Exactly!” Jack exclaimed, rounding on the other. He loomed tall over the short, stocky frame of the man, blue eyes ablaze with grief and anger. “She did love everyone - noble or not! She would have wanted us by her side and you know it. She didn’t care where it was we came from. She didn’t care that not one of us had a fancy title or stacks of riel behind us.”
“None of us are denying that–”
“Oh fuck right off, Tommy! They are denying it in the very act of turning us away!”
Tommy went to open his mouth a third time but found himself stopped by the fourth and final figure raising his hand. There was a brief pause before he spoke.
“She is gone, brother. It does not matter if we are by her side now or not. It is too late to save her. The best we can do is mourn her loss and continue her work.”
Jack’s jaw locks in place, the struggle not to snap back clear in the stone set of his face. Tommy’s eyes cast downwards, ashamed.
Seemingly satisfied by his brothers silence for now, the final figure moves over to the woman’s side, placing a hand on her shivering shoulder.
“Margaret, you’ll catch your death if we don’t leave soon,” he says gently, the words stolen from the other two men by the rain. Margaret still fails to look away from the church.
“What was it all for?” she whispers, rain or tears streaking her cheeks. A mix of both, perhaps. “The charity, the songs, the stealing, the fights, the prayers…. What was the point of her being here if she wasn’t going to make a difference? She was going to make a difference John…”
“She already has. We’re here aren’t we?”
The band of once merry minstrels and thieves lapsed into silence.