((Breanna Estate, Mestara, Betazed))
:: Aleric Breanna was possibly the most gracious and kindest man Rune had ever met. From the moment she and Krystyan arrived, he treated them as if they had always been family. She was both thankful and amazed by his complete acceptance of her and Krystyan as his own. ::
:: The estate was breathtakingly beautiful. From every window, one could see well cared for, colorful gardens and the forest beyond the grounds. Best of all, it was peaceful. ::
:: The house itself was unique to Betazed in that it shared both Betazoid and Bajoran traditional decor. Aleric explained that it had been done in an attempt to honor and celebrate his only grandchild's mixed heritage. ::
:: Rune stood at the window, looking out at the vast gardens below. She glanced down at Krystyan laying in the bassinet beside her, then turned at the sound of footsteps on the hard marble floor. She smiled in spite of the fact her heart literally ached. Taking a deep breath, she took a step to greet the woman she had been waiting for. ::
:: Collim Denari was a slightly older version of Kieran. Darker hair, more pronounced nose ridges and tiny wrinkles around the eyes was all that set them apart in appearance. Like Aleric, Kieran’s sister accepted and considered Rune and Krystyan to be her family. ::
:: The full Bajoran smiled, though there was a deep sadness within her steely blue eyes. Silently, she reached out her hand and placed it on Rune’s neck. Rune automatically mirrored the traditional Al-Leyan greeting. ::
Denari: ::softly:: Are you ready?
:: Rune glanced toward Krystyan to find Aleric standing beside the bassinet. The old man gave a sad smile and inclined his head to let her know he would stay with the baby. ::
Jolara: ::her heart pounded:: Yes.
:: Denari led Rune up the winding staircase and into what was normally a library. All of the furnishings had been removed except for a low sitting table with two large cushions on the floor beside it. In the center of the table sat a large ornate Bajoran prayer oil lamp consisting of a candle suspended by a chain between four arched arms. Denari had already explained that it was a Duranja or "lamp for the dead." ::
:: It was customary to keep the flame lit to honor the recently deceased. Even though Rune didn’t specifically believe in any type of religion or even a pagh, Kieran had believed and Rune felt a need to do this for the woman she loved. ::
Jolara: Thank you for helping me with this.
:: Denari shifted slightly. She wanted to reach out to Rune but she simply gave a nod. ::
Denari: Do you need a few minutes?
Jolara: ::shaking her head:: No.
:: Denari motioned for Rune to join her in the center of the room. She knelt on one side and Rune on the opposite side. ::
Denari: Rune, this is as much for you as for Kieran. Your bond with her not only joined your hearts, it joined your pagh. ::smiling softly:: Yes, even you possess a pagh. Such a bonding is unheard of among Betazoids and very rare between Bajorans. Even more rare between a Bajoran and a non-Bajoran. Be that as it may, there is no disputing what the two of you shared. ::placing her hand on her heart:: In here, you will always be connected, even beyond death. ::She paused to let her words sink in.:: Kieran’s mortal body was but a shell. Her pagh has been freed to join the prophets.
:: Denari held her hands out shoulder width apart, resting them palm up on the edge of the table. Watching the flickering flame of the candle before her, Rune mirrored Denari's actions. ::
Denari: ::in a singsong chant:: Ah-kay-ah, Ah-yah va-su, Ko-van-ha. ::Translation - Love, Cherish, Listen.::
Jolara: ::softly:: Ah-kay-ah, Ah-yah va-su, Ko-van-ha.
Denari: Raka-ja ut shala morala. Ema bo roo kana. Uranak. Ralanon Kieran. Propeh va nara ehsuk shala-kan vunek. ::Roughly translated to "Do not let her walk alone. Guide her on her journey. Protect the one named Kieran. Take her into the gates of heaven."::
Jolara: Raka-ja ut shala morala. Ema bo roo kana. Uranak. Ralanon Kieran. Propeh va nara ehsuk shala-kan vunek.
:: They both closed their eyes and leaned forward until their foreheads lightly touched the edge of the table. ::
Denari: Ah-kay-ah, Ah-yah va-su, Ko-van-ha.
Jolara: Ah-kay-ah, Ah-yah va-su, Ko-van-ha.
:: Slowly, they raised their heads in unison. They repeated the same pattern over the course of two hours until the ceremony was complete. ::
Lt. Cmdr. Rune Jolara
Intelligence Officer - On Leave
Writer ID: A238909RJ0