There was a cheer from the elfin warriors as the tide of the battle turned in their favor. The air was ripe with the fetid odor of demonspawn as their blackened husks sizzled and evaporated back to the infernal realm that spawned them. Despite the valiant effort of the elfin warrior and the half dwarf, no portal was discovered. The demons, thirteen in all, were slain to the last, but their damage had been done.
Of the seven pillars being lifted to celebrate the Kindling, four lay in various degrees of damage. One was cracked, while another lay in shattered pieces. It would be a miracle if the pillars could be replaced in time for the feast on the morrow.
The cheer of victory faded as the scope of the battle became clear. More than a dozen elves had lost their lives. Most were the laborers who were lifting the pillars, one was a servant, and the last was Lord Aelfwine. The elfin lord lay collapsed on the ground, his retainer near him, head neatly decapitated by a single monstrous blow. The elfin lord had died on his feet, sword in hand, blood on the blade.
"We will gve him a funeral in the old way." A young elf, not even into his first century, said. "It will be a feast for the slain, and we will have to raise eight pillars now instead of seven, one for Lord Aelfwine."
The widow in the croft, and even the dwarves are often ignorant of the old ways of the elves, such as the solemn rites of death as the elves are a deathless race. The survivors moved quickly, the dead were lifted from the field and taken away. On the green, a great bier of wood was gathered, it was as tall as a man, and as large as a room. The workers sang a lament, while others cried with the loss of their kin, but all worked.
As the bier was finished, the host returned bearing the body of the fallen lord, now dressed in his finest silks and velvet, his wounds carefully hidden under bandages. He was laid upon the bier, his sword placed in his hands, pommel up towards his face, blade pointed to his feet, his shield laid across his chest. More laments were sung as oil was splashed onto the bier in copious amounts.
The young elf returned, his face marred by unmanly tears. He bore a single sputtering torch. With a strangled cry he hefted the burning brand onto the bier and the flames spread through it with alarming speed.