The Passing of Lord Mariusz

Mariusz lay on the silken sheets in his room, panting slightly.  He said “Pfft” to the narrator.  He always spoke for himself.  Somehow, though, he wasn’t that bothered by the intrusion.  Someone else should do more of the work around here, he thought.

The light filtered through the shutters on the windows that had been closed to keep out the three day snowstorm that had been raging.  It was warm and cosy in his room, though, the drapes moving slightly as the air circulated round the room, the fire glowing comfortingly in the hearth.  The uncomfortable feeling inside him had been growing over the last few weeks, and he had decided to take a break while the storm kept everyone indoors.  Now it all sounded still, but he didn’t feel like moving.

There was a knock at the door.  He raised his head but didn’t care whether anyone came in.  They entered anyway, brushing snow from their shoulders.  It was Saku, his mad scientist professor and stalwart companion of so many years.  The things they’d seen together!

“I think, my Lord,” he said, looking at Mariusz with a keen eye, “that it would be wise to allow your faithful retainers to administer to your comfort.  They await your command.”

Mariusz sighed.  He didn’t want to be fussed, but his retainers, Aurora and Wagon, were always attentive to his needs, and maybe he could use a bit of assistance.  He nodded and Saku left him.

He lay back and entered the realm of memory, dreaming of his life as a young boy in the slums before he escaped and took up with his grandfather and the drinks business.  Then he roamed around his memories of the deeds and misdeeds he’d led others through – and those companions and henchmen.  Willow, Briareus, Sparkie, so many names.  He smiled to himself and twitched as he remembered narrow escapes and loves he had known.  So many loves!  He was vaguely aware of  being helped to take drinks and some gruel being spooned into his mouth, but he didn’t really fancy it.  He just wanted to sleep and dream of foreign lands.  The Castle of Buckmore, the ladies of Arbor, Chateau Dimerie, the Rajah’s palace….

The sun now glinted on the sheer drapes around the room and a few more people stood around, talking in hushed tones.  He didn’t really want them there.  He gazed into Aurora’s eyes, letting her know how much her love and care had meant to him, but he was ready to go now.  And he closed his eyes, and slept the final sleep.

Out in the sky courtyard the clock was stopped and a single bell rang solemnly, tolling his passing.  The standard made by the ladies of Arbor was lowered to half mast and it waved gently in the crisp, cold air.  All the household of Castle Hattan stood to attention in silence for three minutes, and messengers were sent out and a worldwide announcement made on the iParsnip, so cleverly invented at HUGS Inc.

Across the ocean at Castle Buckmore, the Lady Nimrod ordered the house should go into mourning and arranged for a memorial service to be held seven days hence.  She donned her black lace veil and went out to tell the news to Prince Lupin, even though he had been lying in his grave on the hillside a year since.  The snow was still lying thinly on it, but on the mound the first crocus leaves were just breaking the surface, a sign of spring not so far off now.  She wondered whether The Princelings had heard at the Castle in the Marsh.

They had, of course.  King Fred and the Royal Engineer George exchanged glances as the household dispersed from the breakfast table and by unspoken agreement they made their way to the topmost tower, their favourite haunt.  They looked out over the marshes, watching the wind as it moved the reeds and made the ice crack, pondering the life of the stranger they had met in their strangest adventure, the one that had started it all.

And knew that Mariusz’s spirit was now one with the wind.

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10 thoughts on “The Passing of Lord Mariusz

  1. That is a lovely story ES. I don’t know how you managed to write it without snuffling! I still am.
    It’s strange how one little piggy from across the sea, has made us all so sad at his passing. It must have been worse for you, as you were so much closer than the rest of us, and you were probably worrying all evening.
    I must admit, when I read Dawn’s morning post saying that he was limp, I feared the worst, but it was still a nasty shock when I saw the post on Fudgekins.
    Poor Dawn, she must be distraught. I was glad she felt able to go on the Wheekbox, as we were able to pass on our condolences more personally.
    I have not come across your blog before, but I will read more of your stories if that is ok.
    Sending you hugs.
    Love Julie, Fred and Daph. xx

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  2. Toni

    oh es once again you write so well, and as the tears are running i cant help remember the woosh boy who started it all, handsome and courageous .yelling his phiff to the world, i am and always will be so proud to have been one of his many auntys, his throne i made with such love for a cheeky boy, we all here at wonky are stunned and heart broken at his passing, the world wide web enables us to meet so many people and piggys and every once in a while there is one who stands out from the rest and Mariusz was such pig, may he travel to more adventures and maybe every once in a while we will hear his phiff in the time tunnels

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  3. When I got up early this morning at 6am, I remembered that about this time yesterday, I was giving Mariusz his oral injections. Only a few hours later, he was gone.

    Thank you, Jacky. Thank you so very much for this. I miss that goofy pig.

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  4. A wonderful tribute to an amazing piggy. I too, am in tears as I write this, everytime I think of his passing it’s as if a dark cloud enters my mind, only to be wooshed away by memories of Dawn talking about her special wheeky little boy.
    His passing was such a shock to all who knew him, and I know he will be sorely missed, but always remembered with love….

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  5. Dawn

    That was the most beautiful tribute I could imagine.

    It is true, Mariusz died on his own terms, just as he had lived.

    I can’t stop crying over this. I will write more later. For now I just want to say, thank you.

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