Hymn of SleepMature

"Sleep, kings of god and men,

   Master of all;

Come to mine eyes again,

  Come as I call.

   Sleep, who may loose and bind,

   Each as his thrall,

Come to the weary mind,

  Come at my call.

Tamer of toil and woes,

   Healer of all;

Sleep, whence our solace flows,

  Come as I call.

Brother of all mankind,

   Softly you fall

Leaving the world behind:

   Come at my call!

Sleep, lord of all things made,

  Sleep over all

Let your warm wings be laid,

 Come as I call!"


Anemone's voice faded after the final cresendo, dimming into the whisper of the nighttime.  Her fingers flitted over the nameless young man's head wound, tossing aside the soiled cloth for a fresh cool one. His eyelids blinked, his eyes rolling about wildly in his head as he passed through the heat of fever. Gently, she brushed back his dampened curls sticking to his forehead. He moaned, captured in the nightmarish place between life and death. "Shh," cooed Anemone. "Sleep easy."

She was alone in the Blood Room; the other women had long gone for their evening rest. This night it was her turn to watch over the sleeping forms of the injured, to tend to their needs as they came about. She sighed, looking over the man's face, appearing to be barely out of boyhood, twisted in agony. Would he make it?

Surrounded by Death and Blood, Anemone saw what was done in the name of War. She had seen the suffering, the struggle, of many for their lives under her hand only to end with the peaceful sleep that was death. Though they had won the battle today, there were still some that were lost.

"Water," came a hoarse call from another cot. "Please, water."

Wordlessly, she lifted herself from her seat and moved to the side of another man. Anemone took the pitcher, placing it at the wounded man's lips. Though much of his expression was lost in the darkness, he appeared only a few years older than the other, if that. Carefully, she took the pitcher away and sat it aside. "Thank you," he murmured. "What is your name?"

"Anemone," she whispered softly, placing her hand gently over his eyes. "Now rest; you need to regain your strength. I will be here."


The End

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