Stalwart’s Final Dignity
by Alan Mittag
Dignity was gathered. Royalty and Eccentric, Lithe, and Funny. Physique and Tenacity. Jester, Dauntless, Fortress, and The Lion. Teloran and Kelowan. Tactician and Myself. And the apothecary that once again was ordered to stand by as a team mate lost his life on the fields of glory.
A soft meadow of green grass and blue sky welcomed us. Distant clouds rumbled their darkness, sharing in our loss, a promise of havoc and rebirth.
Coach Sestonn stood at the head of Dignity with downcast eyes. “Rission Stalwart was the kind of man you could trust to always be at your side, no matter the risk. Wherever there was danger, there was Stalwart, facing it down with so much heart that you couldn’t help but be inspired to match his greatness.
“On and off the field, Stalwart made sure that none of us were ever alone. He was the kind of man that would stand up to three black orcs just so that his allies could break free. He was the kind of man that would spend all night in the rain with you when you were lost, down, and broken.” Coach Sestonn’s voice cracked and he had to pause for a moment. “He was a pillar. He was a healer. And no one will ever be able to fill his shoes.”
The High Elves hung their heads, and each placed a hand on the casket that held their lifelong friend.
Royalty said, “I could always depend on him to be exactly where I needed him to be.”
Tenacity said, “Despite having the hardest job on the team, Rission never complained. He was a soldier. …and a friend.”
Eccentric said, “I could always depend on him to lie for him. He knew I was different, that normal rules didn’t apply to me. And he always let me be who I really am.”
Lithe placed a silver coin on the top of the casket. “I took this from you after our last Farm match, Brother. I… wanted… to have something… you know… so that I wouldn’t forget you. …Now I want you to have it. Keep it safe. …and… don’t forget about me.”
Funny said, “You were always too uptight for my taste, Stalwart. But I respected you. You were strong… You were noble… You were the best of us. Somewhere deep inside, I wished I could be more like you.”
Physique said, “I remember when we were first getting started. It was us against the world. You were always guarding me. …I hope. …I hope you knew how much appreciated it. How much I loved you.”
Jester said, “You taught me to dodge when my role was to just stand on the line and be crushed. I owe you my life.”
Dauntless said, “I’m going to miss you, Brother. Whenever I needed help with anything, you were always there. …I never… I never even had to ask.”
The Lion said, “You are the soul of Dignity. The unsung hero. Keep watching over us.”
Fortress said, “How can I be The Fortress without you assisting every step? Every block? I don’t even know who I am without you.” He wiped his eyes. “But I won’t give up. I will never stop fighting. You taught me that. Because of you I can stand tall and proud. I can be fearless, as you were fearless. Somehow, someway. I will make you proud of me.”