Disclaimer: Not mine.
It is an old piece of consecrated ground that has become forgotten and unkempt. Wild dry grasses stand waist high where once foot trails meandered and twisted between flat stones etched with unpronounceable names and dates. Chiselled on the oldest of the slabs, additional pieces of information were included, as if the name alone was not enough to identify what rests beneath the earth.
Occasionally a hiker walks past the tiny graveyard, unaware and unconcerned, not curious enough to ferret out why the grass seems to run in patterns and not cover the whole of the space. These passersby sometimes hear the whisper of wind as it rustles through the tops of the golden stalks, spilling seeds for next year's growth. Paying no attention, they continue on, blissfully unaware of what the ground contains.
At one time visitors purposely came this way. Class outings were once held on the gentle slope above the sacred site. History lessons were cemented into young minds with concrete evidence of those that had gone before. Now, centuries after the first mortal shell was laid to rest, within borders no longer easily defined, its peace and secrecy are sought again.
The lifeless body of a half man and half beast is carried high on the proud shoulders of his sons. He will be laid with the last of his kings, whose names have long ago been lost to antiquity. One also comes whose family enslaved themselves by choice, giving their lives to the humble Hufflepuff. He comes wrapped in a dirty bed sheet and is deemed by his own as finely dressed. However, it is the last body, that of a once man, now labelled a creature by the very government that claims to honour him, that comes in secret, carried in a wooden coffin by six whom he barely knew in life.
His wife will lie in another place. A place his son can visit. His name, however, will only be displayed after his boy's grandmother etches his name beside that of her daughter. She and her grandson will pretend that the unacceptable creature was allowed burial in a family plot of the public graveyard.
The sombre procession makes the climb to the plot of land high above the still smouldering castle. It is led by an elderly witch that had only heard rumours of this place and had consulted the oldest of the portraits for confirmation as to the location. Confirmation came from the comely ghost that still wanders the halls, looking for her own salvation in a mother's forgiveness that she will never find.
The brave centaur that had gone against his very nature and wrestled with his soul to take sides in the war of man is laid to rest. The small elf, whose only crime had been to throw himself between a child and a curse, will be covered by the hard soil. Lastly, the once man – now beast – that could not be laid with his wife and was but a gentle human will be buried. His crime so heinous that even in death he could not, would not, be forgiven. He would be feared and labelled a creature, a beast not allowed to rest with humans. The word werewolf will be whispered whenever his name is uttered and in time, even his part in the final battle will be held in suspect and disbelief.
Much talk had taken place before the decision to use this place had been made. Many wanted to make an example of his life. They wanted to drag his coffin through the streets in a show of solidarity, a show to prove that his crime was merely not demanding more in life. A crime of being a child caught in the wrong place when the moon rose over the horizon. In the end, they had all agreed that the gentle soul they now carried on their shoulders would not want the accolades, but would have demanded a quiet passing, one of quiet grief and no outward show of diversion. So, they walked with the others, their hero carried high on shoulders, to the small forgotten graveyard reserved for magical creatures near the summit.
No empty words of consolation were offered. All the words have been used so often that they no longer hold any meaning for the witnesses. It no longer matters how one's attributes are glorified or past actions memorialized. The dead will be laid to rest and in the scheme of things remembered only by those who have loved and been loved by them. Stories will circulate and passed down to future generations. Flowers will be brought and laid on birthdays or death days. For a time. A time that is but the blink of an eye. Then, they too shall be forgotten.
The grass will grow again and hikers will pass by, not curious as to the pattern cut into the land. In time, the newly buried will be lost and forsaken on this cold highland plain and again the plot will wait to be rediscovered.
On one night of the year, when the Old Ones are free to revisit the world and fairies dance on moonbeams, the voices of the dead can be heard. So, tonight, listen closely for the whisper of the wind through the tall blades of dry wild grass. Listen carefully for the rustle of wings as the Old Ones block out the moon's face from yours, and smell the sweet earth that is disturbed by the dead as they visiting the living.