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Chapter 5—the messenger

Jaden walked barefooted through the green grass, the chill of the little blades going between his toes. He looked lovingly at all that was surrounding him. He was in Wynpen, a wonderful place, the only one that could make you feel at home instantly. It was now springtime, and birds sang noisily in all directions. Even after the sun had long been up, the roosters will still crowing…

And that was the very rooster that woke Jaden up from his very dream. He smiled knowing it was all a dream, and he was hearing the roosters of the farmer Medley at the corner of the street in Arndain. But as he gradually opened his eyes and took in the surroundings—he really was in Wynpen. Jaden couldn’t express the feeling he had at the moment, but recalling all that had happened the other day, he was happy to be hear in Wynpen. He didn’t know why, but hear in this castle with his family and Bree’s and Matthias—he almost felt at home; as if he had been living here all his life and never felt discontent for where he was.

He sat up in the small yet more-than-comfortable bed, looking around at his ruffled white sheets. He yawned and shook his curly brown hair from his face. He stood up and hopped across the freezing wooden floor to the table across room from his bed. There on the table was set a miniature wash basin, filled with cold water. Jaden took a deep breath and faced the icy water, dipping first his hands and splashing his face. He shuddered, though felt much refreshed after drying his face with a small, white towel. He then proceeded to take the basin and dump all of the water he had just used out the window to the many garden flowers below.

He peeked over the window sill and smiled cheerfully at the daisies and pansies that littered the edge of the wall down below. “Good morning,” he chuckled to the flowers. Looking up into the morning, he was met with a cloudless blue sky that held the singing birds who flew by in flocks. Spring was arriving.

Jaden really did feel as if he were at home somehow. He tried to decipher the feeling though it was all in vain as he left the room. His old ragged clothes from the day before had been tossed and he and everyone else had been given relaxing attire for the day.

His parents’ room had been just the one right next to him in the small hallway; Bree had stayed in the same room with her parents, which had been located farther towards the end. Jaden did not want to wake anyone, not knowing if they had awakened yet or not, and stepped lightly down the stairs. He didn’t exactly know why but involuntarily he brought himself to the great hall. He was very fond of that place, perhaps not with the zealous fascination Bree had, but no matter he loved it.

Entering the great hall, Jaden was slightly surprised to see two already there. Matthias, being one, was seated at the table they were formerly at the night before, having a light breakfast, and opposite to him was, no doubt, Gregory. The only difference with this man was the fact that his plate was piled high with a small mountain of eggs, some wonderfully cooked ham, and a couple pieces of jammed toast. Upon seeing Jaden in the doorway, Gregory smiled and called him over.

“Jaden, my boy, why don’t ye come on over ‘ere and get yerself a spot o’ breakfast, eh?” He nodded and crammed his mouth full with a slice of ham. Jaden returned his smile, and took a seat next to Matthias. “Good morning,” he said. “I see you’ve got breakfast all planned out already.”

“Good morning! And yes, indeed I had the feeling I may need to get an early start on it…seeing as to who we have to feed….” He glanced over at Gregory still stuffing his mouth unceasingly. Jaden chuckled. “A-and I daresay he will consume plates as big as such….” he whispered now. Matthias caught along and whispered back. “That’s not the half of it! This is his third plate of food!” His eyes grew wide with disbelief.

“Well now you are mighty correct lad,” Gregory overheard, and cleared his throat. “My third plate, indeed; now you must know that when I smell the aroma o’ breakfast, asleep or not may I be, I will be where there’s food before any o’ you young ‘uns know it!” He chortled, and then grew serious once again, noticing he still had one last piece of toast left.

Matthias turned back to Jaden. “Jaden, when we have all gathered together, I believe it is necessary we have another meeting. I was hoping to cover the subject I wish to this morning, but it was far too late last night.”

“O, of course! I, too, think there is much to discuss over,” Jaden nodded. He was growing much respect for Matthias; and a caring too. This boy was not even as old as Jaden, yet he held much responsibility in his appearance. Jaden grew an obvious questioning that showed clearly on his face. “W-what exactly did you have in mind to discuss, Matthias? I mean, there’s no need to go into detail yet, but what was the generic idea for your meeting?”

“Good question. I was hoping we could face the situation head on that if you are all to stay here, there is no reason whatsoever that we abandon Wynpen. It would be folly to desert this place, due to our meek number of seven inhabiting this whole town. And I can say, for myself that I would never leave this behind. I was wondering (please tell me if I overrate my idea) to send out a silent edict to other cities requesting they offer a fragment of their own people to inhabit here. Say those who were in search of a new place to stay…”

“And what is the purpose of this proposition?”

“The purpose of this proposal is due to safety reasons. I am sure your father, being a former general of Arndain, would comprehend my intentions. I think, Jaden, if Wynpen were known to the world that it held such few people within its borders, it would be overrun by goodness knows who or what before any of us knew it!” Matthias got his reason through quite clearly.

Jaden nodded his head in understanding and stared at the waxed wooden floor in a crucial expression. “I know what you speak of. That is a very sensible idea, one that should no doubt be taken to consideration. There is something, however, that strikes me as precarious to send out an ‘invitation’ (if you pardon my using the word) to other cities requesting civilians to change their own homes and come freely to Wynpen. I am not sure what it is, but somehow it does not sound right…hopefully we will have the chance to delve deeper in this subject later on—that is, if everyone else still asleep will wake before too long.”

* * *

Not much longer, after Gregory had consumed one last plate of eggs, ham, and toast, Jaden’s parents had shown up in the great hall just after. Bree and her mother were no less behind them, and soon all were having breakfast together around the table. Bree’s father couldn’t help himself and he joined them all once again for one last plate of food.

After receiving an approving nod from Jaden, Matthias began once again to explain his proposition to the rest. He was far more into deeper aspects of the situation this time around, and everyone paid great attention to him—even Gregory. “Well I don’ think that it’s that bad o’ an idea,” Bree’s father remarked staring down at the table, chin in hand. “’Cept, o’ course, the risk of the proclamation spreading too far to unwanted places.”

“Yes, I will have to agree with that,” Solomon spoke up. “If news of the like were to reach the ears of Edelon, marauders would swarm Wynpen, and begin raids in a matter of a couple weeks! No, this must go completely unnoticed by the whole of Edelon itself. And even so, I would still be wary of where it flowed to. Anything to Lameharrow, the Dark Apparition may attempt his breath on Wynpen once again. With Ardain, there is a fair chance, though if it was heard by Ilgorn, the king, that my family and I were involved, he may not give it a second thought.”

“Ereth Londale sounds like a rather equitable area to send this decree out to. And if we were to be even further on the safe side—I would keep it only within the knowing of the Bruinshire. They are, I’m sure as you know, considered of the same city—only a meek fifteen to twenty miles apart.” Jaden now gave his own opinions.

“Well then,” Gregory piped up. “It’s settled then. We send a hushed edict out to Arndain and the Bruinshire requesting civilians to inhabit our Wynpen!—Uh, now please hand me the platter of ham, Bree….”

Solomon gave no reaction to Gregory’s sudden announcement. “Gregory, may I disturb your eating for a moment?” He gestured for Bree’s father to follow him to the other table where they could have a minute to talk. “Yes, Solomon, what seems t’ be the trouble?” Gregory abandoned his food unusually easily and walked over to where Solomon sat.

“Gregory,” Solomon put a finger to his nose in thought. “I don’t believe it is as easy as all that to suddenly state that we should sound out a proclamation bearing unsafe news like this! May it be silent or not, there is still ways for its path to go wrong. Gregory, I don’t know what it is, but I can’t seem to get the idea out of my head that the Dark One would abruptly breathe his breath of death, a big step for him, on the world. It troubles me greatly, and I fear we must be on our guard…I understand the chance we take now with the outlanders of Edelon, but the very thought of it does not compare half with what I fear the Dark Apparition can do.” Solomon spoke in hushed whispers his concern to Bree’s father.

Gregory was silent for a paused moment before he sighed knowingly and closed his eyes with regret. “I-I understand, I don’t know what got into me just now. I was most hasty in my words—forgive me, Solomon.” He shook his head with a slight disbelief in himself. “No, my friend,” Solomon put a hand on Gregory’s shoulder. “We can’t dwell on the regrets of what we have said or done…we must think ahead to what can be done. Now,” he rose from the table and the two men walked back to the table in which the others sat at.

Solomon explained to the rest, briefly, of what he had just spoken of to Bree’s father, and everyone most readily agreed. “The Dark Apparition is never one to be underestimated.” Solomon stated. “If you want my opinion, I say if we were to follow along with this plan at all, it must be sent only to the councils of each people.” Everyone understood what Solomon had just stated, though inside they inquired of his purpose for this.

“I see on your faces you don’t understand. I request this in meaning that Wynpen needs not civilians to inhabit its homes. What it really and only needs is a council! Send out our edict if we must but I should say that we ought to send it only asking for one of each city’s council member. Yes, I know it may appear rather to zealous a thing to ask for, but it is really all that is necessary for us to carry out.”

There was a drawn out pause of silence for a minute as everyone put their heads together and worked it out. Matthias, now, was the first to come to a conclusion. “Yes,” he suddenly came back to reality and looked everyone in the eyes. “Y-yes I do believe that now to be the wisest thing to achieve. Wynpen does not even need the rest of the world to know it is holding a meager number of residents. In fact, there are few places in this earth that holds a person aware of Wynpen’s being here.”

“I agree,” Jaden seconded this. “Whether we choose to have Wynpen a great city or choose to rule it as we do now, that is our own business.” He made his point clear.

“Then how do we know where and to which council we forward our pronouncement?” Bree’s father scratched his chin. “To execute this it must require a messenger, fleet of foot, to announce this to the many places of the earth without letting it become a publicly known to where we desire it not to.”

“Well I daresay none of us shall do it!” Bree voiced her own opinion. “Well least not us, I would think—we just got here.” She grew red in the face for the sudden statement and apologized explaining she was enjoying her new life here and didn’t want to be traveling once again. Jaden’s mother put a hand on her shoulder. “Do not worry dear,” she spoke softly. “We are not to travel henceforth for some time. I should say that it would do you good to not fret over such a thing….”

Bree nodded thankfully and retreated back to silence. Solomon smiled and nodded once. “Then it is decided that we do this?” He asked of everyone. When agreements replied, he smiled wider and suddenly grew to be relaxed. “Now,” sighed, “how do we find a messenger to do this?”

* * *

A week had passed since the company’s discussion at the table in the great hall. Spring indeed was approaching without delay. Matthias himself still spent times wandering by himself and remembering times he had with the former inhabitants of Wynpen before the Dark One had made his attack.

At the time, Matthias had been gazing up at a picture someone had painted long ago of an ancestral relation to him, or at least so he thought, and he marveled at the way the artist had captivated the person’s emotions wonderfully.

He was paying much attention to this painting to where he did not here the footsteps behind him. It was not until Jaden spoke behind him, did Matthias realize he was in his presence. “Do you like that picture?” Jaden spoke and nodded his head in the direction of the portrait. Matthias slightly jerked back into reality and looked behind him.

“O I don’t really know. I’ve always wondered who this might possibly be. Not actually related to me no doubt, since I don’t truly come from Wynpen. Some people used to claim I came from the Bruinshire, but no one is sure.”

“Hmm…” Jaden furrowed his eyebrows in interest, but soon smiled. “Come, Matthias,” he waved him over. “I want to walk with you outside where we may get some air.” Jaden asked. Matthias had no reason not to, so he willingly agreed, following Jaden out to the grounds of Wynpen. Once outside, they spoke nothing until they had reached a farther distance from the castle.

Surprisingly when they had felt they had reached the solitude they needed, Matthias was the first to speak. “Jaden, who is he?” He squinted his eyes in questioning, a dark feeling playing on his face. “Or more should I ask—what is he?”

Jaden was not immediately able to grasp who Matthias was talking about and he had to ask. But once he discovered who Matthias was speaking of, he too obtained the dark sentiment, a foreboding of malice growing in him like a weed.

“Matthias, I-I…I truly don’t know. He is something I myself would much rather refrain from conversing over, though it is a reality that his existence must not be overlooked. And to speak honestly, The Dark Apparition is something of an unknown to me; I know very little of him, perhaps a mentioning or two of his name and power was all I have ever come across.”

Matthias said nothing. He tried to enjoy the scenery around him, but what was within his heart made it unfeasible to do so. His face showed an idle expression, however his mind was racing of the things that had happened to Wynpen, their dilemmas at hand, and perhaps the dangers to come.

“Jaden, when will he come—or she if probable?” Matthias held his hands behind his back and took a deep breath.


“Our messenger. You know we still await the possible arrival of someone who is willing to carry out our will, and fly our request of council leaders to the world of men. But in saying that we wait for ‘him’ to come—we no not the time a single someone shall pass by Wynpen at all. Jaden, what do you have to say about that?” Matthias needed someone else to provide an opinion for him.

“M-Matthias…” Jaden abruptly stopped his walking and placed a hand on his companion’s shoulder. Despite Jaden’s sudden alertness, his features were not of a frightened tone, but rather he grew in excitement; as if a child had suddenly realized a holiday had come early and he or she had changed to a jovial spirit.

“Matthias, I do believe that our messenger we have waited on will come sooner than any of us have anticipated.” He huffed with an enlivened disbelief. Matthias followed the direction of where Jaden was staring, only to meet what everyone had been hoping for.

For just ahead, a person had emerged from behind the obscuring trees; a young boy, younger than even Matthias, perhaps a mere age of twelve. This boy’s expressions were slightly less jolly, and he appeared lost. He stumbled along appearing both scared and relieved at the sight of Wynpen’s castle above the pines. He had not even noticed Jaden and Matthias a small distance from him. Jaden took hold of the opportunity to allow the boy to do so.

He whistled. “I say there, young lad, who might you be?” He smiled at the boy, trying to be as friendly as was possible. No doubt, the boy was indeed frightened from his skin, and jumped, tripping over himself and scrambling back on his feet like a goblin had leaped at him from a hole in the ground. The boy said nothing, but only replied them with frightened stares.

Approaching the startled child, Jaden and Matthias tried to act as calmly as possible. This boy had obviously not eaten in some time, and having gone through many hard times, knew not who to trust. “It’s alright, we aren’t going to harm you,” Matthias reassured as he stepped forward. Jaden, meanwhile, was trying to think of what could ease the boy from his fright.

“Right then, lad, are you hungry?” Jaden asked, hoping that this might attract the child and allow him to feel comfortable with himself and Matthias. Luckily, the boy nodded his head with vigor upon hearing what Jaden had just inquired of him.

“Well then I should daresay you will come with the two of us back to the castle you see just over those trees. There we can provide you will all the food you could want, and a warm bed to spend this night.” Matthias informed him of all he could receive if he would only join them back to the castle.

No doubt this child understood what Matthias was saying, for he was not stupid, and it took him a reluctant minute before making up his mind to do so. He stepped forward to Jaden and Matthias with caution, and they did not blame him. The boy was wearing not but rags, something a common peasant would be found clothed in, and the traveling had done it worn and good. He had messy blond hair amplified his innocent face. His soft blue eyes were fearful, even though he had nothing to fear with these few people of Wynpen.

The boy jerked suddenly when Jaden put a hand on his shoulder to lead him to the castle, but he eased up upon realizing that he meant not to hurt him. The child kept a wary eye on the two next to him for any sudden movement. So far he had not said a word, something Jaden and Matthias both noted as they walked along, but they figured they would soon be getting words from this boy once he was properly dressed and fed.

It appeared to take a while to walk back to the castle; the boy gazed in marvel at the stone walls. Matthias lowered the gate as Jaden ushered him inside. He then brought the boy to the great hall in which he marveled at some more and left Matthias to find the others. Matthias found Bree first and the two joined together to find the rest, no matter how eager she was to have a look at the child. Everyone was soon together heading for the great hall where Jaden had already prepared a meal for the boy.

When Bree saw him, her eyes became pitiful and she strode over to him. He flinched slightly but Bree only put a hand to his shoulder and questioned him unceasingly. Gregory smiled. “Bree, let the boy to his eating! O, I say I believe it would all be for the best if I were to join this young lad!

“Um, Matthias—where can I…”

Matthias chortled. “Right, Mr. Basil, head yourself over to the door on the right, there at the end of the great hall; if you enter through there you should find the door to the storage room—it’s where we keep all of our food…of course I shouldn’t have told you that now…” Everyone laughed except the boy who was occupied stuffing his mouth.

“O Gregory,” Jaden piped up. “I should warn you that the storage room is the door if you turn right; turn left and I fear you might end up in the dungeons!” He said. Bree seemed rather confused at this. “Why would they keep the storage room so close to the dungeons? It makes no sense at all…won’t the whole place smell of—prisoners?”

“That, Bree, would be our way to afflict the prisoners,” Matthias spoke. “We don’t wish to whip our prisoners, let alone did we have anyone willing to do so. No, instead we kept the storage rooms close to the dungeons only to tantalize them—our way of ‘whipping’.”

“Well did you have many prisoners?”

“No, fortunately we have never been burdened with the job of having to deal with captives.” Matthias raised his eyebrows. Gregory had already disappeared behind the door on his search of the storage. Everyone still left then remembered why they were summoned here, and their attention was turned back to the boy.

“Now,” Solomon took hold of the situation at hand, sitting down facing the boy. “Continue your eating but we must explain to you, your coming here. We need a messenger. And that messenger, lad, would be you!” Solomon looked at the boy with seriousness about his eyes. The young child nearly choked on his food, and abruptly stopped his consuming.

“I must add that you have not spoken a word, since we discovered you only a while ago. I believe it would be much appreciated if you would tell us your name—your real name, mind you—and explain to us where you’ve come from.” Jaden sat down next to him as well, and told him this, a hint of request in his voice. The boy no matter was still reluctant to speak. Though seeing as it was no use at all to keep himself silent, the boy finally spoke.

“I—I—m-my name is Thomas. P-please don’t hurt me…” He whimpered slightly. He looked rapidly into the eyes of each person around.

“No, no!” Bree exclaimed suddenly. “We would never hurt you! It’s not like us, people of Arnd—I mean Wynpen to act so ruthlessly…” she felt sympathetic for Thomas and assured him. Everyone noticed that she was very fond of him, and smiled.

“Indeed! How can you possibly say that we would harm you when you have been given vittles like this!?” Gregory just then appeared in the archway he had only just entered a minute ago. He had obviously achieved his goal of finding food in the storage rooms. He took a seat across from the boy and began eating. Thomas’s face eased up a little and became ever so slightly relieved.

Thomas took another sip of water before retelling his story. He had been—as he told—a slave boy for an extremely nasty man in a small village near Dunfalar in the north. He was constantly being beaten and never appreciated for the work he did. He lived his whole life this way until a month recently when he had run away traveling south to get away from his village, and ended up being lost in the Lum wood.

Jaden sighed and smiled. “I believe Wynpen has saved, then, more than one person from being lost in those woods; our families, you, Thomas, and—and—why I suppose you were as well, Matthias, if you were discovered along the banks of the river Fenrien….” He came to the realization of how lucky they all were to have found this home. Thomas nodded and told everyone right then that he had immediately loved Wynpen when he understood what it was like and who was living within it.

“However,” Solomon suddenly continued, which perked the boy’s attention once again. “We will be requesting one thing from you…” Solomon continued to explain to the boy about their recent happenings in Wynpen, and told him why they needed a messenger. It never occurred to anyone until now that they had gotten rather tired of hearing and discussing their own problems over and over again. But no matter, it was important and they needed to thoroughly clarify the importance of his job.

“You must be quick, Thomas, on your feet as often as you can. Do not take the time to enjoy the places in which you stay along your journey. And whatever you do—do not lose our message! It must be delivered immediately to the cultural minister of Arndain when you have reached there. That is all you must do. It may seem a simple task, I know, yet there are dangers which must not be overlooked. Refrain from arousing suspicions concerning your business, the message you carry, and where you have been sent from. In fact, do not speak of your motives at all unless it is under a life-threatening choice….” Solomon stressed his concerns. “…Just—just don’t lose the letter we are giving you. And I will have to make one thing clear, Thomas…you are not to read the message we are sending with you, understand? I am sorry but it is all for the better that we let it travel unknown to as many people as possible.”

Everyone nodded gravely, sensing the chances they now took with this boy, merely twelve, and pushed their faith to their limits. Everyone, that is, except the boy himself who had a couple questions on his mind.

“W-who, sir, is the cultural minister?” He cocked his head in question. Solomon sighed heavily, knowing that this boy’s obliviousness would certainly complicate things.

“I suppose he is not someone you do need to know about, but just be sure to request his audience when you have reached Arndain…and if they still do not allow your admittance to the council, which I have no doubt will be the situation, made sure the letter gets delivered straight to him and him alone. It must not be read by anyone else….” Thomas squinted and nodded his head slowly obviously understanding.
Suddenly his face became that of sorrow, and he bit his lip hoping not to sprout a tear.

“Thomas, what is it?” Bree was the first to be aware of this sudden change and she tried to help him. “Why are you so suddenly sad?” She shook her head.

Thomas did not answer immediately and took a few deep breaths. “It—It’s just that I have been traveling for so long. I only stopped a few hours ago, and now I must be sent out again! I just wish I could remain here—with all of you—and never have to go anywhere else….” He could not control his sadness any longer and failed to stifle the tear that ran down his rosy, round cheek. Everyone, at once, tried to comfort him until they realized how awkward it really was.

“Thomas, my boy, we are not banishing you from Arndain, but if only you knew the importance of us needing you to carry this out…w-we know what it’s like be exiled.” Solomon smiled weakly at him. “I know it hurts, Thomas, and we feel a sense of guilt to be making you do this. But hearken, lad, when you are done, and your task it complete you will return here to live for as long as you like never traveling again if you wish. And when (I say ‘when and not ‘if’ because I have faith in you) we have populated due to your courage to venture out again once more to the harsh world you will be honored greatly by all for this….”

Thomas suddenly had a new spark in his eyes that shone clearly. He smiled gratefully and nodded his head bowed. “I will go and do this for you…and for Wynpen…and for a safe home that I may stay forever!” He smiled and got up. “—Where’s the letter?”

* * *

The seven of Wynpen stood outside the castle abreast, Thomas before them. He stood in the middle looking at each person. No one spoke anything for quite some time and only looked at the other, a deathly air hung over them. “Thank you,” Thomas finally broke the silence with naught but a whisper. “for allowing me to come into Wynpen. I know not many cities are willing to do that to poor commoners coming from distant places. And I will remember all of you as I travel once again.” He slightly choked on these words.

No one replied but in their hearts felt many different emotions for Thomas. He then walked to Bree’s mother at the head of the line, thanked her, and continued down expressing gratitude in different ways, telling each of how he would treasure them when he traveled. “I might not come back, but I will remember all you have told me. Don’t worry—whether I return to Wynpen or not, I shall not let your letter go unnoticed by Arndain’s council. And in saying that, I shall also not let it go noticed by anyone else.” Thomas reassured Solomon and Jaden together, and then continued over to Matthias.

Bree was at the end of the line, and when Thomas reached her, he had trouble looking her straight to her face. He sort of lowered his head and whispered. He was no doubt aware of the love that Bree had for him and felt rather uncomfortable now having to say goodbye.

“Thank you, Bree, for caring for me so much. I know I have only known you for a couple hours only, but I already love you so much…I love all of you no matter how long I have known any of you—that doesn’t matter.” And with that he bowed his head slightly and turned from them all until he was facing the west, a look in his eyes as if he could see all of what he faced ahead. He took a breath and began to walk, shouldering the pack they had given him.

This contained a food supply for a couple of days and the message. Solomon had been working on this letter for a few days on end and now he felt proud of himself to see it being carried off. Thomas suddenly stopped and turned around. Everyone at once had the feeling that he would tell them he just couldn’t do it. But this was not so.

Thomas walked slowly towards Bree looking at her sadly, a hoping in his eyes. Bree knelt down slightly as he approached her and smiled feebly. “Thomas, what is it? Why are you turning back?” She spoke softly and put a hand on his shoulder. Thomas sighed laboriously, faltering in mid breath.

“Bree,” He whispered in her ear, intending for the others not to hear. “Bree, do you mind if I call you mother?” He bit his lip and looked at her with his innocent blue eyes.

“Mother?” Bree did not understand right away.

“Yes. I was wondering if I might be able to call you that. I—I never had a mother…I only want to know what that’s like….” Thomas squinted, a faraway look in his eyes. Bree suddenly came to the realization of this, and grief swept over her like a blanket covering up everything else she could possibly think of. “Mother,” she whispered ever so lightly staring at Thomas in his eyes, but at the same time looking past him trying to imagine what it was not to have a mother. Without thinking, Bree closed her eyes and hugged the small child before her.

“Of course you can call me that, Thomas. Whenever you wish—I will be your mother for you…” Bree whispered back in his ear and tried to not let the others see her cry silently. It hit her suddenly that this was not going to improve on how much she was going to miss him. There was an awkward silence before she let him go and stood back.

“Go on, Thomas,” she nodded to him. “Go now and deliver our message, make us proud…even so we will always be proud of you….” Bree smiled and breathed heavily. Thomas blinked slowly and looked to the ground.

“Hmm…I think that I like having a mother…I think I like it very much.” He turned around and took a few steps toward the horizon. “…Thank you, mother.” He said and walked on, his head high, facing the reddening evening sky.

As his figure grew smaller and smaller, the seven watched him in silence as he departed. Jaden looked to Bree, Matthias, and then his father. Solomon had a grave look about him, and he looked like a statue frozen against sky; though he was not an effigy, motionless, for his lips parted and everyone heard his voice—perhaps even Thomas:

“What is the providence we hold,
The choice we choose to make?
What was cursed in us to make us so bold,
And put a life at stake?
And what is the providence he holds,
An oblivious mind to peril,
How was he created to be so bold,
And face the threats, harsh and feral.
And dark against the scarlet sky,
Do the threats of the enemy cry.
The sound of battle rings in our ears,
Though it has not come to pass,
And the death of our friends, our lives, is what we fear,
We pray that it will not last.

Nathan D. Gage

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