The time since Fayan’s body disappeared from this world wore on, each year eroding at life like windblown sand. Duty replaced adventure, obligation followed whim, and blood-friends were divided by distance as the lands changed according to Nor’dagha’s gaze.

Age crept in and with it a reflection on the past as eyes gazed on a now-sheathed blade in remembrance. It had sat there for so long, unused.

Fingers stretched out from the arm chair in a near-habit of taking it once more. Joints creaked by muscles remembered.

The leather on the handle was well-worn and a little dry, rough to the touch. The pommel was dinged but the metal guard had seen so much more; were that our bones were that tough these days.

A wry smile and a small huff in laughter at the whimsical notion of drawing it just once more, just one more time with purpose. Draw it with reason one last time, to carve out the path before you with immediate results.

Eyes, now accustomed to a slow scan with an equally slow turn of the head, focused on the wall; the armor was still there. Wonder if it stills fits. Needs oil.

Inhaling deeply in defiance to time, the leather still smells of oils and dirt, a faint copper twinge from that … yes, that one fight.

The smile grew, the head nodded. Those were good times.

Yet the arm chair beckoned and memories, just then fresh in the mind, began to fade once more.

From behind — near the weapon, the armor, or the staff — a voice.

“I need you. We are not done.”

BranchReturns