Men of Clan Halese
-East Rivenian Woodland-
My thoughts also strayed here and there to another aspect of my brother's harsh rebuke, the mentioning of Halane. It felt like an entire lifetime ago that I had even thought of Halane.
All of my memories of him were so doused in childish uncertainty, I do remember having a great respect for him, this towering figure of a man always seeming to know exactly what to do and say.
He was everything I had aspired to be, a man of confidence and surety, cranky to be sure, but just and kind when the occasion called for it.
Only once we had been shipped off to the east away from him did I begin to hear Red and Jastor talk about him, only then did I begin to realize the darker side of his nature I hadn't seen.
“He was exactly like our father in every way” they would say.
Our father had died when I was still a pup. I hardly remembered him at all, but Red and Jastor would say that he could talk a fish into flying.
He was cunning, tenacious, and ruthless, and he was far more devoted to the Legions than he was to his own wife or sons.
That's what they said about Halane, they said that after our father had died it was like his ghost had possessed Halanes body, Halane had become a mindless vessel for the Legions just like our father had been, and didn't stop until all of us had enlisted.
“There’s a war coming, my brothers.”
They had heard that line from Halane so many times that they Redricos still used it to mock him, even now.
“There's a war coming, my brothers, and when it comes you’ll pray you had enlisted and not been some helpless conscript. The Pay is better, you’ll actually know how to swing a sword properly, and you’ll join a family far larger than ours.”
Gods, how had it worked on me? I had always wanted to be a scholar or a poet, move to Canilly or Agrinon and take up the pen, find some beautiful blonde Rivenian woman and have a family.
I suppose now all of that just seemed like a child's fantasy, with the way Red and Jastor used to talk it seems like they felt like the Legions were just destiny for the men of Clan Halese.
How I wished I was back at that stream already, the only reminder of that brief respite from all of this was the subtle lingering dampness that still haunted my clothes.
I just wanted to be anywhere besides where I was tonight though, I wanted to be back home in Smaena, caring for our now surely old and cantankerous mother.
Something told me I would dream about her tonight, something about the evening just seemed auspicious.
There was a faint feeling of connection whispering through the air, like I could hear distant voices beckoning me westward back home.
It was hard to say, sometimes I felt as though I would never see home again.
Sometimes it felt like some stray party of brigands or a Legion patrol would stumble into our camp on a night just like this.
Slit all of our throats, strip us of our valuables, and leave us to sink into this long forgotten corner of the grove, unmarked and unmattering.
I know what I had promised Redricos, I know the points he had made rang true, but I was beginning to think I might need to venture out to that stream again tomorrow.