Findalaran’s Journal: Answering the Call

   The call has gone out! Errin announced my uncle’s plan today and the need for volunteers. One hundred Lochfa will be sent to follow the Alfath and ensure they never threaten Tarros again. The sacrifice they ask is tremendous — both of the hundred they send off to the unknown and for those of us who remain, our numbers cut by one fifth. We are brothers and sisters in combat and faith and so the parting will be difficult no matter which of us they send. I will put forth my name and speak with Errin to get her word that I will be considered fairly. My position should not sway the selection in either direction — this calling is greater than any vanity or ego.

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   Errin should not have been surprised at how many stepped forward to volunteer. Though not a Lochfa herself, as Faytan’s top general she should know that our devotion to the Sprytath is without limits. In the end she had to turn away more than twice the number needed. She assured me that I was given fair consideration before confirming that I am indeed among those who will leave Tarros, possibly forever. Though my status did not play a part in my selection, now that I am chosen to go, my position means I am the highest rank to depart Tarros. I can no longer be a brother to those who go with me. Instead I must be their leader. It took no small amount of time to earn their camaraderie. I will miss the closeness we shared.

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   I have begged another favor of Errin: I asked her to not disclose to Faytan that I am among the selected. While I am certain he would agree to the wisdom that the royal family send someone on the mission, I am also certain he would insist it not be his heir. To my surprise, Errin agreed to my request. Already she relates to me in a different manner than she had before. She no longer treats me as the prince who needs to be kept safe while allowing him to pretend to be a warrior. She treats me now as an equal — one willing to give all for the sake of our people. I fear I will never be able to repay my debt to her if I ever manage to return to Tarros.

◊ ◊ ◊

   It took some time to build up the courage to approach Sharra. She truly has my heart and we had secretly spoken of bonding. How could I break the news to her that I would be leaving Tarros forever? My worry was for naught — as was her worry over how to tell me she had also been selected for the mission. The burden of leadership will be greatly eased knowing I will have her by my side. Thus far she has been adamant that we keep our relationship secret. Perhaps that will change once I am no longer heir to the throne.

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   The other Lochfa selected for this mission have gone home to their families and the temple feels cold and empty. I remain to stand watch and to prepare to lead the mission. In truth, though, I also worry that if I return to the palace now, someone will figure out what is going on. It would probably be ‘Reth. She has always been bright and sharp, and all it would take is one look at me and she would know everything. I’ve always known my twin would make a far better leader than I. It never seemed right to me that I became Faytan’s heir solely due to the order of our births. The Sprytath will flourish under Fyreth’s rule. My duty is to ensure our people get the chance to do so.

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   Sharra has not returned to the temple. She is not prone to neglecting duty, especially one such as this. I worry for her. I’ve sent messengers to seek her out but must turn my focus to the others. Errin offered to select another volunteer to take her place should she not return, but we decided tis better to go with ninety-nine all in harmony than one hundred with one not attuned to the rest. I pray Sharra returns soon.

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   We have remained in the temple, excluding ourselves from the battles stretching across the planet that we may be prepared when the Alfath are overthrown and flee. We will have no source of power once we take to the void and so we commune and meditate now, building our strength so it may last through the journey. We must count Sharra lost, and we grieve her as a whole. I must keep my own grief private — contained — lest it shatter me and endanger the mission. It pains me that I may never know why she disappeared.

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   Faytan came to the temple today to join us in our meditation. He was not pleased to see me when he asked to meet the mission leader, but he listened to reason and accepted my decision. We knelt together before he left and never has my heart been so full and so light at the same time as in that moment. From his tears I know he shared my joy and pain. The sacrifice of the mission is much less daunting now that Faytan has embraced me as both my uncle and king and given me his blessing.

◊ ◊ ◊

   Tonight we gather and hold vigil as Errin and her forces strike at Amarrah herself. Tonight we make our final oaths — our promises to one another and to all Sprytath that we will hold true to our duty. Tonight ninety-nine voices will rise together and sing as one.

   Errin has succeeded! She goes now to seal away the crown while we prepare to take to the stars. Tonight we answer the call!

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