In the end, Captain Damyen had died, and when Devlin left for Ascocen, Lord Damyen had blamed him for his son’s death, as he blamed himself.
                His mind told him it wasn’t him who had plunged the blade into Damyen, that it was a good, worthwile risk, that he had done his best to save Damyen and he couldn’t have done any better.
                But the moment he truly believed any of those, he knew he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.
                As it happened, they had captured the Warchief despite heavy losses. And that Warchief happened to be the father of Dolt, leader of the Barbarans. Soon after Devlin had reached Dawnrose, Dolt had laid down his arms and entered into negotiations, the Uprising would be given a years peace-time and at the end, Dolt would have his father back whilst the new King grieved his father.
                None of this made Devlin feel any better, even if many of the Knights had gained a new respect for him. Even though the King had commended him for his daring.
                Lord Damyen would always despise him and he would always despise himself.
                Fuck politics, fuck the world, had been what he chanted to himself.
                Yet now, he could feel something other than grief and despair. He hadn’t expected that this would ever happen again.
                Devlin thought of what Dalaena had told him last night.
                “Do you think Damyen would be happy with you right now?”
                “You didn’t know him sister, but I thank you anyway.”
                “No, I did not know him as you did, but I know this. What would he prefer, that you spent your life in torment? Or that you found a new meaning, a way to honour him?”
                Those words had hit him hard, but now he knew what he would do. He would become a Captain and honour the place that Damyen had held. He would bring honour not only to his House, but to Damyen’s memory.
                Devlin felt his fingers burning and twitched. He wanted a sword in his hands.
                With a quick shout over to his first mate Evarn and Robin, he was ready to practice, just as the pair had three years ago when he had left for the war.
                He fought till he worked up a sweat. Evarn had always been a good fighter, since his father had been a naval officer, Evarn had joined him so that when Devlin had landed at the base camp at Mokasen March, he had remained to provide sea travel for the soldiers and occasionally raid the Barbaran coast. Robin had improved much in the three years.
                The Barbarans themselves had very little naval power, preferring to fight on land. What little sea strength they did have was very quickly eradicated and their shipyards were put to the torch.
                Suffice to say, Evarn was strong and fearless and Devlin had spent too long out of practice so that in his spar, he’d gotten one too many bruises from Evarn and even Robin.
                Devlin groaned as he lay in his bunker on the first night. Yet his mind seemed all too eager to plunge him into a deep sleep riddled with the same nightmare. The sooner he reached the capital, the better.

The End

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