Varoq's Counsel

“Well. Let us pray for their consistency in keeping to a course. Can we do no more than this, Varoq?, asked the baron.

“I’m afraid so, my lord.”, the Elder replied.

Lanésto raised an eyebrow.  "Speak, old friend.  What steps can we take to ensure this... unseelie fog"--he obviously felt uncomfortable with the words--"blows past us?"

Varoq moved to the window and fumbled at the clasp.  Pale hands--hands that had once held Lanésto with such confidence and strength unwavering--trembled. Lanésto could not tell whether it was fear or palsy that made Varoq's hands shake.

The window open, a cool afternoon breeze rustled the papers on the work-table, briefly displaying Cardero's communique on Tarorae woods' battlefield.  The maps the woodsman had drawn were of a rare quality.

The Elder stood by the window, hand stroking the wisps of his silver beard.  After a long pause, he sighed without turning back.  "DO you remember much of your father?"  The Elder asked.

Lanésto shrugged, the question catching him off-guard.  He glanced down at the map of the lands and fortifications, the estimates for garrisoning the barony for the possibility of a spring offensive.  His father would have delighted in the preparations.  To Lanésto, it was but quantity and commerce.  There was no art in it for him. "I remember some.  Dinners in the great hall, Dancing with mother, hunting with Eric."  Lanésto forced himself to take a steadying breath.  Some pains were to great to let loose.  "I remember his laughter when I finally bested him at Chess."

Varoq's head bobbed up and down, a faint smile in profile.  "He was proud of you, He simply had difficulty showing it.  You are a scholar, not a warrior.  He understood your brother better.  And now..."  But some topics couldn't be breached.  Fidelity must be observed.  "if this fog heralds an Unseelie hunt, your education in tactics will be sorely needed.  We need more intelligence."

"I've sent Cardero and Eugenio to skirt its' edge." Lanésto said.  "We should have word shortly."

Varoq nodded again and turned to the window to hide his expression from the boy he'd regented and raised.

There were too many stories wherein the fae made sport of man.  And wounds both new and ancient were torn asunder by such meetings.  Only a man whole in heart and soul could hope to stand against an Unseelie host.

The End

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