Velorien ran his hand over the bark of the old mothertree while he ascended the spiral staircase that would take him high into the foliage. Those trees contained the soul of his people, and hic acute senses felt the slight tingle of arcane energy that passed into him. If he wanted, he could tap into that energy and use it to fuel his magic, but his concentration was fleeing, distracted by the summons into the hall of the elders. ‘Why would he be summoned to meet the lady of their clan?’ he wondered as he entered, only to find the hall empty but for his aunt. She had her back turned to him, looking towards the city ruins at the edge of their forest.
‘My Lady’ Velorien bowed.
‘Don’t be silly, nephew’ she turned around and looked at him. ‘Do you remember your cousin, Dealagor, my oldest son?’
‘Yes, my lady’
‘I want you to take a message to him. Tell him that his mother longs for him to come home. Tell him that every day, at noon, I walk to the city ruins and climb the highest tower, and look over the land in the hope of seeing my child return.
Velorien looked up and frowned, ‘Surely, if his father ordered him to return, there would …’
‘His father is busy, and on his way to the council,’ she interrupted him. ‘He believes that good leadership is to never give a command that will not be obeyed, but he will not reign our house forever. Dealagor needs to start behaving like his position commands him to do, and with your understanding of duty, you are just the person to remind him of this.’
Velorien bowed his head, to indicate the acknowledgement of the compliment, and a rare smile crept on his face. What honour.
‘Oh, and if Dealagor decides not to come back, just yet, I would be pleased to see it that you take care of his safety. There is no need to come back without him!’
‘As you command, my Lady’ Velorien was stunned, this could mean exile for many years. He just hoped that Dealagor would see reason, soon. As he looked up he saw that the lady was already walking towards the door, readying herself to depart.
‘I regret that we have to end this here, but the sun nears its zenith, and its time for me to walk to the ruins.’ She looked straight into his eyes, and her face was empty of all the warmth and light she used to radiate. Her stone cold face of duty looked at him, and there was no doubt that she would keep her promise, just as he would keep his. Before she left she turned just once more, and remarked with a smile,
‘Velorien, do not let yourself be ordered around by Dealagor, he is not your lord, yet.’