- 3rd day of Hanotë -
Part 3 - The Weight of Lost Words
Elian tried his best to focus on the subjects discussed during the afternoon. His plan to prepare the city to withstand a siege was eventually approved and its details occupied most the afternoon talks.
Making use of the information provided by Elipson regarding the number of men and their weaponry, everyone agreed that finding a way to destroy the enemies catapults should be a priority, as well as finding safe shelter for all of Mithir’s inhabitants.
Someone suggested evacuating women, children and the elderly to Leips, since there wouldn’t be any advantage in keeping them locked up inside the city walls. And since the majority seemed to agree, Endio charged Heric with supervising the operations, since he had been closely involved with Everlyn’s evacuation. His presence would also help reassure those that had come from Everlyn in search of shelter and that now would have to return to the uncertainty of the road.
Lists of provisions were ordered, as well as the immediate implementation of a daily ration, seeing as no one knew how long the siege would last. A list of those that would have to stay, independently of their sex or age, was also commissioned, in which cooks, smiths, stone workers and wood workers would have to be included.
Once the initial disagreements were put aside, new problems and questions arose at every moment, and solutions were immediately offered and discussed. However, even though Elian tried as hard as he could to give his full attention to such matters, as the sun started its decline, his mind constantly slipped to the only matter that Endio had yet to approach.
“I believe that this is all, for now,” the King finally announced, looking even more tired than before, deep, dark circles surrounding his eyes, and Elian tried as hard as he could to control his anxiety. “But before we finish for the day I’d like to announce my approval of Lady Elipson’s suggestion,” he declared without even consulting the rest of the Council members regarding the matter, leaving a heavy weight on Elian’s chest. Endio’s exhausted gaze turned towards Denar. “Sir Knight, you have my permission to leave in search of the Tower of High Magic. As requested, you may choose five other Knights to accompany you, and all the resources that you may find necessary to ensure the success of your quest. And, in case our worse fears comes to pass, I pray you may be successful, since our last hopes will be weighing on your shoulders.”
Denar stood up and bowed respectfully.
“It is my honor to accept this mission,” he said and Endio nodded, finally closing the session.
Chairs were dragged all through the room as the members of the Council stood up and left in small groups. Elian watched as they walked out the door and signaled both Knights to leave as well, requesting a moment of Endio’s time.
They both sat there, side by side, until the room was completely empty, and finally Endio sighed, removing his golden crown that, at times like this, felt almost too heavy for him to bear.
“Tell me … what weighs in your heart?” the older man asked and Elian averted his gaze. Even though they weren't that close, he could never seem to be able to hide his feelings from his father’s intuitive eyes.
“I know what you’re going to say … but … I’m leaving with them,” he declared and Endio sat in silence, for an instant, although there was no hint of surprise on his tired expression.
“I knew it would come to this the moment that girl opened her mouth to make that suggestion. But you can’t. You are the Heir to the Crown. Your place his here, by your People's side.”
“I know! I know it all too well. But I’m a Knight as well. And as such it is my duty to defend and protect my Kingdom, not hide behind its walls. Do you also doubt Denar’s word?”
Endio smiled lightly and placed a heavy hand over his son’s.
“Contrary to the idiots that make up our Court your father knows that the world is big enough to house many other different beings, Dragons included,” he answered using Elian’s own words.
“Then … I’m sure you understand …”
“And I do. I understand you love those two and I can hardly censure you for that. I understand you do not wish to see them go. I understand that you are young and that youth makes us wish for something more and, for good or for worse, to share our loved ones’ paths. But you … you have to understand that you’re my only son. And that it is because I believe that Knight’s word that I cannot allow you to expose yourself to such a danger!”
“And what will happen if I’m here when this Dragon attack us? Won’t my live be in danger then?” Endio seemed to grow even paler as he considered his words and Elian sighed, knowing his last argument was too cruel but, at the same time, completely certain he’d do anything to make him agree with his departure. “When you get home you must tell your father all that’s happened here. And then leave again, to look for help in the west. Only uniting forces will you be able to win,” he quoted and saw that tears filled his father’s eyes. “That’s what she told me, father … What aunt Lidya told me the last time I saw her. You have to let me go …”
Endio brushed off his tears with a shaky hand and hardened his heart.
“Leave then, if that’s what you wish. Maybe you’re right … And I’m the one not thinking clear …” he admitted and, even though he had won their small argument, Elian wasn’t able to feel the least bit happy about it. “And now go, and leave me be,” he practically ordered and Elian stood up, bowed and happily obeyed. He could no longer stand to see him looking like that …