I hate horses, just to note, they smell. They are uncomfortable and disobedient. The one I had ridden on the long journey home did nothing but hurt me. My legs and arse ached in ways I just didn’t have words for. My companions weren’t very sympathetic despite the oath that bound us all. Soldiers are like that, it seems
Brendon had elected to stay in Nelar, for a time. I didn’t push him to come back with me. It wasn’t my place. The city had brought something out of him and while I was thankful for all he and Vesic had done for me, I wanted no part in what was going on with them.
I rode at the head of an army, my army. There were very effective at travelling but that isn’t the point of an army. I would have to wait to find out how they were at combat. Their magic was simple but I’d given a few lessons on the way to fill up the time.
I was nearly home.
The thought filled me with restless impatience and fear. What if I had done something wrong? What if Lyphia had found someone else? How had Sophia been without me? These thoughts tormented me over and over again. I alternated between excitement and dread. The journey was nearly over.
We broke camp this morning, not quite covering enough distance for me to spend last night in my own bed. But tonight I would be.
The early afternoon sun shone down, not hot but cool and bright on this autumn day. The wind blew; bring to me the crisp scent of damp earth. Light showers came and went. I didn’t care.
We had pulled up on a slight hill.
Telsan had assured me before we left, a few weeks ago, that Jase would be informed about the army so that no one panics at the sight of them.
Ten thousand men and women riding down on a town that held maybe five thousand citizens could only be here for invasion or raiding. Nope not this time but it was a reasonable fear.
I looked over the landscape; there was the forest with the lake that I had taken Sophia on her first lesson.
There was the farmstead, surrounded by fields that I had completed my first task.
There was the dark stonewall protecting my home.
There was the old foundry district, the smooth plaza I had turned it into glimmered in the sunlight.
There was the headquarters where I’d served and been exiled from.
There was the academy where I’d suffered to be taught just enough to get by and released into the world, also where I now lived with my apprentice and golem boy, the darker memories held no sway now.
There was the stone guild where Lyphia was probably toiling, unknowing that I was watching, waiting to ride down and wrap my arms around her.
This was my home.
I couldn’t wait any longer, be it good or bad, the nervous energy settled and pushed me to act.
I raised a hand in a signal to the army and spurred my horse, horrible thing, into motion.
Home, I was finally home, back to a Mage’s Life.