The letter lay on the desk. A letter from Devin.
All these years he had almost forgotten. He had lived like a normal, twentieth century human being. But now he had to choose.
There really was no choice, was there? He was a squire. He did as his knight asked. Until became worthy of knighthood he would always remain loyal. And one thing he knew for sure: he was not yet worthy.
And yet he couldn’t bare it. He had a wife and a little child. He loved them. He loved them more than he had loved anything in over a thousand years. How could he leave them? How could he leave his wife to fend for herself, abandoned? How could he leave his precious little daughter to grow up without her daddy, to grow up wondering why he left her? Wasn’t a man’s first duty to his family?
But he had to fulfill his quest. The dragons had to be killed once and for all, for everyone’s sake. His marriage, his child, were nothing in the greater scheme of things. They were a detour, a wandering from his path. He never should have let his focus veer off course. He was fighting a holy war.
But if he was fighting a holy war why did the death of every dragon make him feel so dirty? Why did leaving his family feel so very wrong?
Because he himself was despicable. He was destined to be evil, though he longed to be good, so he did evil for the sake of good. Such was his calling. He could not forsake it.
It was late. His wife and daughter were asleep. Such was for the best. He did not want them there, asking questions. There was no way to say goodbye.
He crept silently to his daughter’s room and peeked inside. There she lay, peaceful and fast asleep, assured of her safety and protection. How he betrayed her.
“I love you,” he whispered through the dark. He did not cry. Squires never cried.
He went to the basement, where in a dusty box his sword lay hidden. He took it out and unsheathed it, staring a few seconds at its blade reflecting the meager light. He had always known this day was coming. He had always kept his sword well polished.
At last he left the basement. The time could no longer be delayed. He left his house, closing the door behind him, and walked toward the appointed meeting place. He did not look back.