It was just like how grandmaman described Hell as she read me the Bible during my younger years—Fires everywhere that I looked and yet I was frozen cold by fear as large hands dragged me away.
“Erin!” I heard my mother shriek my name, “Please not my little boy!! He is innocent in all this!!”
“It is by the Emperor’s Decree that all boys must be trained to fight in the war. This town had kept these boys hidden for far too long.” The large man’s face may have been hidden by his helmet, but I could hear the gravity in his tone as he signaled for another soldier to come closer.
In his hands, he held his sword, raising it over my mother just as she was pushed down on the cobbled streets— “Mother noo!!!”
I woke up in a cold sweat, my throat constricting around the words caught in my dream. It has been a while since that memory came back to haunt me… It could be a sign… I clenched my hands tight, slowly letting my emotions trickle down into a simmer. It would not do to lose sight of my goal now.
A knock on the door signaled the start of my morning just as I had risen from bed, “Young master, Lord Griffith has called upon you.”
The dark oak that made up his office seemed to absorb the only source of light coming through the windows— “Did you know that the Gryphon wasn’t the first choice this legacy of ours decided to leave us with?”
I observed him silently, not giving him an answer as I watched him gently remove the medallion from his neck, the reddish-gold tinge catching the sunlight— “But what is renewal without strength?”
Almost reverently, he placed it over my head, the firm pat he gave my shoulder belying his ripened age. Lifting the medallion that now hang from my neck, I took note of the ruby-encrusted Phoenix engraved in gold; very much different from the Gryphon branded onto the side of my neck.
“Now that you’ve risen from the ashes of your past, it is time you lead us to a new Regime, Lord Erin Griffith.”
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