Hosperan dropped the weapons of at his house before making his way to The Great Hall.
The streets were awake by now. Parents were teaching children everything from sword fighting to the history of their people to the gods and their sacrifices. A bronze statue of the fire beast stood in the middle of town square. It’s wings spread wide and it’s head pointed toward the heavens. Hosperan overheard a father telling some children, “there is no reason to be afraid, my child. There is great honor is being taken by fire.”
Hosperan shook his head slightly, but said nothing. It had never sat right with him. He never had peace with the beast like these children had been given. This was one of the reasons that led him to confront the elders so many times. And it is what led him to confront them today. He passed Svana’s house, but decided not to stop. He needed to get to the meeting before it ended.
When he arrived they had already began, but they paused and welcomed him to his seat. Hosperan found his seat at the end of a battle-worn wood table. The table was reclaimed wood from a legendary ship Agur’s father had captained.
“It is nice to see you, Hosperan.” Ragnhild, an elder spokesman, said. “It has been awhile since you have joined us.”
“I have something to bring to your attention, but I can wait until you have finished what was being discussed before I arrived.”
“Nonsense, if the chief-to-be has a matter to discuss it must be of great importance. Unless it is the fire beast nonsense.” The elders laughed. “All other matters must be postponed. Everyone in agreement?” The elders surrounding the tables shook their head in agreement accompanied by a booming “ja.”
“That’s the thing. You are being foolish. All of you.” Hosperan said. “We need to prepare for the Night of Fire.”
The faces surrounding him were jovial, and a few condescending laughs echoed off the walls, but no one said anything in response. Just as Hosperan was about to speak again, Ragnhild replied.
“Our apologies Hos, but what do you mean prepare? There is no preparing.”
"I don't know. Figure it out. Let’s reinforce our homes, hide our supplies, double our prayers,” Hosperan took a deep breath before finishing. "Fight the beast."
“Don’t be so stupid, child. We are mortal beings. There is no fighting the beast. That is like a bee taking on a whale,” Ragnhild replied. Then an aged man from the end of the table spoke.
“Even if we could defeat the beast, why would we want to? It only claims the sacrifices the gods require. The gods do not ask much from us at all, yet they provide the harvest and the plunder.”
“You haven’t forgotten the divine order have you? ‘He who displays a malicious act toward the beast will be damned worse than an enemy.’ I didn’t make the rules Hos,” Ragnhild replied.
“It cannot be right. My dreams. It is so….”
“Not with the dreams again,” Ragnhild pleaded.
“It’s suicide!” Hosperan stood out of his seat. “If we knew the Ebeltoftons were planning an attack we would not retreat to our homes and wait for our destruction.”
“When your father was chief we would have,” murmured someone from around the table.
“Who said that? As chief I demand you identify yourself,” Hosperan declared.
“You are not chief yet Hosperan. Not until your birthday. Then your father’s shield will be yours.” Ragnhild pointed to a shield that hung on the wall. “Ten more days, is it?”
“Very well. I’ll make sure to have you all replaced when I become chief.” Hosperan stormed out of the meeting place without looking back. He heard whispering as he left, but paid them no attention. He needed to find someone he could talk to; someone who would listen to him and care about what he had to say. He needed to find his best friend Gildor.
"The Rose Weapon," will be out soon. Thank you for reading and caring!