Chapter Thirty-One: City Under Siege.

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Chapter Thirty-One: City Under Siege.

Laenya slowly stepped forward and sat down on the bed next to Tauren. She glanced up at Detrick pointedly and jerked her head toward the door. He scowled at her and replied by stomping out.

“Tauren?” Laenya whispered uncertainly.

“Yes Laenya.” He replied softly.

“This isn't over yet.”

“Yes it is.”

She leaned over his face, looking directly into his eyes. “No Tauren, it isn't. If you cannot do what you are asked to do it does not mean you've failed. You did very well, and I doubt that anyone would criticize you for your choices. Not even Arlon. This is not over, I promise you. Forget that I was ever a part of this. Tauren ... forget that this quest ever existed. Look around you.”

“Netheron is your home, and it needs your help right now. The Nether lords are falling one by one, with no chance against Halavarde. Clasheron's men are being driven back. You might be able to tip the balance.”

“No one person can do that.” Tauren muttered dispiritedly.

“I don't believe that.” Laenya replied, quiet confidence radiating from her. “I believe in you Tauren, even when you don't. Arlon's actions make so little sense. But I think I'm beginning to understand them ... and Tauren, they're nothing at all like what you think they are.”

Tauren rolled over, looking away from her. “I understand what he did perfectly well Laenya. Do not let your trust in me cloud your eyes to reality.”

Laenya slowly dropped down in the bed next to him, her feet draped over the side. “But Tauren, Detrick is right ... you can't just give up like this. Everything you've succeeded ... all you've done. Even if you did not specifically succeed this time, imagine what you could do out there. This world is drowing in war, and it's people desperately need a leader.”

Tauren laughed harshly. “Oh, really? Now I'm a leader? A warrior?”

Laenya scowled over at him. “You could be! You have powers that people here cannot begin to understand. Show them what you could do, just be there for them, and they would follow you. If they don't then Netheron will burn. What will you do then?”

“Go to Arreland.” Tauren snapped back. “Anyway! Under what authority could I possibly do that? I have no right. Forget about it Laenya. Go your own way ... I'll go mine. Any real hope for Netheron died with Arlon's line.”

Laenya said nothing for a moment, seemingly consumed in thought. Finally she shook her head and stood back up. “People claim authority, Tauren. How do you think the ancestors of all the great lords got their names? They took them. I can't give you authority, or motivation. That's up to you. Just think about it. Do that for me, please?”

Tauren glanced back at her. “I'll think about it.” He promised.

Laenya nodded and slipped back out of the room, leaving Tauren to his thoughts once more.

Could what Laenya said be possible? Could he fight the massed might of Halavarde: a force that not even Arlon himself, with hundreds of thousands of warrriors, had been able to defeat? Netheron was weak now in comparison with Arlon's day. A thousand times weaker in a thousand ways.

He needed to speak with Red.

Slowly he allowed his mind to drift into the soulvoid, grasping at random bits of light passing by his mind in the darkness and tying them together as he'd been taught. In a few moments the field began to materialize around him, the darkness slowly being filled with light, the earth sprouting grass which grew up, died, and began to rustle in a soft breeze.

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