Armando approaches the shrine, feet dragging in resignation. The summons had been cordial, but firm. Still, he’d been half-expecting this, even after the announcement of the Duke’s death and the memorial service.
Eighteen good days without the pompous windbag. Damn well better count toward my thousand days of service.
The shrine’s only occupant is a kobold, wearing a simple robe bearing the goddess’ symbol. Although he’d heard the rumors circulate in the barracks, the reality was still jarring.
Just great. Bad enough I have to serve an arrogant fundamentalist lunatic. Now he’s a godsdamned KOBOLD!? Now he’ll be even more intolerable.
What have I done to deserve this life?
The kobold turns as the soldier enters the shrine, and Armando bows stiffly. “You requested my presence, your grace?” The irony inherent in the title lends a tone of disdain to the man’s words.
The small creature returns the bow, deeper than usual. It’s thin, reedy voice sounds unfamiliar, but the wording and inflections are unmistakable. “Yes, sergeant. I wish to speak to you about the events in Whiterose Abbey.”
Great. Now I suppose it’s my fault that he blew himself up acting like a hero.
“I have been led to understand that you continued to serve admirably after my death. That you pulled the Dawnsister out of harm’s way, possibly saving her life, and accompanied the council members as they attempted to cleanse the abbey of its foul taint. Is this correct?”
Surprised by the unexpected direction of the conversation, Armando only nods.
The edges of the draconic mouth curve upward slightly in what the man can only assume is a smile, although the creature’s amber eyes still look very serious.
“I am honoured by your service, Armando Gillin ibn Victor ibn Carlos al-Tuskany. Your debt is fulfilled.”
The soldier stares for a moment, confused by the statement. “What?”
“I release you from any further service, save that which you choose for yourself. If you wish to return to your post in the army, I am certain that General Carson or his successor would welcome your skill. If you prefer to return to the Rangers, I would be pleased to speak with Marshal Nicholas on your behalf.”
Stunned, Armando is only able to bow in response. The kobold mirrors the action, holding the position much longer than necessary.
“I am honoured by your friendship, majeed.”
As Armando slowly walks back to the barracks, confusion continues to reign.
Has anyone thought to check that it’s Duke Faisal in there?