Halvar second guessed himself for the first time in centuries.
A short few decades ago one of the children, Lorens, had convinced him that a show of force to the humans would make them back off. A show of force would protect the clan and improve moral, no one enjoys the feeling of helplessness that comes from being persecuted. Fighting back would make them feel as if they had some control over their fate. So he had agreed, he had pledged his children to the fight, and they had been victorious. Lorens had been right, the humans had retreated, moral had improved now that they no longer felt helpless. The battles were easily won, and their losses were minimal.
Until the Inquisition reappeared.
Things had become harder after that, battles were becoming fiercer. The losses began to mount up, and some began to lose faith. But those who lost their faith were easily outnumbered by those who had faith. They held hope not because of Halvar but because of Lorens. They had no belief that Lorens cared for them, or that he even really knew what he was doing. But they all saw him fight; they saw him do things alone in minutes that no one army could do in a lifetime. That he was capable of such things gave them faith, that and his contagious determination.
But determination was not protection from a well-aimed blade.
Now Lorens lay broken before him, blood stained the grass, and his weapon was gone. The Inquisition had done its work. It was over.
But as he turned to walk away he stopped and listened. Over the sound of the flames he could hear Loren breathing, Halvar felt himself smile.
Perhaps they weren’t defeated yet.
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