I am now
myself. I am the person I was, the person I will be, the person I am meant
to be. I am a Kohan. I have been the leader of the Royalists since the day
we split from the Council. I remember that day well. Finally too disgusted
with the Council’s inaction, many of my brethren split off to defend the
people ourselves. That is the basis of our group; the protection of those we
serve. Years before that, those now called Nationalist split off from the
Council. They were not concerned with the people however, but with fighting
the Ceyah and the Shadow, in all its forms. They believed the purpose of the
people was to help them combat the Shadow. Many mortals agreed with them,
and the Nationalists rarely lack for recruits.
I believe that we have the right of it
though. Yes, it is our duty to fight the Shadow, but not out of revenge or
outrage. We must fight to protect our loved ones from the hatred and
violence of the Shadow, and from its pawns, the Ceyah. Working together with
the mortals, we had built some of the most prosperous cities on Khaldun.
Every last one now lies in ruin. Recognizing the threat of Kohan and mortal
working hand in hand, the Ceyah now hunt us even more than the Nationalists.
We have been forced to live in hiding for
years. To aid us in this, years ago I started a policy that newly awakened
Kohan live without being told that they were Kohan. The policy formed bonds
with the mortals, and few were the Kohan who came out of it without the will
to fight and defend those they knew. I can admit I took a near perverse
pleasure in doing this to council Kohan who we awakened. We gained several
followers by opening their eyes in such a way. The main problem with the
Council is that they place themselves above the mortals, and yet know little
None were exempt from this policy, not even
myself, which brought me to where I am now. Blinded by light, deafened by
memory, and full of purpose and hope.
Lying on that cold ground, I remembered
everything. This was the true ‘Curse of the Kohan.’ Not awakening without
memories, but never being able to forget. I remember each time I’ve died,
every time I have watched my wife die before my eyes, and it nearly breaks
me. But now things are different, now I have hope. Darius is waiting.
Beneath his banner I envisioned us uniting the Kohan, even the complacent
Council, and finally driving back the hordes of darkness.
I gradually realized I could see, and that
none of my companions were where they had been. Jason leaned heavily upon a
tree, while my wife, Rachel, prayed nearby on her knees. Of Caitlynn, I saw
no sign. That did not worry me though, one of her habits was to never show
any form of weakness in front of other people, not even her closest friends.
Letting the others recover on their own, I
began to strap on the various pieces of my armor. Without a squire it was a
little bit difficult, but I’d gotten used to it. The only piece I really had
trouble with was the breastplate, but before I even heard her, I felt
Rachel’s small hands helping me with the straps.
While we worked, Caitlynn came back and
began helping Jason into his own armor. While his studded leather was not as
complicated as my platemail, it was still enough that one could not easily
do it alone. Caitlynn was also already changed. She had to have changed into
her padded green hunting leathers while she was gone. I have the feeling I
would have easily noticed in the blonde beauty had changed within sight.
When Rachel and I were done getting me
dressed, I asked her to finish helping Jason and send Caitlynn over to me.
When she arrived, I began explaining why we were leaving so early. Fending
off her constant questions, I explained about my visions, and about how
close Darius was.
“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?” she
“Just look at how many questions you’ve
asked me so far,” I told her, “there was no time to answer them earlier.”
“You know I do not like being ordered
around,” she said, “that’s one of the reasons the Council banished me.” Of
all of us, Caitlynn was the only one who had not left the Council by choice.
“Caitlynn, you were found out spying on the
Council leaders, and passing that information to the Nationalist; that’s why
they banished you.”
“I was NOT spying, and I was not sending
information to the Nationalists, “she hissed at me, “What I overheard was
gossip and I only told that to my sister!”
It was about this time that I realized she
had never spoken to anyone about this, not even Jason. “That ‘gossip’ was
information about how the Council was going to deal with the Nationalists
and your sister is Sofiya Fairfax, the leader of all the Nationalists. Your
impulse to spy for you sister nearly led to a civil war, and only when we
broke from the council ourselves was that situation fully defused. Your
reckless actions nearly cost us everything we had worked towards for a
thousand years, the defeat of the Shadow and the stewardship of those who
look to us for hope.”
I knew I had scored deep with that as she
visible flinched and her lower lip began to tremble. “I know what I did was
reckless and impulsive Jonathon,” she whispered hoarsely, “but what else was
I to do? Should I have let the Council declare my sister rogue? She is the
only family I have left.”
She appeared near tears, and I knew that I
may have gone too far. Before the Cataclysm, her husband willingly joined
the Ceyah. His name had been Jonas Teramun, though he goes by another now.
The only thing that kept my friend going was the hope that one day we might
capture his amulet and perform a cleansing. I decided right then and there I
would make it a priority to do just that, for Caitlynn’s sake; I owed her
that much at least.
“I’m sorry Kate, I should not have said
that,” I told her, and it was true. I had stepped over the line for no
reason at all. Some leader I am.
With that, to even my astonishment, she
collapsed into me and began weeping. As I held her I looked up and saw a
very puzzled look on Jason’s face, and yet another knowing smile on my
wife’s. I could feel my face burning and cursed how Ray could always make me
feel embarrassed. Some leader I am, making my friends cry and blushing
like a schoolboy whenever my wife gives me a funny look.
“I…I’m sorry Jo…John…I was wrong…my
ac…actions cou…ould have cost so…so many lives…” Kate sobbed into my
Utterly perplexed with this situation (I
could not remember the last time I had even won an argument, let alone
against a woman, and let alone against Kate), I did the only thing I could
think of. I treated her like a little child. “Shhh…don’t worry Kate.
Everything’s ok. Nobody died. In fact, you may have helped our cause.”
She stared up at me with a very confused
look, eyes swollen, and tears still dripping down her face. “Just think,” I
told her, “without what you did we would not be at the point we’re at today.
Besides, it could have been worse. You could have been telling Sofiya real
secrets, like how I like my eggs cooked,” I told her with a broad grin on my
With her tears broken by laughter she only
smiled and held me tighter. “Thank you,” she said. As she slowly backed
away, head bowed down, I noticed both Jason and Rachel struggling to contain
laughter. “What are you two looking at?” I asked, “Haven’t you ever seen two
people discuss eggs before?”
Chuckling and shaking his head, Jason left
to ready his horse for our journey while Rachel walked over and gave me a
peck on the cheek. “That was very nice what you did for her Jonathon, just
don’t get too used to another woman’s arms around you or you won’t be
feeling mine.” She walked off laughing, heading for her horse as well.
Great, I thought, just what I need, another way for my
wife to tease me. Compared to that, battling the Shadow was almost