40.2 \ 222

General Claymore accepted a binder from his officer. Inside the binder was also a chip, which he set into his desk’s info stack. “I’m glad you made it back, sir. You’ve done a great thing.” Then, Draig was alone again. He opened it up and paged through at random.

… Partway up a mountainside, in a flowery field overlooking a lake. A favorite view, a special place half a day’s walk from civilization. It was night, so I jogged into town, to the late hours store. The stars were out.

… I was standing on my lawn. I don’t let anyone stand on my lawn but me, when I’m taking care of it. When I’m gone, my family takes care of it, and who knows what happens then. But when I’m home, it’s only mine, even if it’s not very big. I don’t think I’d want a bigger one. No one was on it when I got there.

… I found myself at the base of a statue, a winged woman that I remember seeing on a family trip. Still there, apparently. When I saw her as a child, she gave me a sense of beauty and protection, though I was far from home. Maybe adventure is my safety. I might have just figured that out about myself.

As for Draig, he had appeared back in this very office. He felt the wash of fulfillment from his very first step in. It was a single flash accrual of every moment he embraced the calling of power in right relation, between the might held in prosperity, and the prosperity accompanying might. When he realized where he was, he engaged in routine. He corrected his wardrobe, took in some nourishment. Then he sat where he was sitting now, and marveled.

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