Alone, in the private office of the Dragonsworn Manor, a disheveled, white-haired man sits at a desk. Obviously distracted, he idly browses over notes and reports in the waning light of a dying lantern. Far too long has he pondered upon far too many decisions, none of them weighing as heavy as his current dilemma. Amidst the
flashes of lightning and crashing of thunder outside the slightly opened window, a knock on the office door almost went unnoticed. As the man slowly rises from his chair, his old joints and muscles groan in protest. Opening the door to find Masema Dagar outside the portal, the old man beckons him in silently, still lost in thought.
Back to his desk, he looks the Prophet over, inquiring wearily, 'Surely, you have reason to have left your work to come see me at this hour?'
Masema, nodding, admits 'We, the Lords Dartes, Enoch, and I, find your state of mind troubling, of late. I wished to speak with you to make sure all is well.'
'I am old, Masema, far older than should be allowed by nature, and find myself not wishing to leave my chambers anymore, due to the present state of things surrounding us. I've spent many hours in quiet contemplation, lately, and am faced with a difficult decision. I apologize to you all, if I've been a hermit of sorts.'
Nodding again, Masema strokes his chin with his thumb and forefinger. 'I think I understand,' he says thoughtfully. Patting his long time friend on the shoulder, Masema stands, and leaves quietly. Pausing, at the door, he says over his shoulder, 'You know it can not happen quietly, and without formality, right?' A small sigh is the only response.
Several days later, as Lord Zygoat d'Anconia returns from a woodland ride, he finds the entirety of the Dragonsworn army standing in three perfect ranks, headed by Lords Dartes and Enoch. The Prophet Masema, as well as a small gathering of nobles and friends, stood in front of the amassed army.
Handing the reigns to the stablehand as he dismounts, Zygoat shoots a questioning look toward Masema, who already is hustling in his direction. 'I did tell you my Lord, that it cannot be done quietly or without formality. I thought it best to handle the preparations in secret, as well as... well, this, as you surely would have tried to minimize the affair.'
Nodding in agreement, Zygoat begins to speak, but is cut short by Masema's suggestion to don his formal uniform and armor. Putting the soldiers at ease, Zygoat enters the mansion to clean himself up.
Quite some time later, as the sun tips the western horizon, Lord Zygoat emerges from the manor door, chainmail armor shimmering in the early stages of dusk. Masema Dagar, quickly reforms the ranks of their forces, and beckons Zygoat to join him in front of everyone. With a hint of a smile creasing the corners of his mouth, Zygoat obliges, standing at full attention, facing Masema.
'Lord Lieutenant Zygoat,' he announces, loudly, 'Many years, you have served the Lord Dragon faithfully. You have spread the word of his coming, and gathered troops to march under his banner. For that, we are indebted to you. You have fought bravely, and valiantly, against the Shadow, and against those who have openly opposed us. You have guided, taught, and mentored the younger Dragonsworn to become not just better followers of the Dragon, but to become better men and women, as well. But let us not forget, that you had an entire lifetime before coming home to us, you served for a brief period, under Lady Berelain, the First of Mayene, whom we have fought along side numerous times. You also spent a great deal of time as a Forrester Councilman, bringing heel to the scourge of the blight. But there comes a time when all good men, however able their bodies may yet be, must hang their cloak by the fire once and for all. And by your request, it is now your time to hang your cloak.'
Reaching inside of his own cloak, Masema steps toward the white-haired ranger, producing a gold and crimson knot of Dragonsworn Service and Retirement from within. Holding back emotion, Masema threads it around Zygoat's left shoulder, pinning it in place.
'Lord Zygoat,' Masema continues loudly, 'We hereby release you from service to enjoy the benefits of a long life served in the Light, and enjoy your retirement as you see fit!' Quietly, he adds 'And you shall forever be a Dragon Lieutenant, welcome to serve at your leisure.'
As the two embrace, Zygoat whispers to Masema, 'Should the Dragon return in my lifetime, there are those who will know where to find me.'
Stepping back to his place at the head of the ranks, the Prophet of the Dragon announces the conclusion of a storied and loyal career, and is greeted with cheers and applause. Zygoat turns to address his brothers Dartes and Enoch, each delivering a warm hug of brotherhood and pride.
As the festivities of the evening wind down, the leadership of the Dragonsworn find themselves as the only ones left at the solarium, and decide that farewells should never last too long. When the goodbyes have been said, and the music had faded, Lord Zygoat d'Anconia, Dragon Lieutenant mounts his tall bay stallion, and rides off into the darkness of the night filled woods, without a sound but a gentle wind blowing through the trees.