Every year for the Festival of Serynade, my dad would give me a new pair of leather gloves. I always knew what was in the box, but I would act surprised every time. As I opened my package, the smell of the fresh leather would come wafting out. I loved that smell. I would put the gloves on and cover my face with both hands. For several moments I would just breathe in the odor.
Now here I sit, readying myself to fight trolls with Jericho, the therian king. I watch everyone else as they prepare. Slanter is sharpening his phoenix-fletched arrows. Zipporah tries to appear confident, but I can tell in the tension of her hands that she is nervous. Syris, the dust elemental, is sitting quietly; a sure sign that things are serious. Pnils is burdened with a sadness much more cruel than any cut of a troll blade. He is a rock, though, for he knows that we need him. Tori is giving instructions to Master LePrius on how to care for each of the orphan children. King Jericho is lining out plans with Rasul, who wants to stay and fight so badly but refuses to even protest against the king’s wishes. Baron, the werebadger, is saying goodbye to his family.
I think of my family, and I wonder what they would have me do. Would they want me to go to safety with Rasul and LePrius, and leave the battle for those who are better equipped for such tasks? Would they want me to stay and fight alongside my new friends? I lower my head into my hands, at a loss. Then I smell my newly purchased leather armor. The sweet aroma of the Rosewood gauntlets take me back to those holiday mornings with my dad. I guess I will always associate that smell with him. I know what he would want me to do, so I go over to Slanter and ask him if he minds sharpening my axe as well.