Shortly after Argent had crawled into his bedroll and started pretending to try to fall asleep, Bildad broke into the circle of light around their camp.
“Who goes there?”
Bildad ignored Simon’s challenge, threw his pack down by the fire and sat on it, rubbing his hands for warmth.
“You know festering well ‘who goes there’. I saw the boy checking my progress. You were purposefully ignoring me. I hope your hospitality shows less rudeness than that.”
Simon used his foot to push the bowl of leftover stew to his guest, from were he’d been keeping it warm by the fire. Bildad snapped it off the ground. It wasn’t long before he was polishing the inside of the bowl with his fingers and licking them clean. He sighed, stretched and pulled out a silver flask. After taking a swig he offered it to Simon who ignored the gesture. Bildad raised an eyebrow and pointed his chin toward Argent. Simon shook his head.
“Really? Surely he’s old enough to make up his own mind on something like this by now?”
“Ask him on the return trip and he can make his own decision. Until he’s finished his quest I’ll not have him polluted with the stuff.”
“Well that answers my first two questions without having to ask them. I guess that detour I asked of you last year caused you to miss taking the ‘youngest ever to complete a quest’ title from your pa. I do apologize Argent, maybe the extra time will make you feel a little more prepared though?”
“He needed extra time about as much as I needed your ‘help’ in the tundra.”
“With no one but you to train him, I’m not sure he couldn’t still use extra time. How about it Argent, do you want to join my rangers and get some real training? Mind you there will always be room in their ranks for you even if you fail the quest, you’ve got real potential.”
“If he fails, he’ll be dead. The prophesy clearly says that my heir will be a champion. If Ferus were to reject him then that would mean that instead of being a champion of light, he would be a champion of darkness. No son of my mine will grow up to be a champion of darkness. If he failed and for some reason Ferus chose not to burn him to a crisp, I would kill him myself. However, that is a moot point. Argent will not fail.”
“For the love of the Aura! What are you trying to do with those words? It was only a joke! I know the boy is less likely to fail than any candidate who has ever tried. There is no reason to throw words like that at him right before he quests.”
“There is nothing wrong with speaking truth.”
“Yes Simon, sometimes there is.”
The warriors’ bickering eventually gave way to trading news. Jabbed had fallen, Bildad knew of a massive horde gathering for an unknown purpose, he was trying to gather an assembly of True Warriors in Phoentown and Simon and Argent were requested to join him there soon. However, many of the details of the conversation escaped Argent as he pondered what the two men had said regarding his quest. What if he did fail? Maybe it would be better to burn in failure. Simon could start a new family to fulfil the prophesy. Another son would no doubt serve him better. Argent was sure he fell as far short of Simon in potential, as he did in stature. How could Argent ever hope to fulfil a destiny that had eluded such a giant of a man?
Argent shook his head to try to clear it of these types of thoughts. Simon had been training him for his destiny since before he could speak. All that remained was the transfiguration, he could not afford to think of failure.