The cool, crisp air of the morning was sobering. Laureli pulled her cloak tighter around her. They had been traveling for days to a new battle. Mids had a foothold near Caer Erasleigh. The Albion Army was sent to evict them. She stared at the thousands of tents in the valley below her feet. Guild emblems stood bright and strong against the brown earth. It never ceased to amaze her how many soldiers it took to fight a battle. That's all this was, one tiny battle out of hundreds in this war. She thought about home. Mist filled her eyes and she had to force herself to turn the thoughts away.

Below, she watched as her husband's figure left the Merlin tent. He was moving swiftly toward the Paladin Command tent. Lyith was hot on his heels. Laureli smiled. She could tell that her best friend was not happy. A flash of brilliant light reflecting off of plate armor drew her attention to the Armsman Command tent. Eagon and Carawyn were leaving the tent in full stride. She watched as they intercepted Belkiolle and Lyith. My family, she thought wistfully.

Indeed her husband and her guild were the only family she had left. The Society of Merlin had taken her in when she was all alone in the world, a rebellious child with a dream of becoming a powerful wizard. She had succeeded but she didn't do it by herself as she thought she might. Was it so long ago that she lay in the dark listening to her father's voice and making her decision to leave her home? What grand things did she expect? A wizard's life was not as easy as she suspected, especially during a war.

"My father", she whispered, and began to think back...