Veran stood alone in the barren field. It was a dirt wasteland, though looking down at the ground, he could tell it had known flowers in its time.

He breathed deeply, closing his eyes tightly. They were waiting: the soldiers lined, seemingly endlessly, behind him. Waiting for him to put the odds in their favor.

Why did he do this? He tried to think back to a time when he had not. He came up empty, as always.

He knelt down to the earth. He breathed in the soil. He moved slowly, as if in a trance. He took rocks he had placed in a basket, each chosen for this task as carefully as the basket had been woven.

He took each out slowly and kissed each one before placing them in a circle, surrounding him. A grave for his soul. He brought his hands up from his side and began to dance and as always everyone, everything: including the very earth rose to meet him.

Veran smirked darkly and opened his mouth to sing.

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