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Through cold lips, he smiled at his son as the guards watched them both.
“Come now, you are too old for tears. Your uncle Iorlas is a good man and will take care of you now.”
Beregond swallowed his own tears as he watched his son scrub his eyes. Such a thin sharp-boned face it was. His heart ached at the thought of leaving them both – this precious boy of his and the brother who, little more than a great lad himself, must now stand as father to him.
“The king awaits you.”
Beregond looked past the captain to where Iorlas waited, white-faced and grim; no trace now of the light-hearted soldier.
“Look after him for me, lad.”
He felt Bergil press shiveringly against him. Swiftly he clasped his shoulders and pressed a kiss to his forehead.
“Remember – we are soldiers of the third company. You must pay attention to your lessons and do your best to help your uncle and be as brave as you were during the war.”
As the captain put a hand on his shoulder and gruffly ordered him to come, Beregond pushed his son gently towards his brother.
“Do not let him watch, Iorlas.”
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