It was the most complicated spell he’d ever seen, but in order to stop the war before there was no one left to fight in it, Raestes knew he had no choice. Four days he spent combing through the incantation, learning the complicated enunciation checking and rechecking his stores to make certain he had all the required components, pacing the floors while whispering the parts he was sure he would flub once he got started in order to memorize them.
His greatest fear was that he wouldn’t be able to let go his tight grip upon the final component, that while standing at the edge of the battlefield he would lose his nerve and fail entirely. He grew tired of whispering the incantation he knew by heart and began recanting the wisdom of his grandfather to soothe his fraying nerve. Time and again, he returned to one important piece of wisdom: The sacrifice of one to save many was one of the most noble sacrifices of all.
Could he do it? Even knowing he’d barely begun to live himself? He could have decades in which to find love, settle down, start a family, open a small apothecary in a a slow-growing town on the verge of becoming a city. There were so many things he’d never done, would never get to do, but if he didn’t follow through there might not be a world left for anyone else to find love or settle down in.
He didn’t sleep on the eve of the reckoning. He wouldn’t have been able to even if he tried. And before the sun began to climb the smoke-laden horizon he set out to begin the incantation. If everything went as planned, he’d speak the final words, make the required sacrifice before the sun’s light breached the edge of the world. He’d be gone, and no one would ever know what he’d done, but they wouldn’t remember they’d been warring either, and perhaps they’d find love, settle down, start families, grow small towns into thriving cities…