The Nomad's Vigil

As One Lamp Lights Another, Nor Grows Less

Hollis

[This diary entry is muffled somewhat by loud classical music. Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade is in its second movement, The Kalendar Prince.]

Vocal diary of Maj. Hollis Wheeler, formerly of the 29th Infantry Division, Fort Belvoir. 20th of June, 2012, 22:00

Well, it was more than ten years at this job before I signed on with another man’s army. I’m not ashamed of that. But looking back, now, perhaps there was a touch of pride that kept me from enlisting before now. A certain rebelliousness or egotism, a notion that I could command better than any other I’d met. That was true, as far as it went, until I met these people.

The body of knowledge that they possess is… formidable. No, more than that, astonishing. Instants pass and questions that have plagued me for years are answered in the clipped tones of a synthetic voice! Dr. Foxx was beside herself with joy at the sight of the new machine and I can’t blame her. Can’t in the least. Children in candy stores have exercised more restraint. Even Daniel was impressed, although his analog was the firing range. Boys with their toys. I have a distinct feeling, now that it occurs to me, that Dan McMinton has never been shot. Shot at, probably, but guns lose much of their cachet once they have turned a sizable portion of your body into red pulp. Certainly worked on me back in the Balkans.

Their field commander is a man of powerful intellect, personal fortitude and, above all, iron conviction. His plan is one with which I can agree, and the ideologies that seem to motivate him seem, at first impression, to be noble. I respect him, although I can’t help but wonder if it is safe to be making this recording in here. Even with the music playing I expect they have listening equipment of great sophistication. That’s a risk I’ll take.

Dylan Kent has demonstrated a more somber side of himself here, quite possibly influenced by Oracle’s illness. The resemblance between the two of them has persuaded, I think, Dr. Foxx and Danny that they are related. I half agree with that.

I already miss Regan, I frankly admit it. He was growing so much, so quickly. It would have been a true pleasure to see him continue to do so. But blood is thicker than water, and most is not laced with brimstone. He did his duty to his family and cause. I will never condemn him for that. I’m proud.

Need to write another letter to Alice, soon. Perhaps, if our work takes us towards Montreal, I could visit. God, I would love that more than anything. Maybe I could meet this new beau as well, put the fear of God into him. Or of me, anyway. Hah!

Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to unpack my things, settle in, and listen to my music for a while. You know, this radio station pitch of Oracle’s may actually be something I could pursue. You can’t recruit without a banner, after all. Worth thinking about…

[The music goes on, now in its Third Movement, the Young Prince and the Young Princess, and plays almost all the way through, when Hollis snorts with laughter.]

Unbreakable contract, they say. Enforced by magic, they say. Hmph. I’ve learned better. Really.

Such amateurs, eh, Oleanna?

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