Here lies Leo Donovan Richardson, a kind soldier and a loving brother. May the Lady guide his soul.
My brother, Leo, was the kindest, most compassionate man that I have ever met. He never hesitated to do what was right no matter what that meant. Leo taught me absolutely everything I know. We were homeschooled together, and he loved to teach me about the book he was reading or how to navigate with a map. He wasn’t just my brother; he was my best friend. We did everything together growing up.
When Leo decided to become a soldier, my mother and I were both terrified. She tried to respectfully talk him out of it whereas I threw a fit and stormed out. I was just scared. Anything could happen out on the roads in this realm. He could have been sent to a peaceful town, or he could be sent south to the farm country where they’re fighting for whatever scraps they can get and they don’t care who gets killed. But he held out against both of us. Started training the day he turned eighteen and never looked back.
I was sixteen and he, nineteen when he was first hired to run security out in the trading ports of Bay Point. We cried when he left home, promising to be home in the spring. But we rejoiced when he sent home his first paycheck, and we could afford new clothes and fresh fruit from the market. Leo sent home every copper outside of his own expenses home to us. He had always said he wanted to take care of us someday like Mom had for all these years on her own, and finally, he had the chance.
Leo bounced around from job to job until six months ago, when he was summoned to city hall with the other mercenaries in his company. I thought maybe the government wanted to offer him a job, but no. It was the higher higher-ups. The Fae. The Fae have always had a hand in the politics of the Middle Realm; they control the alliances, the trade, the resource distribution. And they all just sit up there in the Upper Realm in their fancy castles and their bountiful homes with their magic and just watch us all run around down here like ants. The Fae needed their worker ants, a group of mortal soldiers, to come run security for a top-secret operation in the House of the Sun. They offered more money than anyone in this realm had ever even heard of, and of course, Leo jumped at the chance.
One more assignment, he said, and then he would be home for the Winter Solstice. Just one more assignment, and he’d bring me back something nice for the celebration. Just one more assignment.
Rest in peace, brother.