Anvar paused for a moment. “I wanted the three of you to see what was lost here. Remember the price paid for your freedoms. Remember the dead, but learn from them as well. To do so, will prevent you from joining them quickly.”
“Come,” Anvar continued, “let us resume our journey.”
As Anvar put his foot in the stirrup of this saddle, Rander took hold of his arm. “Is this the place where our father died?”
Anvar pulled his arm free and took to his saddle.
“It is hard to say with certainty when your father met his demise.”
“We know he died in the war. Just tell us, please,” begged Bander.
Anvar sighed and answered, “This was the last place he was known to have been. I think it is safe to say he lies somewhere in this field. I brought you here with the intent of revealing the news to you. Then, I reconsidered because I was not sure you could handle such a report. I am sorry, my dear nephews.”
The twins looked at one another and wept. They scanned the loose stones for some sort of marker. Only the obelisk stood with purpose.
Wind blew the tears at an angle across their faces. The droplets fell upon the rocks, cleansing the dirt from the surface.
Linvin wept for the twins. Though never close to their father, they were at least civil to one another.
At last, Rander spoke, “does mother know of this?”
“She knows that he died in the war,” Anvar said. “Any more than that, she did not want to hear. I imagine his loss had something to do with the way she coddled you both. Linvin, being a soldier himself, only fed her dislike of her nephew. It was in the years after your father’s death that she taught you to distrust the military and fighting in general. Perhaps now, you can fully appreciate how difficult it was to allow you to go on the quest.”
Rander was closest to his mother and realized her pain. Even so, questions needed answers. “You were here, weren’t you, Uncle Anvar?”
“Where I was, is not for you to know,” Anvar gently scolded. “It is enough to say that I am confident in my facts.”
“That’s not good enough!” cried Bander. “Answer Rander’s question.”
Anvar turned his horse to the road and calmly responded, “Accept my answer or don’t. Regardless of your resolve, that is all the information I can give you. Now, take to your saddles and return with me to the road.”
The cousins looked at one another in silence. Anvar did not look back as he returned the way they had come. His nephews soon followed. They brimmed with questions and skepticism but knew better than to engage in a battle of wills with their uncle.