"It’s been a while since I’ve seen you here, Winter"
"I’ve been busy. Military business."
Winter hadn’t planned on meeting his old teacher at the fallen warlock’s graveyard. It made him feel really uneasy, as it’s been good three years since the last time they’ve seen each other on a business meeting, and even longer than that since the last time he came to visit and old friend’s grave. Bonfire was the first person he had ever lost, five years ago when he was younger, both of them were, and he hated thinking about it. That didn’t excuse him never bringing flowers though, and every time he thought of it he felt bitter guilt.
"You should come see the young recruits sometime. None of you ever come back." said his teacher after laying a bouquet of yellow roses at a humble grave of a fallen soldier. Winter’s flowers were also yellow, he noted, but he thought his choice of flowers was better. He didn’t know what they were named, but they looked wilder.
"We’re busy doing what you trained us to do. That means you’ve done a good job, sir." he responded.
The training grounds weren’t in the capital city, but a short distance away from it. A less exciting environment made the children more relaxed and easier to train for war. Once they reached the age of fifteen, they were moved to the warlock station in the capital, close to the centre and their queen’s castle.
From then on, war-tested warlocks were the ones to train them, and advanced magic came into play.
"It just makes me feel like you all end up the same. All of you, gone out of my life."
"You see us all as dead, sir?" Winter asked, frowning slightly. That’s quite a statement his teacher just made.
"That’s unfair. Bonfire was the only one who—"
"I know, I know," the warlock teacher sighed. "But sometimes it’s easier to accept it that way. Winter— Mihael, you are my children. Do you know how many I’ve seen leaving through my door as certified young soldiers? Ninety-eight. Do you know how many I’ve seen die? Ten. Do you know how many returned to visit? Eleven. The rest I’ve never seen again. Me, who’s done his best to be the best father to you that I could be, when no one else wanted you around. Think about that."
"Why are you telling me this now?" Winter replied with that bitter guilt at the back of his throat again. Now that Green put it that way it felt like a revelation. He is going to have to make some changes to his training schedule, and Lovely’s too - the latter shouldn’t be hard.
"Because.. I always had a feeling Bonfire would return, if he lived."