“Hsst. I can’t say why you were picked, Frank. It was ordained. I can see bits of the future, you know, but not its entirety. None of us know how this will play out.”
“You could well die.”
Frank swallowed hard. Up until this point, there had been no talk of dying, although he’d suspected that was the price of failure. Telling himself it was a dream didn’t soften the blow, either. There was a disturbing finality to Random’s statement.
“Then…I suppose I’ve accepted that risk as well,” he agreed at last.
“What I’m trying to say is have faith. Everything happens for a reason. I don’t know why you were picked, but you were. Which means you will play some vital role.”
“Me? How could I?”
“I don’t know. You have no magic. You aren’t conditioned for physical battle. The journey alone will tax your resources. Yet there is something about you. Something all of us have missed.” Random took a deep breath, then continued. “Azzie will offer you a great deal of grief, never mistake that. It is his nature. Ignore him, and believe in yourself.”
Frank lowered his head. He had no idea how to respond.
A father figure. Yeah, I needed that, but it’s a little late. Where were you about fourteen years ago, pal?
“They’re waiting in the courtyard.” Random’s tone became authoritative once again. “Go join them. Straight through the doors.”
Frank nodded and headed down the hall. His mind whirled with confusion while his stomach knotted around long-forgotten emotions.
Random’s own heart was heavy as he watched the mortal go. It galled him to place such an innocent onto the chessboard. They hadn’t told Frank half of what he was getting into.
How could they? Time was too precious, and every answer they gave the human raised a dozen new questions.
It was the only chance they had.
“Fare well, little human.”