It is perhaps true that it takes inspiration to turn fear into action. An idea, a word, or – in this case – an event.
When they came for me, it did not take the form I had expected. I had known only the stories of the early days. Crowds of horsemen trampling the roads, dragging people from their homes, dragging them away or killing them on the spot. Those taken were as often burnt at stakes as thrown into a dungeon to die of consumption.
Ten years on had presented some illusion of civility to the New Order. Instead of a mob, a gentleman came rapping at my door. There were men with him, of course. Brutes with swords and countercharms. He simply inquired after my name from a document in hand. Had I not known the circumstances, he could have been a solicitor, or a tax man.
My fear in that moment was different than I had felt before. I did not want to cower. I did not want to hide. Here, presented before me, was a concrete representation of the plague that had so hounded me. A nameless entity now congealed into a small group of men. Well-armed and full of righteousness, no doubt, but men nonetheless.
They asked my name and I did not seek to deceive. I told them up front, what my position had been, what had become of the former master of this place. They seemed surprised. Perhaps they had expected me to dissemble, to plead, to run. Instead, I stared them down. I dared them to look at me as a human being, not just another minor talent to check off their List to please the masses.
But when they asked me to come with them, I refused. Instead, I showed them what even a minor talent can do when given ten years to dedicate to study.