Elise sat in her rocking chair brooding. The curtains pulled tight so that even the bright summer sun could not penetrate the gloom. That is how she wanted it. Six months ago her husband had set out to sea to negotiate a peace agreement. She knew it to be a foolhardy mission, everyone did. He would not have brought all of his best armor, the heavy sword that had been passed down for many generations. Never again. The blood line of the proud Hassett name would end with her dear husband Brandon. He had died a hero’s death but what did that mean, he was dead just the same. A hero’s death meant that she was paraded about the town as various memorials took place. First the King held his ceremony giving her a heavy plaque with her husbands name and a hefty stack of coins. She would be set for life the state would pay her enough to live comfortably for the rest of her life. Comfortably, the word disgusted her. There could be no comfort in living a life of solitude all because he decided to be a hero! Then there was the ceremony at the Magus Colosseum, he had died protecting one of their most powerful mages and as such was a hero to them as well. The mage had won the war for the other side had not been prepared to fight a battle with sorcery. The scoundrels had thought to catch them off guard, they were cowards and their bodies lay bloated and forgotten at the bottom of the sea, so much the better. The king had commissioned that all captains that died in that battle were to be remembered their bodies carved in stone and displayed in the cathedral. Elise had been summoned on several occasions to remark on the details, never again. The statue near it’s completion seemed to stare at her and she would not go near it again and if they didn’t have their details right they could get it from someone else! A new warship had been built to set sail on the morrow for the isles of those same people who her husband had sought to make peace with. They were prepared to launch the entire fleet but they wanted Elise, widow of the captain of that fleet, to Christen the ship. She had attended such ceremonies many times before. She had been there for her husband’s maiden voyage. Never again. The townspeople did not know it yet but she would not be there, someone else would have to take her place. She walked outside and down the hill behind her house to the cliff overlooking the rocks with waves crashing below. She would not die a heroes death, but she could not bear the pain, the apologies, the ceremonies.... Never Again.