Toini Comes Home – Draft 1 – Scene 1

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paladin

/ˈpalədɪn/ n.

1. a holy warrior

2. a person appointed by a god to be their representative in the physical world

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Kul Viller – Grand Central Station

A man and a woman arrive on a train.

Paladin and chronicler. Neither of them has been home for years – she twelve, he six.

He is tall and dark and handsome, wears a suit, carries his coat over his arm, drags a suitcase. Back straight, head high. Patient silent serious. Hasn’t shaved for just long enough.

She is short, and perhaps a bit stocky. You couldn’t really tell – all wrapped up in a big red parka and a wide flowing skirt. She hides her face behind shades and under the brim of a baseball cap. Blonde dreads tied together with a piece of string fall down her back. She carries her possessions in a woven sack slung over her shoulder.

The grand central station is just the same it always were – and for a while they just stand there, looking at the train they arrived in, looking at the metal bars that hold up the roof high above and the pigeons that sit cooing up under the rafters – looking at the people queuing to pass the border control.

International train. They’ve been traveling for the better part of the last forty eight hours.

Eventually, at long last, her memories settle. She nods and moves and they join the line like everyone else. A paladin plays by the rules, and soon enough uniformed guards ask for their papers.

Raoul Alejandro Haarstein. Church Associate. Officially sanctioned chronicler of Toini, holy paladin of Ek. Church Immunity sponsored by the Cardinality of Knysvian.

Toini Elsikulta Riveniemi. Paladin.

There are no complications. No one asks to check their bags.

It’s fine. A paladin plays by the rules. A paladin makes the rules. There will be no trouble for anyone who does not get in her way. And him, well, he’s with her, and if Knysvian says it’s fine, then who’s a simple border guard in the far north to argue.

A paladin and her chronicler are home.

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