But it was unlikely there would be any assault or raid today. Today was ceremonial. A time to show off, but also to prepare that much more. Yes, it was different from yesterday because of the onlookers, but the most important detail of difference was the Thallenrose. It was no wooden platform. After this exercise of defense, he and his siblings would Depart. Then Domire, Valkyr, Tido, and Misolfa would Reclaim their weapons. They would spend their time in isolation. Then they would Return, victorious at having gained their symbolically potential strength. Aton had nothing to Reclaim.
Aton’s father had encouraged him to take his token time in isolation as well. He was offered the chance to take as much part in the goings-on of the whole event as possible. In times when it was only one Reclaiming his or her weapon, there was a Return ceremony two weeks later. This time, it was planned for eight weeks later…or ten weeks, if Aton wanted to take advantage of his time. Aton had refused. He didn’t want to come back from a supposed Reclaiming empty-handed, the same as before. Aton would act out the Departure, then do his best to return to life as normal. Not going to be easy with everyone else gone, he thought.
Aton glanced at Valkyr one last time before splitting his gaze between Domire and the Thallenrose to watch for a signal. Valkyr nodded, then also looked to Domire.
In the corner of his vision, Aton saw a group of men appear on the Thallenrose. Six of them, its full capacity. One was clearly the sageman who brought them here. As soon as they stepped off, six more appeared, again including one sageman.
Domire raised his arm in the air, palm forward. He opened his hand, spreading his fingers, then closed them and brought his arm down, his fist to his heart. A signal to all the guards in the square. Clear the square it said to one group, and wait to another. A short bird call sounded twice in succession. Men began to move.