Chapter 10
Breaking the Cycle

Eagle, Gladius; Gladian Year 593

"When I first met my Julian, he talked of ending the feud between House Leon and House Aran. It had impressed me then, but I never thought much of it. However, on the day they formally ended the feud, the significance was clear. In that single moment, two generations of enmity were laid to rest."
- Excerpt from the private diary of Lady Liria

It was the first of the three days of rest afforded to the miners each fortnight. It was the time when the majority of the city's populace would be present. The miners would usually pass the time with odd jobs or carousing at the taverns, but this day was different.
Every citizen was requested to assemble in the town square. Since few peasants understood the difference between a request and an order and even fewer were brazen enough to flout it, attendance was high. Near the fountain in the center of town, an elevated platform had been constructed for some unknown purpose. When the crowd quieted down, two men appeared on the platform.
Only a relative few recognized them as the lords of House Aran and House Leon. Both wore the ornate gear of their respective families. The first to address the crowd was the lord of House Leon.
"Citizens of Eagle, House Leon and House Aran, both descended of the legendary Eight Stars and counted among the Twelve Stewards, have been embroiled in a bitter feud for thirty-nine long years. Today, before all of you, it finally ends."
The lord of House Leon and his counterpart faced each other and drew their weapons. The audience began to murmur, anticipating a duel. The two young lords each extended a hand while raising their swords with the other. Each made a quick slash that caused the crowd to erupt in a collective gasp.
The blades had cut the palm of their extended hands and blood began to flow steadily from the wounds. The two then clasped hands, holding them together tightly. The lord of House Leon faced the crowd to address them again.
"My blood now flows in his veins and his blood flows in mine. We are no longer two, but one. We are brothers as of this day. And as brothers, there must be no hatred between us. We bury the past so that we may find our road to the future. Hail Leon! Hail Aran! Hail Gladius!"
The crowd burst into cheering that echoed to the mountains.
"Hail Leon! Hail Aran! Hail Gladius!"
The two sheathed their weapons and bound each other's wounds. Raising their bandaged hands prompted another round of cheers.
Celebration soon followed with festivities jointly funded by the two reconciled houses. Food and drink were free to all in abundance and the merrymaking continued well into the night. It was a day that generation would not forget. Those old enough to remember the days before the feud were delighted to see an end to the bloodletting that had made the streets dangerous to roam for so long.
In the time that would follow, productivity increased all around, giving rise to a new age of prosperity for the city. The fulfillment of a vow made by two boys five years ago had changed the direction of Eagle's fate, if not that of all Gladius. Because two people were able to look beyond the blinding veils of bitterness and hatred, a new future was found.