“I don’t blame you.”
“Blame me for what?”
“For not wanting to be out here alone.”
“Who said I was afraid to be out here alone?”
“No one said anything about you being afraid.” The old man gave a coy smile, “But I know you are.”
The boy kept quiet and looked out over the edge of the wall. A carpet of black swept over the forest below them.
“You want to know what kept me brave my first night on the wall?”
The boy wasn’t sure how to respond. “I’m not afraid.”
The elder scoffed. “You will be.” The old guardian paused, analyzing the boy, and continued, “I realized darkness made me stronger.”
The boy hadn’t heard that one yet.
“There’s nothing braver than a man who walks by night.” He nodded at the forest below, “They’re afraid of the light just as much as you are of the dark.” He squinted, “You’ve seen one staggering around during the day, right? Of course you have. Like a rabid dog… we stay away from those.” He laughed, “Their faces when they see us at night… they’re scared because we aren’t.”