The worst thing they have done to you, who are my mother’s people, was not to destroy your government, take your food and children, deny your traditions, or outlaw your greatest powers. The worst thing they have done is to replace your version of honor with theirs. They are making you, the Shaftali people, into Carolins. So when you read this book, read it not as a history of the enemy, but as a history of your own future: what will happen to Shaftal when the Carolins are extinct, but live on in you and your children. Rather than defeat the enemies, you must change them—or else, someday, their story will be your story.
There is a haven for those tired of this war. There is a haven, out of view, where dragons and people still keep peace. It will always be a haven, and we pray that those who need it will find it in time.
I’m not going to stand here and tell you war is bad or wrong, we shouldn’t do it, and we should work for peace instead, because it would be too easy for people like General Branigan to say I’m naïve, I’m just a kid. To blow me off and act like nothing I say could be important. But if you think about it, I have more right than anyone to talk about what’s going on here, to have an opinion about it. I think if I’m allowed to stand up here and talk at all, then I’m allowed to have an opinion that matters.
“We all made a conscious choice and because that choice carried such a high price, I don’t think anyone ever wanted to make another one again. We relinquished our freedom that day, and we were more than happy to see it go. From that moment on we lived in true freedom, the freedom to point to someone else and say “They told me to do it! It’s their fault, not mine.” The freedom, God help us, to say “I was only following orders.“