Barachel

Father was a coward. I do not say this to be hurtful, or to proclaim myself as somehow superior to him; it is a simple fact. My dear father was born to the last true King of Elthwhen, and when grandfather gave up the totality of his power, what else could be expected to happen to his only heir? I have always maintained that there is nothing so contemptible as a man who has had it all and lost it - especially if it happened at an early age. So father, in the shadow of his father's great capitulation, never strove for anything, nor stuck his neck out, nor aspired to restore some power to his throne.

He was still a king, mind you. We still lived in a castle with my dear mother and two sisters. We were waited on by servants, and greeted by the townsfolk when we came down into town. The power was gone though, the taxes funneled to our great and powerful neighbor. Father was like a mermaid carved into the bow of a ship - interesting to look at, and impressive in its own way, but the real work was being done by the sails and rigging.

As for why my grandfather chose to give it all up … well, that's a story for another time. This is not the story of my grandfather, nor my father, nor my ancestor St. George, who founded the kingdom on faith alone. This is the story about me.

After two daughters, my birth was heralded as a great continuation of Georgian line. That my eyes were a faint purple helped some; St. George himself was said to have had purple eyes, and our coat of arms was purple and silver. I half-suspect that some of the more naive of the commoners thought that I would raise up an army and take back the land, though of course this is ludicrous. Few of our subjects even knew that there had been a change of hands, and at any rate, it had happened some thirty years before I was born. No, the commoners treated their royalty with superstition, and our job was merely to be seen, so that they would have the reassurance that someone was in charge. I learned this lesson from a young age; I was constantly being brought in my best clothes to entertain. I would recite scripture taught to me by my tutors, nod politely, and return to my room.

I was six years old when I decided that I wanted to become a cleric. I had been playing in the castle courtyard with my dog when a messenger came pounding in on a white horse. My dog, Oliver, had made it his custom to greet visitors, and this time was no different - save for the fact that the messenger was inexperienced, and not in complete control of his horse. I didn't see my dog get trampled - only heard the yelp, and when I came running, saw his broken body laying there. One of the guards called for our house cleric, who came quickly and looked over the dog.

He had broken his two of his legs, and the side of his chest was caved in. Blood was flowing freely onto the ground. I stood back, scared by the sight of blood and the rasping sound that Oliver kept making when he tried to bark. The cleric was calm though, and laid his hands on the fur. With a few muttered words, the blood stopped flowing, and I heard a sound like a branch being broken, which I would later learn was caused by the bones knitting themselves back together. Oliver lay still for the few seconds that it took, then got up and trotted away, as though nothing had happened.

From that point on, I knew my destiny.

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