A Children’s Story: Scene 1, Part 1

Though I’m working to build up my personal website, I figured I would re-post the “A Children’s Story” series as it goes along. Below is the start of the story, you can read the preface here.

 

“Happy Birthday, Bertram.”

Bertram opened his eyes to the sight of a colorful cake placed before him on the stone table. The treat looked delicious, with all sorts of wild berries placed delicately amidst the fluffy pastry. The boy looked up to see his father standing behind him, smiling down at his son. The adjacent seat was filled with Bertram’s sister Blasa, who bounced giddily as if it were her birthday instead.

“Yeah, happy birthday, Bert!” she yelled excitedly, forgetting her brother was right next to her. “I made the cake all by myself.”

“Well almost, one of us did go and pick the berries,” their father, Alexis, chimed in.

“Picking berries and making a cake are two very different things, father,” Blasa responded haughtily, pretending to be a mature lady despite her constant bouncing.

“Of course, my mistake,” Alexis bowed his head in humorous apology. “You have become such a talented young cook too. I think we should delight in your work right away. Now where did the dining wares go?”

Blasa immediately ceased her bouncing as she recalled leaving all of the dining utensils outside to dry. She offered to retrieve everything and quickly raced out of the room and down the hallway to the courtyard. Alexis gave out a hearty laugh as his youngest sped away and sat down in her chair next to his son. As the two of them breathed in the scrumptious smells of the cake, Alexis asked Bertram what he wanted for his special day. Bertram studied his father for a moment, his gaze landing upon the signet ring his father wore on his left hand. The piece of jewelry was more than his father’s mark: it was quite literally the key to their way of life. To Bertram, it was also a symbol of his father’s past, of his heritage.

“Tell me about your ring,” a sheepish Bertram asked his father.

“Not this again,” Alexis sighed as he traced the small insignia with the tip of his finger. Despite his own fondness for the ring, he didn’t particularly like what it was connected to and preferred not to think about it.

“Mother used to tell me stories of her past,” Bertram interrupted, pleading his case of curiosity. “I know South Ridge is our home now, but I know it wasn’t where we’re from. Or at least, where you’re from. I just want to learn, father. I’m not a child anymore.”

Alexis stared as his son who turned fifteen on that day. He saw the genuine interest of a young man who yearned to know his roots and knew he couldn’t keep his boy naive and innocent much longer. With Blasa he still had a few years left, even with the girl already awoken to her gifts. Alexis contemplated if he could get away with delaying the stories of his past, just one more time. His conscience, though, knew what was the right thing to do.

“You’re right and I’m just a humble fool of a father for not seeing it before. But I do now.” Alexis said as he leaned back in his chair, resting his shoulders hard against the cold stone. “When we are in town today, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”

Bertram sprung from his chair and gave his father a silent hug. Alexis gently patted his son’s back until he pulled away, a giant smile painted across his face. The thought of cake had passed from Bertram’s mind as he started to mentally compile the questions he wanted to ask, but Alexis could not ignore his mortal hunger. Blasa had been gone too long to simply fetch plates and the two men contemplated what distractions had led her astray. Finally, Alexis suggested Bertram go find his sister or else they would have to resort to eating like animals.

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