A Children’s Story: Scene 1, Part 3

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Their celebratory breakfast complete, Alexis and Bertram finished their preparations for heading into town for the day. Bertram always found in ironic that Blasa was too much of a hassle to bring with them to town every day, but could be trusted to stay at home by herself. Or at the very least, trusted to stay out in the courtyard. She was a fire-wielder, a Mage capable of creating and manipulating fire, which was a trait she had inherited from her mother. It was no coincidence their house was made of stone and metal, along with just about everything else they owned. While Blasa hadn’t set anything unintentionally on fire in years, she was still a child with a wild spirit. When there had been two adults, it was manageable, but now that Alexis was their only parent, he had to admit he couldn’t tend to the people of South Ridge and his daughter with divided attention and expect life to always run smoothly.

Not that Alexis didn’t understand Blasa’s magic. He was a terra-Mage, a worker of soil and water, who had built their entire home with his own magic. Even more impressively, he had built underground tunnels that connected their island to the mainland in South Ridge. This allowed them to move freely between the two quickly and safely. The different entrances to the tunnels were sealed by locks that required the ring Alexis always wore, which meant no one could enter them without him.

Bertram was the only one of the family who hadn’t inherited any gifts of magic, which certainly hindered the confidence of the already shy child, who always felt somewhat out of place in life. It didn’t help that he knew little of his mother and next to nothing about his father before they had moved to South Ridge. The way his parents were able to compose themselves in any situation gave young Bertram the impression that they were worldly people of fascinating origins, especially compared to the simple farmers and woodsmen that surrounded them in South Ridge. Bertram never held it against Blasa when they discovered her gift, even though it further solidified Bertram’s feelings of disconnect from his family. After his mother passed, all of Bertram’s thoughts and feelings had concentrated into an obsession over the ring his father wore. Bertram had never seen it off of his father’s finger, safely guarded long before it was even entrusted to be the key for the underground tunnels. It was the last piece of life before South Ridge and perhaps in learning about that life, Bertram could finally understand and truly bond with his father.

“I was thinking about what I said before,” Alexis spoke as he girded his sword around his waist, “today is going to be quite busy with the people in South Ridge wanting to have a feast in celebration of your birthday.”

“I suppose it will be,” Bertram responded, choking back a feeling of pain and sadness. He knew what this meant. It was an excuse. His father, given enough time, always found one more excuse.

“So I was thinking, there might not be enough time to tell you today…” Alexis continued, focusing his eyes upon the trap door to the tunnels. He knew Bertram would be upset, but not as much as Alexis would hate himself for once again giving his son false hope. The low lit tunnels would be a good place to avoid eye contact and walk in silence though, so now was the time to break the news.

Or it would have been, had Alexis not locked eyes with Kiki, their fat, black feline. Kiki had come bounding out of nowhere to sit right next to the trap door, his tail swishing back and forth with fervor while his green eyes fixated upon Alexis. Somehow the appearance of the cat struck a nerve with Alexis’ conscience, who unlocked the door and turned around to look at his son with a smile on his face.

“There might not be enough time to tell you today in town, so I’ll do my best to tell you everything while we’re in the tunnels.”

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