It’s been a while since I’ve written a short story directly related to the Novel. So I figure why not today? Here is a short story regarding two brothers in Pange, a past event long before Two Destroyers. — Enjoy
Rone stared down at the still body of his mother, laying in a pool of her own blood. He knew what blood was. He knew how important it was. Mother always saw to making sure he didn’t lose too much of it.
Now, mother lost hers.
Father lay still, next to her, face down in the forge. The forge was hot. Father told him never to touch it, but today father kissed the hot steel, making no effort to move. Thick black smoke swirled into the smithy, carrying a weird smell like roasting meat.
He loved the forge, as he loved mother. Maybe that is why he kissed it.
Soldiers stormed into the main room of the smith, wearing their shiny armor and holding their shiny swords. Soldiers protected people. Rone knew this.
They brought their hands to their faces , coughing against the rising smoke coming from father. One of the soldiers wore golden armor with a green tassel. Rone knew that made him important. Pa said it meant he was a captain. He pushed past Rone, lifting father at the shoulder and lowered him to the floor. Father’s face looked weird, twisted and charred. The forge shapes people too, it seems.
“Goddess… forgive us,” the captain said, looking down at father with wide eyes.
Another soldier pulled Rone into a hug, pressing cold steel against his cheek. Rone liked steel. It was firm and strong, much like the steel father turned into good armor. He raised a hand and gave it a gentle pat. It needs tempered though. “Pa will fix this when he wakes up.”
“Boy, I don’t—” The soldier coughed. “Your father won’t be waking.”
“Then ma. She is even better. She will fix your armor make you a sword too.”
More men rushed in, searching the smith. While the captain knelt next to mother he put a hand on the arrow sticking from her chest. “This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. We were so sure Beatriz was here.”
“She was,” Rone said, narrowing his eyes. “The mean lady and the monster were here, but left. I don’t like her.”
“What is your name, boy?” The captain said.
“Rone. Ma and Pa call me that.”
“You are a strong smart boy, Rone.” The soldier pulled off his helmet, revealing a mop of blonde hair. Moisture dotted his eyes and fell down his cheeks.”
“Your eyes are leaking,” Rone said.
“They are tears, boy. Do you not cry when you are sad?”
Rone clenched his jaw. “I do not. I am Pa’s big boy. Ton does. He cries a lot.”
“We have done you a grave injustice. Seeking to bring the witch to justice, we have wronged you.” The soldier fell to one knee lowered his head. “I will take full responsibility.”
“Respo—” Rone worked through the word.
The soldier holding him gave him a squeeze. “This is our fault. I have no idea what we could do to make it right.”
“Sir,” a lady soldier said, saluting. “No sign of the witch or the Dimanagul.”
“Rone already confirmed that for us.” The captain stood, tucking his helmet under his arm.
“There is a boy sleeping in the back. He cannot be any older than two.”
“Ton,” Rone said. “My brother.”
“Two orphans, huh?” The lady soldier scoffed. “What do we do with them?”
The captain glanced down at Rone and crossed his arms. “Do you know where they went? The witch is a very bad person and we need to stop her.”
Rone nodded. “Her sister. The mean lady has a sister.”
The soldiers exchanged looks.
“Do you want to come with us?” The captain offered a hand to Rone. “We could use the help of a big boy like you.”
He shook his head. “Not ‘til ma wakes up.”
The soldier holding him stared into his eyes. “Your mother will not be waking up either.”
“They are both dead. We had orders to take the witch dead. We had no idea your parents would be—”
“We had every idea it just didn’t matter,” the captain said, setting his jaw. “Your parents protected a very bad person. It cost them their lives. You however, are a good boy, are you not?”
Rone nodded. He didn’t understand what he meant. Why would mother and father not wake? What did he mean dead? It came to him. “Oh. So if you lose too much blood. You do not wake.”
The captain nodded.
“If you kiss the forge, you do not wake.”
The captain nodded.
“What do I do if Ma and Pa do not wake?”
“You protect those that live and breathe.” The captain shook his hand, urging Rone to take it. “This is what it means to be a knight. You do what needs done even if it means hurting good people that do bad things.”
Rone slipped away from the soldier holding him and took the captains hand.
“Good boy. If you help us find the witch, you and your brother will be heroes.”
“Being a hero makes me a good boy right?”
“Yes, Rone. Yes it does.”