Author Topic: The Battle of Brendan Chapter 1  (Read 4505 times)

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Offline AnnieUK

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The Battle of Brendan Chapter 1
« on: June 15, 2010, 01:47:43 AM »
“You can’t tell me what to do!   You’re not my Papa!”

Alaric, Duke of Corwyn had faced many battles in his thirty years, but this was of a new and different kind as his stepson stood before him, red in the face and with his hands on his hips.  Five year old Brendan had obviously inherited his mother’s fiery temper along with her looks.  Brendan glared at Alaric, fighting back angry tears but seemingly determined not to back down.

The wreckage of the room and the sword unsheathed on the floor told its own tale.  After a sparring session with one of the Coroth knights, Alaric had retired to the ducal apartments with his squire to freshen up.  Meanwhile Brendan had given his nurse the slip from the nursery and had come to his mother’s and stepfather’s rooms to find his mother, but had found the very tempting sword instead.  Unsheathing it, he had managed to lift the sword and even swing it a little, but of course the sword was much too heavy for a child, as the rip to the tapestry, spilled wine and broken goblets could attest.

“What in the name of blazes....?  Brendan!”

Dagger in hand, Alaric had come running in from the adjoining room, newly clean and fresh, but startled by the noise and then furious when he saw what Brendan had done.  He had lost his temper and shouted at him, as much from shock and the realisation that it could have been so much worse as  from anger.  The boy had responded in like way, and the ensuing commotion had drawn Brendan’s mother Richenda to the apartments, with Brendan’s nurse hard on her heels, fearing that her missing charge might have something to do with it.  Richenda arrived in the room just in time to hear Brendan’s defiant response to his stepfather.

“Brendan!” Richenda de Corwyn was scandalised by her son’s behaviour.  “You cannot talk to your stepfather like that.  Nurse, please take Master Brendan to the nursery.  I want him to have some time to think over his conduct and to be prepared to apologise to His Grace before bedtime.  And do try to keep an eye on him this time.”

As the door closed behind Brendan and his nurse, Alaric glumly resheathed the sword, hung the sword belt over the back of a chair near the fire and slumped down into it.  Some wine was till left in the overturned flagon and he poured it into the most sound of the goblets and downed it.  “Well that was a bit of a disaster” he said. 

Alaric sat and stared into the fire for several minutes, running one finger round the rim of the goblet as he composed himself.  Richenda knew to leave him to his thoughts and examined the tear in the tapestry, wishing she could mend tapestry as Alaric could mend wounds.
Eventually Alaric spoke.  “Richenda, God knows I love you, and I love Brendan too, but heaven help me, sometimes he pushes me too far.”

His wife of two months knelt by his side and laid her head in his lap.  “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, my love.  He has had to come to terms with losing his father and acquiring a new one in such a short period of time.  He is testing you.  Finding out how you really feel about him – if you can offer him a father’s love.”

“But my sword, Richenda.  Of all things to take my sword.”  He closed his eyes and passed his hand across his forehead with a banishing gesture that Richenda knew well.  “It’s not a toy, it’s a weapon.  If he had hurt himself ... he could easily have taken his foot off with it.  I’d just as soon not test my healing to that extent.  Heaven knows if I could have saved him.”

“But he didn’t, and you didn’t have to.  I know you feel bad you left the sword where he could get it and that you shouted at him like that.”  Alaric looked up guiltily and then looked back down at the goblet again, before setting it on the table beside him.  “Oh yes, you did.  I could hear you clear across the courtyard.”  She took his hand and kissed it  “That’s fine, he deserved it and you couldn’t have expected him to come to our rooms alone and take the sword.  You are having to learn quickly how to be a parent – I’ve had several years and I still make mistakes.  And five year olds can be pretty challenging, even future earls.”

Richenda stopped and gazed at her husband as if considering whether to continue.  “Brendan is too young to fully understand what happened to Bran, but he is old enough to listen to the staff when they gossip.  He knows his father is dead and he knows you had something to do with it.  He is hurting and a little scared and he wants you to love him, and to love you back, but he worries he is betraying his father.  He couldn’t say all this of course, he hasn’t the words for it, but I have started to teach him how to link minds a little, and I get such confusion from him at times.”  Her voice shook. 

“I’m trying.” Alaric whispered, shaken by his wife’s distress.

“I know you are, and so does Brendan.  We just need to give him time and a lot of love.  Especially now.  He will be worrying himself sick that he has ruined his chances of a family life again.  He wants that desperately, you know, and so do I.   And something is going to happen soon that will either make us a real family or make Brendan feel even more scared and rejected.”

She gently brushed her mind against his, sending reassurance and love, and then the news she had been trying to find the right time to tell him.

“A baby?  Really?  When?”  Alaric’s dark mood was swept away in an instant as his wife linked with him and showed him the faint heartbeat below hers.  He pressed his hand to her stomach and closed his eyes, reaching out to feel it for himself.

“February I think.  You didn’t waste any time.”  She smiled delightedly at him.

“Can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl yet?”

“I should be able to soon.  It grows bigger and stronger daily, but it’s only today I thought you would be able to feel it too.  Maybe in a week or two I’ll know for sure.  I feel like it is a girl, but that’s really intuition rather than being able to tell our way.”

Next chapter:,580.0.html
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 08:53:01 AM by Evie »


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