Chapter 1

1732 Words
Note: This is a darker fantasy, not following the "typical" dragon plots. Be aware of described violence, k*dnapping, abuse, slavery and death. I was a bit confused when I first saw my younger brother. Why exactly did we need him? Yet, as my father brought me closer by lifting me from the floor, I smiled. I wasn’t sure why. I still had no idea why he was here, when my parents had me, but I couldn’t help it. He was my younger brother after all. “You might be the next king, James, but you are also an older brother now. It is your job to look after him,” he told me. I looked up at him and smiled. Yeah, I would look after him, yet my job only seemed to become bigger because not long after Will had arrived, we found ourselves with a third brother. Henry, and my job only seemed to grow and grow, as more arrived. I quickly realized my role though, as I often found my siblings arguing over something st*pid like a toy or who was faster than who, so I had to break them up and make sure we all stayed friends. Even at a young age, I was the peacemaker. Our father had already taught me how important patience was, especially when listening to two people argue and having to find out the best way to solve it. At the moment, it was Henry and Carter who were fighting over something as st*pid as who was going to play the villain in their game and who was going to play the hero. Will was walking right behind me, as I walked over to the two arguing on the big grass area. Will always followed me around. He had since we were kids, but I didn’t really mind. He never spoke much anyway, and we often received the same classes. There were only a few where he didn’t participate, like when father brought me to important meetings, even though I had no idea what the older men were talking about. I just stayed quiet and listened, like I knew my father wanted me to. “I have played the villain three times now!” Carter said. “Too bad, I am the oldest! I decide!” “So, age means you always get to decide?” Carter asked. He had only just turned four and there were only two years between the two of them. It was quite amusing to listen to anyway, but I masked my smile, since a king could never just show emotions. “Exactly!” Henry said and crossed his arms with a superior grin. Carter was often the one showing superiority, even if he was younger. He was quite smart and everything he was told he somehow just remembered. I tried teaching him not to act so smug, even though it was Henry at the moment being the one who should be taught a lesson I knew if Carter continued acting like he was better than everyone else, he would have quite a lonely life. Henry, on the other hand, had no trouble making friends. He was a funny person and he often charmed everyone with just a smile. “You are such a clodpoll!” Carter yelled. Henry looked at him confused. “What does that mean?” he asked. Carter just smiled and lifted his chin. I had no idea what that word meant, but I knew he must have read it somewhere and just waited for an opportunity to use it. “Why don’t you open a book and find out?” he asked. “Oh wait, you do not read.” Carter always acted much older than his age, and it was strange to hear him talk like that. Other kids would just have called Henry st*pid or d*mb, but Carter used the word clodpoll. “You little-“ “That is enough!” I said. I stepped in between them before Henry threw himself at Carter. He was one who liked to talk with his fists once words failed him, and it wasn’t the first time I had stopped him from a fight. I had even had to pull him off another lord’s son once, just because he had made fun of Henry. He had been able to give the small kid a bloody nose before I was able to. Our father had sent him to his room after that, without any dinner. I had, of course, without my father’s knowledge, snuck some food in there. “You two both act like a clodpoll,” I said, even though I had no idea what the word meant, but it had to be insulting if Carter had used it. Carter and Henry just looked at the ground and, turning their heads a little, clearly afraid to meet my eyes. I didn’t want my brothers to be scared of me, I just wanted them to get along. It was my job to take care of them, and like father said, there was nothing more important than family. Mother only agreed every time and told me how important the family bond was. “He is the one who always wants to kill me,” Carter said. Henry just smiled but I shot them both a hard look that made them look at the ground. “Maybe if you asked nicely,” I told Carter. “Yes, maybe if you did!” Henry said. I turned to him and crossed my arms. “Don’t think you are better!” I said. “You need to learn to share.” “But I don’t want to be killed!” Henry wined. “Too bad! Now, apologize to each other.” They were both quiet as they looked at the ground. Henry scratched something off the wooden sword he had in his hand and Carter kicked a small stone away. “Now!” I said. They both glanced at each other before a very low apology left their lips. “Higher, so I can hear you!” “I’m sorry!” they both said loudly. “Good, now switch roles if you want to continue to play.” They nodded and Henry handed his cape and sword over. I smiled pleased and started to walk away, with Will right behind me. “You don’t want to play with them?” I asked. “You never play,” he said. “I have my duties,” I said proudly. “Then I do too.” I just smiled. I knew he looked up to me. He always did what I did. Ate what I ate. Almost dressed exactly like me, but I didn’t mind. Will wasn’t just my brother; he was the closest thing I had to a friend. It didn’t mean I wasn’t close with my other siblings, but Will just understood me better. He understood what kind of pressure I was under, even from such a young age. I was the next king after all, as father reminded me of very often. “Come, let us see if we can’t steal some sweets from the kitchen.” Will would never admit he wanted to do something so childless, and tried hiding the happiness showing in his eyes, but I knew he loved it. We snuck towards the kitchen and made out a plan. “Okay, I distract Liz, you go for the sweets, just as she turns to me,” I said. “Remember … Stay. Low.” Will nodded as I placed my hand on his shoulder and pushed him lower. I smiled as I walked confidently into the kitchen and looked around like I was hungry for something. “Is there something I can help you with, little prince?” Liz asked as she saw me. She stood over by a big counter making a dough. I just smiled at her. “I am hungry. When is the food ready?” I asked politely. “Soon, but you must wait until then,” she said, and walked over to one of the pots, where a heavenly smell was coming from. I walked over to her and looked into one of the pots, while I, out of the corner of my eye, saw Will sneaking inside going for the sweets. “What are you making?” I asked, faking an interest. “A stew,” she told me. “It is an old family recipe.” “You don’t say.” “Prince William! Get your dirty little hands off those cakes!” she suddenly yelled. She turned around and saw my brother with a cake in his mouth and his arms full of them. Then she placed her hands on her hips, giving him a stern look. I slowly backed away. They usually worked, my plans, but you couldn’t always win. “Do not move James!” she told me. Will and I glanced at each other, and then, like we knew what each other was thinking, we ran. “You small thieves come back here!” she yelled, as we stormed from the kitchen. We were both laughing as we ran away and didn’t stop until we were at the next floor, where no one seemed to be. We looked at each other before Will handed me a cake and we greedily started to eat. We were both on our third when suddenly a soft voice spoke, “Stealing cakes again I see.” We both froze before slowly turning around, seeing our mother only a few steps away watching us. She looked at us first with a bit of a stern look, but soon her green, emerald eyes shone with happiness, and she started to smile. “Not going to share?” she asked. I smiled and handed her a cake, which she happily took. She ran a hand over her belly while we ate. Our mother was pregnant once again, and I knew a new sibling would soon be under my protection. “Delicious,” she said and patted both our heads before walking away. She could never yell at us. Even though she knew it was wrong, we stole cakes and other sweet things, she never said anything but that it was wrong, before taking part in eating all the stolen goods.
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