Hey all, been a roller coaster of a week! Finished a survival book that resulted in me seeing pictures I was not mentally prepared for. But anyway, book is complete and the client has asked me to work on the next one. I am thrilled. One book being edited, working on one, and booked for another. No rest for the wicked. However, you aren't here to listen to me complain. You are here for Part 3 of Mortis Custos. So, without further ado, here it is.
Magna squealed, but not from panic, it was pure delight. Jonathan sighed heavily. He had tried to be patient with his wayward daughter, but these flights from training were starting to weigh on him. He tucked her under his arm and was preparing to descend the tower’s stairs when his son caught his eye. He suppressed the urge to sigh when the boy seemed to ignore his father and sister to trace the wooden door before him.
“You missed training.” Said Jonathan gruffly.
“Why do you even bother?” Demanded Magma as she struggled against her father, “He had no interest in swordplay. He just wants to do magic.”
The word magic was said with heavy sarcasm and that caused Adrian to spin around and glare at his sister, who now held the helmet between her hands. She was playfully bashing it against the armour of her father’s legs.
“There is nothing wrong with magic! It makes up the fabric of the world. If it wasn’t for magic the undead would be pouring over this country. Uncle spends all his time ensuring the necropolis denizens can’t get to us…”
“Enough Adrian!” Snapped Jonathan.
The boy shied away from him and even Magna stiffened in his arms. They knew the fight which was about to erupt.
“I allow you to practice magic, but only if you complete your martial studies, something you promised me you would do a year ago. I am yet to see any progress in you. Why is it your sister handles a sword better than you? Hell, you can’t even ride a horse. The other nobles are laughing at my pathetic excuse of a son!”
“Dad…” started Magna.
“And you,” he released his daughter so that she landed on the stairs, “Are no better!”
“That’s not true! I can ride a horse, I can fire a bow, I even knocked your helm from your head.” She rushed to her feet and yelled at him.
Adrian pressed his back against the stones of the wall. He didn’t want to be a part of this argument.
“You are a child, not only that but a female child.” Roared Jonathan, “I expect you to carry yourself like a…”
“Like a what, Father?” Magna threw the helmet to the floor, “A child, a woman, a fighter? What do you want from me? Because clearly, I am not good enough at any of the three if you keep trying to rope Adrian into the activities we are meant to do together."
The helmet clanged down the stairs, echoing loudly until the three of them were left in silence. Johnathan curled his hands into fists and wondered if he had been this hot-headed when he was on the cusp of manhood. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He mentally counted down from ten before he opened his eyes, “Laps, now.”
“What! No!” Magna whined.
“You were late to training, you ran from practice, and now you are giving me lip. Go do laps around the stables and courtyard and don’t let me catch you walking until I come to retrieve you.”
“But…” she indicated to Adrian.
“I will include the outside of the castle if you continue to disobey me.” He warned.
Adrian saw the muscles bulge in his sister’s jaw as she bit down on her back teeth to prevent her from retorting. Without a word, she turned on the spot and bound down the stairs two at a time. She was furious. He slowly looked up at his father who was looking as his daughter left them alone. As if sensing his son was looking at him, Jonathan turned to look at the boy.
He had wanted to love the scrawny pre-teen boy who had kept the castle awake for weeks with his colicky cries soon after birth. Yet, before him was everything he hated encompassed in one body. Weak, sickly, and a magic-user. To him, his son was a disappointment. He would have to be harder on his daughter if he wanted his family line to continue. There was no way that Adrian would ever amount to anything.
Snorting, Jonathan turned from the boy and marched down the steps. He intended to watch his daughter run until she collapsed. There needed to be disciplined and he was sick and tired of the lack of it.
Adrian watched his father walk away without a further word and felt his eyes stinging with tears. All he ever wanted was for his father to acknowledge him and his unique skills. He wasn’t a fighter; he would never be a fighter. He was a mage, and he loved the feeling of using his magic. He was the reason the vegetable patch the castle chef doted on always had ripe items to harvest. He was useful! If only his father would see that.
Hastily rubbing his tears away, he laid his hands on the door once more. He felt something that contained great magic was in this room, but he couldn’t get in. He had been dying of curiosity since his uncle had returned. Despite returning a week ago Adiran had yet to show his face.
“Please, Uncle.” He whispered, “Let me inside.”
“What the hell am I going to do about those two.” Hissed Jonathan to Mary as they were preparing for me, “The boy blatantly ignores my requests, and the girl digs her heels in and argues about everything.”
“Your son ignores you because you ignore him. Your daughter is stubborn because you aren’t willing to listen to anything she has to say.” Said Mary as she stretched.
She had spent time with the soldiers patrolling the edges of their lands. Tomorrow it would be Jonathan’s turn.
“They are soft.”
“They are children.”
“Bah! I was stronger and better…”
“Blah, blah, blah.” Mary mocked with a grin, “Until you learn to speak to them with respect, they will have none for you. Adrian is a sensitive boy, and I know this is not what you wanted in a son, but this is what you have. Your daughter is as pig-headed as you are. You can’t order her around like you do your soldiers. She has your brilliant mind, Jonathan, instead of forcing her through drills, why not teach her as if she had been born as your ideal son. Do you think your children don’t know they disappoint you? They are doing the best they can.”
“It isn’t enough! One day they will rule, and they need to be better.”
“Well then, you need to teach them better.”
Jonathan sighed heavily, “I am not good at this father thing.”
He looked out the window and said, “I think I am going to take a walk. Don’t wait up for me.”
“Wake me when you come back, so I can be sure you are safe.” Mary stepped forward to kiss his chin briefly, “I love you.”
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and here is the current Chainstory Library
Mortis Custos Parts
|by @lex-zaiya||by @zakludick|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|You are here!||Coming soon!|
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