Bear summarily dismisses the nurse and takes a seat at the head of the bed. The chair he pulls up is small for his frame and he shuffles to get comfortable. Keela, has marked out the head of the bed as Hawk territory and opens her beak and beats her wings as the hulk of his form disturbs her. There are deep grooves in the headboard from her formidable claws, laid down over the past five days.
“Don’t suppose asking you nicely to leave would have much effect?”
Keela squawks and the sound of the tightening claws in the already ruined headboard, grates in his ear.
Bear sighs, “Didn’t think so..”
He reaches out for Mordins hand, the boy lays motionless except for the gentle rising and falling of his chest, the only sign that life still lingers. The silent days since the event have seen most of the bruises and swelling go down, leaving a rainbow of yellow-green marks in their wake. He’ll have a small scar near his eye and Bear feels proud of his wifes handiwork. It could’ve been much worse, stitched badly and he might have lost the eye.
He squeezes the fingers and takes comfort in their warmth, waiting for movement, his eyes moisten and he chides himself for expecting. He blinks at the wetness, afraid to let a single drop fall in case he can’t stop. At his feet a book lies open on the page he stopped at last night. The spine proclaims in gold leaf “Hevensgate – a scholars musing”
“Mordin, can you hear me?” the silence echoes.
“I’ll read for you when I’m finished. You’ll have to wait for the great Master Zaphis Brigsaimum to impart his wisdom. As I need to tell you something and time is running out.” He shakes his head, “I’m not making much sense am I?”
He looks to the open window where the light in the sky is dying outside. The smell of lavender and herbs drifts up from his garden carried on soft warm breezes. Golds, reds and oranges illuminate the castle; a perfect sunset lighting the world.
He restarts hesitantly, “There’s so much more this” He stops and exhales, his voice raspy and broken.
“I’ve written you a letter and it explains everything. Easier written down and I was going to be a coward and just leave it at that.. I’ve sent it on to Gadrial at the Gypsy capital, the old bastard will know when it’s right to pass on.”
“I always wanted to tell you in my own words but the time never seemed right… This doesn’t change anything between us and I am proud both of the man you’ll become and the boy you are now.”
“You’re my son and you’ll always have my name. The name of Ranaya. Keep it safe and honour it. We are not the richest house, and we’re sure as fates – not the grandest, but there’s good men doing what’s right all the way back to the cataclysm and that has to count for something.”
Bear looks over, his eyes have been fixed on a small crack in the boards during his speech. The boy is pale and he keeps hoping for a flicker of an eyelid, some sign that he can hear what he’s saying and will remember.
He pulls the chair closer to the bed, leans in and unsettles the hawk, Keela squawks angrily.
“This is between me and the boy. Go sit on the nurses chair over there..”
Keela hops down from the headboard and waddled across to the vacated chair. Hopping, first on the seat and then perching on the back, trying to find the balance lest it tip.
He leans in close and begins to whisper. These are secrets he hasn’t spoken aloud in twelve years. He hopes Marianne will forgive him, he needs to tell the boy before death silences him and the Arbiter makes his judgement.
The Flower Market Tree is coming into bloom, the blue flowers exactly as they are in his vision, it won’t be long now. This is the fate he could not alter and he has loved and been loved, it has been a good life. He counts himself lucky that the only talent the Gods ever gave was knowing the time and place of his own death. He’ll go to greet them, safe in the knowledge that Mordin will live and thrive, a perfect moment captured of the boy laughing as a grown man, a small babe in his arms. Bear hopes it is his grandchild, the second part of his gift.
Ten minutes pass, the only sound the soft whispering of a father to his son and when finished, Bear leans back on the chair.
“I pray to the Gods what I am about to do will save you from pain and shield your heart”
Bear gently turns the boy over and removes a small wooden pot and horsehair brush from his jerkin. He opens the nondescript wooden box and a brilliant blue flash drenched the room in light for just a moment. Keela chirrups in recognition of the light and as Bear paints on Mordins naked back in the silvery substance contained within his expression is unreadable.
“This could have bought your mother and I our very own Kingdom. Perhaps that’s what I should have done. Fates be damned I saved it.”
It takes a long time for him to finish, with long sweeping brush strokes and intricate detailed close work. As he lays each stroke down, the silver disappears into the skin. With the pot empty and no visible marks remaining on Mordin; he turns his son back over slowly and places a kiss on his forehead before picking the book up from the floor.
He begins to read aloud, “The debate about whether Hevensgate during the first age……” and continues until the oil lamps begin to fail.