Adventures of a Young Messenger - The Black Sheep (Part 1)

Part 1 - The Black Sheep
(or is it "red fox"?)

(Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6)

A narrative telling of the events that occurred in August 689CC

I don't often talk about my family and there's a good reason for that: I'm the black sheep. That idiom is oddly appropriate as it is animal-related, but I'll get to that later.

You would think that in a prestigious, aristocratic family, it would be a given that the youngest son would enter some sort of priesthood. In my family that was not so. Well, I suppose that it did work out to be the case, but it wasn't what my father intended, which was for all of his sons to follow in his footsteps and become warriors of some sort. His plan seemed to be working fine as my eldest brother, Osric, happily went off to serve as a page and just as enthusiastically became a knight when he reached the appropriate age, then slid gracefully into the position of landholder when our father passed the estate on to him. Next was Kendric, who, while not quite as enthusiastic as Os, managed to find his niche in the army and is now currently serving as a lieutenant at the castle town. Even our sister Bryn fit into the scheme by marrying an officer.

And then there was me. I never had any interest whatsoever in learning how to fight, which caused no end of trouble. Ken is only a year older, so we had most of our lessons at the same time, and of all my siblings he's the one I'm closest to. He didn't understand why I wanted to sneak off, but he was always up for causing some sort of distraction (okay, trouble) so I could get away from the kinds of lessons that I hated. Eventually our tutors in those subjects stopped bothering to look for me, figuring that since I was the youngest son, I would probably just end up doing something scholarly anyway. That is what I excelled at; by nine I could read anything in the (rather sparse) library and was much further advanced than either of my brothers when it came to logic, reading, and numbers.

Although not pleased by my aversion to what he deemed important, my father would likely have let this slide (my having two more important brothers to occupy his time) if it wasn't for the fact that my family eventually realized why it was that I was sneaking off from the strategic and weapons-training lessons: to spend time in the wooded areas around our land, talking to the animals. Even then, when I couldn't speak with them in words yet, they were still better company than most of the humans around me. I suppose that I was fortunate to be so ignored that no one noticed this until I was ten, which was when the second shoe subsequently dropped. After my father loudly exclaimed things along the lines of "no son of mine will be one of them druids!", I was pretty much exiled from the outdoors. Life would have been entirely boring had I obeyed, but I found a way to sneak out almost every night (with Ken's help again, of course- I could have been found talking to a tree stump or a rock, and he wouldn't have thought any less of me). After a while a large, vibrantly colored fox began joining me on my evening walks and then... well, that's a story in and of itself, so I'll tell that later. Suffice it to say that just after my eleventh birthday I was Called by Hermes.

The next day during breakfast I proudly walked up to my parents and informed them that I was now under Hermes' jurisdiction and would be entering His nearest mosque in Woodland. The looks on their faces were priceless! There was some mumbling (mostly along the lines of "Hermes? Couldn't you have picked a more stately god?" by my mother and "What's this 'jurisdiction' thing?" by my father) of course, but my parents were at least smart enough to know that getting on the wrong side of any deity (even one they deemed "working class") would be a Bad Idea and so sent me on my way.

Over the years, I've largely patched up the relationship with my family, but I doubt I'll ever be particularly close to any of them besides my one brother; Os and Bryn are nice enough people, in their own ways, but they were too much older than me to really be anything more than distant acquaintances. As an adult, the main problem is that I'm still far too different from my kin; I have no interest in the small things that they consider important and they don't understand how I can be happy with the path I took. I do have to say, however, that I appreciate the fact that Ken enjoys a good practical joke. I suppose there is always one bright part to every family, no matter how unpleasant the rest may be.

(Part 2 can be found here.)



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