The Untold Tale~Part 2

Submitted by AmandaMR on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 03:36

It was towards the end of fall, with the threat of an unusually harsh winter looming, when the letter came. As isolated as the village was, it was a rare event for a villager to receive mail. Only three times, as far back as their father could remember, had a letter been delivered to anyone living there. Each time, it had brought bad news to the family. This meant that the Glenns were not pleased to find they were the recipients of such a missive.
Eadric was sitting on the wood pile by the barn when he heard his father calling out for everyone to gather in the house. "Boys! Sylvia! I have an announcement! Everyone in the living room." Eadric was the first to arrive, as the rest were in the woods or garden.
"What news is it, father?" he inquired, seating himself near the door as the rest of his brothers piled in noisily. Albyn and Coll came in last, still engaged in an argument about who had won their last arm wrestling contest.
"I'm telling you, Blade, you were shifting your elbow. That counts as cheating, so we need a rematch!" Coll protested.
Albyn's indignant reply was quelled by the look on their father's face as he answered Eadric. "I've received a letter," he said simply to start. The rest of the family exchanged startled glances, the settled into silence; this what not what they had expected.
Geoffrey began his story. "I have told you all, I believe, that I have family in the north," he started, taking in their nods of confirmation. "Well, I had not heard from them since your mother and I moved here. Indeed, it was scarcely likely that I should have, since it is difficult to travel between their village and ours, and they were never understanding of why I wanted to leave in the first place. In fact, things were rather strained when I left, and I thought it unlikely they would want to hear from me."
He took a deep breath, then continued. "It seems that in the twenty-five years since we left, my father has had time to come to terms with my absence. The details are unimportant, but apparently the time passed has been enough to soften his feelings towards me and your mother. This letter," he held it up for them to see the folded papers with their red splash of wax across the back, as if the sealer had been in a hurry, "has come from my mother. She says my father has been wishing for some time to make amends for his previous stubbornness, but his pride would not let him. She writes, however, that he has had a bad accident. She did not say what it was, but it seems my father's life is in the balance." The boys shifted uneasily around the room; Eadric caught Felix's eye, and both looked somberly at each other. Sylvia moved to put her hand in Geoffrey's.
“I could never forgive myself if my father died whilst we were on poor terms with each other. Therefore, I will be traveling with your mother to visit your grandparents at once. It may take some weeks for us to return; the journey is a long one, and I do not know how long we may need to stay. I would like to remain long enough to know whether my father will be well or not.”
“Father,” Tevin spoke up, “wouldn’t you like all of us to come with you? I know Thomas and I should like to see our grandfather.” He elbowed his twin, who hastily said, “Of course, we all would.” There were murmurs of assent by the rest of the boys. Brenner added, “We would like to be there for you in this.”
Placing the letter on the table, Geoffrey spoke slowly. “I know you all would, and I appreciate your kind words. However, as I said, the journey is a long and quite dangerous one. I think it would be best if fewer people went; smaller groups tend to attract less attention in the forest. I do not want the whole family leaving the house and animals, and would rather you boys stayed together to keep care of them. Since you have never been in charge in our absence, I want to have you all work together as a team.” He cast a meaningful glance at Eadric as he spoke. “None of you is to wander off alone while we are gone; the last thing I want is to return to find one of our sons missing.”
Each of the boys nodded solemnly. Eadric felt it was rather unfair that he had been singled out; didn’t Raven go into the woods for hours at a time by himself also? To be fair, he thought, you can usually tell where Raven is anyway because of all the racket he makes, calling to different animals, instead of sitting quietly like me…. He wrenched his mind back to what his father was saying.
“I will write out a list of instructions and things for you all to remember; for now, I would like you to start your evening chores. Your mother and I will be busy packing so we can leave at first light. Albyn and Brenner, would you please take over my usual jobs for tonight? I will apportion them out to everyone for while we are gone, so you don’t have to add too much to your own.”
The two nodded. “Good job he tacked on that last part; I was going to be a bit unhappy otherwise,” Brenner whispered to Eadric.
“Well, not to worry, I’m sure we can cover any of your slack,” Eadric mouthed back as Brenner made his way out the door with Albyn. Raven made a half-joking face at that.
That evening passed in a flurry of preparation and instruction. Their mother seemed to be everywhere at once as she checked the food supplies, laid out clothing for herself and Geoffrey, and tried to decide what they might need for the journey. The family only had one horse, so Geoffrey planned to walk and let Sylvia ride. The boys would simply have to shift as best they could without it. Eadric was rather desolate about this; he would never have dreamed of saying anything, but he sometimes felt that their horse, Nightfly, was his best friend. The black stallion could often sense when he was unhappy and would come up to him, demanding attention. He wished it weren’t necessary for the horse to leave, as well as his parents.
At last, the family had run out of tasks, both necessary and self-appointed, and a relative calm had settled over the house. There was little sleep for anyone, as it was only a few hours before they were up again to see the travelers off.
“Now be sure to keep track of one another,” Sylvia fussed as Geoffrey helped her onto Nightfly. “Nothing is as important as you all staying safe.”
“We will,” chorused the brothers. The twins were wrestling in the back, apparently seeing who could be the first to knock the other over.
“Tevin! Thomas! Are you paying attention to your mother?” Geoffrey sounded unnaturally stern. The twins straightened up at once, looking contrite.
“Of course, Father, we will,” they responded in unison. So much of what they did was together like that, but this time no one laughed, recognizing the seriousness of the situation.
“Albyn, you are in charge while we are gone. Boys, you are to listen to him and follow his instructions, but each of you is responsible for his own behavior. I hope to find you’ve made your mother and me proud when we return.” Their father looked at each of them for a long moment, as if committing their faces to memory, before hoisting his pack to his shoulder. Each of the brothers stood attentively, determined to make a brave front for their departure. Eadric gave a last affectionate glance at his mother, and all seven raised their hands as their parents’ figures disappeared in the woods.

Author's age when written


I like this so far! I am intrigued and eager to read more :)

“You are doing something great with your life—when you are doing all the small things with His great love.” - Ann Voskamp