It is a sad truth that in most fairy tales, there is a story left untold. The moment a fair princess, handsome prince, or hard-working peasant is introduced, the reader becomes invested in their tale instead. Too often the 'side' characters who aid them are left by the wayside, no longer interesting once their part in the protagonist's story has been told. Indeed, at times they are positively robbed of their rightful place in it. This story attempts to bring some attention to one such who is unjustly overlooked. This is the tale of the seventh dwarf.
Many hundreds of years ago, there was a kingdom known as Fendaria. It was a rather small kingdom, comprised mainly of numerous rural villages scattered around three greater cities, the largest of which, Aelwyth, contained the palace. The cities were interspersed with three large forests, so that the kingdom as a whole appeared to be a circle of alternating city and forest, held together by its smaller villages. It is in one of these villages, Brevin, that this story begins.
There was a certain couple who lived on the very edges of the north-eastern of the three great forests on the western borders of Fendaria. Geoffrey Glenn worked in the forest, and it was his wont to bring each week into the village loads of cut wood to sell for firewood. His wife Sylvia was well-versed in knowledge of the plants and herbs that grew in the fields and deep in the forest itself. She contributed by cutting those which could be used for cooking and poultices, and providing these to the housewives of the village. In this way they supplied all their needs.
Early in their marriage, the Glenns had lost a son in childbirth. He was such a tiny thing, beautiful to behold even as a newborn; however, Heaven took him a mere three days after birth. Sylvia had pulled through his death with difficulty, but was a changed woman from then on. She had been a joyous young wife, but became depressed after, for the doctor told her it would be unsafe for her to have another child. Thereafter, the Glenns adopted boys. Not just anyone was accepted into their home, but if a family with too many children to support had a son who was smaller and weaker than the rest, he might find a home with them. Orphaned boys who had no other family to take them were often also welcomed, and all were raised in forest craft.
In this way, in the space of twenty years, the Glenns found themselves with seven boys, lovingly known through Brevin as the Glenn dwarves. This was merely in reference to the fact that all had been taken in as tiny children, for they had grown into fine young men. The eldest, Albyn, was much taken with the use of the axe in his youth and was called Blade by his brothers, for he would often challenge them to contests with it (which he would always win). At twenty-three, he made a fine leader for their group.
The second eldest, though adopted some two years later, was only a year younger. He was often called Raven, though his name was Brenner, for he was most in tune with the animals of the forest and could coax them straight to his hand at times, especially the birds.
The third could usually be found at Albyn or Brenner's side. Nicholas or Coll, as he was known, was ever ready to take up a contest against his two older brothers, though he stood two years behind Brenner.
Next came the twins, Tevin and Thomas. A year younger than Coll, these two were as mischievous a pair as could be found in the length of the village. Their mother had been forced to send them to the Glenns, for as she said, "I've enough grey hairs from tending to their eight siblings, and these two are worth the lot!" Yet for all their pranks and jokes, they were loved dearly by their new family, for their hearts were as kind as their minds were mischievous.
Felix, at eighteen, made up for any trouble caused by the twins; nicknamed Happy, he never seemed to have a sad thought. He was most content to be sorting through roots and herbs with his mother, having a knack for keeping all their names and uses straight.
The youngest was an orphan and had been brought to the Glenn household by the local priest. His family was unknown, for he had simply been found on the doorstep of the church one morning in the fall. His name was Eadric, but due to his frequently downcast demeanor, his brothers nicknamed him Gloomy, a name in keeping with his dark hair and eyes. He could not have been more different from Felix, other than being the same age, yet the two often kept company, for his cheerful brother seemed to understand him better than the rest.
Though he was never shut out by his brothers, Eadric seldom felt as comfortable in the family as the rest, for he always wondered where he came from. He asked his parents what they knew about his birth parents, but all Sylvia could tell him was what they heard from the priest. It was ever in the back of his mind, that his real parents much not have loved him very much. If they had, he reasoned, why would they have let me go? Surely it could have been no accident that he was put on the church steps.
With such thoughts to occupy him, it was little wonder that Eadric was less carefree than the other boys, preferring to spend his time alone or with only Brenner or Felix. Brenner enjoyed the forest as much as he did, and Felix had a cheering effect on him. He liked it best when left to his own devices in the forest, for there he felt he could forget about his past and focus on his surroundings. So after years of trying to coax him out of himself and meeting with little success, his brothers had taken to calling him Gloomy, saying he was happiest when he was unhappy. As you might have guessed, it is Eadric's story we are here to uncover.
I'm rather afraid this will run long, but I started writing it for a class, and got much more invested than my professor's word count would allow.