Eric Sedlack - 02 - The Troublesome Son
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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The Troublesome Son -- April 29, 1080

By: Eric Sedlack

Trevor was sitting by the stream when Brian came ambling down the hill. At age seven, Brian was then the shorter of the two, a small skinny towheaded lad, awkward and clumsy.

"Hi, Trevor!" Brian said happily.

"Hi, Brian. So," he said with mock seriousness, "how was your training session today?"

"Fun," said Brian. "I got to practice illusions again. I'm terrible at them, " he grinned sheepishly, "but I'm getting better. I like practicing the hard stuff better than all the exercises, but Uncle Thomas says that they are 'necessary to build discipline.'"

Trevor smiled at his brother. Brian was so eager to learn and seemed to have infinite patience for lessons...something Trevor lacked.

"Trevor, how come you never come to lessons anymore? Does that mean you aren't going to want to play games with me anymore?"

"No Brian, we'll still play games. It's just that I...I can't concentrate on all that stuff...and I'm no good at it. I'm not as powerful as you, or Giles, or Uncle Thomas, or any of the others. All I'm good at is healing, and I already know how to do that. Besides, I think that Uncle Thomas is glad to be rid of me. He doesn't seem to be able to handle it when I question him."

"Can we play the mind game now Trevor?" Brian asked eagerly. "I'll hide first." The two brothers sat next to each other and joined hands.

*I'm thinking of something. Can you guess what it is?* Brian mindspoke. Trevor maneuvered around Brian's shields, trying to get past his usual Brian's shields were tough, and Brian was getting better at manupulating them. The battle was long, almost a full minute, but eventually, Trevor broke through and located the was the face of their little sister Jennifer.

*That's it. I found it.*

Brian beamed. *It took you a long time, brother! I did good.*

*Now you try me.* Trevor replied.

Brian probed forward, testing Trevor's shields. Trevor knew it was no use trying to keep Brian out with his inferior shields, so he would have to play tricky. He went forth into Brian's mind and began to project other images to distract him. He could feel Brian's excitement and amusement...he was used to this tactic and wasn't fooled. Trevor began to wonder why he even bothered to play this game with Brian anymore...he couldn't win. But he refused to give up, probing Brian's mind with his healer's senses, looking for a weak spot. Naturally he wouldn't think of doing anything to hurt Brian, but he might find an additional way to distract him. He searched his brother's mind and came across a tiny point...a point which called out to him to touch. He did so, and suddenly, a part of Brian's mind just went...blank.

For an instant Trevor was terrified that he'd hurt Brian, but he quickly realized that Brian's mind was still there, complete and healthy...but his aura was just plain gone. So were his shields. In fact, he read completely like a human. Within a few instants, Brian was beginning to become aware of his situation, and Trevor realized that what he had just done was something to be kept secret...he had to undo it before Brian realized what had happened. He reached out for that point in Brian's mind again. Instantly, Brian's shields returned, and Brian quickly found the picture in Trevor's was a picture from an old book in the library, a man in green robes.

*Found it! And faster than you found mine! I win!*

*Yes, brother, you win.*

*That was an interesting trick you did near the end there. For a moment I couldn't see your mind at all. How did you do that?*

*Come on, little brother. I can't give away all my secrets. If I did, I would never have a chance at beating you ever again.* Trevor smiled. He knew that they would never play the game again...and that he'd found something to experiment with. Next time he would wait until Brian was asleep...or better yet William. He wondered about this new trick he had discovered. What exactly had he done, and what good was it?

Trevor looked up and saw Brian hopping around on the rocks. "Watch out Brian. Those rocks are slip..."

He never finished his sentence. Brian quickly lost his footing and fell. He fell on his side against a sharp rock and cried out in pain as his arm struck it.

Trevor rushed to his brother and reached out with his healing senses. His arm was broken, and while it wasn't messy yet, it could end up so if Trevor tried to move Brian before doing anything about it. *I can't move my hand,* Brian mindspoke.

*I know, brother, just hold still and I will fix it.* He knit the bone together quickly and before long, it was as good as new. Brian stood up and was flexing his hand when Trevor looked behind him to see William standing there.

*What the hell are you doing!* William's thoughts blared in his mind. *You let your aura flare...I saw it from fifty yards away! What if someone else had been around.*

*Brian was hurt. It could have made a mess out of his arm if I hadn't done it here. I had to.*

William walked over to Trevor, his seventeen-year-old frame towering over his brother. *Don't you get it you fool?! If a little pain is the sacrifice we have to make to protect the family, we suffer a little pain!*

*I'd hardly call a compound fracture a little...*

*That's not the point and you know it! Dammit, don't you care about this family at all? Don't you care about your own safety!?*

*I care plenty* he spoke looking up at his brother without fear. *Maybe unlike you, I just have a little courage.*

William promptly turned red as a beet and the last thing Trevor saw for some time was a seventeen-year-old fist rapidly approaching his face...

...Trevor woke to see Uncle Thomas standing over him. He still felt the post-healing tingle in his face. He was fairly sure that Thomas had just healed a broken nose. He looked up and realized that there were two other people in the room. One was William...and the other was his father the Baron.

Thomas clearly realized just how nasty this situation was going to get and just as clearly wanted to be anywhere but here, but he was stuck.

William was talking to his father. "I had to do something, Father. He displayed his powers in a public place. This time it was me who saw. Next time it could be one of the local peasant children...or worse!" William looked about ready to have a fit.

The Baron all but snarled at his son, "And so your well thought-out solution to the problem was to punch an eight-year-old in the face! I know that Trevor constantly tries to get your goat, but for God's sake William, what were you thinking?!"

William tried to stammer out a reply. "Well...I thought..."

"No that's the real problem isn't it, you weren't thinking any more than Trevor was were you? It's the same old nonsense between you two, and I'm just sick of it! Dammit William, Trevor's a child, but you're supposedly an adult, and soon to be a knight and about to get married. Will you please start acting like an adult!"

William flushed with embarrassment, but he held his tongue. "Yes, Father," he said between his teeth.

Trevor then sat up. "Well since everyone is talking like I'm not even in the room..." He got up to leave.

The Baron turned on him. "Don't you move an inch toward that door, young man! I'm dealing with William now, but you had better believe that when I'm through with him, you're next!" Trevor knew better than to utter a peep when his father used that tone. He was in for a whipping for certain.

As the Baron turned back to William, his expression softened somewhat. "William, I know that you want to do what is best for the family. One day, you are going to have to lead this family, and to do that you have to keep your head about you all the time. You don't have the luxury of reacting emotionally to the things that threaten...and you'll receive far worse provocations than a loud little brother, I assure you. Go off and think about this...I'll deal with Trevor."

"Yes, Father." His tone was different now, and the thought of what his little brother was in for seemed to brighten his mood. He walked from the room without further comment. Thomas took advantage of this to follow wordlessly behind.

The Baron then made a clear effort to compose himself before speaking. "Son, I just don't know what to say to you anymore. I've told you countless times how important it is to keep your powers secret, and yet you still do this."

"But father, Brian was hurt. He was in pain..."

Suddenly the Baron's face went red, "And what would it have mattered that he had two good arms if he was tied to a burning stake!"

Trevor was shaken by the violence of the outburst. "But...but...they don't do that anymore do they?...not to Lords anyway. We should be safe."

"What if they don't! That still doesn't mean that they won't start it all over again just like they did the first time! Damn you Trevor, this isn't a game! You are playing with all our lives when you do this. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU!!" The veins in his head looked like they were about to burst.

The outburst was so beyond anything he'd ever encountered that Trevor was completely shocked. Tears came unbidden to his eyes, but he refused to cry. "I'm sorry father," was all he could say.

The Baron clearly wanted to calm down, but he couldn't. "I don't want you to be sorry son, I want you to never do this again! The rest of the family has enough to worry about without you adding to it!"

"Yes father," Trevor said. Now a tear began to fall down his left cheek.

"Trevor, go to your room and think long and hard about this. I'm going to do some thinking of my own...about whether or not I can trust the judgement of my own son."

As he made his way to his room, the tears flowed freely. There was no relief in missing out on a beating…somehow this was worse. He closed himself in his chamber and didn't leave the room until long after his mother told him he could...



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