Edgar’s voice broke Derik from his reverie. “Oh no! Are they all dead then?”
“I hope not. I honestly don’t know as I left the village to search for you.”
Edgar looked at Derik curiously. “Father didn’t send you to find me? I thought you said…” His voice trailed off as his mind tried to remember everything Derik had said since his appearance at Tribba’s house.
“Well, not directly. He told me the day you left that if there was ever trouble and you had not yet returned, I was to find you above all else and bring you home. It was expected that you’d have regained your magick by now, which you haven’t.”
Edgar’s eyes squinted shut. This particular habit of Derik’s to change the conversation had always annoyed him. “I didn’t know I was on trial,” Edgar muttered. “I also didn’t know I was on a schedule. Mother always taught me to be kind and generous, helping those who request it always. I had no reason to turn down Tribba’s request, so I didn’t. I learned much from her during my stay. I’m a stronger, different person than the one who left Northend. You should be thanking her, not putting her down.”
Derik spit. “She’s a dwarf. Dwarves are beneath humans. I don’t know what a dwarf could possibly teach anyone.”
“I daresay that any other race would put humans beneath them and I believe we are all equal. All of us, even the trolls.” The things Edgar had seen along his journey thus far had taught him that everyone serves a valid purpose, no matter how small. He suddenly felt sorry for Derik. There were some people you liked immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some you simply wanted to push away from you with a sharp stick. Derik was the latter type. Perhaps his brother had never stop thinking of himself long enough to view the world through other people’s eyes.
“Bah! Trolls! They serve no purpose other than to destroy.” Derik scoffed. “As for Mother, she’s made you soft because she couldn’t do it to the rest of us. Why do you think everyone calls you ‘Edgar, the small and slight’? God forbid, with our brothers dead, that anything happen to me. You are not fit to be king!” Derik ignored the tears that sprang to Edgar’s eyes. “Up, now. We’ve had enough rest. It’s time to move on.”
Edgar, not wanting his brother to see his tears, ran his tunic sleeve across his face as he rose. He gave no argument as he believed his brother’s words to be true. He was not fit to be king. He was not fit to be the village mage, either, but he was still given the role. He was a misfit that deserved to be cast from his village. He should not return now, not until he had regained his magick and he knew it. There was nothing he could do for his people. There was nothing he could do for his brothers. There was nothing he could for his father. He was nothing, nothing but a failure. He could not even finish the games for Tribba, so he failed her too. He had failed everyone.
“If I’m such a failure, why are you taking me back? There’s nothing I can do. I’m useless.” Edgar said in a low voice. Derik just barely heard him.
“I don’t know why either, except that Father said so. Apparently, he must see some worth in you, but what it is, I can’t tell you.” Derik said.
Edgar could never tell if he meant to be unkind on purpose or if it was his nature. Fredryk was much better suited to be king, but he would never tell Derik that. His four brothers were already competitive enough. Fredryk should have been the first triplet born, but as Fate would have it, he was the last. Bradok, born second, was the biggest of the three. Derik, the firstborn, was the smallest. In fact, his build had been very similar to Edgar’s growing up. Edgar hoped that he would fill out as Derik had done, but it had not happened yet. Fredryk, whose build fell between Bradok and Derik’s, never faulted Edgar for it. “You’ll grow out of it just like Derik did,” he would say encouragingly. Edgar believed him, but when Derik’s words sliced through him and Fredryk was not around, his belief wavered. He wished Fredryk were here now.
“Fredryk would know. He’s always believed in me.”
Derik sighed. “Ah, Edgar. I believe in you, too. You just put my belief to the test too often.”
Derik did not sound sincere to Edgar. Perhaps he had been picked on by Derik too often. Rather than say anything more, he just inhaled deeply and released it slowly, his smaller feet keeping step with Derik’s longer ones as they walked the desert once more.
To be continued…
This post is being linked up with Inspiration Monday as it fits the prompt “The Kingdom is Mine.”
It is also being linked to the Master Class, using the first of two prompt choices, from Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. The line is “There were some people you liked immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some you simply wanted to push away from you with a sharp stick.”
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