The following, as usual for me, is first draft status.
It is also Spoiler Level 1: You can totally read it and it won’t reveal something.
Now, for the background you may need before reading. Charlotte Locklear is my primary main character. Her father is Isaac Locklear, who is pretty much the founder of weavers (mix of wizard and mystic) in the United States. This is the first part of the story of his parents. (This is about 500 years before Phoenix Incandescent)
He hated her.
She was ordinary with barely enough breasts or years to claim womanhood. Her long, black hair fell down her back over the skins of some wild animal. Her short, narrow frame stood firmly as the wind tossed her braids around her shoulders, clacking against the large, boned contraption that circled her neck and fell across her tiny shoulders.
Everything about her was thin: her body, her nose, her cheeks, her hair, and her lips. He couldn’t tell what color her eyes were under the thin eyelashes that he figured must be there somewhere around her small eyes, but he promised himself that he would never find out.
Her eyes were, after all, not her eyes.
They said she had power and potential. They said she had raw magic, and that she had learned to control it. They said that he could teach her and it might be the beginning of something great in this new land. They told him that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
He looked at her feet, dirty and smudged. They were not her feet.
The moon hung above them, round and bright and achingly observant. The leaves of the surrounding trees slapped against their branches and each other. A towering fire crackled in the middle of the clearing, casting shadows of the gathered against the trees.
The shadows clashed just as much as the two groups of people did.
Hugo pulled his robes just far enough away to scratch around the stiff collar of his formal suit. He dropped his hand and pressed it to his side when his father cleared his throat. His mother clucked at him quietly. Hugo stared straight into the flames while the girl’s father rattled on in their unfamiliar tongue.
She hummed steady and slow with her soft voice while the drums pounded and the voices chanted. But it was not her voice.
His clunky feet danced around the fire with her, but it wasn’t the refined dances he had studied and practiced and preformed at home. Would he ever see the buildings and streets of his ancestors again?
His shoes were always dirty here. Every night he made sure to polish them and put them in his trunk. Hugo thought of the trunk his grandfather had passed onto him. His parents had inherited wealth and property and the family hobs. His older sisters had each been given a smaller wealth. They had all married well and been established for some time before their grandfather passed, so their real inheritance had been collected years ago.
Hugo had been given a trunk and a letter sealed with magically infused bat dung. The magic had been used to keep the contents of the letter from human eyes. The dung had been used to keep it from his magical family.
The words in the letter were the only thing keeping Hugo from leaving this madness. It was true that he was nearly two hundred, and a good age for marriage. The ring in the bottom of the trunk for the girl in his home country proved that his heart was ready and capable.
But there was unspoken truth other than his age and his previous attachment. His parents had already buried the three grown daughters born without magic. They had buried another daughter in infancy. Whether or not she had magic was a topic his parents had fought bitterly over. Last year two more of his sisters had passed away from disease.
It wasn’t uncommon to lose so many children, but it was uncommon for magical daughters to marry magical sons from other families and bear absolutely no magical children.
Magic was dying out in his family.
Hugo watched the light bounce and shine off of the adornments on the girl’s body and felt absolutely nothing for her. He hoped she felt nothing for him.
“You are young.” His father had said when Hugo had opened his mouth to defy him for the first time in his adult life. “Think of it as a trial run of marriage. Their magic is unlike ours. She will not live all that long. Have children and refresh our lineage with magic. Come back. Your mother and I, or one of your sisters could take the children on if you prefer, and you may proceed to find a second wife of your own choosing.”
“Father, the girls married well and it did no good.”
“Everybody knows that females carry weaker magic.” His father had snorted.
Hugo had bit his tongue. That idea was prominent in the magical community, but he knew after living with a household full of female wizards that it wasn’t completely true. In fact, he suspected that magic varied within every single wizard. The difference was that the boys were educated for years outside of the home, while the girls were instructed at home or a small school for a few years and prepared for a life of giving birth to more wizards.
There had to be another reason for his family’s troubles, but he hadn’t been able to convince his parents to look for another answer. He was the thirteenth child, after all. His voice had been lost in the prattle of twelve older sisters while he was still in his mother’s womb.
His mother was a worrier, and the mission to save the family magical heritage was her primary focus. His father was a seasoned explorer, whose mission was to save the family’s sanity. He hadn’t even been around to suffer through all of his wife’s theories and experiments, but it didn’t matter. He had come home after his latest trip with stories of a continent full of raw magic of unknown strength.
Hugo curled his toes in his shoes and blinked several times. His hand brushed her hand as they stood and listened to the last words of the elder, but it was not her hand.
When the ceremony for her people was complete, the one for his people began. Hugo said the words and completed the motions. When he bent forward to kiss his bride, he even lingered a second longer than the second he had promised to put up with for the sake of tradition. The lips that offered him the tender kiss were not her lips.
The ceremony ended, and the girl with a tear in the corner of her eye took his offered hand and followed him to the magical wagon waiting for them. But it was not her hand.
Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for the POV of Amadahy. (I plan to have this up on Friday.) Also, I am open to suggestions! If you have read my books and would like to know more about a certain character, send me a message and I’ll give it a thought!
Have a magical week! -Aems