“I’m looking for relatives.” That was not exactly a lie and technically the truth. You don’t want to lie to your mother. You want to tell her the entire truth, but she would never believe you. Not with Arcane Fate purging her memories of ever having a second son. Maybe later on, after your mother got to know you better, you can tell her the truth. You remember Sifu Yeva’s story about your Dragonblooded ancestor and add more detail to your story. “Cinaed Torkil has a lot of descendants around here and I wanted to meet some of them.”
Your mother leans back in her chair and relaxes a bit. “I don’t know of any Cinaed Torkil, but my older two children do carry the blood of the dragons. Their grandfather was a retired Shogunate Legionnaire who settled up near the White Sea. He died before their father was born.” She pauses and gives a long suffering sigh. “If Anders will make his way up to the village from Wallport, I’m sure he would be thrilled to tell you all about it.” Before you can ask any more questions about your father, you hear thudding from the loft above the kitchen. Your mother looks over at the staircase and smiles. “Ah, the gang is waking up. Get your bread now or else my kids will eat it all.” She gets up from the table and adds lard to the now heated pan. Mei Mei watches your mother like a hawk as she works in the kitchen.
You smear some jam on the homemade bread and eat it. The texture is a bit rougher than you are used too, but with the jam, it is delicious. You consider taking another slice, until you hear arguing coming from the top of the staircase. You walk over to the staircase to listen in on what your siblings are bickering about.
“If you chopped the wood yesterday, you wouldn’t have to do it in the snow.” Your oldest sister, whom you saw though the Loom of Fate yesterday, is standing with her arms crossed, glaring up at your older brother. She is already fully dressed in a long deep blue woolen dress. Her long blond hair is neatly plaited and tied into a bun.
“I had things to do yesterday.” Your older brother yawns, his hair still mused from sleep. He shakes out a rumpled off white shirt, attempting to smooth out the wrinkles.
“Like what, Bendt?” Linnea challenges.
“None of your business, Linnea.” Bendt’s voice is muffled as he pulls the shirt over his head.
Linnea purses her lips. “Well, I’m not going to help you chop wood. I just chopped some a couple of days ago. It’s your turn.“
You hear a young girl’s voice emerge from somewhere in the loft. “I’ll help you chop wood, Bendt.”
Bendt’s face reddens in embarrassment. “I don’t need your help, Elise. You’re too young to chop wood.” Bendt explains. “You can’t even pick up the axe.”
“I’m always too young!” A pouting little blonde haired girl thuds down the stairs, her arms filled with half of dozen rag dolls. “Oh!” The little girl drops some of her dolls on the wooden stairs in surprise when she sees you at the bottom of the stairs. “You have red red hair like Bendt! Where did you come from?” She fearlessly approaches you and offers you her hand. “My name is Elise. What is your name?”
You never really had a little sister before and you are unsure what to make of Elise. You limply shake her hand. “Svante.” Elise’s fair blond hair is neatly plaited into pig tails and is wearing a light grey woolen dress similar to Linnea’s. Even though she looks nothing like her, Elise reminds you of the little girl you rescued from the Fair Folk of the Western Seas. “You dropped your dolls.”
“Oh!” She shoves the dolls she is carrying into your hands and bends over to pick up the escaped dolls. “Holly and Jolly are always trying to run off together.” She explains as you awkwardly hold on to the other dolls.
“Elise, I’m sure Svante doesn’t want to play with your dolls.” Linnea climbs down the stairs and takes the dolls from you. She puts an arm protectively around Elise. “Let’s go wash your hands before breakfast.”
“All right…” Elise takes her dolls back. Linnea suspiciously glances back at you as leads her little sister away from you.
“Linnea, after you get Elise settled, heat up the water kettle. Our patient will be needing his next dosing soon.” Your mother instructs as she starts washing some potatoes at the sink.
You turn away from watching your sisters to find Bendt anxiously inspecting you from the top of the stairs. You study him as eagerly as he studies you. Bendt is a few inches taller than you and his eyes are a warm amber brown. Your older brother scratches his head, uncertain what to do next. Finally, he says, “Would you like to sit down?”
“Sure.” You go sit back down at the table and pick some more bread.
Bendt straddles the bench beside you and drums his thumbs on the wood, watching you eat bread. Unable to wait any longer, questions begin to pour out of his mouth. “Where did you come from? Wallport? Did you see a ship with bright red and orange sails at the dock? That’s my father’s ship, the Fire Dragon.”
Your mother interrupts Bendt’s onslaught. “Bendt, go out and chop the wood.”
“Mother!” Your teenage brother protests. “We have a guest!” He motions towards you.
“A guest who will get cold if we don’t have any wood for the fireplace.” She gives Bendt a stern look. “You should have done your chores yesterday instead of pestering traders about what ships are at dock. You will see your father soon enough. ” Bendt groans and goes to put on his boots and coat. Linnea begins to sort through some herbs and Elise settles herself at the table with her dolls.
What do you do?
- Help your mother prepare breakfast. You don’t know much about cooking but you can chop a potato.
- Help your brother, Bendt, chop wood.
- Watch your older sister, Linnea, sort through herbs.
- Stay out of the way. Entertain Elise while you wait for breakfast.