All are playthings of Fate until they bond together
The blog of an idealistic FE fan
All are playthings of Fate until they bond together
I thought I'd try something new today and write a short story on the jealous paladin Michael. I also might do some writing soon on what Halloween costumes some of my characters would fit best in and why, maybe. Anyway...
Schall walked toward camp with heavy firewood in his arms, grinning at the thought of dinner. He hadn't eaten a home-cooked meal since his twenty-first birthday when his parents invited him over to their manor to celebrate. Now, to thank him and his friends for helping fight off northern-based bandits from robbing an armory, the armorer's wife was preparing baked fish, and to keep the food warm while they waited for certain company, Schall was asked to gather wood.
The certain company was Michael. And Schall had mixed feelings about this. Michael was... difficult. He had always been that way. His food had to be made the way he liked it, his room had to be spotless, and his toys had to be in pristine condition. He had beautiful handwriting and sloppy manners, as well as a nasty temper. Schall had many unhappy memories of Michael mistreating him. There were also good memories, however, and one had stuck with him throughout his life.
"Michael, that is not the proper way to greet someone," Schall's mother sighed, "You cannot expect to be respected when you cannot respect others." Her long, red hair was curly and borderline unkempt, but she never cut it, because Schall loved to play with it when she held him close, and her husband thought she wore her poofy hair with pride. They were a close-knit unit, and Michael had sort of thrown the family's chemistry out of whack.
Schall fiddled with his wooden bird figurine. His father had carved it and hollowed it out so that Schall could keep tiny things he gathered in the forest inside of it. Today, he had collected two or three small, funny shaped acorns and a yellow leaf. Michael had not been impressed by these trophies, even when Schall told him he climbed a large tree to get to it. Instead, he had rolled his eyes and told him to grow up.
"You can't tell me what to do. I don't have to respect you, I don't have to respect your husband or your son, and I certainly don't have to respect ignorant cowards like Vernon!" Michael sniveled and threw a ball across the room that missed Schall's mother's head by a fraction. She sighed and left the room to retrieve the ball.
When she returned, she patiently replied, "If you are asked to be respectful, you act respectful. Even if you determine Lord Vernon is not worthy of your respect, you treat him as if he was your most steadfast friend and superior until he leaves. And even then, it is better to admire than to despise." She placed the ball on the floor and walked away with grace, as she always did.
Schall looked at Michael for a minute, but when Michael turned to return his gaze, Schall pulled his eyes away. Despite yanking his vision away from Michael, he could still sense frustration.
"What?" Michael snapped.
"Why were you staring at me?"
"Because my mom, she's been really nice to you," Schall was uncomfortable. The first two weeks with Michael had been hard, and Schall didn't know what to do with someone who was just so unhappy. He had attempted to reach out a few times, but no positive results came out of it. He was older, and he was scary, and he was distant.
"I don't have a problem with your mom. If that's what you're bothered with," Michael huffed. He sat on a small chair in the corner of their room and pulled out his pen and paper.
"Why are you so angry, then?"
"I'm angry because all three of you have been pushing your joy on me. You don't get it. I miss my parents and you can't fix me because you can't change what happened to them." Michael had opened up a little, this was an opportunity Schall had to help, "I don't get what is so hard about leaving me alone."
"Do you have a dream?"
"What?" Michael looked irritated now, "Why are you asking that?"
Schall gulped, "I want to be a knight. To wear shining armor and fight to save people. People that can't save themselves." He walked over to his toy chest and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. He gave the page to Michael, where he had drawn a crude picture of a horse and a man with lines around him, lines that probably meant his armor was gleaming in the sun.
Michael stared at the picture. Schall wanted to take it back, but Michael was enthralled with it. He had no idea what he felt then, about Schall, about his new family, and even about his real parents, but he felt as if he was gravitating toward this picture.
Schall said quietly, "Can I put it back now?"
Michael handed it back to Schall slowly, "Why did you show me that?"
"Every day, I learn more about respect and being a gentleman. Chivalry is part of being a knight, and the more I learn about it, the better I'll be at being a knight." He carefully stuffed the paper back into the chest.
"But you're a wimp. You can't be a knight," Michael said sharply.
"I'll be a knight."
"But you're skinny. And scared. And you aren't that bright either."
"I will be a knight." Schall's eyes hardened and his fists clenched, "I won't let anything get in my way, I will become a hero for everyone who needs one."
"Why? What do you owe to this dump?"
"It doesn't matter if I owe everything or nothing at all," he said intently.
Michael was intrigued by this sudden show of resolve, "And why do I need to know about this?"
"Because you need a dream too. If you have one thing you can focus on, everything that doesn't matter will seem smaller." Schall knew he would never become as much to Michael as he wanted to be. He knew his parents would never replace Michael's own parents, and he knew that he would probably get treated badly by Michael just like his parents. But if he could get Michael to see things his way, maybe there was a chance that he could minimize the pain.
Michael hesitated to respond to Schall's statement on having a dream. After a minute or so, he said, "I'll think about it."
Schall paused, then said back, "Okay." He blew out the candle in the room, and went to bed.
The next day, Michael left the room early. Schall woke up to find that on Michael's bed was his picture. The shining, mounted knight.
Schall had not become a knight in the way he thought he would. He had a private tutor that noticed his potential in holy magic, and Schall became a powerful mage in a short time.
But Michael was different. Michael took up training from Lord Vernon. He hated him with every fiber of his being, but he took Schall's mother's words and put them into action, treating Vernon as his superior. Vernon's combat style, however, required much brashness, and Michael came home often battered and bruised. He wouldn't allow his wounds to be treated, and he wouldn't let anyone try to comfort him. His distant nature never really changed.
The gap between the adoptive siblings became wider after the captain of the guard selected Schall as a royal guard. Michael was furious, as Schall spent much less time training, he was just naturally powerful, but Michael had very little talent and had practiced every day for years of his life only to be beaten to a lower position by his younger brother. His skill was admirable, the captain, Gill, had said, but his motivations were not pure and it showed in his fighting style. His confidence was not confidence, but pride, and his anger flared up when his hits were not as good as he wanted them to be.
Michael did not want to admit this to anyone, but when Schall had told him his dream, he determined that he would be better than Schall. All of his work was to defeat Schall's dream, to show him the suffering he went through when he lost his parents and to see how it felt to have joy-filled parents smother you while you wallowed in failure and bitterness.
And Michael felt bad about this being his driver, but it never ceased to push him forward in his training, so he never tried to tell Schall and he never bothered to find a different motivator.
Schall now sat on a stump at a campfire and waited for his brother. The galloping of a horse could be heard in the distance, and the arrival of Michael was loud and showy. His horse was white, and his lance glimmered in the moonlight.
"Schall. Are you the only one here to greet me?" His dirty blonde hair was a bit disheveled, but still clean, and his green eyes were piercing.
"I guess right now I am," Schall said, looking up at his brother, "I'm glad you're here."
Michael squinted at him, "You look... the same."
"Yeah. I don't know why I wouldn't," Schall wondered.
Michael sneered, "I figured you'd have a different look on your face. You're better than me, after all."
Schall tried his best to brush that off, "Are you glad to see me?"
Michael got off of his horse and exhaled, "Schall, you're my brother. Glad is a stretch."
I am a recent high school grad who really should have better things to do. I have a passion for world building, video games (especially FE), and writing. I also enjoy music, doodling, and avoiding socializing :\