Aden of Aden

Chapter One

I know the story behind my name.  Not the reason for it, but that is a part of this tale.  I however should start by letting you in on the history behind my name.

My father was a knight of Thiminy.  The kingdom was small, but very pleasant.  Only three major holdings consisting of the royal settlement at the start of the valley and two cities near the opening to a dry hostile terrain.  Serussdal and Fedrukin were set near the mouth of the good land before it changed into desert.  My father would speak of his days helping people attempting to cross the desert to reach our kingdom, but in my lifetime would mostly tell stories of his interaction with the dwarves who inhabited the mountains around our valley.

I had two mothers, as the adventure where my father won his knighthood gained him two wives.  I have heard that story many times, because both my mother and Mother Mersidda loved to tell the tale.  It was a wonderful adventure of my father, but it also spoke of where my mothers came from.

The story I have to tell started late one night.  Father came home to hear one of my older siblings crying.  It seemed that he and Mother Mersidda arrived in the nursery at the same time.  Even today the two will stay up late talking to each other, and my mother said that they were pleasantly conversing after calming the child when she came into the room.

“Berair, you’re home?”

My father replied, “I have never neglected you Aden.”

“I know, my lord, but I have something to ask you.”

“I have never neglected you, Aden.”

“I know.  But… Berair, I want a girl.”

Mother Mersidda replied, “I’m pregnant, Aden.  You can have our lord.”

My mother said, “No.  I mean, yes, but – Berair, I want a girl, and I want to give her my name.”

My father replied, “Are you simply seeking one more oddity in our family, Aden?”

“No, my lord, but I need this.  Please.”

I knew how my father could put stress behind some simple statement.  “I have never neglected you, Aden.”

“I’m happy, Berair.  Really.  I love you.  I love Mersidda.  I however need something, someone, to bestow that love upon.  The children are a help, but I want a girl with my name.”

My mother gave my father his eldest child.  Agrell was a fine lad, and none felt that he would fail to keep respect in our family.  Mother Mersidda blessed my father with a girl, then a boy.  She has since produced three more.  My mother only had one other, me, and my name is Aden.

I cannot say that I was my mother’s favorite.  Agrell gained his favor from her.  She had two boys in a previous marriage who both died, so would often be amazed to see my older brother living so well in spite of some of the antics he would get into.  She rushed to him whenever he got hurt.  She was very proud of Agrell, and that was not at all the attitude she bestowed upon me.

They called my mother Princess.  She was a princess.  She was the daughter of Baron Behimmer of Thaulirn.  While our family is noble, father is only a knight and not a landed noble, so his children are not princes and princesses.  Not having the titles of nobility never really bothered me or my siblings.  With Thiminy being such a small kingdom, there was little formality in how we related to others.  King Terish and Queen Straekin were often seen moving about and interacting with the people.  My mother was also friendly and willing to help, but something in her personality had others see something in her expressing her nobility, and they called her Princess instead of her name.

We lived on the property of Lord Rebitten.  He raised cattle and goats.  There were dragons around the land of Thiminy, so Lord Rebitten would speak of losing large numbers of his herds at times.  Since my father came to live on the property there were often military personnel moving about, and the only dragon that tried to take of the livestock was quickly killed before any animal died.  As far as Lord Rebitten was concerned, that proved the value of having my family reside with him.

His children and us grew up together.  Honestly, there was a bunch of youths from the various families that worked with Lord Rebitten.  It was a good life with there never really a reason to be alone.  I however usually was, as I spent time with my mother instead of with the other children.

Mother would laugh with me.  She told me stories with some being fictional while others she claimed to be true.  I found myself enjoying doing chores, as my mother would join me expressing her pleasure in being with me while doing something productive.  While this was my childhood, I grew up realizing that my background was something very different from the other children on the property, including my own siblings, but all told me to thank my mother for the way I was growing up.

Father did have a large family.  Having seven children, his own household was quite full.  He however had a number of siblings, and they have had children.  I had aunts, uncles, and numerous cousins along with a multitude of other relations.  Lord Rebitten also considered us part of his family, so I had many others I also called by terms of relation.

I was with Aunt Chaya.  She was actually the mother of the stable master, but as my mother would teach me equestrian skills I spent a lot of time at the stables.  As I worked to care for the horses, for some reason Aunt Chaya took a liking to me.

She said, “You’re becoming a very elegant lady, Aden.  You should have a number of suitors.”

I had been attempting to lose myself in my work, but could not help but show some tears as I replied, “Mother won’t speak to me.”

“What?  Aden I cannot believe that.  Your mother has not stopped talking to you all your life.”  Aunt Chaya could see my tears, so came to hug me while saying, “There has to be a reason.  Your mother is like that.  She will hide her feelings.  There is a lot of hurt in her past, but all say that your father saved her from that.  Ever since I have known her she has been such a warm, cheerful person.  Seeing her with you, girl, the joy that she displays around you I sometimes do not even believe your father sees.  Come.  Let us go talk to your mother together.”

“No.  I’m scared.”

“Come on.  Your mother is a good lady.  Something quite different than any other lady, but we all love her.  She is not someone to fear.  Especially you, Aden, as she only shows joy around you.  Oh!”  I felt some force from Aunt Chaya as she said, “There is something not pleasant, and she just does not want to show you.  Still, you need to come with me.  Never fear your mother, Aden.  She is one of the most wonderful ladies ever to bless our land.  Come.”

I would not challenge any of my elders.  While Aunt Chaya was not really related to me, I fully classified her as one of my elders.  She definitely had age, and I had always considered her a part of my life.  I thus did not challenge her.

We were moving from the stables when father rode onto the property.  I felt that I could go to him.  Father had a lot of respect from the people, and I had never known my mother or Mother Mersidda to speak anything against him.  Before I could move to him, I saw my mother rush from our home to our father.

“Berair!”  In a manner I could only wish to share one day with a man, I saw my father dismount to grab my mother and show her affection that she accepted before saying more.  “Berair, you need to speak to Aden.  Please, tell her.  Tell her why I cannot direct her.  She is becoming a woman, Berair, and I failed so miserably there.”

My father was a tall man.  I had inherited some of his height with one reason most lads did not seek me out was not wanting to look up to someone they hoped to become lord over.  I saw him straighten his body, and felt certain he noticed me.  My father put his focus back on my mother as he replied to her.

“Certainly, Aden.  Now, you go do something for Aden.  You have been there with her all her life.  She will need you.”

“Yes, my lord.”  I actually saw my mother step back and curtsey to my father before saying, “Thank you.”

“Aden, I come home for no other reason than to deal with you and Mersidda.  Now, let me handle this, but I will return wanting attention from my wives.”

Mother actually curtsied again, then spun to return to our house before my father bellowed, “Aden, mount up!  You’re coming with me.”

Aunt Chaya shouted out, “She will be out shortly, Sir Berair!”

The horses actually liked to be ridden.  I often felt that they had abundant talent, but did not feel challenged to use it without our presence.  I went to the magnificent stallion that I enjoyed riding, but Aunt Chaya directed me to another horse saying that it would not limit where my father could take me.  Actually agreeing with her logic, I accepted the elder lady’s decision about which horse to ride noticing the one I usually rode act disappointed to not be ridden.

When I rode out, father left speaking to Lord Rebitten to mount his steed with a hand gesturing for me to follow him.  Thiminy was not that large of a land, so I doubted father could take me somewhere I had not been.  From the way he stayed straight in the saddle with his head moving I felt he was simply seeking a place where we could talk privately.  Finally, after passing through a swampy area, father began speaking.

“Aden, your mother fears for you greatly.  She brought you up to see joy in life, but you are now at the age where she lost her joy.  Her previous husband was a man by the name of Therlik.  He was not the joyous person that your mother expected, and her marriage was a horrible one.  She chose him however.  That was her choice for a husband.  She was given, basically forced upon me.  Her value was considered so low that they gave, basically forced, Mersidda to me as well.  However horrible you might consider the reason for us to be together, we have had a wonderful marriage.  Now you are at that age for choosing your husband, your life, and your mother does not have any guidance for you.  She in fact fears whatever she tells you to doom you.”

I thought about what father had told me.  Honestly, what he said matched everything I had heard.  The stories told by my mother and Mother Mersidda had mentioned things about why and how they had come together.  I thus did not doubt what my father said, but only the context in which he said them.

While he traveled a lot, the small size of the kingdom would often have him spending time at home.  He was not an unknown in my life.  In the same token, I knew that he did what he could to help his children.  I thus felt that I had another source of wisdom available than my mother.  Since he was spending time with me, I decided to allow him to say what he would.

“Father, what direction would you have for me?”

“I’m a knight of the land, Aden.  My direction should be obvious.”

“It hurt when mother stopped speaking to me, Father.  Please, speak.”

“All right, stop.”  I had my horse cease moving, and father began pointing.  “Serussdal is in that direction.  My family is there.  You know them.  Serussdal is a large city, although as bakers my family knows most of the people in the city.  You can go there and get a wide assortment of advice, meet a lot of young men, and choose almost any life you prefer.  Fedrukin is in that direction.  Don’t know why you would want to go there, but there it is.”  We both laughed.  “Dechrinogral is in that direction.  Elves.  Veriddian is all around us.  Dwarves.”

He stopped talking, so I let him know that he left something out.  “Thiminy.”

“Ah, Thiminy.  That is a much larger direction, although possibly less diverse.  Still, it is there as well.”

“Would mother like for me to go to Thiminy?”

“She wants you to be happy, Aden.  She has done all she could to raise you as a happy child.  She lost that however, and fears you losing it.”

I almost started crying again as I mentioned the one thing that truly bothered me at the moment.  “How do I get her to start talking to me again?”

“Don’t you ever doubt your mother, Aden.  She is a wonderful lady.  Mersidda does not hold a candle to her, but knows that she does not have to.  Aden has never shown brighter than Mersidda, yet I have never found anyone to doubt that I have a rare jewel in your mother.  She wants you to be a rare jewel as well, Aden, but a happy one.  You will find her talking to you, do not doubt it.”

“Mother was a princess, Father.  I believe she would like for me to become a princess, or the mother of princesses.  Would going to Thiminy have me achieve that, Father?”

“Yes, Aden, it is the direction to go if you want that.  When we return, tell your mother those words exactly.”

And Berair's advice does get Aden to talk to her daughter.