Chapter three – Julien
My story is a short but remarkable one. If you would like to sit down I would be pleased to tell it to you. Perhaps when I am done, you will understand that Queen’s request for secrecy and concealment is actually my own. For my own protection I must insist upon it.
Please, do not interrupt, I will tell you. Perhaps a pot of tea could be called for. My birth was difficult, I was called a miracle by my parents. My mother was healthy and had born three healthy children before me, but her pregnancy was poisoned and I was born in a flood of chaos.
It was winter, a winter that could not be imagined here in the warm climates of Nistrain. The blistering wind would strip the clothes from our backs. Yes. Yes. I apologise, I will try to tell it as fast as possible.
Born into ice as I was, my parents warmed us all with love, but we were poor and with little work for my father the family was starving. All three of my siblings died that winter. A dark illness had taken hold of them and they were weakened with hunger. Though both of my parents often ate nothing, giving the little that they had to their children, they faded to nothing. Of course, as an infant I was forgiven any grief over their deaths. With less mouths to feed, my parents grew stronger, but their spirits were broken beyond repair. I was the last child. When I was five, my father again fell ill with the same cold illness that had laid my brothers and sister in their tiny graves.
I saw my mother fall into a deep depression seeing that his death would come. She nearly died her self, distraught with the prospect of being alone. I loved my mother and seeing her in distress galvanised me to action. I ran to the next house and wailed at their door for help. Inside a man and two women gave me warm coffee and left me by the fire while they went to help my parents, but I would not be stayed. I followed them back to the house. They bid me to stay outside, so I looked in through the window.
My mother had started to keen over my father. It was as though he was already dead. She rocked clasping his hand. I knew then that she had locked herself into her own mind. My father still shivered, and as the three people stepped through the door he even opened his eyes. They rolled back in his head as he was thrown into a sudden and violent fit. He shrieked at them to get out. I couldn’t understand it. They were here to help and he was refusing it. He thrashed away from their touch. The noise in the house was frightening and I ran into the midst of it. I ran to my father’s side and commanded him to stop. Stop shouting, Stop fighting. Just stop.
His last breath was more deafening than anything I’d heard before. No one moved for a moment. He was dead, at my command. I had killed my father. One of the women ran from the house in terror. She feared my power.
But the other woman knelt beside me. She saw me for what I am. I am a miracle worker.
My Mother never recovered her sanity, and eventually she lived entirely within herself. The woman took me in with the other man and they cared for me. But my life had changed. This was not love that they showed me, they reared me and tested my power. Only a year went by before they came for me. The soliders. The other woman had alerted the authorities, and growing reports had reached the local sheriff. He came to visit me. He asked a lot of questions and bothered me like a fly. I silenced him. I took out his tongue with magic. I remember how he tore at his throat in frustration.
I was banished. As I travelled south to the border the man and woman converted the faithful to follow me. Only I could protect them. My adopted parents urged me to use my power to heal, trading heath for money. I have never returned to my homeland. Since I was 6 I have worked my miracles in this country. Healing the impossibly sick and travelling through this beautiful land. When the lady queen asked that I return to heal Kirkaras I agreed. To help a countryman of my own is my deepest wish.
Ah. Good. The tea.