Chapter 1: The Birth of a Lord
Kelif was a small town, but was the kind of place where one said good morning to everyone and was met by smiles and greetings in return.
Settled comfortably in extraordinarily beautiful and expansive gardens, a magnificent manor stood proudly at the top of the town’s only hill. Over the years vines had grown and crept over the surface of the building, but they only seemed to enhance its natural beauty. The front of the manor was dominated by two huge and impressive oak doors with gold trimmed handles and intricate woven patterns. Standing proudly in the centre of each door, stood an engraving of a large acorn that was so perfect, that if it wasn’t for their enormity, they could have easily been mistaken for being real.
Life in Kelif was good. Apart from the 2nd month of the year when the days were cold and the nights were long and colder.
Lord and Lady Bulock lived in the Manor of Kelif. The Manor was dark beside the candles around the large house, and even though it was late at night the house was in full activity! The time passed the 11pm charm on the manor’s sizeable clock. The winds howled, the dogs barked, and a tree started knocking against the window as an expectant mother cried out in labour.
“Push!” yelled the midwife, “Your child wants to come out!”
A small flicker glowed from a magical candle as a husband gazed upon his wife. She was breathing heavily, sweat covering her brow like raindrops on a window, and he looked at her with eyes of love.
“You can do this love, just breathe.” Reassured Lord Bulock as he clenched her hand.
Lady Bulock cried out as she gave a final push, and her baby let out a cry of its own to let the world know it was here. It stopped suddenly as the Midwife held it in her arms; the small child just looked around curiously.
“It’s a Boy.” the midwife told the relieved parents.
Wrapping the boy in a blanket made from the finest cloth she passed him to the emotional new mother laid across the bed. “He’s just like his mother,” the midwife said as the mother held her baby with tears of joy pooling in her eyes.
The boy was quiet, strangely quiet for a new born. He sat cuddled in, happily looking around, taking in his surroundings. He was constantly curious about things, anything in fact. From the moment he joined this world, a curiosity blossomed that would one day lead him into places a person would not normally go. This child was different.
“My love you must name him, so I can make proud our house as we are as parents.” Lord Bulock pushed for a name as he looked at her as smug as he could be, “The servants must know to whom they now must also obey.”
Lord Bulock said this as if it was true, but he was in fact, very good toward the people in the manor. He often drank and socialized with the staff in their off-duty hours. He played poker with them on a Thursday evening, and they were always welcome to the manor with their own families.
“Tegus Bulock!” Lady Bulock proclaimed with a certainty of destiny behind her words.
Lord Bulock smiled, “Tegus it is.” He took hold of the baby and walked over to the door. Turning the gold encrusted handles, he stepped out of the room, crossed the landing and looked down. All the staff had come to see the new Sir of the manor to whom they would share their lives with. Lord Bulock looked down at them with no expression, just a baby within his arms and paused to delay the staffs’ excitement even more.
“Master Tegus Bulock!” he cried out with a grin he stole from the gods themselves! Never had a father been prouder of his son! As he held the child for all to see, a cheer went out, congratulations were heard from everyone and an overwhelming sound of happiness filled the corridors.
“Lord Bulock!” cried the midwife with urgency in her voice.
One of the teenage maids, who was to be Tegus’ nanny, came to take the young master.
“Lord Bulock!” The Midwife cried again as he hurried through the room, “Your wife Sir, she’s stopped breathing!”
“Maretha! Oh Maretha don’t leave me! I need you! Our Baby needs you!” He held her hand and cried like no one had ever seen.
This was a man who had everything. He had no reasons to be sad, and so no one had ever seen him shed a tear. He just looked at her until his tears flowed freely and sat there with his mouth open in agony.
“Sir,” said the midwife, “she’s gone... I’m sorry.”
The moment seemed to last for a hundred heart beats.
“LEAVE ME!” he yelled with saliva spraying from his lips and the tears still cascading.
The midwife startled, left immediately. The command was heard loud and clear and even made the darkness outside shudder.
The following morning the young maid brought the new-born into Lord Bulock’s study where he was sat staring into a grand fire. He didn’t seem there. The flames danced and roared in tune with his anger.
“Excuse me Lord, would you like to see your baby?”
There was silence. Only the continuous roar of the fire dared to speak.
“No...” came an emotionless answer finally that was followed by a gulp from the bottle of wine that he had found for himself in the wine cellar.
“Sir…′ the young maid began to protest.
“I SAID NO!” he bellowed at her as he stood up in a rage clenching his fists in anger.
At that very moment, a molten ball of crackling fire came directly from the fire place towards the maid and his new son. He saw it in slow motion and knew his mistake instantly.
“NOOO!” he cried out.
The Lord realizing what he had done in the instant the flames hit the maid, fell onto his knees, knowing how much he had lost in a single night. Distraught that he had allowed himself to lose control, he reached for an ebony dagger from the table next to where he had been sitting. He lifted the dark blade to his neck and without hesitation did the unthinkable. Tears rolled down his cheeks as his blood pumped out, and he felt himself drowning on his own life force as he fell forward, and eventually lay absent on the floor.
As the fireball flew at the maid, she turned and cowered in fear over the baby. She felt the heat starting to tickle her neck and expecting to be engulfed within its fury. She waited for pain, and waited some more. Nothing happened, and she dared to open her eyes and look around to realize she was encased within a crystal!
The moment just before he left his mortal form behind, Lord Bulock saw a glimpse of the crystal as the flames cleared. No matter how grim his final moment was, his last thought was however, a good one. He was proud that his baby, not even a day old, was more powerful than any wizard he had ever met. No wizard he knew could stop flames like that. Except perhaps a master wizard, or the wizards spoken about in legend. Lord Bulock’s spirit went on.
Another maid and a butler came in to see what the sounds were, and found the body of their master on the floor, and a black crystal standing nearby. The Butler walked up and slowly lifted his hand.
“Careful!” exclaimed the other maid.
He hesitated at the other maid’s voice then placed his white-gloved hand on the side of the crystal and realized that the blackness that was so dark in colour, was in fact just soot. He wiped his hand to make a small head sized window to get a better look and could see a figure within. The moment he released his hand, the crystal cocoon shattered and fell upon the floor. Both the two late arrivals gasped, as there stood in front of them, was the maid holding the baby.
They came over to the shaken up maid and looked at the baby, who was sat content within the maid’s arms. His eyes were a solid white, and as they faded and returned to being his normal blue eyes, he seemed to have a smile on his face. The maid also realised what the master had recognized in his last second... This child was gifted.
The next few years were rather tiresome and boring for all within the town. Life went on without any hope of change. Laughter became rare, and songs became extinct. The boy grew up oblivious to these things. He often asked his nanny, the maid whom he had saved, about what had happened to his parents. She would tell him they had had to go away so that he could live. She avoided telling him about the anger of his father as she believed he was too young to understand, and all that mattered was that his parents had loved him.