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The Children of Eden
Author's note: I have been working on this particular story for a long time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
The girl stared in quiet melancholy in the solitary and silent room. She and her brother were standing in the dusty tomb filled with old dusty books and broken runes of the old family crest. An empty bird cage stood rusted on an antique table that held a few small white feathers. Their father sat hoary and weary upon the once grand red velvet chair. He looked upon his children with a shining eye, the right one long since lost in warfare. Her brother twitched with anticipation, his sharp metal tipped boots and boyish medals glinted under the old one’s yellowed desk light. The girl stood in plain and drab simple garb compared with her brother’s dashing red clothed figure. What made the boy excited was not the thought of leaving home but the two jars next to his father’s arm upon a small table that interested him. For a very long time, he and his sister were forbidden from touching them. But now was the time to get them; and open them. But the girl shook. She was more frightened than him.
“You are to depart soon am I right?” asked the man in a slow dry tone.
The two nodded.
“Yes, to keep your honor father as well as the honor of our family.” said the boy, “Our brothers have already left so it should be our turn.”
The man nodded and fingered his eye patch.
“You need not do this.” The man noted.
The girl shook. Even she agreed to him. But the brother shook his head.
“No father. We will not stand for this injustice right Jane?” he asked. “Already too many of the rebel soldiers have caused damage to the stability of the empire. The empire must be upheld.”
The girl, Jane, had no choice but to nod. He was the dominant of the two. But the man nodded again and gestured to the two jars.
“I have kept these two for a very long time from you and now I believe that now is the time for you to collect your rights.”
He picked up one and gave it carefully to his sin and gave the other to his daughter.
“When you were once three, and still sat upon my knee, your mother and I planned to save you some of our fortune for your future use. And so now that you leave, I give them to you.”
The boy was excited and opened his jar like a child on his birthday.
“Gold!” he exclaimed excitedly.
The girl slowly opened her jar and widened her eyes.
“This is more than enough for us father. I cannot accept such as sum! Why it would drive you to the poor house father!” she gaped.
But her father patted her head.
“That is why your mother and I saved up when you were so young.” He smiled.
The boy pocketed his gold and left the jar to his father. His sister stood with a closed jar.
“I’m ready to go. See you outside sister!” said the boy joyfully.
But the sister continued to stare at the sum.
“Far too much.” She thought.
Her father reached out and closed her thin fingers over the jar.
“Take it. It would be folly to leave it young one.” He nodded.
He looked down at his shabby and youngest child. His bold sons had long left him while his young daughter remained under pale shadow of her siblings.
“I am getting older Jane, not younger. It is nigh time for you to leave.” He continued.
But the girl continued to look around the room sadly.
“I will miss you father.” She whispered.
He sighed and as he too looked around he came upon an idea. He took from his neck a small amulet and placed it over his daughter’s head. On it was an image of a small thunderbolt.
“This is the crest of your fathers. May it protect you as it did for me.” He said.
The girl nodded and grasped it tight in her hand. Her eyes roved around the distant memories of the manor until she paused at the rusted bird cage.
“Is the bird dead? I really wanted to say good bye.” She asked.
“Ah yes, unfortunately so.” Her father sighed, “He died on the seventh; in fact just yesterday. He was a fine albino wasn’t he?”
She looked back at her father and embraced him.
“I will still miss you father.” She whispered wiping her eye.
He patted her head and hugged her back.
“I will always be with you Jane.”
They stood for a while and finally gave one last look and she left alone.
Ten Years Later
Jane walked slowly down the worn dirt path she had walked so long ago. She walked with a straight back, tall and firm with her steps. Her uniform had been dusty and scuffed from battle and her battered revolver lay at her side, sheathed in its holder. She has changed, changed so much that her once pale eyes had turned icy blue, and sharp. Shadows appeared under her eyes but her face remained pale and shadowy. Her auburn hair waved slightly over the winds and her jaw was tightened with strain. She had come back, back to the beginning, to see the end.
“Jane? Jane is that you?” called a familiar voice.
Jane slowly turned around and faced up to her brother. She waited silently until he caught up with hard breaths.
“Long time no see.” She said softly.
He too appeared changed with harder grey eyes and his dashing red uniform appeared to be covered in a pale black dust. His black hair stuck wildly out of his head like that of an animal and his muscular build heaved with every breath.
“And I you Jane.” He grinned almost childishly.
“Are you here to see him too?” she asked.
Her brother gave a grim grin and nodded.
They continued to walk down the path.
“Where have you been all this time? I have not seen you, not since the day we were given the money from father.” Her brother asked.
“It has been ten years, my brother.” She said softly her eyes lowered and lidded and her tone rough and weary.
They walked down in silence for a time.
“You seem to be in rough shape Jane. Why is that? You should be wealthy and a virgin like myself.” He scoffed.
“You lie.” She mumbled her face lowered.
He stopped and gave her a questioning look.
“I am no longer a virgin. I have married.” She murmured.
He blinked like a stuffed owl.
“And you are a fool to not settle down. You are in your thirties now.”
But her brother laughed and threw his head up.
“And lose your freedom? Hah! You are the fool sister. I would rather play around a bit and pick a beautiful girl. Heck you probably settled with the first man you found.” He mocked.
She shook her head but did not look into his eyes.
“No. he is a fine man. A far better husband than I deserve.” She mumbled. But he did not hear as the winds rustled hard through the trees along the road.
They walked down in silence for a while.
“Have you eaten yet sister? I’m actually quite hungry.” He asked.
She shook her head.
“I have eaten already before I came.” She answered.
“What did you eat a sandwich?” he asked looking at her slim frame.
He himself had a bit of a round in his stomach.
“No, a salad.” She answered raising her head a bit, but just a bit.
“What I wouldn’t do for a large cut of meat right now.” He laughed.
They walked down in silence for a while.
“How much did they pay you for your service Jane?” he asked breaking the silence.
She turned to him slightly.
“They paid me enough money for me to start a family and enough to pay off my debts.” She answered
He widened his eyes.
“Only enough for that? Heck Jane, no one does that in war. In fact I myself sold weapons. All the money I made would have made us rich for life. But of course that was not all I attempted to do to make gold. One can never have enough.” He chuckled.
But she shook her head and sighed. She had brought just enough for the trip back. Her brother meanwhile seemed to be creating a small clinking noise like chains as he walked with his hands in his pockets.
They walked down in silence for a while.
“What are you doing now Jane? Are you still in the battle?” he asked.
She blinked at him in surprise.
“But the war is over brother. They surrendered a month ago. I settled down; I am just carrying my weapon for defense.” She blinked.
He threw his head into the air and laughed.
“Of course no one is in the battle. I was just joking. I just wondered if you actually went into battle.” He asked.
“I did.” She answered.
He scoffed again.
“Sometimes I wonder Jane how you live. Don’t you know that only the poor men fight? You should have paid for another fighter for you and take the honor for yourself. Like me I helped father’s honor by staying behind, I was a commander.” He laughed.
She looked down again.
“I was a commander too. But I never left my soldiers alone.” She muttered.
They walked down in silence for a while.
“Where do you live now Jane? Somewhere nearby?” he asked.
She shook her head.
“Far. But not too far that I cannot come here every so often.” She answered.
“I live pretty close to here. Close to a nearby stage I own though. You should come sometime to see the entertainment. I just got stock of several lions and bears. They should be good sport won’t they?” he asked.
She blinked and stared at him.
“But that’s illegal. I should report you.” She blinked.
But his eyes darkened and appeared dangerous.
“And don’t you dare rat me out sister. You may be family, but I never hesitate to kill.” He snarled.
Jane frowned and looked down at the ground.
They walked down in silence.
“Are you happy Jane? He asked.
She looked at him and noticed his eyes had changed.
She paused for a while and thought.
“Yes.” She said and raised her head.
He looked at her oddly at her slightly curved lips and bright eyes that though icy appeared quite nice as well. Somehow to him her eyes appeared almost like gold as he asked her.
“When were you happy?” he asked his voice softening.
She sighed and turned to him and noticed his icy eyes that appeared silvery and cold to the touch.
“When my son was born I realized what I had missed all my life.” she answered.
He glared at her slightly and looked at his steel tipped boots.
“Why you and not me?” he muttered to himself.
She continued on with her head up and her eyes softening. He glared at his shoes.
They continued down in silence.
“Your husband, what kind of man is he?” he asked.
Jane sighed softly.
“A good man, he cares for me as well as those around him. He works hard for us. He is a farmer in the town.” she answered.
Her brother blinked.
“How does he care for you?” he asked.
Jane smiled slightly.
“He treats me kindly and he has inspired me to remove me of my sins.” She answered.
Her brother scoffed lightly.
“I can be a better man than he. Yes I can.” He mumbled, but Jane heard and shook her head.
“What is his name? I would like to meet this man.” Her brother asked.
His thoughts filled with himself.
“I am a better man.” He thought. “Even this so called good man my sister expresses cannot be better than I. he’s only a poor farmer! And I am a rich man.” He thought darkly.
“Obadiah; that is his name.” she answered.
They walked on without speaking until they reached the old seven feet tall fence gate that lead to their home. The sign for the home had long since been rusted and covered, forgotten. But the words EDEN remained from what was once EDENSMOORE. The trees had long been unkempt and overgrown since they left. The branches drooped almost in leafy tears; willows more so than others. Jane looked sadly as she looked at her once beloved home fallen from grace. Her brother stood aloof and unfazed as he stared at the ground thinking his deep thoughts. A fine coat of grey icy ash seemed to cover the grounds as they neared the house. The grasses and trees that once invited her now seemed sharp and foreboding covered in morning chill as though they wanted her to leave. Even the once handsome cobblestone path was lined with weeds and tough scale skinned brush.
They arrived now at the house. The mansion appeared sad as they neared the collapsed roof and broken walls. A solitary tomb lay in front of the mansion, black and draped that seemed to wait for eternity and oblivion.
Jane and her brother stood in front of the tomb and stared at it silently. They had received the news recently that the old roof was so covered in ice and chill that it collapsed with their father still inside coughing his life away.
Jane leaned over and touched the tomb lightly and then jumped back away. She could not bear it, her father dead.
Her brother leaned over and placed his hand on the tomb. It did not scare him.
“Death is only the next cycle.” He mumbled.
Jane blinked and sniffed wiping a tear. She sank to her knees and stared up into the sky. The sky so blue and grey seemed to weep for her as well.
“He should be given… a memorial. An honorary tribute.” Her brother began.
She looked at him with wide eyes.
“A wonderful and glorious tribute one that would make even the gods cringe with envy!” he roared suddenly.
Jane gasped as her brother rose up his arms in his rage.
“Nay one that far surpasses former tributes and former forms of glorious tribute. Great and deadly black tribute!” he roared.
Jane cringed as her brother continued his rants. She stood up and sighed at her brother who began running towards the frozen house and ran in circles around it. The shadows of the lonely clouds blew over the empty remains in and around the house.
She stood by herself for a while. Her father seemed to be happy to her in her mind almost encouraging her to go on. Perhaps he was happy to die and to live in eternity watching them as he was unable to do so before. She looked up into the sky again and felt the bright warmth of the sun just peaking out of the clouds. Bright light shone upon her face.
“My wants have left me.” She murmured.
She took out the old amulet she wore since she left and held it as it glinted at the sun.
Somehow her heart felt lighter than normal as the sun appeared. She looked at the tomb and almost expected to see her father appear before her. No; not her father.
She looked again and in the light of the sun now shining upon the tomb, she saw it, a male figure holding a child in his arms. Warmth spread in her soul.
As she prepared to leave a butterfly flew close to her and landed upon her head.
Jane walked slowly up the gold dusty path towards the steady rhythm of farmers in the field. She finally arrived at the small home that they built together with their fair labor. The hay roof of the home appeared to shine in the setting sun. A cry of joy resounded behind her and she turned around. A young boy appeared and ran up to her while a tall broad man with a grizzled beard and bright eyes appeared on the path. They smiled and she smiled back. She picked up the boy and hugged him while Obadiah came and laughed gently as he hugged her. The light shone upon them and their happiness.