WRITER NOTE: This is a retrospective to one of my characters, Joseph Tavf, through his eyes in Chapters 36 and 37 of The Blacksmith's Nephew when he is confronted of his past.
There are major spoilers ahead! If you don't want anything spolied of the main story, I would suggest skipping this and reading the book first.
Otherwise, please enjoy.
'Okay, here we go,' I said to myself nervously in thought as my nephew Terrance led the way as we went through the six-foot-tall grassy field. Up ahead was where the Southern Kingdom and its wall were. It felt like we were walking into a corn field but instead of corn stalks, it was all grass.
The group and I went through the opened yet damaged main gate, which was located in the east with two broken wall towers. Once we passed the main gates, all of us saw the ruins of that once beautiful Kingdom. The buildings and guarded wall were completely destroyed from the catapults in the Great Mage War all those years ago.
Everything was completely abandoned, all filled with mold and grass everywhere but not a living thing in sight. The whole village was like this including the castle itself which was made out of orange and yellow limestone to match a rising or setting sun. The buildings and houses were yellow while the roofs were orange.
I can tell my nephew was very intrigued by everything. Terrance continue to led himself and us through the empty Kingdom and into the castle. I could tell that his gears in his head was turning, he must feel something familiar about this place, like somehow he has been here once before. In all honesty, he along me have been here but that was a long time and I've kept it sercet all these years and for good reason.
The castle was very majestic considering it all being in ruins and such. We passed the castle walls, it’s training ground, the main enterance and arrived at the sanctuary of the Southern Kingdom castle. There was broken corridors among the side of the sanctuary which led to different parts of this castle.
At the end of the sanctuary was a pair of golden grand doors layered with rust. These doors had different carvings of coyotes across the surface. For this was the main animal of the Southern Kingdom. Terrance became very interested and curious for what’s beyond that point as he then held out his hands up in front of him towards the rusty doors.
Upon seeing this, I had spoken up from behind: “Terrance…” My nephew then turns around to see me with a pale face as if I had seen a ghost. I continued on by saying: “There may be secrets behind those doors that you may not be ready for.”
“I think I can manage it uncle. Thank you,” said Terrance as he then turns around again and opens the rusty golden doors with both of his hands.
'There's no way of convincing him at this point. Once Terrance got his mind set on something, there's no way of changing course. I might as well face the music,' I thought to myself again nervously that I could feel my heart going fast.
It was an enormous throne room that was twice the size of the throne room back at the Northern Kingdom castle. It had a different texture and atmosphere of course. Some golden chandeliers were still attached to the ceiling yet rusty and covered in dust. There was even several that were shattered unto the ground from the war all broken though. The walls of the castle were tan limestone almost looking like solid gold, while the floor was cobblestone.
The company and I moved forward into the throne room looking around. The twenty grand windows among the walls were shattered while the royal golden mat was torn and burned.
Maren (our fairy friend and healer of the group) started to dance in the center of the throne room. There she was just spinning and twirling gracefully like a gazelle. She turns around towards where Arkcon (our elven friend who is skilled at stealth) was and gives him a wink.
Arkcon’s just stood still there like a deer in the headlights, and I was willing to bet his heart was bumping as fast as mine but for a different reason.
“What’s the matter?” asked the fairy as she slowly dances towards the elf.
“I don’t dance,” said the elf nervously.
“Come on,” says Maren as she then quickly grabs his hands. “I can teach you.”
She places his left hand on her right hip, and held his right hand with her left. They began swaying left and right. The two eventually added more steps going back and forth.
“See? It’s pretty easy once you do it with someone else,” smiled the fairy.
“Yeah, you’re right,” smiled Arkcon who was still pretty nervous dancing there with the girl of his dreams.
“You okay?” asked Maren looking at him with her eyes of concern.
Arkcon then replied to his crush softly: “Yeah, it’s just that I never gotten this close to a beautiful woman in a long time.”
“Awww…thank you for that complement.”
“You’re surely welcome,” smiled Arkcon as he twirls Maren around once. Maren then pulls herself away and back, away and back. They start spinning around together. Arkcon gives Maren a few more twirls and dips her.
The two were now looking deep into each other’s eyes. It almost looked like they were going to kiss but Maren caught something on the corner of her eye.
I must haven't been paying much attention to what my nephew was doing for I was focused on those lovebirds then. She and I turns out head seeing Terrance standing still at the end of the throne room nearby the three damaged thrones.
Arkcon followed her direction and lifts the two up standing. “Is everything okay Terrance?” asked Maren.
“This portrait…it’s still intact…” replied the young man as he still remained there standing without turning either head or body. Everyone including myself approached to where Terrance stood.
We all stood behind the three damaged thrones. Above their heads was a circular empty space looking outside with pieces of glass still attached on the edges. This was where a gorgeous window was located all those years ago. All of the yellow and orange glass shreds were shattered everywhere on the ground and the thrones.
However that wasn’t what Terrance was looking at. No, for he was looking an old painting that was hanging on that same wall just below the empty space. We all gathered around the young man seeing that painting still in mint condition but covered with dust.
Terrance grabs a navy blue rag from his satchel and wipes the dust off from the painting. He took a step back and looked at the portrait aling with us.
In the painting, there was a middle-aged man wearing an orange royal robe who looked like the King. Alongside was his wife who was in a yellow royal dress fit to be a Queen. Between the two royals was a baby boy in a golden blanket sitting on the lady’s lap with brown eyes and brown hair. The baby had similar features as Terrance.
“Who were they?” asked Terrance, my dear nephew, with a confused look as he saw the painting there.
'Now for the hardest part: the confession. There is no way around it now,' I said this to myself in thought. I then replied with the saddest look upon my face and tears in his eyes: “Terrance, it’s you with your parents.”
Terrance had been speechless. He didn’t know what to say nor what to do after I revealed a hidden truth. This was really him as a baby with the King and Queen of the Southern Kingdom way back then, no doubt about it.
Terrance stood there looking at the painting with the most confused expression upon his face. After a few minutes of processing the news, Terrance finally turns to us while looking down on the royal mat. I can see he was trying to figure about what to say next.
A minute later, he then looks up to me. and asked, “What happen?”
“My real name is Joseph Shylo…” I replied as I began to tell the story in order to answer my nephew’s question. I took a deep breath and calmly explained what had happen without breaking down in tears. “A long time ago there once lived a King and Queen here in the Southern Kingdom of Rissindell. Their names were Elijah and Teresa Sunite. Teresa was my dear twin sister. Your mother Teresa was a royal cook and a great one too. Elijah not only fell in love with Teresa but he also loved her cooking as well. They were given a baby boy who they both knew would be a great leader once he was old enough to rule the grand Kingdom.
“The Dark Wizard you know as Gerlard Strent, was told from the former Dark Wizard, Noa Vens, that if the boy was to live long enough, he would defeat Gerlard’s wrath. Gerlard killed Noa Vens, and made his fellow mages head towards the Southern Kingdom. Thus why there was a Great Mage War in the first place. All in the attempt to kill a baby boy and execute those who stood in their way.
“There used to be light mages among us within the Three Kingdoms while the dark mages lived in that one place where they had called home. Noa Vens was the first of the dark mages centuries ago and has remained there as their High Ruler of the Dark Magic Counsel. Noa Vens and his followers were very respectful towards the other Kingdoms regardless if some people were not accepting of them. Sadly, no light mages survived the war for Gerlard and his mages had killed them all. Yet in the end, Gerlard even killed the dark mages after their victory.
“I was there when your father and mother passed you down onto me. I took you and myself to safety until we have reached the Northern Kingdom where I settle down as the local village’s blacksmith…”
There was a short pause for I couldn't found myself to say anything more. All of this was breaking my heart once again.
Sonas (our honorable knight) took this moment and chimes in to continue the story: “I too was there when your mother gave you to your uncle and I fought alongside with your parents in that battle...But I was knocked out unconcious before it was already too late for them.”
The knight paused with a depressed face. After ten seconds, he resumed: “When I woke up, I was the only survivor. Your parents sadly didn’t make it through. They sacrificed themselves for you and the Three Kingdoms.”
Judging by my nephew's face, Terrance was even more distraught. Both of his father figures had kept this secret from him after all these years. He stood there for a moment while rubbing his temples with his fingers. Im assuming my nephew was getting quite a headache.
“Why didn’t the both of you tell me about this in the first place?” he finally asked looking at Sonas, and then looked at me both with a disappointed look.
“You have no idea how many times I wanted to tell you my dear nephew,” I replied sadly. “I wanted to tell you but I also wanted to protect you from the outside world. Terrance, I love you like a son that I never had, and I never wanted to lose you like how I lost my dear sister. You have to understand that I was only trying to protect you.”
Terrance then replied back with some anger and resentment: “You should have told me sooner because if I knew back then, the Princess would’ve never been kidnapped from the likes of the DarkWizard in the first place! If only I knew this, I could have done something different!
“You’ve lied to me! You said we came from the Northern Kingdom even though clearly I saw we were a little different! Especially considering of how short we were in height, and how we weren’t pale like everyone else!”
To that, I replied sadly with tears in my eyes: “You’re right Terrance. I should have told you a long time ago in the first place. That was very selfish of me to do. I’m sorry, please forgive me.”
I then put his head down after apologizing to him. Everyone, including Sonas, went quiet. None of us knew what to say towards Terrance. He probably didn't even know what to do at this point.
“I need to be left alone. Excuse me everyone. I’ll be right back,” said Terrance as he walks forward storming off to leave the throne room.
I was about to stop him but Reuben grabbed my shoulder indicating I should leave him be. The King within the werewolf was right for I would have done the same thing myself. This was a lot to take in. There was silence amongst us for quite but we all remained just waiting until Terrance came back.
When Terrance arrives to the throne room after thirty odd minutes, he was out of breath.
“Is everything okay, Terrance?” asked Lemmy (our dwarven guard) as everyone else including myself turned out attention towards the squire.
Terrance was sweating up a storm but he walks forward. My nephew then takes a deep breath and replied back: “Yes, everything is alright. I’m sorry about leaving you all like that.”
“It’s okay Terrance, we all understand. Everyone needs to walk things out,” said Maren calmly with a slight smile.
Everybody in that throne room including myself nodded in agreement. We were all a group of very understandable people.
“Good…Uncle Joseph and Sir Sonas,” said the young man as he looked at Sonas and I while still walking towards us. “You both have been forgiven. I understand now why you two had to do what you’ve done.” He stopped walking once he had reached us and continued: “I love you both with all my heart."
“And we love you too Terrance,” I said with tears coming out from his eyes while Sonas there gives Terrance a smiling nod.
The young man looks at us with a confident smile like he used to do when he was little boy. He then places his right fist up against his chest while bringing his left fist towards his back and says: “Now…come on everybody, we got no time to waste. We still got a Princess to save...”
I couldn't be more proud of Terrance. He was becoming a leader the old prophecy that was told all those years ago. I know my sister and brother in law would also be proud if they were here at this very moment. I'm sure they are watching all of this from the heavens as we speak. I miss them very deeply.