I haven’t written to you here in a while. It seems fitting to break that silence today, though.
I won’t keep you for long, I know how busy you are. You have a kingdom to run. And what a fine kingdom it is. I help in my way, of course, but I’m just a jester. There’s only so much I can do. We both know the amazingness of the kingdom comes down to your own amazingness. You are devoted and selfless, creative and driven, and you work, work, work to constantly improve us, both the kingdom and its inhabitants. You care in a way I can only strive for. Your passion is unparalleled.
Your passion is one of the things that drew me to you all other years ago. Your passion for all things, for living this life to its fullest, for adventures. That passion has transferred to your family now. We aren’t the same kids we were when we met but the passion remains.
I’m not entirely sure where I was headed with this letter, except to say that you are seen. Your tireless work is seen. Your love is seen. You are seen.
I hope we do enough to show you how wonderful you are.
So this is six? And how is that possible? How are you six already? Time is surely playing some trick on the Queen and I… Surely that’s the only explanation. I would shake my fist at time but, alas, the moment has already passed.
Six. What a great age. You have such a fun year ahead of you. Finishing up kindergarten. Starting first grade. And? What else are you going to start this coming year? What adventures will you go on? It’s a mystery for now. Soon to be solved.
And we say goodbye to five. The year you became a lego master like your big brother. You really took to your swim lessons over the summer and are turning into a fish, also like your big brother. You got back into bike riding. You leaped ahead in math. You got into the Worlde and Quordle craze. And, and, and. And it was another year absolutely full of adventures. Too many to recount. Too many to remember, actually. It was a blur.
I know we had our struggles, too, of course. Five was a tough age. We got through them, as we do, as we always will. I’m sorry for the times I yelled when I could have found a gentler way to parent. I’m sorry for the times I couldn’t understand your needs faster. I’m happy to report that the days ahead will get easier. Just like you, I’m constantly learning. With each new day I’m better understanding how to be the best dad for you that I can be.
And so, I’m excited for six. I think it’s going to be a great year.
The three friends finished their next round and the round after that. They said hello to some neighbors they hadn’t seen sense they left. They made small talk with some others in the bar they weren’t as familiar with. They ordered a bit of food and polished the course off with a final round of ale. Mostly, though, they were biding their time. They expected to be ambushed in some fashion leaving Fireside Inn and they were hoping by stalling the four men who wished to cause trouble would grow frustrated and either stalk off or make a mistake when they did try to spring their trap.
An hour or so before dawn, with the sky not yet showing signs of the sun’s approach, Malland, Zanthalaso, and Dorian said their goodbyes and made their exit. They acted drunk, staggering and talking boisterously of their recent exploits, egging each other on, but all the while their swords were loose in their scabbards and their eyes darted here and there. A decent array of stars and a bright moon provided some light but also created an abundance of shadows. Zanth’s elven-vision gave him a slight advantage but none of three wanted to get caught off-guard.
It was Zanth, though, who gave the warning as he spotted the heat signatures of two of the men hiding in a darkened doorway. As one, swords were drawn and the three friends created a circle so they wouldn’t be blindsided. The other two men detached themselves from different doorways and the four advanced on the companions.
“This is a mistake,” Zanth called to them.
“That may be,” their leader replied, an edge to his voice, “but you aren’t wanted here and we’ve been paid to see to it that you leave.”
Dorian said, “There’s a tavern full of people behind us who feel differently, strangers. It’s far more likely that you aren’t wanted in town.”
One of the other men scoffed, “Just look you. Bunch of freaks.”
Dorian growled low in his throat again. Malland closed his eyes long enough to concentrate on casting Darkness. He wasn’t a magic user, but as part of his condition, part of his curse, he had the ability to cast two spells. Zanth, trying one last time to not spill any blood in their hometown, raised his sword at the leader and said, “Whoever has paid you, has paid you only to die. Tell us who it was and we’ll go see them ourselves. You do not need to do this.”
“Yeah, we do,” was all he said before stepping forward with a long sword clutched in his hands.
Malland cast Darkness and a fog pushed away from his circled friends to envelop their attackers. There was a call of surprise from within the fog.
“You obviously haven’t been well informed about us,” Zanth called out.
“They aren’t even wearing armor,” Dorian stated quietly so only his friends could hear him.
With a yellow, half of fear and half of battle rage, the leader burst out of the fog swinging his sword. Dorian easily blocked the strike with his own sword and then turned the block into a strike of his own, slicing through the man’s exposed torso. He went down with a grunt and did not get back up.
The remaining three came out of the fog more cautiously. The last one through saw their leader had already fallen, and immediately turned tail and fled back into the fog. The two who remained exchanged blows with Malland and Zanth. The far more experienced friends easily out-matching the strangers. One fell to Malland’s sword and the other fell to Zanth’s.
The fight over, Malland dispersed the fog with another moment of concentration and a wave of his hand. Zanth and Dorian checked the men they’d fought and came up shaking their heads. All three had died.
“Such a waste,” Zanth said with a heavy sigh.
The friends were just discussing what they should do next when they heard shouting and the sound of many more people headed their direction. The one who’d fled had gone and fetched a posse.
Time is a funny thing. I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that. I had no clue what I was getting into when I started this blog…
And here we are. Ten years of the kingdom, of silliness and stories, of seeing where my words could go. I’ve certainly had a blast. I hope you all have as well.
I’ve been trying to stick with themes this year, posting every Wednesday to stay in some sort of routine and have each month be it’s own story. Something like that. As I have nothing for this month I think starting next week we’ll take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of my favorite posts from the last ten years.