Day 15 of 100 Word Prompts: Quill
Dylian knelt on the dew-covered grass before the two most recent graves in the Pondspar family graveyard. The first, Geraldine Pondspar, had a proper headstone with the words ‘Beloved wife and mother’ carved into its face. The second, a rough rock about two feet in each dimension, stood plain and unmarked. The sun was rising, bringing with it the storm clouds in the east.
“I’m sorry, Father,” Dylian whispered. “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you from the Baron’s men. Thank you both for truly making me feel like your son.”
Dylian rose on his shaky legs, his arms still sore from digging Harrison’s grave, and trudged back to the only home he had ever known. The windows were dark, and no smoke trailed from the top of the fireplace. Everything that had made the farm feel like home was gone now.
Dylian pushed the front door open, revealing the cold hearth and the chairs facing it. One door, his bedroom, stood open, while the door to his father’s room remained shut as he had left it.
Dylian walked to the door and pushed it open. A small bed made perfectly sat against the far wall with a short, handmade bookcase next to it, which held the only three books that Dylian had ever seen in the house.
The first book was a recounting of the Pondspar family lineage dating back hundreds of years. The dark leather binding was cracked and faded from generations of use.
The second book had a similar appearance, but the leather stood in stark contrast to the first with its white finish. This was the book of Corellon Larethian. It contained fantastic stories of the clerics and paladins of the deity that his mother had once read to him.
The last book on the shelf had a familiar, faded green cloth cover. The title, Tales of Adventure, had faded long before Dylian was even born.
“The stories in this book are all true,” Harrison had said, his slightly crooked smile plastered on his face. “Heroes overcoming dragons, and liches, and harpies. Criminal empires destroyed at the hands of the people. You should see value in these stories and learn from them. These are the greatest lessons a young man like you could ever hope to learn.”
Dylian picked up the book and flipped through the pages, scanning the familiar stories he had memorized in his youth. Stories that had led to him standing up to the Baron and his men. The stories that had led to the death of the only family he had ever known. He threw the book across the room and threw the white book close behind it.
Gingerly, Dylian picked up the Pondspar family book and carried it out into the main house. Light filtered through the windows now, illuminating the various nick-nacks Geraldine had kept over the years, and Harrison hadn’t the heart to remove.
Dylian sat at the small writing desk against the wall, setting the book before him as he pulled the ribbon marker and opened the book. He read down the list of names and paused as he found his parents.
Harrison Pondspar – 550 P.R. –
Geraldine Pondspar (Bell) – 556 P.R. – 622 P.R.
Married 583 P.R.
Beneath this entry stood another. Tears welled in Dylian’s eyes as he read it.
Dylian Pondspar – 601 P.R. –
With everything happening, I haven’t had a chance to speak to you about the loss of your mother. I have taught you everything I can in the time we had together preparing for the Baron’s men tomorrow.
We found you as a baby. We raised you as our son with our family name. I know your mother loved you, and, though I never said it out loud, I love you as well.
If something happens to me tomorrow, I want you to continue becoming the man I know you will be. You are destined for greatness! Be better than the heroes in the tales your mother read to you as a child. Fight for good, make some friends, and have fun. Your adventure is just beginning.
Your Father, Harrison Pondspar
Dylian picked up the quill with a shaking hand and dipped it in the ink well. He wrote 622 P.R. next to Harrison’s line before he set the quill down and stared at his father’s note. He felt a surge of pride and determination as he read the words again and again.
Leaving the book on the desk, Dylian began gathering the things he would need for his travels on the table. His pack, some torches. He wrapped food in the beeswax cloth and packed it with the tinderbox, and a few torches. Double-checking the ink had dried in the book, he scooped it up, wrapped it in more of the waxed cloth and stuck it in his bag before heading for the barn.
“It’s okay, Agnescious,” he said after startling the donkey. “We’re going to leave for a while. There’s nothing here for us anymore.”
Dylian took what he could strap to Agnescious, like his bedroll and a few other supplies, and led the donkey back to the graveyard.
Adjusting his leathers and checking the fasteners on his whip and sword, he approached his parents’ graves once more.
“Thank you, Dad,” Dylian said with a nod as he drew his family sword. He held the blade horizontal across his hands, letting the PONDSPAR engraving down the blade catch the morning light. “I will travel like you wanted, and I will get stronger, but I don’t know that I can follow all your advice. This sword’s final resting place will be the heart of the Baron if it’s the last thing I do. I hope you forgive me when I see you on the other side.”
Dylian gripped the hilt and ran the sword across his palm, letting the blood fall onto Harrison’s grave.
“I swear on my blood, even if it isn’t Pondspar, that I will avenge your death and make things right,” Dylian said before he sheathed his weapon, wrapped his hand in cloth and led Agnescious away. With one final look at the farm, he whispered a silent prayer for safe travels and said goodbye to his home.