In a Country with no Uncles

I woke before the sun and dressed myself. No longer the abstract patterns of youth but the plain colours of adulthood, the vestments of seniority. I am almost full from last night’s feast, the tray of sweet pastries by my bedside a satisfying treasure in the half light of morning. I sip water from a plain wooden cup, policing errant flakes of sugar with my finger. My hair is unruly, still mussed from half sleep, anticipation. I hear my brother knock on the door, and open it to him.

“Good morning warrior”.

I am not a warrior yet. I admonish him, and he grins, faintly; “In the sun, then, brother, a warrior you shall be. The wall has summoned you, and it is time.”

We walk to the courtyard, his head high, the red braid of landholding bright against his shoulders. I wonder if he looks like father’s picture. The servants bow with the same respect they show to the portraits in the long gallery. I can feel the women make the blessing gesture behind me. They told me, in training, that this day would come, and I had put it from my mind. As their hands make wards for my back I wonder how much of what they told me was true.

You can find the complete version of In a Country with no Uncles in issue 51 of TBD.

Andrew Robertson