Ch. 14 Admissions

Learning to trust again was difficult with fear in control of my thoughts and actions. Yes, I lied to protect myself even though I knew it would all catch up to me. I was used to it. It was something I rationalized myself to doing before I arrived at the Brotherhood. Lying was one of the few ways I had to protect myself against my Uncle. However, like with Brother Hickory, it caught back up to me.  

Nearly an entire week went by with no word from Brother Hickory. In that time, other members still managed to find out what had happened.  From what Soletus gathered from Kiao, the chanter priests were wary of him. Some were even calling for a tao stone collar imbued with the phrase of silence to repress his abilities. Soletus thought that was an over-reaction. Kiao put his mind to rest saying,

“Them claiming he’s dangerous is an excuse. The Arch Priest knows this.”

“An excuse for what,” Soletus asked.

“It’s a rare phrase and some think he’s undeserving it and being a chanter because he’s noble born. It’s jealousy. However, Dias doesn’t give gifts on a scale of deserves it. He gives gifts based on who will have the potential of doing the most with it.  Mien just needed to learn control and they’ll stop.”

Soletus felt it was a bit unfair because the boy had done any bad. Though he forgot about Mien’s problems, he had his own. He was finally strong enough to return to the field. Even though he wasn’t training as a grappler, he still continued his assignment with Master Tyr to help his other brothers for the trials.

He learned during his time off-field Doran had been flapping his lips. The moment he stepped back in the training field everyone was taking teasing pokes at him. They never said anything about his facial hair, but teased him about his father’s meddling.  They always started with, “too bad daddy’s boy…” following up with some statement. Or they would call him, “Daddy’s Boy.”

The teasing made Soletus’s odd position socially more difficult. Being the Arch Monk’s grandson and the son of a high ranking master wasn’t easy. The masters were lenient with him. Some of his training brothers in the dorms often thought him to be snobbish and uptight, as he never participated in some of their activities after training. Much of what they did would get him in trouble with his father if he had. Those who made fun him currently got away with it. He had to ignore them or would get in trouble if he fought them.

When he was under Master Marth, the man was good about squelching such behavior. Anyone who continued to would find himself running around the town wall wearing a weighted shoulder pack. Master Tyr didn’t. He just let it slide even when he was ear shot of the teasing. It irritated Soletus to no end.

Then one particular hot day, Soletus was to help everyone practice counters to a strike to the side of knee. The point was to defect the strike. Most of the tods there did what they were told without a word until Tyrus strutted up. He was a few years older than him, always wore a cocky grin, and was known to have a mouth. They matched in height and close in build. As soon as Soletus performed what he was supposed to do he said, “Too bad daddy’s boy can’t be in a real fight.”

Fury cascaded over Soletus. He pointed the tip of his staff down and jabbed Tyrus hard in the foot before slamming it on the side of his thigh. Tyrus toppled to the ground and Soletus jumped on him pushing his knee into his back at the same time of taking takin his right arm and twisted it behind his back. The tod screamed for him to let go.

“Daddy’s boy can be in a real fight any time he wants to,” growled Soletus.

“Warder, let him go,” snapped Master Tyr from behind him.

Soletus released him right about the time Master Tyr was upon him. The man stopped a hand width away from his face trying to tower over him. The effect was lost as Soletus gave him a direct frigid stare at his eye level.

“Warder, why did you attack one of your brothers,” Tyr demanded.

“He provoked me by needless teasing, Sir,” answered Soletus.

“There will be worse things than petty teasing thrown at you when you are on the road.”

“It’s stated in rules of our order that another member shouldn’t be disrespectful to another, Sir. He forgot that, I just wanted to remind him.”

Master Tyr’s scowl deepened. “It isn’t you right to remind anyone of anything.”

“True. It’s yours.”

The man’s became shocked. Soletus knew it was probably because it was out of character for him to do any of that. He was beginning to think he needed to make it a part of his character. He was tired of being shoved around. Tyr managed to gather himself and pointed to the main building. “Off the field,” he ordered.

Soletus saluted and spun on his heels. He gave Tyrus a parted glare before marching away from the field with everyone giving him a wide berth. Once in his room, he flopped down on his bed covering his eyes with his forearm. It was stuffy and hot in the room. He debated on taking his shirt off. He didn’t. He waited to be sent to the Arch Monk for fighting. No one came. He lounged there a long time before a warder knocked on his door way with a message in his hand. It was Tyr’s handwriting. It read:


Go to the chapel. See me when you’re done.


He was sending him to Brother Hickory. Soletus stripped off his training cloths and tossed on clean warder’s uniform before making his way there. When he got close enough, he saw something surprising. Mien was at the front steps again. This time he was on his hands and knees dressed in a set of old clothes covered in dirt, scrubbing the front steps with fuming vigor.  Soletus stopped short of him and watched. Before he could question him, Mien started complaining.

“I’m a servant now! Actually no, servants get paid, I’m a slave!” He dropped his brush in the bucket of water then pulled it out slapping water on the stones in a dramatic fashion. “Cleaning stones. Who cleans stone,” he grumbled further. “Rather be in a cellar full of rats. At least my arms wouldn’t feel like they’re going to fall off.”

The stones in front of the chapel did look better in the spots he obviously washed. He still had about a years’ worth of dust to clean on the side he didn’t.

“I did warn you about your wimpy arms,” said Soletus.

The boy flashed his eyes at him then went on scrubbing putting his body into it. Soletus treaded the steps careful so he didn’t leave prints.  It was a dry year and he didn’t have mud on the soles of his shoes. He walked inside the chapel and spotted Brother Hickory was talking to a man.  Soletus waited off to the side. When he was done, waved to Soletus to follow him and when he was close he said,         “You know what annoys a child who was born of nobility, cleaning,” he announced. “It’s the perfect punishment.”

“You set him cleaning?”

Brother Hickory nodded with a proud smile on his face. “Yes the entire chapel from back to front. He’s done an excellent job.”

Soletus stopped dead in the doorway. Brother Hickory’s living space was spot less. The table was waxed. The widow beside it, one could see the road. The other windows one could see the back clearly. They also had clean curtains framing them. He looked beside him to the floor and saw it wasn’t covered in ashes, or wood chips, or bark from wood. The stove itself was oiled with the metal parts shinned, reflecting the natural light in the room. He then looked around to see the shelves were dust frees. The cobwebs had been removed from the corners. It was very spotless.

“He had to clean this room twice. Spent a whole day feeling sorry for himself and did a terrible job. I told him to redo it,” said Brother Hickory. The old priest then sat down at his table and pointed across from him. “I’m sure you’re wondering why I did all this.”

Soletus nodded his head, but remained standing where he was.

“It was punishment for his lies because he’s said more than one to me. He might be forthcoming with you, but not with me.”

“He’s intimidated by you.”

“He’s no reason to be. I take a soft hand with him, however, I can’t let him be a careless chanter. Just like you as a monk can’t be careless with your emotions and do something out of frustration.” Brother Hickory gestured to the table again. “It’s time we had a talk.”

Soletus crossed his arms over chest and moved to the opposite wall. “I don’t need a talk.”

Brother Hickory wore his patient face. “I’ve met a lot of boys over the years. I know at your age your that the world is a frustrating place.”

“It was nothing. It was hot and he teased me at the wrong time,” said Soletus.  He really wanted to leave it at that.

“What was he teasing you about,” prodded Hickory.

“About Papa putting his nose in everything I do. It’s embarrassing!”

“That may be, but you’ve no right to get short and hurt others because of it.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t get short if they’ll didn’t think I’m just going to take it with Master Tyr letting them!”

“You could have broken that young man’s arm,” rebuked Hickory.

“No, I would’ve dislocated it,” Soletus retorted.

The man frowned. “How’s that any better? You’re a son of Dias. You can’t let frustration control you.”

Why is every adult around me so dense? Let’s ignoring the actual problem and focus on me, he thought.

The priest stood up and made his way towards him. He reached for Soletus’s shoulder. The young monk jerked away and took a step back from him.

“I’m only trying to help. Sit down please.”

Soletus remained planted where he was.

Brother Hickory folded his arms behind his back. “Soletus, I’m not here to fight you. I just want you to understand aggressiveness is rarely the answer. Go too far, and it’ll come back and slap you in the face.

His father always  told him that since he was a boy by his father. “I know I shouldn’t’ve done that,” he admitted. However, he was still having a hard time being completely abashed. Tyrus deserved it given Tyr did nothing to stop it.

“Aye, and you should apologize when you have the chance,” said Hickory then added.

Soletus bobbed his head.

“Good, I’m going to leave at that. You’re not the sort who needs long-winded lecturing when you’ve have a family trifecta keeping you in line. However, if you need to talk about anything, I’m here.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Soleus.

“Very good and I’ve something for you to do while you’re here, I need you to speak to Mien.”

Soletus raised his brow.

“I’ve not been able to get to get him to talk to me. I yelled at him and punished him to physical labor to show how serious I am about this. However, every morning I asked him when he learned that phrase and he refuses to answer me so I make him clean.”

“And he hasn’t broken down yet?”

“No. As much as he hates cleaning, it doesn’t hurt him.”

“Well he only stops speaking when it has to with his uncle.”

“That might be part of it, but the largest part is that the boy doesn’t trust me,” he said.

“He always obeys you,” said Soletus.

“One can obey out of necessity. The last grown man, who wasn’t his father and became his authority, hurt him, and he learn to not trust him. I’m another grown man who isn’t his father, and he doesn’t give me the chance to hurt him or trust me. He listens because it satisfies me and as long as I am, it keeps him from getting hurt.”

Soletus couldn’t say he understood that logic. He could at least understand the obeying out of necessity. He’s done it a time or two with masters he didn’t care for. However, Brother Hickory was far from cruel.

“Well shouldn’t the fact you’ve been kind to him build trust.”

“Trust is hard to build with someone who’s lost all sense of it.”

Soletus didn’t know how Mien was going to survive the Brotherhood or outside it with that logic.

“Since he responds better to you, I would like you to pry the truth out of him and tell me what you find out.”

Soletus nodded in agreement. Though, he felt he was betraying Mien a bit. He didn’t want to turn around and tell Brother Hickory something behind his back if he didn’t want it said to the world. The Priest left him and he took the opportunity to sit down and rest his head on his arms. He was starting to get a headache. He didn’t move when he heard the Mien’s light footsteps or when the chair across from him was scooted from the table. He felt a finger poke him on the crown of his head. He lifted his head just in time to see Mien withdrawing his hand and folded it on top of his other one so he could rest his chin on them.

“You’re not having a good day either,” he observed.

Soletus mirrored his position and nodded. “I heard Brother Hickory set you to cleaning.”

That indignant expression came back on his face. “Yes, from me standing on a ladder and clean his windows inside and out to cleaning this nasty room,” he said warming up for a long rant. “I didn’t know dust could be layered, black, and sticky. All that soap and scrubbing made my hands chapped. He even made me clean the attic. I didn’t even know the chapel had an attic! I found a spider up there as big as my palm though. I like spiders though so I tried not to disturb her too much. It’s a good hiding place too. It’s warm and quiet up there.”

Soletus smiled a little. “I’m sure you learned something from all of that cleaning.”

“That I hate cleaning,” Mien glowered.

“And that you shouldn’t keep secrets.”

Mien gaze diverted off to the side. “Everyone has secrets.”

“Yes, but there are some you don’t keep,” advised Soletus. “Like the one you did. I’m not sure why you did.”

The boy swallowed hard and looking uncertain for a second. He opened his mouth about to talk before something caught his attention behind Soletus. He became fixed on it. He didn’t like what he saw. “Come on, I want to show you the attic.”

Soletus didn’t know if it were a good idea. However, Brother Hickory never stopped them from doing anything. He just followed Mien to the side of the hall opposite of where Mien slept. He saw Hickory’s room and across from it was a dark indentation in the wall where a ladder was. Mien went up first and pushed open a hatch before vanishing upwards. Soletus followed and found himself in the dull hot attic. There was only a single round window that lit the place. The glass was stained golden with the pattern on it a sun. Soletus wondered what did the boy cleaned aside from dust. The space was empty save a few crates sealed closed pushed up against the far wall.

“Close the door, it can be opened from this side too,” instructed the boy sitting in the lone beam of light.

“Why,” asked Soletus.

“Brother Hickory’s consort,” he answered. “It’s a little whippoorwill. It’s hard to spot, but it’s always positioned around me. I figured out he can hear through it.”

Soletus was surprised at the boy’s observation skills because he never spotted the consort.

“And you don’t want him to hear this because…”

Mien didn’t answer him until the door was closed. “He asked you to talk to me didn’t he?”

“You were listening in?”

Mien arched a brow at him. “He’s predictable. I didn’t talk to him so he wants you to do it.”

His tone struck Soletus as odd. The boy was always vulnerable and made sure he was unthreatening. He wasn’t so much then. He was serious.

“So if you know that, then I’m obligated to ask why you didn’t tell him about that phrase,” said Soletus.

“And I’m not obligated to answer,” answered Mien.

Soletus frowned. The boy had obviously prepared for this conversation. I guess cleaning gave him a lot of time to think. However, the boy hands that were clasped in front of him were trembling. Hickory wasn’t the only one who was predictable.

“I’m going to guess you learned the phrase because something happened,” he said, going a different route than what Mien had expected. “Isn’t that the nature of phrases, they tend to come to a chanter in need. Your uncle did something for you to learn it.”

Whatever resolve Mien had formed in refusing to answer even him started to falter. He wrapped his arms around his torso and he cast his gaze aside.

Soletus walked slowly towards him and settled in front of him. He waited to see if Mien reacted to him. He didn’t. He just continued to look away from him. Soletus then asked, “Did you use it on him?”

“I didn’t know I could use it on other people until last week. I used it on myself,” he admitted.


“Because I didn’t want to hear.”

“The world is noisy,” he replied.  “It wasn’t so bad before my father died and then it got worse. I even started thinking I heard footsteps coming in my room and the door opening after… something happened. Then one day the phrase came to me and it silenced everything and I was able sleep at night again.”

“And what was this something that happened? It had to do with your uncle, didn’t it?”

Mien ran a hand through his copper hair and muttered. “Of course you would catch that. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

Soletus ignored the statement. “What did he do?”

“What does it matter,” the boy snapped.

“I’m trying to understand why you are so scared of him that it made you scared to tell Brother Hickory the truth,” exclaimed Soletus. “I understand it hurts. It must hurt a lot to talk about it, but does it hurt so much that you couldn’t tell Brother Hickory about a phrase you learned?”

Mien appeared to be turtling up again. His arm tightened around his torso with his jaw muscles tightening. However, he opened his mouth and said talking to the mice again, “If you want to know so badly he came in my room one night and attacked me after drinking and using his tin.”

Soletus had to stop him. “Wait, his tin?”

“Blighter, that’s what noble’s call it, using one’s tin because they keep it in a tin.”

Blighter was a medicinal powder ground from plant bark and was used for swelling and pain. It was strong and when mixed with other substance, it was stronger and highly addictive. It became prohibited and The Seat declared anyone caught selling it was flogged and sent to a labor camp. The legal versions of blighter was a refined liquid in tiny bottles and very expensive to buy. Only a few places were allowed by law to grow the plants. The Brotherhood wasn’t one of them. They had to buy it. The only place in the entire citadel that could keep it was the infirmary and always in small amounts.

The Brotherhood made sure that none was brought in or sold in town unless by a licensed vendor and they couldn’t sell it to citizens. Any sellers would be banished if caught doing so. Anyone caught using were taken and cleansed. If a member was caught using it, they were immediately discharged from the order and put through cleansing as well.

It was well-known that nobles used it. They were the reason why the illegal trade still existed. Regular folks couldn’t afford to be addicted to it. Those who did generally lost everything or died because of it. He heard if not taken regularly, the need for it became so great that when an elf did get a hold of it after a stint without it, they would often take too much and die. He had never seen anyone on it. Most had the sense not to use it let alone with alcohol.

“So he attacked you, why?”

Mein ran his fingernail between floor boards. “I made him angry. He usually lays there in a daze, but Dalaen made a ruckus and I got blamed of it while he was relaxing. Then after I gone to bed that night, he came into my room and woke me up from a dead sleep. He started slapping me around. Then he tossed me from my bed and my head hit the stand beside it knocking me out. I didn’t wake up until the next afternoon. ”

Soletus gapped at Mien appalled.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Mien begged. “He only did that once. My mother took care of it. She waited until he had his blighter and drink a few days later and terrified him. She put on my father’s old cloths and covered herself in pig’s blood. She stood in the corner of the parlor and tossed bloodied rocks at him. With notes written in blood around them saying, ‘I know what you did,’ and ‘I’m watching.’ He ended up pissing in his pants and fainting. He was spooked days afterwards but never did it again.”

What kind of messed up family does he have?

“I know that sounds bad but that’s all she could do. She could’ve done more if I told her how scared I was to sleep after that but I didn’t want her to worry about me. Learning the phrase helped me do that.”

Soletus had no words. He didn’t quite fathom the conditions Mien had to be living until then and even then he still wasn’t sure what to think. That was just one thing he didn’t know what else the man had done. Wasn’t there anyone who cared enough to step in and stop him? Surely his mother was tired of seeing her son battered and bruised all the time. Why didn’t she honestly do something? Soletus knew his mom would turn into a fury filled mother bear if someone hurt him like that.

“Why won’t you stop looking at me like that,” said Mien.

“Well I’m sorry, but when you tell me something like that…why didn’t your mother do something? Is she just that useless that she’ll just stand around and let you get hit on?
That statement flew out of Soletus’s mouth quickly just like the fist that slammed into his jaw. It wasn’t that hard of a strike, but the act stunned him enough that he didn’t have time to stop Mien leeping at him. The boy griped the collar of his shirt enraged.

“Don’t you ever call my mother useless,” shouted Mien in his face forcing every word into his mind.

Soletus recovered and threatened Mien and said with just as much force.  “Let me go or I’m going to hurt you!”

His voice carried and echoed in the attic, but Mien didn’t even flinch. He bared his teeth and snarled, “What can you do that hurts worse than anything I’ve felt already.”

It was then there was a knocking noise on the hatch. “What’s going on up there,” shouted Brother Hickory.

Mien let go of him and backed down.

“Nothing,” yelled Soletus and scrambled up about the time that the hatch swung open and Brother Hickory’s head appeared. The young monk settled down with his legs folded under him. The chanter priest looked between the two of them demanding for an answer.

“Nothing, we’re just having a discussion,” stated Soletus breathlessly.

Hickory critical stare made it clear he didn’t believe a word. “Yelling at each other isn’t much of a discussion. Sounds like fighting. I know you wouldn’t get into another one today.”

“No, Sir, I didn’t start any fights.”

The Priest’s gaze was fixed on his face before it moved to Mien. “Right, if I hear one more loud discussion I’m going to summon you two back down and we can work on it together. Understood?”

“Yes Sir.”

Mien bobbed his head.

Brother Hickory sank back down again closing the hatch. The two of them waited for a moment until they couldn’t hear his footsteps anymore before glaring at each other.

Soletus started first. “If you ever hit me-,”

Mien cut him off and slapped more words in his mind. “Then stop being a bastard acting like you know everything. You don’t!”

The boy then left center of the stuffy attic and crawled to a dark corner behind a few crates. Soletus stopped himself from stopping him and settled back down in the lone beam of light. He rubbed his temple trying to massage his force of voice induced headache. He found the boy’s flash of temper impressive. It was also a little disconcerting how quick his mood swung and acted with no hesitation. He thought Mien wasn’t capable of doing what he did and now he understood how that could happen.

Soletus rubbed his face where and figured he didn’t need to do that again. The young monk rose up and made his way to Mien. He didn’t cross the barrier of crates. There wasn’t much room in the hole that the boy obviously created for himself.  He leaned on the top of one. Mien had his legs drawn up to his chest and head down ignoring him.

“First off, I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right at all,” said Soletus

The boy didn’t raise his head and responded, “No that come out just the way you intended.”

“How do you even know that,” challenged Soletus.

Mien then muttered. “I felt it.”

“Yeah well you aren’t very good at reading people.”

Mien snorted. “You’re as clear as a river. You say what you mean. No matter what you say, I feel the exact same.”

“What do you mean by feel? That I make my words be felt? Only chanters can do that.”

The boy didn’t answer him though. He didn’t even lift his head. He was still upset with him.

“I’m sorry I said what I did, but what else am I to think,” Soletus struggled. “You’re all scared and shaky all the time. And I don’t like it.”

Mien peered up at him making eye contact again.

“However, that didn’t give me excuse to insult your mother. Look, I’m a dumb monk. We beat things with long sticks and have muscles for brains. That’s what all the priests say,” Soletus said and saw the boy’s eyes light up a little in amusement. “It’s much easier if you just explain things to me and don’t hit me or I’m going to hit you back, okay?”

Mien bobbed his head.

“Now, what do you mean by feel?”

“Not normal feel. Like magically feel.”

“I don’t know what magically feel is. I swing a stick remember? I know nothing of magic so explain it.”

The boy became stricken.

“It can’t be that bad.”

“You’re going to think it’s weird.”

“Well I already think you are so what’s one more thing,” Soletus said amicably.

A shaky grin spread on Mien’s face. “I know when I trust people because I like the sound of their voice. It isn’t very accurate, but sometimes I can tell when people tell me a lie. If it’s a lie, I can feel a cold sensation between my shoulder blades. It’s not all the time. It’s unpredictable. That’s just some of it. I get other sensations as well especially from music. It can make me do things I can’t control.”

“And the music made you use the phrase of silence?”

Mien looked down ashamed. “Their voices overwhelmed me and then they had to sing a song in Melodic. The chapel is also warded and it reacted to their voices and was humming louder than it normally did. It was giving me chills and the sound seemed like it was trying to force me to sing. It was too much. If I was younger, then I could’ve sat that. It was never like this when I was little.”

“Wait a moment. When you were little?” How long has he been an active chanter?

Mien nodded. “I’ve always been able to feel people’s voices.”

“When did you learn the phrase of silence?”

“After my father died,” he said. “Then the world got loud. I started hearing things you normal people can here like heartbeats as if they were by my ear to walking in a square and hearing and feeling all the warded stones. Then crowds, I hate crowds becomes if my hearing becomes acute while in a crowd, I barely handle it. It doesn’t happen often, though. Something has to trigger it.”

Soletus let that all sink into his mind for an instance before announcing. “You’re going to have to tell Brother Hickory this. All of it.”

Mien’s head rose with his eyes enlarging in alarm. “No!”

“Why not?”

“Because he’ll yell at me again.”

Soletus then said gently. “Mientheodric, people will shout, yell, and curse at you.”

Mien hugged his knees. “No. He was angry with me. I could feel his voice in my chest and my head. He’s like standing under an oppressive lightning storm.”

Soletus reached out and laid a hand on his forearm. “You can’t read people well can you? He was angry at your actions. You lied to him about something you shouldn’t and scared Lyndon and Kiao.”


“But nothing,” exclaimed Soletus. The then tightened his hold and told him steadily and putting meaning behind each word. “You can trust Brother Hickory. He only wants to help.” Soletus felt a jolt through Mien. The boy tried to squirm out of the young monk’s grip. “You know I’m telling the truth.” Soletus then released him slowly backing away. He didn’t really know how that affected the boy. He hoped in the way he intended, but it was hard to tell. He started scratching and rubbing the area where he had touched him. “Mientheodric, talk to him.”

“Okay,” he mouthed.

Soletus gathered himself and stood to his feet holding his hand for Mien to take. “Come on.”

Mien studied his hand a long second before he reached and took hold of his wrist. Soletus pulled him to his feet. He then said quietly, “I want you to stay around even if he tells you to leave.”

“Sure if that’s what you want,” he said.

They went back down and found Brother Hickory sitting at his table waiting.. The boy took the seat in front of the seat and Soletus stood behind him. The aged priest listened, though Mien was hardly as fluent as he was with Soletus.  He was talking like a mouse and would get a little manic at some points. Whenever he would skip something, Soletus encourage him to talk and he would. By the end, Mien was hugging himself shuddering again, but there probably wouldn’t be any more misunderstanding.

Brother Hickory leaned forward on the table and said, “It wasn’t that bad telling me this was it.”

Mien nodded.

“Fair enough,” he said, leaning back and looked at the boy with sympathy. “You have to be the most sensitive timbre male I’ve met. No wonder you’re so quiet.”

“I guess this this means more cleaning because I didn’t tell you that,” guessed the boy.

“No,” answered the priest.  “It not something one could easily tell or show another,” he gave Soletus a meaningful glance when he said that. “The only way is through testing and you would’ve been tested if you were brought in by normal methods.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I want you to go rest somewhere either in your room or out back. Take as long as you want and then come find me. I’ll teach you how to alleviate some of that sensitivity.”

Mien rose from his seat and left going outside. Brother Hickory waited until he closed the door. He then smiled at Soletus with amazement. “Lad, you should have been priest.”

Soletus gave him a flat stare. “No.”

“You really did help today though. I suppose I would’ve come to the conclusion he’s timbre sensitive eventually, but my focus is terribly off with him,” said the old priest. He rubbed his eyes. “This is all giving me a headache. He’s a stronger chanter than I realized. Too much for his own good really. His growing abilities on top of his father’s death, and uncle’s abuse, that’s a lot for him take. No wonder he nearly went mad.”

Soletus bobbed head as that made sense. “Speaking of his uncle, that man is a piece of work.”

The priest’s exhaustion became heavier. “There not much I can do on that end. Most would claim the boy as being too thin-skinned and his step-father too strict. No crime has been committed there.”


“Soletus, there are no laws provided by The Seat that states his uncle did anything wrong. Mien has no rights because he’s a child in the eyes of the law therefore the law doesn’t support children.”

Soletus looked frustrated. “Then why have you been trying to condemn his uncle?”

“It was an attempt to help his mother too. It’s too complicated to get into details. The quick version is I wanted to tarnish his reputation. He’s not on good standings with House Jay anything would’ve been enough to disown him. My only move at this point to help him is plea for a second chance and that doesn’t happen often,” said Brother Hickory then produced from the inner pocket of his vest and held it out. “You’ve done enough here today. You need to give that to Master Tyr explaining that I’ve talked to you. ”

Soletus didn’t take the note.

The priest face became understanding. “I know what he told you today probably disturbed you. No one in their right mind would hurt another like that however you assume that his uncle has the same moral values as the Brotherhood. He doesn’t, the world doesn’t, and you’re just going to have to get used to it.”

Hickory wiggled the note for him to take it. Soletus took it and left. What happened earlier that day seemed so far away. He hoped that Master Tyr would feel the same and not do anything to him for it.

He found Master Tyr alone at his desk in the back in the master’s hall. His was in the very back. Luckily, there was no one else there to witness him handing the note.

They master seemed preoccupied working on a statement of some kind. Soletus held it out and waited. Tyr took it and placed it on the edge of his desk. He didn’t even read it and told him, “I was told by Oeric to send you home.”

Soletus saluted and when he turned his back, he grimaced. Might as well start digging my grave.

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