Oeric felt lied too. But what right did he have to feel betrayed? It wasn’t the knowledge that his father didn’t tell him everything. There were things he didn’t share with his own father. Why should he expect for his father to do differently? Yet he did. He didn’t feel that way when Soletus hid it from him. It hurt a little to think his son thought that he would have a problem with it. However, he didn’t feel hurt, he felt annoyance.
Knowing the truth could have made his son’s situation different. Then again, it might have not mattered. His father would still insist that do what was best for the order. and with all the older warden like him following him unquestionably, it could be just the same. Then it dawned on him that Brother Hickory should have known and didn’t say a thing. Granted, it wasn’t his secret to tell, but Hickory did encouraged honesty, but he didn’t overstep his bounds when the responsibility wasn’t his.
It was then, Oeric realized that he had been just standing as still as a statue. He was lucky no one was around seeing him in a state of shock. Everyone was out back at the moment. He rubbed his temples and focused his jumbled mind on in a direction. His new project would still need time. He was likely still bathing. He had enough time to find his sister. He needed to ask her about what she knew, so he went to the society house.
When he entered, Cyrius was standing the in midst in the large common room with Maelyra standing next to her telling her all about the sisterhood and what they were took. The cozy sitting room had been transformed into an indoor market packed with summer vegetables.
Maelyra caught sight of him and greeted him with a wide grin. “Want to volunteer. We need muscle.”
Cyrius whorled and stared at him. “Orrie? They call you Orrie?”
“They do,” he told her and then to Maelyra. “S-s-sorry, I can’t. The queen’s given me her project.”
The patriarch’s wife tilted her head studying him. “Really? Already?”
“B-b-better before autumn,” he said.
“Project,” his sister said looking between. “Queen?”
Maelyra face washed with concern, “Are you okay about doing that?”
“Yes,” he said slowing his speech down. He was talking too fast. “I don’t mind helping another like me.”
That didn’t lift her concern.“You sound shaken up.”Maelyra knew all about the way he lived from those months that she stayed with him.
“It’s not from that,” he said and told his sister, “Cyrius, I need to talk to you, now!”
She nodded, appearing like her head was still spinning. When he opened the door to the house, Soletus jogging towards them. He wore a bandana tied around his head and covered in sweat.
“Hi,” he said and jogged passed him. “Bye,” and entered the society house, shouting, “I found Tensen. The cart is ready for delivery.”
Cyrius saw him, but didn’t recognize him. Oeric took her hand and pulled her further down the lane in the direction of shade. He wanted a quiet spot and choose the spot in front of the where an old warehouse stood.
“You’ve not done this since you were a boy,” she said suddenly.
“Hold my hand,” she said and he immediately let go of it.
“Y-yes well…” he said, trying not to be clumsy about his words or feeling awkward. Waiting before speaking was the wiser thing to do. However, that wasn’t what was happening.
“Before you say anything, I need to say something first,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
He blinked at her as he mind processed what she had told him. He wasn’t expecting that. She continued speaking as if she didn’t see how stunned he had become.
“I’m sorry for what we’ve become,” she said and paced in front of him. “I’m sorry that I wasted all this time unable to see passed the scars and getting, well, getting embarrassed for having a cur for a brother. I imagined you always being a wretch, ruining the lives of everyone around you,” she stopped paused in front of him and asked, “Do you forgive me?”
Oeric was unable to break out of being stunned. He never imagined in a thousand centuries that she would apologize to him. That was something she never did.
His sister hopeful expression faded a bit. “I know I hurt you, but can’t you find a little bit of forgiveness in you’re heart.”
Words finally formed in his and he said, “You assumed that I hated you. I’ve never hated you for the things you said and did. I am curious what sent you here after all this time. Is it about Soletus?”
She frowned. “No. That’s not why I’m here. It was the letter that Cordea sent me. She had a lot to say and it opened my eyes. I talked to Wes a long time about it and he told me that maybe, I should just talk to you.”
Oeric had known about the letter. Cordea told him about it after she sent it off. She assured him that all she said were things that needed to be said. It was interesting to him that single letter caused his sister to change her stance regarding him. It sounded too good to be true. He didn’t want to be doubtful or suspicious but given their history, she could turn on him.
“She told me that you’ve wanted to speak with me. So here I am opening the door between us,” and she be brow met slightly. “And here you are looking at me like you don’t know what to say.”
Oeric rubbed the back of his neck. He didn’t want to admit that he just didn’t know what to say. That deciding what his band would do if they were between a whirlwind and a herd of drass beasts was easier than speaking to family at times. “Just because I want something doesn’t mean I know what to think about it when it happens,” he admitted. “I’m not good with people.”
His sister looked completely off balance. She struggled to say something and then finally asked. “Why are you being like this?”
“This,” she said, gesturing to him. ”You’re so mellow compared to the last time I spoke to you. Not on edge, strung tight, or on the defensive. Not to mention sarcastic.”
“Imagine that, I’m not the timeless sky, immune to change as you claimed me to be,” he said with a wry smile. “Is that better? I supply more of that since you’re used to it, if it helps.”
His sister mouth tightened in annoyance. “No that won’t. And I don’t like the fact you’re teasing me either.”
“But this isn’t this what brother’s do,” he said.
Cyrius then turned wistful. “I’ve imagined this meeting so different. I imagined it being like all our others where we end up fighting. Though the last time we spoke you were avoiding me. So what changed?”
Oeric became somber. “Because of what happened with Soletus and me. He hated me. He may not claim to it, but he didn’t see the way he looked at me. Even worse was the way was Cordea’s reaction. I didn’t want that to happen again,” he admitted. That was more than Oeric wanted to say. He never liked saying too much. He always stopped himself. He felt ready to put up a barrier then ending what he was going to say there. However, he went on looking down at her. “So I decided that I need fix myself. I wanted to be something Soletus was proud of and give him something different than the relationship that Papa and I have. And I wanted to talk to you because for all I know, the end might come like it did my nephew. I would never be able to tell you anything and you would never will get to know your brother.”
Cyrius reached for his face and he stopped from pulling away but not his flinching. “I’ve never understood your dislike of other’s touching you. This was the case before you were a cur,” she said. “You act as if I’m going to hurt you.”
“You and I both know why. It might have only been a handful of times, but that was a few times too many,” he said and her face soured. “I know you loved our brother, but he was not always the monk of exemplary behavior everyone thought him to be.”
Their brother was always a point of contention between the two of them. She adored him. Oeric was less understanding of his brother’s actions.
She tugged her hand away. “You still hate him. Why even name you’re son after him.”
“I don’t hate him anymore. However, my naming Soletus after him wasn’t done to honor him. The reason why I did it was because I wanted to give the name a better legacy.”
She crossed her arms. “And I bet he’s nothing like our brother to boot.”
“He isn’t and it’s wonderful,” said Oeric.
“And you sound proud of him,” she said, looking wistful. “Fern has told stories about him. She calls him her, ‘little brother’ and Alacai get so amused by it. I figured it some inside joke between them,” She paused again and added softly. “Papa told me that he’s…uh not normal.”
“He’s himself as I see it,” he told her, wondering if it was the time to see if she knew the truth.
“I’m amazed that you don’t care.”
“Why should I care? He’s not hurting himself, so why would I be against what Dias deemed okay.”
She studied his face a longer than it needed to take for an answer. “So you weren’t surprised at all?”
“We were told to keep an eye on him at his blessing. We always assumed it that he was a chanter. He’s not, just chanter gifted. So we knew something was unusual about him. Papa is the only one who takes issue with him.”
“That’s how he is, you know that. He’s his expectation others. Your son broke them and he’s struggling to cope.”
“This is different. Nothing about my son has changed. He’s still the same lad. Papa just doesn’t like the fact that Soletus refuses to conform to what he wants. From our conversation this morning about it, he feels as if he’s ruined his life as I had. Him and I are not comparable, but in his eyes we are. ”
There was a long moment of silence between sister and brother. He watched her face very carefully. She was doing the same.
He crossed his arms. “Do you know why that is, Cyrius,” he asked.
She mirrored him. “Do you know why it is if you asking me?”
Both of them regarded each other suspiciously, waiting for the other to make a move.
It was then Oeric hear footsteps and saw Soletus jugging towards them.
“Hey Papa, Mama sent me out here to speak with the two of you,” he said assessing the both of them standing with their arms crossed. “I can come back later.”
Oeric shook his head. “You’re fine. I suspect you’re aunt is going to be here for just a day.”
“Over night,” said Cyrius and tiled her head at Soletus with a wondering smile. “Who’s this?”
A playful grin spread on Soletus’s face. “You don’t recognize me at all do you?”
She studied his face for instance and then her eyes widened in amazement. “Soletus, I’m so sorry! Above and below, Fern said you grown, but I didn’t expect this much. You’s so tall!”
Soletus beamed and gave her a hug. “It’s good to see you Aunt Cyrius.” The woman squeaked and he released her.
“So friendly,” she said catching her breath. “And you look just like Cordea. And here I thought Fern was her only double.”
“I’m the better looking double,” he said.
Cyrius laughed. “And you actually talk. I could never get a word out of you before.”
“Ah, those were the days,” muttered Oeric and his sister swatted at him.
“Hush you,” she told him as if he were a pesky child still. “You are a handsome fiend. I bet Cordea sent you over here to show off her children to me. That’s all she was talking about on her way here.”
“She only caught me because I was taking a break. I’ve been around town all morning,” he said.
“Do you mind being around a little longer,” requested Oeric. “I need to get back and check on my project. I just need you to escort your aunt to the monastery in a little. We need to talk to your grandfather,” he said.
“Okay,” said Soletus. He lifted his arm and held it to his aunt. “I’m hungry. You want to eat lunch together?”
“Certainly. You’re so polite,” she said taking his arm. “Unlike your father. He would never eat lunch with me.”
“Then I will endeavor to be his substitute,” said Soletus giving his father a teasing smile. “I can mimic him will enough.”
Cyrius made a face. “Did anyone ever tell you, that you sound like your father?”
“All the time, but I have the better voice,” returned Soletus.