ONE YEAR LATER
In the small village of Rosetown lived a young man named Cael, who stayed in a modest cabin with his mother.
Cael was the youngest of six brothers, each of whom had already grown up and left his mother’s house to pursue their own adventures. Like everyone else in the village, Cael had caramel skin and was born with no hair on his head. He had a handsome face, and the years of hard labor in his mother’s cornfields had rewarded him with ridged muscles.
The two of them were sitting down for breakfast. There were eight spaces at the large round table: two for the parents, six for the brothers.
“Mom,” Cael said, sitting at the kitchen table, his mother sipping tea across from him. “I’m ready, mom. It’s time for me to leave here and find my own way.”
“No,” the mother said calmly. There was a white rag around her head that was tied very finely into an upward bun. She also wore a white robe. “It’s not wise for you to leave now, sweetheart. You haven’t matured enough yet to survive on your own.”
“You always say that!” Cael stood up from the table angry. “Everyday it’s the same line. All of my brothers have gone on to find life. And they were younger than me when they left. When is it going to be my turn?”
“Have you ever asked yourself why you never hear from your brothers? Why you never see your father?” she asked before sighing. “Cael, this world…we live in horrible and dangerous times. You’re safer here.”
“But I’m ready, mom, I’m ready,” Cael pleaded. “Seeing the world is all I’ve ever wanted, you know that. It’s not fair!”
“Watch your tone,” his mother said. It took some effort for her not to raise her voice. “Sweetheart, we’ve talked about this. Sometimes it’s better to not see something at all, than to see something and regret it for the rest of your life.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Cael said. The young man left the table, snatched the blue jacket off the coat rack by the front door, and stormed out of the cabin.
His mother knew what was coming next. And she feared for her life.
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