“Edaran, can you please focus. What were the last two conflicts?” He hadn’t noticed his tutor had been speaking again. Marten tapped the map with a determined insistence.
                Now wars were fun to talk about. He could just imagine being on a battlefield, sword in hand as he slew his faceless enemies.
                “The Barbaran Uprising,” he smiled at the mere words. He knew lots of tales of the Barbarans, so many that he could picture them in his mind; big brutes with face paint and large weapons taller than he was. “And before that, the Rouenite War—“of these he knew less, it seemed that people didn’t want to talk of them so much. But he didn’t get the chance to say any more.
                The door squealed open and Devlin stood walked in, stopping as if he intended to watch for a while. But now he had Edaran’s undivided attention. Marten took notice and followed his gaze, then sighed. He nodded towards his intruder.
                “Hello there, Sir Devlin.” His voice seemed very resigned now, but Edaran cared not. “It seems your brother’s attention is an impossible thing to keep a hold of for too long. Perhaps he should live in the sea with all the other slippery little fish.”
                Edaran frowned at that, trying to grapple with the concept.
                Devlin held out his hands. “Apologies Marten.” He breathed deeply as he stepped further into the room. “I have so little time ‘till I must depart. I merely wished to observe my little brother at work.” Edaran was still trying to figure out that metaphor.
                “That is a rare sight indeed. You have my word, should I see such a thing, I shall call for you immediately!” the two adults laughed at some private jest which broke into Edaran’s thought and only served to infuriate him. The two men caught him looking, and at the same time, the smiles dropped into flat lines.
                “What?” Edaran asked. Their lines twisted like rope. “What?” he insisted, and he felt the blood rush to his cheeks, burning them.
                “Oh, nothing little fish.” His brother winked at them and again the two laughed.
                Edaran stood up then. “I don’t have to listen to this; I’m the son of a Lord!” but his efforts only proved to fuel their hysteria. He fell back to his seat and crossed his arms with a pout. Not caring if his pout made him look more like a fish.
                “Oh little brother, whatever will I do without you to make me smile.” Devlin walked over to him and ruffled his hair, just like Delly did. And he only just managed to catch the sad taint to that smile as he walked around the opposite side of the table where he leant against it. Why was it that all these adults looked so gloomy sometimes?
                “Well Sir Devlin—“
                “Marten you’ve known me for years, please just call me Devlin,” he rolled his eyes and Marten sniffed a laugh.
                “I much prefer to be formal, in the hopes it may instil something upon a certain somebody.” He nodded towards Edaran. “But we were just about to begin on history. Perhaps you might wish to discuss your part in the Barbaran Uprising? I do find personal experiences recounted beats second hand experience read.” And all humour left Devlin’s face. Edaran looked from one to the other, no quite understanding again.
                “There will be other times, I am sure.” Devlin responded, taking a seat.
                “I understand.” And that was that.
                “And I understand the importance of these lessons.” Devlin began. “But would you mind if I borrowed Ed for a little while.” Once again, something passed between the two adults.
                “You may. I think the little one is done for the day anyway. Run along, Edaran.” He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He was actually getting a day off lessons. And all to spend some time with his big brother!

The End

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