My birth was hard for my mother. As a brilliant and beautiful noblewoman of Falke, she had entered the fold at a very early age. She had been the daughter of someone very powerful, I was never told which family specifically, but I suspect they were not too far removed from the royal family. Being that she was neither the eldest child, not a son, my mother was destined to be married off for political convenience, but such a petty fate could never have contained one such as her.
My mother was very aware of the advantages and limitations of her station. Never convinced by the justifications of her peers for shunning the power of The Weave, instead she realised the possibilities. However, the Arcane is no easily realised dream, especially for a woman of reputation. My mother required a teacher. With her mind, education and her familial access to people, not even so jealously guarded a secret as my family could elude her for long.
My father, though I never met him, I am told, was a powerful beneficiary of our ancestral lineage. She discovered him long before he thought to reveal himself to her. A popular member of court, he bore the deep ethereal charisma that was necessary to catch my mother’s attention and his blood was thick with the sorcery required to keep her.
Unfortunately, he was also an arrogant and cruel man. His place in my family gave him power in his relationship with my mother, she needed him to further her ambitions, he only desired her for her beauty and his ego. In less than a year she was pregnant. My father had intended to dispose of her, having taken his pleasure. And given the uniqueness of out bloodline, without the protection of the family, my existence would have been a death sentence for my mother.
This part of the story is still mysterious to me, but somehow Grandfather knew. The family Patriarch, dedicated to the bloodline like my father never was. He spirited my mother away before she was harmed and kept us until my birth. I never heard of my father after this, I assumed my mother or Grandfather had removed him to protect us but I admit such a dream is not based on any evidence.
But as I said, my birth was difficult for my mother. She was young, and as clever as she was, she was a novice at the poison laced games of succession within the family, if it were not for Grandfather we may not have survived. Under his tutelage my mother swiftly became a formidable Arcanist. I must stress, my mother was a truly brilliant woman, she was a skilled enchantress and far more, I have no doubt with time my mother could have become as great as Morgan Le Fay. But Grandfather was truly a monster.
Not a monster like my father, he was never cruel to my mother and as I grew he was distant, but paternal towards me. After my birth he did not intervene again in family politics to keep me safe, he ensured my mother and I received the skills and education we would need to survive on our own, but no more. When I say Grandfather was a monster, I mean he was more like Ancient Dragon or Vampire than a man. When Cormac’s knife first tasted my blood, when Deirdre stole a secret from me with her soft flesh and lips, I knew fear as any man knows fear. Grandfather, who has never struck, or spoken in anger to me, inspired a deeper emotion, the way only truly powerful individuals can.
Our branch of The family was led by Grandfather. I know we were not the only one, so logically Grandfather must have had peers and possibly even superiors I never heard of, though it is hard to imagine. My childhood was of two worlds, my mother was an influential woman in Tiarna, my peers were the children of wealthy merchants, artisans and even nobles. That world feels like a pale reflection of my true life within the family. Lessons dominated my life, rituals and trials took the place of history or arithmetic. If the children in my daylight life were playmates, my cousins were my peers, rivals and my greatest threat.
Deirdre, Cormac and Scáthach were the ones I was most involved with. At my earliest memory there was eight of us, but after I slew Cormac that night there was only five of us left. There were of course other children around, those of the Arcanists or their apprentices, but we were the children of the Dragon and that made us special. The inheritors of a legacy as old as The Weave itself.
That legacy is what drove us to fight between us, as mighty as Grandfather is, he is old and only one of the blood could take his place. The family didn’t inherit through the backward order of succession used by the nobility, we were lead by the greatest of a generation. The one who could survive and subjugate.
Cormac was just the most recent step towards my place at the head of the family, but unlike the others… his death is where everything began to fall apart for us.