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RICHARD:

Mother, Brija and I watched as Roi ride away on his horse. No one was taking it as hard as mother. She simply didn’t know he was going to be fine, that he was going to a place that was safe. We all returned to the brunch table, everyone silent. The king seemed shocked at the actions that took place this morning. Mother slowly turned to him.

“I don’t care…” She said, “…how fucked up those drugs got you, but you better hope and pray that my baby will be alright out there,” She got to her feet, “I’m telling you… His safety is your LAST hope…”

She left the terrace, entering the palace. Everyone else was left at the table looking lost. Robin stared at me, before his eyes darted away as I became aware of this. I entered the home after mother. She was in the longue, pacing around.

“How could I let this happen…” She said, clenching her head.

“Mother, it’s gonna be okay…” I said, going to reassure her.

“No baby, you don’t understand. The drugs your father are on… The number of flasks? It’s not a good outlook for the future. I’m so worried about your brother…” She responded.

“Please don’t be. He’s going to a safe haven far from this place…” I said, hoping to reassure her.

“Is he staying in the city. Is he going where Ki…” She paused, looking past me.

A shadow moving across the floor caused me to turn. It was father, looking worried. I looked back at mother, her concern turning into fury.

“I need to talk to your mother alone…” He said, seemingly daunted by the task.

“Very well.” I responded, heading back out to the brunch. Again Robin was staring at me. Brija had left. She was walking down to the Aviary. I followed, “Hey…”

She turned, waiting on me.

“This shit is so stupid…” She said.

“I know…” I said, “It’s just… I know.” We arrived at the aviary, both staggered by the fact that Roi had left. Brija, in particular, was hurt. She knew very little about what Roi had been through so the brunch was a revelation to her.

“I’ve been living in a shroud…” She said.

“Why do say that?” I asked.

“I don’t ever know shit… I had no idea that pa and Roi’s relationship was even that bad. Mom said father used to beat him! And Sir Socoshian… Did he really?” She asked, turning to me.

“I don’t know…” I said back, truly skeptical.

“Roi seemed so upset. And Dad… That’s the part that’s breaking my heart the most… He doesn’t care in the slightest!” Brija looked at me, shocked.

“I know…” I said, shocked too. I couldn’t wrap my head around what Roi did to uncover proof that father was on drugs.

“It just isn’t going to be the same without him.” Brija said, getting up, going to her kestrel. She looked at the tiny hooded bird which was tethered to the perch in it’s tiny little paddock, “This was such a mistake…”

“What is?” I asked.

“I never should have gotten this bird.” She said concern written across her face, “Believe me, raising her has been a joy but with things so uncertain, our family falling apart, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

“Things will be fine!” I said, placing a hand on her shoulder. She looked at me the same way Roi did, that questioning furl of the eyebrow. It made me hesitant, “I don’t have a jockey partner to ride with anymore, though. Roi was surprisingly good… In fact better than me…”

“What?” Brija asked as I walked to the workbenches to take a seat.

“Yeah… He smoked me in a one on one match yesterday. I’ve been trying to keep it together but it’s getting to me. Father always called me the best player he’s ever seen. Then Roi, who hasn’t played for years comes in and smokes me twice times back to back. He then tells me that father didn’t want him to compete because he didn’t want him to take my shine away, after father learned about what Sir Socoshian did to him…” I continued.

“That’s fucked up!” She responded.

“Really?” I asked, surprised she believed the claim.

“Roi left… He literally gave up… Everything about him, his reclusive ways, lack of self confidence, tendency to run through partners and then dump them suddenly, fearfulness around father… Everything is fitting like puzzle pieces. And father… I don’t know, he’s not the man I thought he was. He’s a liar…” She said.

“No… don’t say that! He’s still our father and shouldn’t be called such!” I said. Again, Brija gave me that questioning eye before speaking.

“He is… No doubt about that, but open your eyes! Think for yourself! Evidence is adding up and it’s not in his favor! Roi confirmed he was on drugs, that Sir Socoshian was behind it! That isn’t enough evidence?” She asked.

“I mean…” I said, trying to find a reasonable doubt. I just didn’t want to believe it, “Roi, gave up on me first… He turned cold. He kept saying I didn’t think for myself and that I was impressionable and blind…”

“I see…” She said, her eyes scalding me.

“What is this… What are you doing?” I asked, hating this feeling of casino şirketleri scrutinization. Her eyes were just so heavy on me.

“Nothing…” She said, returning to the paddock where her kestrel was.

I didn’t know my heart was racing the way it was until she left. This couldn’t be happening. I could literally feel the family falling apart and it was just overwhelming. How could father do this to us? And was this sir Socoshian guy this evil? Did he really put Roi through all of what Roi claimed? Did he really try to put father on drugs?

“Richard?” Someone called out. I turned, surprised to see Robin. My stomach twisted into knots after seeing the boy.

“What?” I asked.

“Long time no talk right?” He smiled.

“What the fuck do you want?” I asked.

“I just wanted to talk to you.” He said.

“Why?” I asked. The boy paused, very, very upset.

“Don’t do this to me! You’re the one who replaced us with that southerner…” He said back.

“I didn’t replace you. He was a trainer and had insight…” I argued back.

“Look…” He said clenching his eyes, “I don’t care… That’s not what I wanted to talk to you about. I came here to warn you…”

Brija came from the paddock, her kestrel on her mit. She wasn’t happy to see him.

“What?” I asked him.

“Things are quickly spiralling out of hand. At first I felt betrayed about you ditching us but… Things are going to get bad. You and Brija should leave before they do…” He responded.

“What things? Have you forgotten the way you treated me? That was just wrong… You expect me to listen to you right now?” I said.

“You’re the one who betrayed me… us! We were a team and you just ditched us for that southerner! We were counting on you!” He countered.

“No, you were USING ME! If it wasn’t for my resources, it wouldn’t be a TEAM!” I said. It seemed to stun Robin.

“Using you? You took it upon yourself to VOLUNTEER YOUR FUNDS!! It doesn’t fucking matter to me! My family was well off enough to PAY for EVERYTHING!! Don’t blame me for anything… I was always there for you! How DARE YOU say I USED YOU!” Robin’s eyes got teary.

“What are you trying to warn us of…” Brija asked, intervening between the fight. Robin slowly turned to her. He clenched his head, gathering the will to confess something.

“Sir Socoshian… No… No… Things are going to get worse. I’m telling you now to both leave…” He said.

“What do you know, Robin?” Brija asked, edging closer to him.

“I can’t say…” He said, shaking his head before turning back to me, “Everything that Roi said about my father is right… He’s, an evil, EVIL man… I can’t even begin to describe what being raised by him was like…”

“Robin, if you tell us what’s going on, we can plan to avoid it…” Brija said.

“No… It’s already too big to avoid… Just leave. Everything is falling into fruition and there’s nothing that can be done. You two, leave…” He responded. Brija looked at me concerned.

“We’re not leaving. This is our home…” I said back.

“Then you’ll be stupid to stay. I’m sorry for making you feel the way you feel, and I’m sorry for everything that’s going to happen. It won’t reflect the way I feel about you or your family…” He said, backing away.

“No wait…” I said getting up after him, “Explain…”

“No, if my father finds out I told you, I’m going to be the one dead. Just leave… please I’m begging you! I don’t want to see anything bad happen to you…” He said.

“Why’d you tell me this much, then?” I asked. Robin looked at me utterly shocked.

“You really are stupid…” He said, leaving.

It left me confused. Brija came up beside me.

“That boy is in the thick of this situation and can do nothing about it.” Brija then looked to me, “This is bad, Richard… very bad! We can’t just sit idly by and let this situation boil over. Sir Socoshian is obviously up to no good, father is not his reasonable self… What’s next? Us! We’re next!”

“You need to calm down. This situation will sort itself out…” I said, trying to find reason in all of this.

“Have you forgotten how all of this started? It’s because of father’s unfair treatment of Kijus. Kijus then left, and father flipped out… His actions made no sense, so your brother, the one father hates, found out why father is acting irrationally and who was responsible for it! The man responsible for it has done unthinkable things to your brother, and to his own son! Wake up and think…” Brija said.

“This is impossible… You are just like Roi with your theories… I just can’t…” I said walking away. In all honesty, it was just nearly impossible to make sense of this all. How could there be people this evil in the world? How could father let himself slip from up high like this? This couldn’t really be what was happening…

I wanted to fly my falcon since it had been a while but it was hard to get myself in the proper mindset to fly him. At the same time, not flying him was bordering on neglect. casino firmaları I entered the aviary again, suiting up to fly him. He was hungry and antsy in his kennel. He hopped on my wrist ready for a bechin. I gave him some dry lamb, the bird downing it swiftly.

“I’m sorry but things have been awful…” I said to him.

“Tell me about it…” Someone said from behind.

It was Snare and Miles, surprisingly happy to see me.

“Wow…” I responded. I didn’t share the same sentiments they had, though.

“I’m sorry about your family…” Miles said.

“I’m sorry too.” I responded, strapping my falcon’s ankle to my wrist. I turned, heading towards the field.

“Come on, don’t give us this shoulder.” Snare pleaded.

“Why not… you both deserve it! You think I was literally going to replace you with Kijus? And you all used me!” I argued.

“No denying that we used you, but we are still a team that whoops ass! You can’t deny that!” Snare reasoned.

“We were, but those days are over. I’m not competing any more…” I said.

“What? Why not?” Snare asked.

“My brother and I had a one on one duel to make time pass. He destroyed me with little to no practice. I ask him how,” I said, leaning against the workbench, “He says he’s always been better than me but father didn’t want him to steal my light, so he didn’t play anymore… Father gave him Silver which was a problem for him for a few years… It just literally made me hate the sport…”

“Damn he must be… You’re still great, Ricky! Don’t let this defeat you.” Miles said.

“See, there’s so much going on that I just don’t know anymore… The last thing I want to do is play this sport at the moment. I just want my family to come back together…” I said.

“Let’s just fly our raptors for old time’s sake…” Snare suggested. I looked at the red breast sitting on my wrist.

“Why not…” I sighed.

Miles and Snare geared up with their long wings, heading out to the field with me. We got into position, untethering our birds. Something was different about the red-breast today. He was more alert, more lively. He drooped his wings, in the wind, taking small reflexive flaps. Raptors generally did this when ready to fly. I took his hood off, the bird chirping. He looked down at his noose then to me.

I untied the noose. He spread his long narrow wings, taking off rapidly. He flew low and

straight before ascending. He continued and continued, until we couldn’t see him any more.

“What is that thing doing?” Miles asked.

“He’s not coming back…” I sighed. Snare slowly looked at me, heartbroken.

“I’m sorry.” He said.

“He needed me and I wasn’t there for him.” I said, this sounding very familiar.

“Ah… You make it sound so awful. Things like this happen. I lost my first raptor.” Snare chuckled.

“It’s different. This was my first raptor and the raptor I spent years perfecting my technique on! We built so much history and one little thing I forgot to do just washed it all away. That’s like what happened between my brother and I…” I said, clearly remembering.

“I never understood you two…” Snare responded.

“I know you’re probably tired of hearing his name but Kijus is the reason we were able to reconcile anything anyways.” I sighed, “He brought the family closer as a whole… snapped my sister out of her delusions, made Roi accept and love himself more… and made me fall in love with him. It’s just that I didn’t know Roi had fought so many silent battles living in my shadows. And when he tried to confide in me, I wasn’t there… Him leaving this morning was no surprise. I wasn’t supporting him. Father wasn’t supporting him. Mother and Brija didn’t know what the hell was going on. It’s just a big mess. If I was in his shoes, I just don’t know…”

“That’s hard for sure…” Miles said, prepping his raptor for flight.

“Do you know where he left to?” Snare asked, concerned.

“He’s alright… He went to a place we know very, very well.” I smiled.

“Where?” Snare continued. I looked at him unsure why he wanted these details. I just shook my head. He nodded, sensing the trust we once had was gone.

I watched the two fly their raptors. It was beautiful but hard to watch. There was nothing in this sport for me any more. I returned to the palace, wishing this day would end. It was still fairly early in the day. Without my falcon, there was very little to do. Maybe I could read a few books or something, just something different.

Upon entering the palace, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go. I ended up in the lounge, going through the books. There was nothing special to read. I settled on an ancient African Mythology book. It started with West African tribes around the Senegal region. Just as it was starting to get good, father and Sir Socoshian sat down across from me. I looked up slowly at them.

“Long time no talk, my boy?” Father smiled. His missing teeth and rotten breath made it incredibly hard not to cringe.

“Hi, güvenilir casino father…” I said, returning to reading.

“I never see you read…” He noted.

“Roi got me into it. It was all he ever did. He was the smartest person I knew…” I said. Father sighed.

“Reading is not the most powerful thing a man could do.” He chuckled. Sir Socoshian slowly looked at him.

“Power? To know is to have powers. And power is knowledge…” I said.

“So do you have knowledge of Roi’s whereabouts?” He asked.

“I don’t know…” I shrugged, resuming reading.

“You don’t know?” Father asked, shocked.

“Of course you do…” Sir Socoshian said, “I know he told you before he left. The way he left? All of this was planned in advance!”

“That means nothing…” I responded. I didn’t want to tell them where he was. Though I had a hard time believing Roi’s stories, I did believe that father hurt Roi and I wouldn’t want to risk this.

“Is this because Roi and the southerner are together? Are you still trying to protect that southerner?” Sir Socoshian asked, not understanding.

“No…” I denied plainly.

Faint steps from behind stopped just behind me. It was mother. She looked at Sir Socoshian, glaring.

“You spinless monster… Just asking for your prey, right? Tell me…” She said taking a seat next to me, “What did you see in Roi that made Richard off limits?”

“My queen, what are you talking about?” Sir Socoshian asked, completely lost.

“I’m just delusional then? You know exactly what I’m talking about!” Mother growled, “You may have everyone else fooled but I know a fraud when I see one. I’m from Burgundy… It doesn’t get more or less real than that! You want to play these games with me… you’ll lose!”

Father looked fearful. It made me realize that there was more to mother than I ever knew. Sir Socoshians eyes darted around as though he were unphased.

“I’ll bring your son back here…” Sir Socoshian asked.

“No, I want Jared to bring my son back!” Mother said, pointing to father, “His son!” Father didn’t look pleased to hear bother call Roi his son. This was extremely hard to watch but I couldn’t leave!

“Why are you doing this?” Father asked.

“I let you do what you want, stayed silent for so long… Now, I’m taking charge because you are in no condition to rule this country! I’m speaking with the Council of the Ziggurats tomorrow and will be asking for power to temporarily be awarded to the Sorooshian House while you get help! You’ve lost it.” Mother said.

“NO!” Father shouted.

“No? Try and stop me…” Mother said, getting up to leave. Sir Socoshian eyed her threateningly as she left. His eyes then darted around, plotting.

It was harder for me to judge what was the truth however, Sir Socoshian and father were both behaving questionably. I didn’t like the questions they were asking me. They were prodding for more information than what was needed. I decided to leave, heading up to my room.

“Roi? Where are you going?” Father asked.

“I’m having a rough day, father. Roi ran away, my falcon ran away and I’m seeing a side to this family that I never knew existed…” I sighed.

“Very well, my prince…” He nodded.

I went to my room, wanting to cry. Everything was becoming so frustrating and I just wanted it to end! Still deep in my heart, Kijus was my main concern. It had been several days since he entered the brothels and I couldn’t help but be concerned. He still hadn’t written me since he had entered the brothel and I didn’t know if this was going to work. Considering everything else at play, Kijus’s issues felt far less important. I wondered what was going to happen to the kingdom.

The worrying put me to sleep. I woke up the next day, getting ready for the morning brunch. I wasn’t excited for it but had to go regardless. Everyone took their seats, silent after the events that took place yesterday. It completely took everyone’s minds away from the Kijus situation. Father looked as though he was in a very, very good mood today.

“I hope everyone’s dining happy this morning.” He smiled.

Mother looked over at Roi’s empty seat going deep into thought as she ate. Still no one spoke.

“As you all know…” Father began, “An archer has been taking out our scenting hounds with poison darts as well as poisoning our kennels. They didn’t take out all our dogs and our dogs led us to the Bolt Division…”

Both Brija and I froze at the news. Father could see the reaction flash across our face. Mother noticed it too.

“Kijus’s scent was traced there, where an Illisian law official resides. This morning he just went into custody. He injured a number of my guard, including Sir Socoshian… even killed some.” I sighed. Sir Socoshian was wearing an arm sling, seemingly proud of his injury.

“That’s good…” I said, continuing to eat. It was not the reaction father was expecting.

“And I still have my emergency meeting with the Council of the Ziggurat tomorrow… Would have done it today but somehow my caravan ended up getting surprise maintance done. How convenient… I wish I could have gone today though… There’s no hope for you coming to your senses…” Mother smiled, warranting a disgruntled look from father.

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