The boy's screams ripped through the night, echoing in the loft where he slept. His mother rushed to his side. She sat quietly soothing his hair as he woke up from the terrible nightmare.
"Do you want to talk about it, Kielaad?" she whispered.
"I saw grandmother," he said quietly. "I saw her die, trampled by a horse ridden by someone in a heavy black cloak and a sword at his side."
"There are no warriors here, love," Jalenn told her child. "Our little village has nothing to offer them. We are just a poor farming community."
"It was a dream, son," the boy's father called from the bottom of the ladder up to the loft where the boy slept. "Nothing more. Now get back to sleep so we can do the same."
"Yes, father," Kielaad answered humbly. "Thank you, mother."
Kielaad knew that they were dreams. He just couldn't seem to shake the fact that they seemed so real. Three weeks later, when his grandmother was buried after being killed by the hooves of a runaway horse that was being ridden by the older son of a neighbor who had stolen horse, cloak, and sword from his retired soldier father, he wasn't so sure. Neither was his grandfather.
"You should have told me that the boy was having these dreams," Tallious told his son. "And when were you going to tell me about the other things?"
"What other things, father?" Kreiel asked in frustration. "The fact that my son steals things he wants? I did not want to share my shame with you, father."
"I have not been told that he had stolen anything," Tallious pointed out. "I have been told that things he wants seem to appear for him."
"Of course, they just appear, and the fact that they disappear from somewhere else is totally beside the point, I suppose."
"You know for a fact that the things he has are not paid for, then? That they are indeed stolen?" Tallious asked pointedly. "You know where these things disappear from?"
"Well, no, but they can't just appear out of thin air," his son defended weakly.
"Why can't they?" Tallious returned.
"I would rather my son be a thief than an infidel, father," the boy's father stated firmly. "No son of mine will become one of the evil ones."
"Oh, so you know a lot of wizards and know them all to be evil, do you, my son?"
"Father, what are you saying? You would never have spoken so around Grandfather when he was alive."
"You are right, son, I would not have dared, and for that I will die wondering what my life would have been if not for his controlling and manipulation," Tallious retorted. "I will not die with the same doubts for my grandson, though. You will send the boy to me in the morning. I will take him from this village and we will seek his future, Kielaad and I."
"What of our farm, your life here?"
"My son, you and your mother were the only things that kept me here since the day my own father passed to the Creator's Embrace," Tallious revealed. "I never wanted this farm, or a farming life. When I was young, I too had the dreams like your son is plagued by now. Also, like him, the things I wanted or needed would appear for me. An old wise man in the village told my father that I should be sent out to make my place in the world. Your grandfather would not hear of it. He wanted me to stay and work the farms for him so that he could sit around the tavern all day drinking away his sorrow over the loss of my mother."
"He loved my grandmother very much," Kreiel told his father defensively.
"In the taverns, he loved her," Tallious corrected. "At home, he beat her and eventually killed her. It was no bandit that attacked my home when I was but four summers of age. Do you know what it is like to have as your very earliest memory in life watching as your father murders your mother?"
"Grandfather would never!"
"Do not defend a man you did not truly know, Kreiel," Tallious snapped. "I kept you busy in the fields as much as I could not so that you would learn the farm better than I myself know it, but to keep you away from him unless I was there to watch him and hear him with you. My father was an evil drunkard and a murderer, son."
"My grandfather was a great man, every man in the village admired him and respected him. He was the only farm to make a profit during the Great Drought two years before my birth."
"He had nothing to do with that, you silly boy," Tallious scoffed. "I kept those plants alive by using the powers I was born with, the powers your son has also shown now."
"My father an infidel, and my son as well?" Kreiel gasped. "No father, you will not take my son in the morning. You will take him now. Both of you will leave this farm and this village, or I will turn you both over to the village council as wizards myself."
"You threaten your own father?"
"I knew you were keeping me from Grandfather, and so did he, so we made our time together when you weren't aware. Grandfather taught me how to be a man, a respected man in the village. You taught me nothing, and my mother was ashamed to have married you," Kreiel snarled. "Leave this village and never return, old man, and take that spawn with you. If either of you ever tries to return to this land, I will have you cut down as the infidels you are."
"Have no fear of that, Kreiel," Tallious sneered. "There is nothing but death here, now. Of that, you may be certain, but know this. Someday your friends around the tavern table will turn on you, just as they did to my father. You think he spent his time with you because he loved you? You're a bigger fool than I took you for, son. That old man stayed in the house and doted on you because you were the only idiot in the village who would listen to his lies anymore." Tallious took his sleepy young grandson by the hand, as his mother had dragged the boy from his bed, not even letting the poor boy change out of his long nightshirt and put on breeches or even shoes for his little feet.
The old man stopped at the gate of the farm and laid his hand on the cornerstone of the fence. "I am gone from this place, never to return. I take what is mine with me, and leave what is left to its true state." Kielaad was not so sleepy that he didn't see the cloud of lime green sparkles rise out of the land and seep out of every plant on it, his eyes widening in shock and confusion as that cloud surrounded and then was absorbed by his grandfather.
"Grandfather, what was that?"
"I have taken what is mine from where it is no longer welcome, my little one," the old man told him softly. "I advise you to do the same. We will not see this place again, you or I. That which you would have with you, must be taken now or lost forever. Lay your hand here on the stone and say the words I spoke and all that is yours will join you once more."
Kielaad put his small hand over the sigil carved into the stone that represented his family home and farm. He felt a small tear trickle down his face at the thought of leaving it, then hastily wiped it away with his other hand. He started to speak the words his grandfather had used, but somehow what came out was different for him. "I leave this place of my own freewill, not of loss, but for gain of a life I am meant to lead. I call upon all that is mine to absent this heartless place and cleave to me in support of my journey."
An enormous cloud of pink sparkles rushed up out of the house and the barn and the land itself as well. The swirling maelstrom of power, for that is what it was, caught up the boy out of his grandfather's reach into the air for a moment. His nightshirt was transformed into traveling clothes, complete with cloak and boots, before he was gently placed back on the ground again. In front of him, outside the gates stood the two young foals he had helped his grandfather deliver of their dying mother two moons past. He had named them Archael and Endetax. On Archael's back was a small handmade doll that he had kept hidden under his bed for the last four summers of his life, as his father deemed him too old for the toy. It had been made for him by his grandmother, however, and he could not bear to part with it. In the days since her death, it had found its way back into his bed each night. He blushed now at seeing it in the open.
"There is no shame in knowing that your grandmother loved you, my little one," Tallious told him with a gentle hug. "You will carry a piece of her heart with you as long as you have that talisman."
"It is but a child's toy," Kielaad protested weakly. Despite the embarrassment, he still could not bear the thought of parting with the cherished memento.
"Only to those who do not know its worth and meaning to you," Tallious corrected. "And to her as well. She loved you as no other, Kielaad; more prideful of you than of her own son she was. You see she knew who and what she had married, and despite what that blind man in that house saw with his eyes, she was never shamed of her husband, nor would she be of her grandson. It was her golden hair that caught the eyes of my heart and mind, golden hair that she shared with you, my little one. You look so very much like her at times. It was as if you were our son, rather than grandson, for you are the perfect marriage of her features and mine, and your father took after neither of us it seemed."
"If father has cast us out, does that mean you are my father now, Grandfather?"
"He could not cast us out, little one," Tallious corrected. "We have chosen to leave at a time that he thinks suits himself. He shall learn of his folly soon enough." The old man looked into the small, still slightly sleepy face of his beloved and only grandchild. "Yes, little one, I will now be your father and you my son." At his words, a burst of brown sparkles erupted around the two of them for a moment before settling over them both as if it were a warm and comfortable cloak. The old man chuckled a little at the look of disappointment in his new son's eyes at the apparent lackluster color of that bit of magic. "All magic has a color, my little one, and all color a meaning. Never think for a moment that a dreary color to your human eyes is less powerful than a prettier one. Black is a very dull color indeed, yet is some of the most feared magic of all. I, myself have never cared for the color orange, yet it is some of the most wonderful magic, because orange is the color of adventure and of fun. Take note," he instructed as he laid his hands on the heads of the two young foals. Before Kielaad's shocked eyes, the tiny foals grew to great, tall stallions. "Methinks now we and they will travel more quickly and comfortably on our journey."
"What did the green mean, Father?"
"Well now that would matter on what shade of green it was, but the green you saw a moment ago, was the fertility and growth I had poured into this farm all my years here." He saw his young charge open his mouth again and spoke first, knowing what was about to be asked. "The pink I saw come to you is youth and playfulness, but also love. Do not despair over its color, my little one. It is a very good and proper color for you to have at your age."
"It isn't very manly," Kielaad pouted.
"And who says you have to be manly? Pray, my new son, do not think on the demands of my old son on you any longer. We, you and I, are forthwith free of him, and free to be who we were both meant to be by the Creator himself. Come, my little one, let us ride our magnificent steeds to our destiny, the Creator's intent."