The ice bitten air howled wildly around the gathered many, who looked on to the flames that engulfed a laid man with a painted red eye in the centre of his forehead. The wind hit harshly to the mournful boy, gazing at his father as the priests hummed and whispered words of the gods, sacred words, as they burned their incense, a hue of green, over the dead man's body. He was dressed richly in his best clothes, leather boots, and gold strung around his neck, laying on his best fur, his head shaven, his dark raven hair placed in a clay bowl next to him, as was his tongue, eyes and heart individually placed into bowls of the same make around him.
It was quiet as all watched, and soon the priests stopped their chanting, as they nodded to a woman in a black veil, that covered and concealed her face, her body stick like as she took from a velvet purse coins, throwing three to her deceased husband, and soon all did so, last went the boy stepping forward, he saw his father's eyes that were hollowed out, and still red from where his eyes were pluck, within the sockets flowers were placed, the boy recognized them to be flowers from his mother's tree, they were small with blue petals, and the boy knew that this would the last time he would see such flowers again, though he could not think why. He threw his three coins at his father and stepped back to the shadow of his stepmother.
They stayed till the body was completely burnt, then slowly and surely all left, the boy following his stepmother along the frosted grass of the temple gardens. He watched as his stepmother thanked the high priest for his work and beckoned the boy forward, leaving through the temple, his shoes thrashing along the marble floors, passing the many statues of the gods, they came to the high doors made of wood and steel, as two young priests pushed the heavy doors open, the woman and the boy swiftly walked down the hundred and hundreds of steps, the boy daring not a look up from his feet as he moved, a stable hand held both the boy and his stepmother's horses, helping two up, the woman dropped a single golden coin into the stable boys hands, kicking her steed in a stride, as both made they way along the dirt road.
Still the boy was silent as they travel the woman made no efforts to converse with saddened boy, they soon arrived back to their keep and it’s cold stone walls, as a light shower of snow began to drift from the grey clouds ahead, their were men waiting by the gates, as they greeted both their lady and young lord back from their trip. The stable hands rushed out, taking hold and steadying the horses as the two climbed off. The boy did not thank the stable hands, walking to the steps and heading behind his step mother inside the keep.
It was warmer inside, as the boys cheeks flushed at the change of temperature. The woman sighed, removing her fur cloak from her body, “what a tedious occasion,” she commented to no one in particular. “Four gold wasted, and for what for some greedy old man to find his way to the afterlife.” the woman moved away from the entrance, heading to the great hall, where a hearth burned, the boy followed, she sat next to the fire, “boy,” she called, the boy came next to her, she smiled to him, “poor child,” she breathed, “to lose a father at such an age, i had been no older when my mother had died on the birthing bed, to a son who did even last a fortnight. A sad thing,” she took hold of the boy's left hand gently grazing her fingers along his palm, “with no living relatives, alone in the world.” she mused. “Zorian,” she began, her grip tightening as it ringed around his wrist, “my dear young lord, what a burden this lordship will be, your father had not the time to prepare you, so little, still your mind in childhood.” she looked to the fire, “Zorian, i have thought only of this since your father's passing. He urged me so, to look after you, to give you all you need, and i fear you need help. Zorian what i am saying, i will help in your duties. A regent if you will. Would you like that Zorian? For me to help you?” she asked.
The boy was quiet, “very much,” he whispered, the woman's grip released his hand,
“Very well, now please my lord rest, for today has been tiring.”
The boy nodded, turning away from the woman, her green eyes and red lips piercing through her back veil. Zorian climbed the main stairs of the keep up to his chambers, he heard the sounds of his step sister and brother, he did not question why they had not come to his fathers funeral, for he could not seem to find a care, he fell onto his bed, trying his best not to think of his father and not allow the tears to fall down his cheeks.
In the years to come, the boy slowly saw his stepmother, take on more and more of his duties as lord away, till finally he had none, and she no more showed the boy the kindness in which she ensnared him with, and began to be a little more crueler with each day.
That was however till a heated summer, in the middle of a darkened night did he find himself being awakened by his stepmother, who saw no reason to allow the boy such comforts if he did not earn it, and so he employed in the kitchens for a time, till he was given all manner of duty of running keep, and though all still called him their lord, he was no more to an outsider than a serving boy no rank or nobility. And he watched as his step mother, and step siblings took all control of the keep, daring to call herself the high lady Eleanor of Harwood, and no sooner did she call herself such did she and her daughter begin to wear his mothers gowns and dresses, and whenever a passing lord or lady came to the keep and asked of the previous lords son, his stepmother would simply say the boy died of a fever many years ago, whilst the very boy would pour their wine into their cups listening from the kitchen as they laughed, eating whatever scraps they left him…