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[FoH] #55 - Innocence (Cyril)

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He had always wondered what it was that set him apart from his siblings.

Obvious biological differences aside, there was an unmistakable rift that separated the chieftain's children and himself, but he could never quite put his finger on exactly what it might be. Such things were hard to determine when each and every child was so different. He had to wonder how one man could create such diversity amongst his children. Could the chieftain have more faces than the ones he showed in public? The thought piqued his curiosity, but he knew better than to try and discover the truth of such secrets. Politicians did not care to have others poking their noses in their private, personal matters.

Nevertheless, he still had this single question nagging him day in and day out. It seemed to never leave him alone. What made him so different from his siblings-in-law? What was that which divided them so deeply, despite all they'd been through as a tribe and as a family? It had to be something so esoteric, so mysterious, that he was blinded to the truth. It seemed the only solution was to enlist the aid of the wisest person he knew.

"Mother?"

The middle-aged woman, a Rito whose features were worn from work but laced with love nonetheless, showed little sign of acknowledgement as she was addressed, instead focusing intently on combing her son's hair. The boy sat perched on her lap, both pairs of eyes staring straight into the mirror in front of them as they prepared to attend the night's dinner ceremony. It had become routine, to aid one another in freshening up for the night to come, as both were so unaccustomed to primping and pampering themselves for the approval of others. His mother offered a simple, "hm?", as she continued her work, using an extra ounce of elbow grease to undo a particularly stubborn knot that had made its home in her son's hair.

"I had a question that I thought you of all people might be able to answer." The question caused his mother to raise a single eyebrow in mild curiosity, though her gaze still remained locked on his two-toned locks. "Then again, even if you can't answer it for me, it might be best to think out loud. Maybe I can reach an answer of my own just from verbalizing my thoughts." His mother nodded then, already knowing where this was headed. Disclaimers like this were so unnecessary at this point - she was his mother, after all, did he really think she didn't know him well enough to already understand he could figure this out on his own? - but she never once let her exasperation show. In truth, her son's babblings had become somewhat endearing over the years, trying on the nerves as they were. "Ask me whatever you'd like, sweetheart. Mother never minds if you ramble if it helps you reach the answer."

Cyril blushed then, realizing just how long he'd been going on for her to say that. He knew she meant no harm in her statement, but he felt guilty nonetheless for making her sit through his monologuing. "R-right. Well, it's just that, I've been wondering what it might be that separates me from the chieftain's children." His mother tilted her head slightly at that. It wasn't entirely what she had expected her boy to say, but it made sense all the same. "So that's it, hm? Well, as I'm sure you're aware, they aren't actually your siblings. Having a new mother tends to create some friction among another woman's children." Her words were a tease that caused his cheeks to burn red.

"Mother, I know that." He stated, slightly exasperated with her jokes. Goodness, he wasn't a child, he knew better than to forget such an obvious fact. "I just mean that, for whatever reason, I always feel so...different from all the rest of them. It's not our blood that formed this barrier between us. It has to be something else, I'm sure of it. I just can't seem to figure what it is..." His expression changed as he spoke, going through a myriad of emotions. Confusion, frustration and uncertainty mingled on his face, causing him to appear considerably more upset than he actually was. Had his mother not already known the answer to his question, it would have tugged at her heartstrings. Well, it did - his pain always plucked the strings of her heart - but she knew her response would perk him up.

After a moment of careful consideration, she spoke up, "may I offer some advice?" He turned his head to face her then, completely forgetting the task at hand. Letting out a breath that was somewhere between a laugh and a sigh, she turned his head back around to face the mirror once more and continued on. "I may not be the youngest chick in the coop anymore..." Cyril almost rolled his eyes. His mother always felt the need to not only remind everyone that she was older than she appeared - but truly, was a woman of nearly fifty years of age that undesirable? - but she formed her reminders in the form of some strange, typically nonsensical, analogy. "...but the years I have spent in this land have made me all the wiser. A mother knows a child's ways, be they her's or another's." Cyril, realizing he was in for a longer talk than he anticipated, nestled closer into her lap and prepared to listen as intently as possible.

"You see, though the chieftain is a righteous and generous man, his children have, much to his chagrin, shown signs of considerably unpleasant behavior. A portion of this can be attributed to pure immaturity - I cannot expect Ritos in their infancy to conduct themselves as an elder would - but other character traits they have shown come from a deeper, more troubling place. Such things come from the heart."

Cyril shifted uncomfortably for a moment, brow furrowing as he tried to understand her train of thought. "Mother, I understand that, of course, but I don't see how this relates to the problem." His mother shook her head for a moment, pausing the combing of her offspring's hair to adjust the jewelry that hung round her neck. "That's because you're impatient." Having finished her minor tweaking, she tapped her son's head with the blunt side of the brush. "Now sit still and listen."

"Let's look at each of the children, shall we?"

"Bodhi is everything one would desire in an heir. He carries himself well when he walks into a room, he has charisma that could charm a Chuchu and his prowess in warfare is nothing to scoff at, either. He's a natural-born leader through and through. But his pride could be his downfall in the end. Though he cares for the safety and protection of his tribe as a whole, he cares little for the well-being of the people within. His worth is wrapped up in his honor. His ego has inflated itself. As they say - pride comes before the fall."

"Remedi is one the purest of souls I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. That young woman is lovely, inside and out. But being one of the eldest children - and a girl, at that - has its fair share of hardships. Not to mention the fact that she's the chief's daughter. She has seen the dark side of leadership, and had to keep more secrets than she'd care to admit, I'm sure of it. Pain has marred her porcelain heart. A single touch could send her heart shattering beneath the force of its blow. She is beautiful, but broken, and has no one to help her cope."

"Saaki seems to be the black sheep of the family. Whereas his siblings, barring the twins, are generally calm and composed, he is enthusiastic and wild. And why shouldn't he be? He's the middle child, after all. To act that way is the only way to get attention. His older brother is well-respected by all, his older sister has suitors lining up outside of her door, his younger brother is practically a prodigy and his other three siblings are babied beyond belief. No one sees him. Therein lies the danger - he will do anything to get attention, of any kind."

"Jinn is an odd one, isn't he? The most reserved of the bunch, but perhaps that's a blessing in disguise. Despite his inherent prowess in the magical arts, his sharp tongue has earned him a nasty reputation. If he wasn't the chieftain's son, you can rest assured that no one would bat an eye at him, prodigy or not."

"Aya, the little fireball, is most like Saaki in terms of personality. However, whereas he gains no attention from his actions, her every temper tantrum and dramatic action turns the head of everyone around her. She naturally attracts people to her, whereas Saaki is abrasive on the surface. Maturity is not her forte, and the babying can only last so long, lest she become spoiled."

"Dran and Xiao, the twins, are the two who are hardest to judge. After all, ten-year-olds can hardly be condemned for actions they hardly understand. Still, they have stepped foot on a battleground - even if in training - and so, they have seen a side of the grown-up world that most have yet to experience. They are young and immature still, and their mischief knows no bounds. No one seems to be able to keep them contained."

And his mother berated him for rambling? She had been going on for what seemed like hours! And he still had yet to see her point in all this. "Yes, yes, I understand all of that, believe me. But what does that have to do with how different I am from them? How do their strengths and weaknesses play any part in separating them from me? Why won't they accept me?" Tears began to well at the corners of his eyes, threatening to spill over onto his cheeks. She finally saw what had been troubling so.

Her smile never fading, she placed the brush on the bed beside her and began to thread two jewels through her son's hair. "Oh, my little boy, if acceptance is what you seek, you won't find it here?" Hurt clouded his eyes as she answered, but he knew there had to be more to her words. She wouldn't leave him with an open wound on his heart. "You see, those whose hearts have been tainted by the trials and tribulations of this world see little reason to associate with the pure of heart, for they envy others for possessing what they once had and can never have back. That, my precious son, is what they lack. That is what separates you. If your worth comes from their acceptance of you, you will live out your days drowning in an unmeetable, insatiable need to earn the approval of those who loathe you for no fault of your own."

She had finished threading the gemstones through her child's hair. With her hands now free, she placed on his shoulder, caressing it softly, and used the other to wipe away the tears that now fell freely from his eyes. She sat there as he cried himself dry, a boy so abandoned by the world that he had a need for love that no one could hope to satisfy. No words passed between them until all that remained were eyes rubbed red, tear-stained cheeks, and the hiccups that come from attempting to catch one's breath after a sob. Once he had finished, she wound her arms tightly round his torso and held him close, rocking back and forth to comfort him all the more.

"My baby boy, never lose that innocence of yours. This world will do its worst to take that away, but it is a treasure to guard with your life. Keep it safe. I promise you, you will not always be so alone."
Remember when I intended for this to be short, sweet and simple? Yeah, me too. -hands fall off from cramping-
I'm honestly enjoying delving deeper and deeper into Cyril's past. After the Jewelry entry, I decided to flesh out the Chieftain's family and found myself falling in love with all of them. Even if it's not FoH-based, I'd love to write stories surrounding their lives someday. Thus, this chapter came to be. As I mentioned previously, Cyril is the epitome of purity. He is a contrast to the war-torn world of Hyrule, a stranger in a world of chaos. This innocence causes him to feel out-of-place, and it starts in his homeland with the family that once was.

And yes, that genealogy was absolutely necessary. What, the readers didn't care? Oh, I know that. I meant that it was important for me, not for you people!

Theme #55 (Innocence) in the 100 Themes Challenge
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KittyKyomi's avatar
KittyKyomiStudent Digital Artist
QmQ Dont worry Cyrill you're not alone!!  -throws innocent derpybird at him- ;w;