I’d recently been talking about a project I had been working on called Mirror Mythe. Mythe being the name of my fantasy world.
Because of a dream I had, in which my brother and I were traveling in my world, I decided to recreate us in this world. It’s not a form of wish fulfillment, it’s not a way to make myself seem more awesome than I am in real life. This is the story of three brothers in a world of my creation. These three are based off of three brothers in real life, but they are characters all their own. They have different lives, ambitions, and goals. I hope you like who they are, as I present the first glimpse at two of the brothers.

-Aaron

Chapter 1
Wet Hair and Dirt Roads

            Two men walk down a wet back road that runs through the province of Dorende; one of twelve territories in the land of Lyragon. The sky had recently fallen, leaving the dirt road soft and damp. Puddles dot the road in the distance, and the trees of the forest surrounding still drip with the since passed rain. One of the men flung his head back and forth as to dry his wet locks. His hair, normally the color of weathered gold, was the color of tavern dishwater from its recent shower. As he threw his head like that of a dog, the other man, who stood a good head taller than him, removed the hood of his cloak. This one had his hair cut short in a fashion that was deemed professional.

Despite the height difference, the taller was obviously the younger of the two. The elder, after finishing his drying cycle, looked at his younger. At this point, looking at the two, a person would not see a resemblance. The younger stood taller, wider, and wore glasses upon his face; while the elder stood shorter, thinner, and with hair swept to the left covering a missing ear. It was their differences that drew out their similarities. As the two looked at each other, blue eyes sparkling despite the lack of a full sun in the sky, they both laughed a hearty and brotherly laugh. These two are Kayden and Clark, a pair of brothers who have nothing but time on their hands.

Clark looked at his brother after they finished their laugh, all of which started over the view of Kayden after his hair had been shaken out. His blonde hair sticking out every which way, defying gravity in a way that no one could understand.
“You should have worn your cowl.” Clark stated, his brother trying his best to contain his hair with his hands.

“You know I like to walk in the rain.” Kayden retorted, still trying his best to get his hair to recede to its normal form. “And that cowl makes me look like a bandit.”

Clark just shrugged, “Keeps you dry though.” Kayden stopped, thinking he finally has gotten his hair into place. Clark took a quick glance at him to see his hair pop right back up. Clark let out a laugh and Kayden a disgruntled sigh.
“Let’s stop up here by these trees.” Kayden said, signaling a grouping of saplings off the side of the road. Clark agreed and as they approached he searched for a dry spot to sit. Meanwhile Kayden went to the tree with the lowest branches and began collecting water from the wet leaves to get his hair back under control. Clark plopped down on a dry spot at the base of a larger tree and began cleaning off his glasses with his dry undershirt.
“Do you still have the map?” Clark asked, replacing his glasses on his face and leaning against the trunk of the massive tree.
“Yeah, it should be in my pack.” Kayden took a moment from wetting his hair, still leaning forward so it didn’t fall in his face to pull off the small clipper; a bag that hung around the waist, named after the way it remained closed which was not a buckle but with retractable clips, a bag that had recently been introduced and popular among travelers. Kayden tossed the pouch to Clark, having it fall a bit short as to make him have to get up to get it, and then went right back to wetting and fixing his hair.

Kayden was weird about his hair. He didn’t allow it to get long enough to bind and make into a ponytail, but didn’t wear it short enough for it not to be in his face. Looking at him now, Clark noticed the scar that stretched across the left side of his head, where an ear should be. Clark was told it was a medical procedure, and through that his brother had lost his ear and his hearing. As such he wore it in a fashion to cover up what his head was missing. Though Clark didn’t think the hearing loss bothered him much, he adjusted to life without it. If asked about it he just says he thinks it “defines him”. He never was much of a “Lefty” when it came to using anything else, though Clark didn’t know if that was what he meant.

Clark retracted his thought and looked at the bag sitting a few feet from him. He looked at his brother who was just smiling at his farce. Clark just sighed and moved himself to grab the bag in the laziest way possible, getting his pants wet from trying to lean across the grass. Then, settling back into his dry area away from the rest of the wet world, Clark unclipped the pouch and began looking through it. Sifting through the useless things his brother carries with him; chalk, a bag of what appeared to be tiny rocks, sunflower seeds, a wooden statue of a rabbit, and even a small empty yet corked glass bottle. The same brother that had always told him to “travel light” and “only bring what you need” was now the one carrying a clip bag full of junk. Clark hunted through the bag to finally find his mark, the map. Crushed between the bag of rocks and the wooden statue, the map lay rolled and wrinkled. Unrolling it Clark found it to be one of Kayden’s own creations.

Kayden liked to dabble in things, and Cartography was something he was good at but not great at, as he was with a lot of things he dabbled in. The map contained a great outline of the land of Lyragon, mirroring that of other professional maps with main roads and outlines of the provinces, though, the annotations surrounding certain “landmarks” and random doodles of things Kayden considered important were off-putting. Much of it was in Elven, which was the main script used by the Sodomeiji, an order of mages who preferred to follow the ancient Elven way of magic combined with swordplay, than traditional magical study. Kayden was among their order, and as such is not considered a wizard by the council of elder mages. This was an issue when Kayden signed himself up to travel with Clark on his journey to the twelve towers. Clark did not want to be viewed down upon when arriving at the towers with not only his older brother guarding him, but with a Sodomeiji at that. Clark had set that aside though, as they were enjoying their trip thus far, despite Clark not knowing where in Lyragon they are.
Looking at the map and reading the small amount of Elven he understood, Clark found the road they were on. It was a side road to the capitol city of Dorende, Midway; a town which was in the direct center of all of Lyragon and was a half point for any trading expedition to either side. Midway was one of the three largest cities in Lyragon. It also held a tower that Clark had to visit. He had already visited three of the twelve, and was going to knock out the five in the west before coming back to get the rest. The strange thing was that there was a more direct route they could have taken to get to Midway; yet, Kayden had taken them down this road. Clark saw this now and looked at his brother who had just finished and was drying his hair with the dry cowl he had in his other pack.
“Why did you make us take this road instead of the more direct route to Midway?” Clark asked, pointing at the map as he did to show the road.
“Why didn’t you use magic to pull the bag to you instead of getting up?” Kayden retorted, and Clark had to admit that was a good question. He knew plenty of spells that required no effort, though, that would reinstate why their Eldest brother, Tobiah, referred to magic as “cheap” and “absolutely lazy”. Even still, Clark knew that was just a dodge to keep from answering his question.
“Seriously, this route is slower and goes out of the way.” Clark restated looking over the map another time to make sure it was the right road. It was a small side path that veered through a forest and went around a lake, which the main road goes over with a bridge. At the main arch of the road there was a small X and the Elven symbol that Clark translated as “Old”. He guessed it was just an old road.
“Maybe I just wanted to view the scenery.” Kayden said, tossing the now damp cowl back into his bag. “We will get there, don’t worry.”
Clark accepted that with a shrug, and started to get himself back up. Kayden clipped his pouch back on his belt, and threw his bag back onto his shoulder, letting it rest over the sword, named Emlen, that hung diagonally across his back. Clark was starting to notice many changes in his brother on this journey. They had only been traveling a few days now but he was already noticing how his brother had, for lack of a better word, matured. Though it wasn’t like he still wasn’t the same Kayden when they were kids, he just had some weird new things. He carried a sword without a point. It was flat at the tip and the blade was too thin to be used as a hacking sword. It was long enough to be considered a long sword, though, light enough to be a dagger.

Clark assumed it was magical, and awaited his chance to see his brother use it in a fight. Not like he expected to deal with much more that squirrels, rabbits, and maybe the occasional bear out here. All of which he could kill from across the forest with only a thought. His brother knew a bit of magic too, but that was Clark’s specialty. He had focused his studies into Evocation, a school of magic used for offensive and war magic. He always wished to go off with his brothers on their adventures to join them in battles and be useful in those. Clark could best other mages in a sword fight, but magic was his talent, not swordplay as his brothers. Their Eldest brother, Tobiah, was the one that sparked it all in both of them. He used to adventure off with whatever weapon he could fit in both hands, or even bare fisted, and come back with stories and scars.

Kayden couldn’t get enough, but he yearned for a different kind of adventure. He was the first to get into magic. Studying with a wizard who apprenticed him until he had his fill, and he dropped out and left on adventures, sword in hand. Clark took his spot, and kept with it, finding his fill in magic. He took in all he could, learning every little bit. He still left time for Kayden and Tobiah’s adventure tales though. When he went off to study Magic in one of the larger towers, as he showed great potential and was conscripted to come, he didn’t see much of Kayden and Tobiah due to the strict visitation rules of the towers. Kayden got to visit more often due to his joining of the Sodomeiji, a surprise to many people as they are viewed with distaste.

Clark assumed this was where he learned much of what he knows, and also the reason he carries such oddities. Clark realized how strange he must look next to his warrior mage brother. Clark carried no weapon aside from a small dirk, not much for protection, and the components he required for his spells. He did notice his brother carried no components despite his own magical talents. Did he just not cast spells anymore? Did he just rely on swordplay like Tobiah?

“Are you okay? You are staring at me in thought a lot.” Kayden said, waving his hand in front Clark’s face snapping him out of thought.
“Sorry, it’s just been a while since we traveled together.” Clark said, seeing Kayden’s stance which indicated he was getting impatient and was ready to go. He hurried to grab the small satchel he carried his books and journals in.

“Well I’m just happy to have some time off.” Kayden joked. Clark didn’t actually know how Kayden acquired “Time off” from the work he did for the Sodomeiji order. Kayden didn’t really talk about what they made him do either. Kayden had his reasons for it. “Let’s hope to find some shelter before nightfall, it might rain again.”

Clark agreed, he may be willing to wear his cloak, but it was still soaked from the last shower and they still had quite a ways to go down this road. Clark didn’t know, but Kayden had a surprise for him that he didn’t know if he would like or not. Looking at the sky, the sun still hidden behind a bank of clouds, Kayden just hoped they’d make it before the sun went down.

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3 thoughts on “The Brothers 3: Chapter 1: Wet Hair and Dirt Roads

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