Despite his unwanted wife, despite his father’s harshness in regards to marrying, Muric had children. Four of them, two sons and two daughters. His eldest was a son, which was considered a blessing, but as he walked by their doors, he cared little.
They had straight hair, lighter than their father’s. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The hair should have been dark and curly, a tangled mess. It was true he preferred the hair of his wife, Jessica, to that of his previous lover, but hair was not a person.
The eyes were green and blue among the children, but that shouldn’t have happened either. They should have been the color of roasted almonds. “To hell with sapphires and emeralds. I had all the treasure I required.” He rested his forehead against one of the wood doors and clenched his fists, weeping.
A door opened, and out stumbled Alice. She had her mother’s eyes and hair, the child most resembling mother and the youngest of the get. “Father?” She wiped her eyes and yawned. In her arms she held the blanket her grandmother made her when she was born. “Father, why are you here?”
The statement stung. He never went to see the children. Why was he there? “I needed to take a walk.”
“Oh. Do you want to see my room, father?” The child walked to Muric and took his hand in hers. She had small, delicate hands. “I don’t know if you ever saw my room.”
“I would love to see your room, my lady.”
She dragged him in and started pointing out her dolls, their names, and what they’ve all done before, usually in regards to mom and the other children. Her bed was pleasing with its plushness and she bounced a few times on it, giggling. Muric just watched, admiring, voicing his admiration from time to time.
It was nearly an hour when she yawned again, looking up at Muric, “Daddy, would you tuck me in and tell me a story? I’m quite sleepy now, and you should go back to mommy. You look silly in the cloak.”
“I will, my sweetling.” And so he tucked her into bed and told her a story of King Renold and his bravery in battle, until her heavy eyes shut. He left silently, heading back to his bed chamber.
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