END OF PART VI - Lucien learned how to fish from his brother, idk, no one can convince me otherwise. Just a warning that there are mentions of abuse and it is also implied. The next few parts are a little shorter, so hopefully they’ll be edited a little faster. I hope you enjoy it!!!
ahhhh so excited legoo!
Prince of Ashes. Part VI.
“I don’t like this,” Lucien mumbled as he stared into the waters of the river.
Rufus kicked water at him.
“I don’t like you,” Lucien grumbled as he made to splash back, his hand in midair when Eris growled at them.
Rufus kicked water at Eris.
Eris closed his eyes, standing straight, droplets of water dripped along his face and back into the river. He let out a long-suffering sigh. Lucien’s laugh could be heard above the sound of the water.
“I’ll remind the both of you that I was not the one that suggested we spend our day doing this.” Eris made a vague hand gesture in front of him. He opened his eyes and raised a wet, auburn brow at Rufus. Rufus waved a hand dismissively, something he seemed to have picked up from Eris. How annoying, Eris thought, and considered that perhaps he should wave people off less often.
“You’ve been holed away in that study of yours for far too long, it can’t be healthy. Touch some grass, Eris, smell some roses. I’m sure it will do you much good.”
Lucien smiled, his shoulder length hair tied back messily with a strap of leather, “Why don't we make it a game, then, that should make this exciting.” Now that Lucien had grown a bit, he looked a lot like Rufus. Eris supposed that meant Lucien looked like him as well, but there were more similarities to the two youngest brothers.
Both of them had easy grins and playful, russett eyes. The only small differences were their noses and the fact that Lucien’s skin was a light brown in comparison to the pale skin of the rest of his brothers. Eris couldn’t help but think they were all very fucking lucky that Lucien had the blood-red hair they’d all gotten from their mother. Sometimes, Eris wondered where in the fuck the Lady of Autumn had managed to find a secret lover from another court, but he wasn’t too keen on asking her.
“Hope you’re ready to lose, fox,” Rufus bared his teeth at Lucien, “Don’t expect me to go easy on you just because you’re little.”
Lucien stuck out his tongue. “First one to catch a fish wins,” he said, getting into position.
Eris smiled, something that was becoming quite rare, bending over with his hands hanging loosely in the water, “Prepare to learn from the best, I’m sure the couple centuries I have on you both should give me an advantage.”
“Doubtful,” Rufus snapped, “You’re shit at this kind of thing.”
Not true, Eris thought, but didn’t bother responding. Eris had been the one to teach Rufus how to do this in the first place, having learned from Micah and Widge from his time in the war camps. Eris was pretty sure that as princes, he and his brothers were very much above wading around in rivers trying to catch fish, but it was nice to get outside.
“Are you sure there are fish in this river?” Lucien muttered.
“There are fish in every river,” Rufus replied, moving closer to their youngest brother.
Eris was no longer paying attention to the water, he merely glanced up to look at Lucien. Lucien was biting his lip, a look of determination on his face as he stared intently into the running water. Eris guessed that Lucien could probably do anything he set his mind to with that kind of perseverance.
Eris had been spending less and less time at the Forest House, not just because of his father’s many orders, but because he felt as though the less attention he gave Lucien, Beron did the same. Lucien didn’t really understand why Eris was avoiding him, but at least he still had Rufus. Eris hated to admit that he missed the little runt, and he couldn’t help feeling like he was missing out on Lucien’s life.
Cato had just been born when Eris was sent to the war camps that bordered the Autumn Court, Owain had been born right before the War, and Maddox right after it. Eris had been busy then. Worst was when Priam was born and Eris had been dutifully kicked out of The Forest House to rule over a territory far away from the capital city of Calchas. Not being there for his brothers was one of the few things he’d regretted when he’d been younger, but he didn’t spend too much time dwelling on that now.
He had been around much more for Rufus. His mother had had a difficult pregnancy and Eris had worried for her. He’d worried even more when Rufus was born such a small and sickly thing, but that had only meant that Beron paid him no mind. It was evident in the way Rufus acted, in his mannerisms and the patterns of his speech, that Eris had been a big part of his brother’s life. Eris supposed they differed a lot in personality, but he didn’t mind.
He’d rather Rufus be wild and playful than whatever the hells had happened to him.
“Ha,” Rufus said, amusement glittering in his eyes, “Found one.”
With a small yelp, Lucien crashed into the waters.
“Cauldron, Rufus,” Eris snarled. Rufus had wrapped a hand around Lucien’s ankle, holding him so that he dangled upside down, water dripping into the river from Lucien’s soaked clothes and hair.
Lucien made a funny gasping sound, his mouth gaping as he sputtered water. Eris didn’t know why he had panicked so irrationally, he knew very well that nothing dangerous lurked in these rivers. Eris stood to his full height and watched as Rufus lifted Lucien so that they were almost facing each other.
“The rare fox fish, quite the catch, brothers,” Rufus grinned, “I’m sure Old Sae will be thrilled with this remarkable find.”
“Eris,” his youngest brother whined, and Eris sighed, reaching for Lucien.
“Honestly, Rufus,” he tried to send a reprimanding look to him, but Rufus just shrugged, a smile still gracing his face. Rufus liked this sort of thing - tricks and riddles and jokes. Lucien liked it as well, just when he wasn’t the one the tricks and jokes were directed at. Lucien wrapped his arms around Eris’s neck, leaning his head on Eris’s shoulder like he had done when he was much younger.
Eris could hardly believe that Lucien was already a decade old. Eris held onto Lucien with one hand, fixing the cuff of his pants so that it covered the gold tattoo on his ankle. His father still didn’t know he’d gotten one, probably would have cut off his foot if he ever found out, but it served as a reminder to Eris that Beron didn’t own him.
“That’s why Eris is my favourite,” Lucien mumbled as Eris straightened.
Eris couldn’t help the triumphant smile he flashed in Rufus’s direction. Rufus scowled, “You hardly ever see Eris! He’s always gone, and you constantly come crying to me when father makes you upset, and Eris is your favourite?”
Eris spoke before they started arguing, something they had begun doing a lot. “I think we’re done enough fishing for today.” Eris took the leather strap out of Lucien’s hair and handed it to Rufus, warming his hands with some of his magic and raking his fingers through the wet strands of his brother’s damp hair. “I should be getting back.”
“Mother’s tits, next time you want something, Lucien, I’m going to tell you to bother Eris with it.” Rufus was smiling as he ruffled Lucien’s hair, so Eris guessed Rufus might not have been telling the truth. “If you can find him, that is.”
“You never come home anymore.” Lucien observed, leaning back in Eris’s arms as he gently moved the hair that had fallen into Eris’s face. Eris frowned, thinking how Lucien’s softness was going to get him into a whole lot of trouble in a few years time.
“He’s gotten tired of us,” Rufus flicked water from his wet hands at Lucien. While Eris was pretty sure Rufus had meant that as a joke, he couldn’t help feeling as though perhaps Rufus was hiding some truth in his statement, some complaint he had of his oldest brother.
Lucien looked to Rufus, scrunching his nose in annoyance, “I’m tired of you.”
Rufus snorted, “I sincerely doubt that.”
“I’m not tired of you,” Eris felt like he needed to reassure them both, “I’ve just been busy.”
Rufus seemed to recognize that Eris hadn’t liked what he’d said, so he threw his arm over Eris’s shoulders as they continued to walk along the cobblestone path. “I know, I know, you think we’re great fun.” Rufus grinned, “It’s everyone else you’re tired of.” Just as they walked up the stone steps of The Forest House, Owain threw open the large, carved doors. Eris wondered if he’d been sitting there the whole time, waiting for their return.
The guards stationed there didn’t flinch at the loud bang the doors made as they hit the walls. “Where the hells have you been?” He snarled, his teeth bared. The jewels in the hilt of his large sword glinted in the light of the setting sun.
“Watch your tone, Owain, I’m not in the mood,” Eris snapped.
Owain stood in front of Eris so that he couldn’t walk any further, his broad hand grabbing Eris’s shoulder roughly. “Father has returned from his trip to Spring a little early and he’s looking for you.”
“He’s not due back until next week.” Eris thought that he would have been able to spend time with Rufus and Lucien, and Beron wouldn’t have even gotten word that he’d been neglecting some of his duties for it.
“Well, there’s been a change of plans, and now he’s fucking pissed.” Owain ran his fingers through his short, messy hair, “He already beat Cato bloody, said it was for letting you leave the house when you have a million things to do.” Owain shook his head, “I told father I’d send you to him once you’d returned. Head to the throne room - immediately.”
Eris was debating whether he should ask Owain where their mother was when Lucien was wrenched from his arms.
“Fucking hurry,” Owain spat, holding Lucien a bit awkwardly.
Lucien shifted in Owain’s arms so that he was facing his oldest brother, “Eris, you said you’d read me a story, you promised.” Eris frowned. He’d gotten very good at breaking his promises lately.
“I’ll read you a story,” Rufus finally spoke, saving Eris from having to respond, “Maybe we can get Owain to join us, too.”
Eris didn’t think Owain had ever read to a child, but he couldn’t help but feel grateful to Owain as he shot Lucien a small smile before he said, “I suppose I could join you for a bit.” The tone of his voice was much softer than what Eris was used to hearing from him. As captain of the Royal Guard, Owain usually sounded like he was giving an order, snappish and abrupt.
Eris remembered a time when Owain was all smiles, and he often wondered what Owain would have become had Beron not been their father. “I’ll read to you another time.” Eris tugged once on a strand of Lucien’s hair, “Goodnight, fox.” Lucien’s russett eyes were wide as he looked at Eris, tears threatening to fall from them. With one last look at Rufus, who wasn’t doing a very good job of keeping the fear he so obviously felt off his face, Eris jogged down the hall towards the throne room.
He would have to stop spoiling Lucien, Eris thought. He was making things worse than they had to be. By the time Eris finally made it to the doors of the throne room, he’d decided that he’d be spending even less time with Lucien, since that was what it meant to protect him. Eris took a deep breath, running a hand through his unbound hair. Eris regretted that he hadn’t thought to bring his boots when they’d gone fishing, and he muttered a low curse as he stared at his bare feet.
He felt a bit ridiculous, but there was no point in stalling, so Eris took another deep breath before he pushed the doors to the throne room open. Beron was already standing, the Lady of Autumn behind him and off to the side. She was gripping the skirts of her dress so tightly her knuckles had turned white.
“How many times do I have to tell you, boy,” Beron growled, his voice thick with rage. “How many fucking times?”
The ash-tipped whip in his father’s hand was familiar and Eris nearly flinched just looking at it. Beron shook his head when Eris didn’t respond, “Insolent,” he snarled. “The disrespect you show your High Lord cannot go unpunished, you understand that?”
Eris watched as his mother took one small step forward.
Eris widened his eyes in silent warning, but she spoke despite it. “Beron—”
“Be quiet,” his father hissed. “I don’t want to hear your voice.” Addressing Eris, Beron asked, “Where were you?”
Despite being quite a bit taller than the High Lord of the Autumn Court, Eris usually felt very small in his presence. Eris lifted his chin, “Out.” He often found he sounded very young when his father questioned him - like a defiant child. Beron looked closely at his eldest son, eyes stopping on Eris’s bare feet.
“5 for disobedience and 5 because you should have known better.” It could have been so much worse, and Eris knew he should have been counting his blessings for such a simple punishment, counting his blessings that Rufus and Lucien weren’t there in his place, but he couldn’t help the feeling of hate that swelled in his chest.
“Beron, please,” his mother begged. Eris didn’t know why she bothered, at this point, Eris’s back was so scarred it hardly mattered.
Beron turned to face her, flames in his eyes as the temperature in the room raised. “Speak again, and I’ll add another five.”
Since Eris could remember, Beron had always been a High Lord before a father. As Eris undid the laces of his shirt, he vowed that he would be a father before a High Lord if he lived long enough to do both.
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