He had never met another third son before that day. His father had snarled to his brothers about a conference that morning. Before the sun was high is the sky Trkasu found himself stuffed into a carriage in silence and glared at with angry eyes. No one laughed as they drove on, the driver whistling a cheery tune when no one seemed to be listening. A bird chattered to Trkasu, a hint of a smile perking on his face as the robin mocked his brother’s flowery dress and frilly sleeves.
The mansion they stopped in front of rose higher than the trees around and higher than anything Trkasu had seen before. He was shuffled out the door of the carriage, pushed forward with such speed he stumbled over every pebble and struggled to stay up. His brother muttered between themselves as they led him forward. Even the door towered over him, doorknobs far above his reach. The brothers knocked, snarling as they waited and tapping their feet impatiently.
An elderly gentleman greeted them, a butler with a wrinkled face and wrinkled hands that led Trkasu in with no gentleness nor regard. The doors slammed behind him and sunk the hall into silence. His own uneven footsteps seemed amplified for the soft shuffling beside him, cold had on his shoulder leading him towards a wing far from the center of the house.
In the corner of the room sat a boy even smaller than him, a tiny boy that Trkasu barely recognized as anything human. They barely looked at each other, the butler rolling his eyes and snorting as he locked the door behind him.
Silence reigned in the tiny room, the two forgotten children settling as far apart as they could. Only the occasional glance across the sunlight-brightened room took up the following hours. Trkasu found himself trembling at every glance, fingers curled tightly around the scratchy wooden brace. The other boy looked almost dead when he stared, wide eyes that had never seen even as much as Trkasu had. There was nothing there.
They did not speak even as the day wore into night, the light falling into darkness. The room faded and Trkasu could not make out the other boy in the other corner any longer. His fingers twitched across the floor, skittered in the dust on the tile and waited for someone to open the door to the hallway and the flickering light he could barely see from below the doors.
He drifted to sleep in the corner, curled against the wall. His eyes had closed against his own will. And when he woke to sunshine in the room and in his eyes, there was something past silence in the room with him. He turned, glanced, watched the other boy and found his hands trembling even harder. Something in the air wasn’t right, didn’t fit. The air was too still.
Crawling across the room, knees shaking and foot dragging against the ground. One trembling hand touched the cold body, ghosted across the boy’s face and found closed eyes that bulged out of his bony face. A shiver shook his body and his hand fell away limply. The door creaked open as he started to crawl away.
Wrinkled fingers laid out the body of the young son, old eyes staring with disturbing intensity at a boy who had never been his master. It was barely more than a moment before the wrinkled fingers rested on Trkasu’s shoulder, leading him away from the cold body slowly warmed by sunlight.
His brothers waited in the doorway, tapping their feet on the ground and glaring at him and sighing. They pushed him towards the coach with hands as he stooped and feet when he fell, kicking him forward until they climbed into the carriage and waited for him pull himself out the dirt.