The Gift

by Hui Ying Lei

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/13928.html)

Summer had a monopoly on Brinnerstone and its outlying country; February was not halfway done before the snow melted away and even the nights were warm and pleasant. It was early in that month that the birthday of the royal heir came around. Perhaps wartime made an opportunity for jovial celebration that much more appealing. Either way, his family was not a humble tribe and on that day the wine ran freely, the roasted pigs came one after another into the halls, and the Chinese rockets shot up pink and yellow into the sky long into the night. Belvius Bosch took the hullabaloo of his twentieth year ceremony in stride, sitting through the noise and formalities and insufferable relations until the early morning hours, when he was distracted and, much to his relief, given an excuse to slip away. Hurrying out of the ceremonies and into the upper levels of the castle, he became simply Billy.

“Ugh, I thought they would force another peach pastry down my throat. I’ve had enough food for a week!”

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