Byron blankly looked out the window of his small cabin in Truce village. The sun was preparing to rise on this cold winter morning, and he still didnít have a fire going in the stove yet. The main cause of this was the fact that he couldnít afford to buy fire wood, let alone an ax to chop his own with. He had struggled hard enough to find a house affordable.
Shortly after Glenn was born, Byron was lucky enough to get a small bit of work from a group of carpenters that lived in the village. His job was simple enough, carry supplies, get tools, run errands. As simple as these things were, they soon became more complicated. The complication had arisen because of Glenn. He had become sick, and his harsh conditions of the new cabin didnít suit him very well either.
Glenn was treated by a new medical assistant for the towns. gold-hungry old doctor. Pneumonia was the last thing that Byron and Catherine had wanted to hear. For someone poor, pneumonia was often a synonym for a soon death. However, Byron wouldnít give up on his son. He spent all of the money he had let for the prescribed potion that was needed for Glennís well-being, but after this ordeal Byronís job had long since expired and he and Catherine were penniless.
It soon became easy to see that Byron and Catherine could not care for Glenn. Byron and Catherine looked for a solution to their problems but found nothing more than despair at the fact that there were no more solutions. Byron once again found himself thinking on these matters as Catherine awakened. "Good morning, Catherine," Byron said, almost in a whisper. He knew what was coming, as did Catherine, but he preferred not to think about it nor speak of it.
"Good morning, Byron," she replied back. Neither of them thought that this was a very good morning, though. Last night they had had a deep discussion on the matter of Glenn. They both knew that today would be the day, but it still didnít feel like it should happen. Glenn was Byronís first child, his first son, what could possibly be his only chance at carrying on the family name...
"Catherine, do you still think we should-" Byron was trying to say, cut off suddenly by Catherine.
"I know it will be hard, Byron, but it is the best for Glenn. We canít take care of him, but Iím sure that the nice family on the southern end of the village will help us. They have always taken in children. They know that times are hard.......," Catherine said in response to what she thought Byron was going to say, "It will no easier for me........" With that, Catherine began to sob.
"I know. And it will be okay," Byron said in an unsure tone while kissing Catherine lightly. He knew very well that it wouldnít be "okay," at least not for them.
"I just canít believe that our only child must be given away......" Catherine said between sobs, "I donít know if I can do it."
"I told Glenn that he would have a good home, something I had never had," Byron stated with finality in his voice, "He will have a good home! Catherine, we must. Glenn needs a better life than what we have." Byron was beginning to realize that he could give Glenn what he wanted for him, but not directly. The family that would take him was used to this, almost like an orphanage on a smaller scale. No, not an orphanage. Byron couldnít stand the thoughts of sending his son to an orphanage. No, he thought to himself, it is not an orphanage. It is a chance. A chance for Glenn to have the nice things we canít give him, and a better chance at life.
After this procession of thought, Catherine touched Byron on the shoulder again. Byron was now completely sure of what he had to do. His son wasnít going to be poor, he was going to be rich, in every possible way he could be so. He would be rich with life, family, and chances. Yes, this was indeed the right choice. Byron and Catherine then looked at each other, and then at Glenn, for what would prove to be the last time.
It was very early in the morning when the Kinston family was awakened. There was no light in the least outside; it wasnít even the false, grey dawn where the first rays of sunlight began to come seemingly without the sun. A knock at the door awakened them. The woman in bed hurried down the steps of a house that was one of the finest in the village. She started a lantern and groggily wondered aloud, "Who would be calling on us at this hour?" She then looked through the window of her house and saw no one, but she did see a peculiar looking package on the front porch.
"Mail of some sort? This early?" she once again wondered aloud. She opened the door and picked up the package. It was a small cradle with and overly-bundled up baby inside of it. This by no means surprised her, for this would happen often. It was known in the village that if for some reason a person couldnít take care of their child, then they should take to her and her husband, and they would take care of it.
For the first time she actually looked at the child carefully. It was obviously sleeping, but why would the parents have left it there on such a cold morning, not even knowing if she and her husband were home. Wouldnít they want to absolutely know that....., and then it dawned on her. Unlike some of the people who didnít care about their children, these parents obviously cared so much that to see their baby once more would have been painful.
"Itís okay, little one," the woman said softly to the child who had begun wailing. She then completely took the child out and began to hold it and stroke its head.
"What was it?" said the womanís husband who was just coming down the steps.
"It appears we have a new member of the family, Charles," the woman said, holding up the child in explanation.
"Ahhhh, so someone else needs our help. Well, we have more than enough wealth, so let us open our home to this child," Charles said in acceptance. "What is this?"
Charles picked up a small note from within the basket now laying on the floor. He quickly scanned over it. "Maurene, apparently the parents have left us a note discussing the history of the child. 'Thank you for taking care of our child. We know that you have so many that you take care of, but if any children deserve a chance in life, it is our Glenn. Please take care of him, and when he is an adult, please tell him the truth. His full name is Glenn Byron Merthonuer. Thank you once again, and now we must leave this village in order to spare us the pain of being so near to Glenn, and yet not being in contact with him.í
Well, maybe not much history, but it was most certainly about the child."
"I am glad we could help them. I remember meeting those poor people before. That old cabin they had.......at least they had the decency to realize that they couldnít raise this little one," said Maurene, almost in congratulations at how the two parents knew when they had lost. "We shall keep this child as ours until he is 18, and then we shall tell him the truth." With that piece of finality, Maurene put down Glenn and went into the kitchen to get him a bottle of milk.
While Maurene was occupied with this task, Charles began to hold the child and learn about him. Charles himself had always been pampered when he was a child. His father had been an advisor to the King of Guardia, and rightly so made quite a large fortune in his 50 years of service to the King. After Charles was grown, he had all of that wealth and no one to share it with, except for Maurene. He had desperately wanted children, but because of circumstances beyond the control of both him and Maurene it was impossible. Even at an early age his life started to sink to the pits of despair and drunkenness.
It was then, one morning, that an escape from this life was achieved. He was walking from the market one day and heard a wail on one of the villageís back streets. He found there a boy. Obviously this boy was nothing but a baby at this point in its life, and also as obvious was the fact that it was abandoned. At first Charles merely wanted to leave it, but he took a good look at it and the Charles that was so angry, so in desperation at the fact that he thought the world hated him, melted away. In his place came the warm, loving, and caring Charles that had originally been. Charles took the child home, and began to raise it as his own. Somehow, once word came out that Charles had done such a kind act, any parents that were incapable of meeting the needs of their child would bring it to him. He gladly accepted this new position in the town.
Charles now came out of a reverie of thought and took another look at Glenn, who was sleeping in his arms. Maurene came in and gave the bottle for Glenn to her husband. At this, Charles smiled, and felt a strange, good feeling come over him. After all of these years of getting and raising new children, he finally felt that his family was complete.
On to Chapter 3: The Outcast Meets a Friend