Saturday Snippet : The Prequel

8:42 AM

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William was only five at the time, but the moment had been so vivid that he could clearly remember it. His father had knelt on the stone floor and placed the small, squirming bundle in his arms. The moment he had looked down into the face of his small sister, something stirred in his heart that he had not felt before. She looked so small and so helpless all he wanted to do was hold her close and keep anyone from ever hurting her.
“This is Eleanor, your new sister,” his father had said, placing his hand under William’s arm to support him.
William looked down in wonder. He gently poked the puffy cheek and thought it was the softest thing that his hand had ever touched.
“It is your duty as a brother to watch over her and protect her.”
“Timothy too?” William asked, thinking of his brother who was a year younger than himself.
“Yes, his too. But you are the oldest; you must always care for your sister no matter what happens.”
“Yes, Papa,” he said solemnly, looking down at his sister. Nothing would ever make him break his word to his father, nothing at all.
“Good lad,” his father said, patting him on the shoulder. “It is always up to the men to protect those women whom God places in our lives. Eleanor will need you to defend her, her whole life, from those who would hurt her.”
Eleanor turned her eyes up toward her brother and stared at him as she sucked on her fist. William returned the gaze, wondering if the little one understood what his father said or could see that she had already possessed his young heart.
“You don’t have to worry, Eleanor,” William whispered. “I’ll take care of you always.”
The little one just blinked. William reached his finger out to stroke her cheek, but instead, Eleanor reached out and took hold of the finger in her fist.
“Papa! She likes me!” William squealed in delight.
“Indeed she does. Never betray that trust.”
William shifted. His father was given to solemn moments, but this one was lasting uncomfortably long. He had promised to look after her and protect her, hadn’t he? “Can I go play now?”
His father smiled and took the infant from him. “Of course.”
William spun around and ran toward where Timothy had been playing. He wondered if one of the knights would teach him some more about swords today. If he was going to be in charge of protecting his sister, he would need to get better. Maybe he and Timothy could just play with their wooden swords.

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