Before I was born was Mardon. Before Mardon was born Gareth. Gareth, of course, was named for our father, Gareth. Mardon, in turn, was named for our mother Sera’s father, Mardon. I, in turn, was named for her brother Calen. She wished desperately for a daughter, as did our father, as too many sons are a drain upon an estate. To the first son goes the principle of property; a small tithe of it to the second son, which splits the land irritatingly, unless he can win greater land by steel – which is what my brother Mardon endeavored nobly in time – but to the third, there is either destitution for the family by a thirding of property, or a desperate hope he finds work disinheriting him from properties of name.
They stopped with their third born, for even though a beautiful daughter from a noble house would grant them wealth and unity with other homes, they felt the Gods did not wish a daughter upon them after three times they’d been denied. So my brother Gareth was exalted in the eyes of our father and our mother; he was already astride beast when I was born, and by the time I could run after horse he was already comfortable upon his own and settled into his path of life.
Mardon was four years my senior, and himself three years younger than Gareth. Sera, our mother, was not well-suited to childbirth and required a great deal of rest between granting us. My own birth, in addition to an omen of her daughterless life, was painful in particular and required a considerable effort on the part of a Priest’s care. Perhaps this, they would later attest, explained my inclination. For I as a child was given to imagination and fancy, a favoring that pleased my mother greatly and somewhat soured my father’s musings.