The story of Crotalo Biscia

So you want to know more about me - now what do you expect to hear? That I'm the black sheep of the family? Yes. Quite right. Most of my relatives will frown when you mention my name. They will mutter something about an ungrateful son and then quickly change the topic. But did anyone of them ever really think about me and my feelings? None of them will ever admit the true cause of all... this angelic elven woman who is my mother. Oh what a shining example - always ready to help those who are in need. Except for her own child who should be thankful for having rich parents, a nice home, enough food, good clothes and all kinds of luxury you can imagine...

Yes, we - or rather, they, since my mother and me agreed on the fact that one of us had to be excluded from this idyllic little community - are quite a well situated family. My father is a merchant and travels around with his ship most of the time. "You can't trust an employed captain when you really want to make big money", he used to explain to me when I asked why he was hardly at home. Well, yes... my dad is quite OK. Sometimes I meet him by chance in a harbour somewhere at the end of the world. He still seems to like me a lot. The first time he saw me in my new blood-red robe he just raised an eyebrow and then shrugged his shoulders. "Be my guest any time you like, you're always welcome on my ship - but don't expect me to support you with my hard earned coins." ... Well, that's him. Always busy. Taciturn and rough, but a good pal... when you manage to find him. And a cunning old fox as a trader.

While my dad is at sea most of the time, mom has dedicated her life to the poor and helpless ones, especially to the orphanage kids in Elohim. Of course she doesn't spend her husband's money to feed them. Dad wouldn't allow that and she doesn't want to live in poverty either. Her hobby is organizing little festivities "for the benefit of the orphanage" and stuff like that. Which means that she and her friends (all bored rich houseladies) spend weeks of preparation for a small exclusive party for the créme of the elven society, and afterwards they proudly give a handfull of platinum coins to Nara, the headmistress of the orphanage. Awfully important...

Oh, and of course there are those nice meetings at teatime. Talks about dresses and furniture... games of cards (preferably bridge)... cooking recipes... and the usual gossip amoung Ladies: "Did you hear the latest news about Xyz's daughter? She is pregnant!" - "She is what? Dear oh dear! I really wonder what went into her..."

My mom was seldomly at home. When I was little, she engaged nannies to look after me. Later, private tutors cared for my education. So I hardly had any contact to children of my age. And not even those people who were paid for it really cared about me.

My worst memory from my childhood is an accident that happened to me when I was about two years old. This foolish old nanny who was supposed to look after me just tied a rope around my waist and left me alone on the platform while she went back inside our tree house to read a book. The rope was a bit too long and like most little children I was curious enough to fall over the edge of the platform. I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging between the tree and the deep ground... My dad came home from a journey that evening. He found me hanging there and pulled the rope to get me back to the platform. My ribs were black and hurt like hell for the next three weeks. Of course the nanny was fired... But that didn't really make things better.

Being a child was like living in a jail. Especially when I "didn't behave" - as my teachers put it. Not that they ever touched me... Our home was a "civilized place" and I wasn't even slapped a single time. Instead, they locked me into a small dark room where the maid kept her brooms and other cleaning things. I had to stand still like a little statue, carrying a bucket full of water in each hand.

I started to rebel against this humiliation when I was 14 years old. It was a bad surprise for my teacher when I simply emptied the buckets over his head - and a bad surprise for me to find myself across my father's knees for the first time in my life the same evening. He only used his flat hand and he didn't really beat me very hard. But it was enough to make me put down my head and eat humble pie.

My resistance grew with my age and finally trouble came up in our home. A few times I ran away and spent the nights somewhere in the forests. Anything was better than my mother's sharp remarks on anything about me - like my long hair or my preference for leather clothes. In return, I refused to eat and to talk. And while she walked up and down behind me, shouting complaints and blaming me for compromizing the whole family and stuff like that I just sat there, staring at the walls and dreaming of a better life - without her.

Finally, when I was 18 years old, dad gave in. I didn't want to stay with my family, I wanted to leave... and he realized that there was no way to force me.

Crotalo Biscia