Full Text Edit
Part 1 Edit
Two weeks later, not long after Havelock sailed back home, Brandt and Grey agreed that it would be the perfect time to talk to their three children. So, after giving Dagny some time to get over the melancholy of her boyfriend leaving after two wonderful weeks, the five of them along with Shadow and Pyro walked through the forest until they came to the river.
The whole time they were walking, the family was silent. The Chief and her husband walked ahead holding hands for the entire time as Sven, Dagny, and Kari trailed nervously behind them. As they walked, Kari asked Sven what he thought this was about, but the heir could reply with an “I don’t know” making the Felman teens more nervous.
When they arrived at the river, Grey and Brandt slowly turned to face their children. Brandt took a deep breath. There was no turning back now. They needed to do this. Sven, Dagny, and Kari had the right to know what happened to their grandfather, especially Sven given that Grandpa Sven was his namesake.
“So…you guys mind telling us what’s going on?” Sven asked as their mother and father stared at them never letting go of each other’s hands. “Because if this is about Pyro and the nursery, I will say in my defense that it was all Kettil’s fault!”
“Sven, stop,” Grey said. “We need to talk about–” She stopped. “Wait…what’s this about the nursery?”
“Uhhh…you know, enough about the nursery!” Sven quickly said as he sat down in the grass. “What did you guys want to talk about?”
“Well…” Grey said as they all sat down, “there’s something that your dad wanted us to talk to you three about…something very important.”
“Is this about what you got upset about that day when Mom told us about the Rebellion?” Dagny asked. Was this it? Were they finally going to tell them the truth?
Brandt looked at his middle daughter. She might not have had his wife’s rebellious and adventurous personality like Sven did, but she did have Grey’s curiosity. He could see in her eyes that this had been bugging her for a while. He finally nodded.
“Yes, sweetheart,” he said. “That’s what this is about. You see…” he took a deep breath, “I never really told you about where I grew up before I met your mother, and now that you’re all a little older, I think it’s time to come clean about this with you.”
The kids only stared waiting for their father to continue. Grey once again took Brandt’s hand in hers holding it tightly. Somehow, his wife’s gentle touch allowed him to relax. He took another deep breath.
“You see, kids, I grew up in a tribe in the Wild East on the main land,” Brandt began, “and…that tribe belonged to…the Barbaric Burglars.”
“Wait…the Barbaric Burglars…?” Sven asked as his sisters widened their eyes. “You mean to tell us that you were a part of that tribe…the same tribe that attacked our home…and whose heir tried to make a move on Dagny?”
“Yes, son,” Brandt said. “Like your mother, I was an only child and grew up with my parents, and I was training to become a warrior of the village. I saw how my dad went on missions with the other warriors and wanted so badly to join them and to conquer other villages. It wasn’t until I was about 26 when I finally completed my training and was allowed to go on a conquest mission with my father and the others. And…our target…was…Haligan Island…”
Sven, Dagny, and Kari all widened their eyes and dropped their jaws each of them wondering if they had imagined their father saying this. Did they actually hear him say that?
“Y-You helped to attack Mom’s home…?” Dagny asked, “b-but…I-I don’t understand…h-how…y-you and…M-Mom…y-you…”
“Dags, honey, I…I understand how complicated this seems right now, but…let Daddy finish, okay?” Grey quickly asked reaching for her daughter’s hand with her free one. “I promise we’ll explain everything.”
Dagny stared at both her parents and nodded remembering what Havelock had told her. This was clearly something very sensitive for both her mother and father, and they needed to let them take their time in telling them…whatever it was they needed to tell them. She squeezed Grey’s hand tighter allowing them to continue.
“Anyway,” Brandt continued. “I was in the back, but I remember hearing your mother’s voice telling the men to leave. Next thing I knew…we charged. The Barbaric Burglars and the Haligans went to battle. It was utter chaos. I ducked and dodged as many soldiers as I could, and…before I could even blink…this…man came straight toward me… I…I…” Tears came to his eyes, and Grey gripped his hand tighter.
“Daddy?” Kari asked with great concern.
“Honey, you…you don’t have to tell them,” Grey quickly said. “W-We can just–”
“No…no, I need to do this,” Brandt whispered to her. He couldn’t turn back now. He was already in too deep…to leave them hanging like this. He couldn’t do that to them. They needed to know. They had a right to know. He took a deep breath and continued. “When the man came toward me, I…I had my sword out ready to fight, but…I…it…went straight to the man’s chest. And…and he fell to the ground…dead.”
“So…you…killed someone…?” Sven asked as his heart began to pound. So far, this was one story he wasn’t enjoying.
Brandt could only nod to his son.
“But…I-I don’t understand,” Sven said. “W-What does this have to do with what happened when Mom told us those stories?”
“That…that man I killed…” Brandt said, “he…” he took another deep breath, “he was your Grandpa Sven…your mother’s father…”
Part 2 Edit
Silence soared through the forest except for a few birds flying over head and the water trickling through the river not too far from where Chief Grey and her family sat. As soon as those words left Brandt’s mouth, the three teenaged children of the Chief all stared at their parents in such a shock as Grey and Brandt looked at them with sadness and nervousness waiting for them to say something…until Sven finally spoke up.
“I-I-I’m sorry,” the heir of Haligan Island finally said. “W-What did you just say…? Y-You killed who now?”
“Sven, are you really going to make me say it again?” Brandt asked rubbing his temple preparing for what was to come.
“Is that supposed to be funny?!” Sven shouted as he stood up. “First, you tell us that you attacked Mom’s home, and now you’re saying that our grandfather is actually because of you!!”
“Sven, please,” Grey said as she stood up as well holding up her hands to calm her son. “I understand that this is shocking for you, but–”
“And YOU! You’re another one!” Sven suddenly shouted. “Did you know that he did this…that he killed your own dad?! Or did you just not love your dad enough to dump him?”
“Sven, please, stop!” Dagny pleaded as she and Kari watched their older brother turn on their mother. It was bad enough watching him scream at their father.
“Don’t you dare talk to your mother that way!” Brandt suddenly said as he got between his wife and son. “You can yell at me all you want, but you are NOT to take this out on Mom!”
“No one is taking this out on anybody!” Grey shouted stepping in between Brandt and Sven holding out her hands to pacify them. She couldn’t help but be reminded of when Greg and King Haddock got into that argument and how they barely avoided the bloodshed. She couldn’t bare it if it happened to the two most important men in her life.
“Mom’s right, Sven,” Dagny said as she ran to her brother holding him back in case he decided to run over their mother and fight their father.
“Yeah, please, guys!” Kari said as she ran to Brandt holding onto his arm for dear life like she used to when she was a little girl. “Don’t fight! We’re supposed to be a family!”
“How can we possibly be a family when our father murdered our grandfather, Kari?!” Sven shouted.
“SVEN, ENOUGH!” Grey shouted glaring at her heir. “You have no right to speak about your father that way!” She then turned to Brandt glaring at him as well. “And YOU, you’re another one! You had no problem letting me yell at you that night you finally told me. I think our son deserves the same treatment. I think all of our children do.”
Brandt glared at his wife as she glared back harder. After a brief moment, he finally sighed in defeat and looked Kari and Dagny realizing that Grey was right. He let her vent that night. It was her way of processing it. Their son and daughters deserved the same. “You’re right,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He looked up at Sven, who was still glaring at him. “Son, please, if you would let me explain…there’s a lot more to this story.”
“Sven, please,” Grey pleaded. “Dad deserves this. Hear him out. All three of you need to hear him out.”
Sven sighed calming down and looked up at his father. “Okay,” he finally said. With that they all sat back down and waited for Brandt to continue.
Part 3 Edit
The family once again found themselves in silence as they finally calmed themselves from the argument that built up between Brandt and Sven. It wasn’t easy but Sven, Dagny, and Kari were ready for their father to continue explaining this shocking revelation. When they all sat back down, the Chief’s husband observed all of them…both his wife and their children before taking another deep breath.
“Yes, it’s true,” he finally said. “I was the one who killed your Grandpa Sven in that battle, but when I did, believe me, I was not proud of myself at all. I might not have know your mother at the time, but I was destroyed when I realized that I took someone’s life away…someone who was probably a husband, a father, a great man. I couldn’t handle what I did…so…I ran from the battlefield.”
“You retreated?” Kari asked.
“Yes, baby girl,” Brandt said taking his daughter’s hand. “It wasn’t the smart thing to do, but I did. And Barbaric Burglars don’t take too kindly to those who retreat from battle, so to avoid trouble, I hopped abroad one of our ships and hid. When the battle was finally over, we sailed back to our village. From there, I snuck upon another boat and sailed off. I knew what I had done and that it was too late to go back, but I also saw it as an opportunity to change things…to escape from that way of life. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my parents and left never once looking back. Not too long after that, I met your great-uncle Einar and became his apprentice.”
“And then you met Mom?” Dagny asked with a small smile.
“That’s right,” Grey replied, “and then the rest is history.”
All three children watched their parents in silence as Grey took Brandt’s hand into hers. Something was still on their minds, and Sven finally gathered the courage to ask them.
“I still don’t understand,” said Sven. “I mean…Mom…y-your dad was murdered, and it sounds like you knew this all along.”
Grey sighed and gave her husband one last reassuring squeeze of his hand before speaking to their eldest son. “The thing is, Sven,” Grey began, “your father didn’t figure out the connection until a few days before our wedding, and I was never able to figure out who did it. Dad didn’t tell me until two days before our wedding.”
“What happened?” Kari asked with concern.
“Well, I got angry at him,” Grey replied. “We had a very big argument, and then I walked out on him and went to Grandma Ingrid. We talked about it, and she helped me to realize that…even though I was angry and upset over what I found out…I wasn’t angry at Dad. I still loved him, and I hated the idea of losing him because of something that happened before we even met. It didn’t change who he was, and I knew that he was very sorry for what he did. If there was one thing I learned in life, kids, it’s that,” she looked at her husband, “people deserve second chances, especially those who are willing to change for the better.”
All three of the Chief’s children paused as they let their mother’s words sink in and stared at both their parents. It was so hard to believe that the love between their parents was so strong that it allowed them to move past this horrible fact. Their mother actually found it in her heart to forgive their father just as she forgave their Aunt Nala for what she had done during the Rebellion.
“Is this like how you came around to forgiving Aunt Nala for what she did in the Grounded Dungeon, Mom?” Kari finally asked.
Grey nodded. “Yes, sweetheart,” she said. “What happened to your grandfather was awful, and I still miss him. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of him, but…I could never hold that against Dad. Grandpa and Dad found themselves in a predicament caused by the heat of battle. It is one of the unwritten rules of war…to kill or be killed. Warriors die at the hands of other warriors for a cause, and…it would’ve been no different if I killed someone during Ragnorak. Now, it doesn’t make it right, but…unfortunately, it happens. I forgave Dad long ago, and you should as well. He’s still your father, and he still loves you. This one moment in his past will never change that.”
“I don’t expect you to forgive me, guys,” Brandt said to his children, “but–” He was suddenly cut off when Sven, Dagny, and Kari all rushed up to him gathering him into a group hug.
“Of course, we forgive you,” Dagny said with tears in her eyes burying her face into his shoulder. “We love you too much, Daddy.”
“Dags is right, Pop,” Sven said, “and so is Mom. Your past shouldn’t affect anything.”
“No matter what, you’re still our father, Daddy,” Kari added. “We really love you.”
This was all so overwhelming for Brandt as tears finally flowed down his cheeks. His wife was actually right. Their children still loved him. Despite what he had done so long ago, Sven, Dagny, and Kari still loved him and valued him as their father. Despite what happened, he was still their father. He began to sob even more as his wife finally joined in the group hug. Words weren’t spoken as the family sat together in the hug in silence.