Prompt: Write about the relationship between two brothers
Cambian collapsed into a chair, kicking off his boots. “That was ridiculous,” he huffed, indignant and out of breath. “Father had me riding by Andrid and refused to let me converse with anyone else the entire afternoon.” He looked over at his brother who was standing by the window of their shared room, as if expecting a sympathetic grimace.
Candel glanced at his older brother, expressionless. Cambian was sprawled in his chair, sweaty and rugged. Candel supposed that was the way a man returning from a hunting trip was supposed to look; the way the first son was supposed to look. Candel looked out of the window, watching as servants loosed the animal carcasses from where they lay draped on the party’s horses. He wished he had gone, but he had not received an invitation; he could not remember the last time he had spoken to Andrid, or his father for that matter. “That must have lightened the mood slightly.”
Cambian scoffed, “The girl is a harpy.” He retrieved an apple from the bowl on the table and took a too-big, smacking bite. “Father only keeps her on hand because her father has a particularly large purse.” He took another bite. “And a title – Duke,” he snorted.
“Perhaps.” Candel kept his voice even. He knew that their father planned for Cambian to marry Andrid – the plans had been in the works longer than Candel could remember – but it would not do anything to contradict Cambian, it never did.
Candel turned to leave the room. He knew Cambian would stop him, interrogate him, but his brother said nothing until he had almost left the room. “Where are you going?”
Candel tried to offer his brother a quick, noncommittal smile. He was not sure how it came across. “Help the servants,”
“Ah,” Cambian nodded. “Could you polish my armor after – tournament tomorrow.”
Candel inclined his head, turning before his face could register the resentment he felt at being treated like a servant. It had been happening all his life, but Candel could not help feeling irritated by his brother’s arrogance. He walked out of the manor quickly. He had intended to help the servants, but he could not stand to be around them – his equals – at that moment.
His mother was scrubbing the floor, on her creaking knees with her skirts hitched up and hair falling into her face. She looked up as he came in “My boy, what brings you home so early? Your father and brother are well?” her eyes were instantly worried.
Candel sighed. “Yes, mum, fine. You should let me do that.”
He knelt down next to her, reaching over to take the scrub brush, but she would not relinquish it. She looked into his face, holding onto the brush tightly. “What’s wrong, Candel?”
Candel stood. “Nothing, mum.” He went to leave but his mother’s voice stopped him.
“It’s your brother, isn’t it?”
Candel hesitated. He was not sure he could explain the anger he felt seeing Cambian mistreat his betrothed and run wild at their father’s expense. Only that morning he had seen Cambian roll his eyes as his mother kissed him goodbye before the hunt. He had felt so furious at how his brother took everything for granted, how he felt so entitled, while Candel’s own mother was forced to live away from the manor house, supported but hidden. He could not express how he felt acting the part of a servant while his brother took and wasted his inheritance.
He smiled at his mother, reassuringly. “I’m fine, mum.”