Hern Growing Up: Age 7

~Prologue~

Herns mother is now visibly very ill. Fallon stays in the castle with them to tend to Sonata as much as she can. She helps ease Sonatas pain and tries everything she can think of to save her. Hern sleeps with his mother every night while the king barely sleeps atall. The once beautiful and radiant queen lays in her room but a husk of what she once was.

Unlike the ones before her she wants to live no matter how much she suffers. She couldn’t stand the thought of leaving her boy so young. She had so much more to teach him. She worried about the relationship between Hern and Azaiah. Without her there to remind him to quit working what would become of their relationship. She just kept clinging with everything she had.

Even when Fallons experiments made her feel worse she’d beg Fallon to keep trying. She wasn’t going to leave her baby without a fight. The only times Hern would leave his mothers side was when Fallon asked him to leave. Sonata nor Fallon liked him around when she would try yet another thing to help Sonata.

~ Chapter 1 ~

Hern got up and walked across the room to grab his mothers harp. He sat on the bed and played her favorite songs to help soothe her. As much as she tried to hide it he could see the great deal of pain she was feeling. Sonata smiled at her son as a few tears crept down her face. Hern shut his eyes unable to watch her. His heart breaking for his mom. Fallon could fix anything, he held on to hope she could fix his mom. He played until his little fingers were almost to the point of bleeding.

He layed back down beside her “Sorry I can’t play for you any more.”

“I’m grateful you play atall. You make such beautiful music my son.” Hern rubbed his moms cheek and started crying too. Sonata pulled him into her arms even though the slightest movement felt like sliding through glass. “Shhhhh, it’s okay to cry but I wish you wouldn’t. Fallon is doing all she can.”

“You should be better by now.” Hern said in a strained, weepy voice. “This isn’t like the things Fallon fixes daily Hern. I’m very seriously ill. I want you to do something for me Hern.”

“Anything mom.”

“If I do pass I want you to be happy. Don’t be king for your fathers sake. I’d be so proud to look down on you and see you ruling the kingdom but nothing means more to me than your happiness. Will you promise to follow your dreams?”

“Don’t talk like that mom”

“I just need to be sure you know I’ll be proud no matter what.” Hern started sobbing loudly and holding his mother. Azaiah walked into the room sitting on the other side of his wife. He slid his hand through her hair. His face showing all the sleepless nights and tears he too shed.  Azaiah didn’t know what he was going to do. Sonata had been his everything since the day he laid eyes on her.

How was he expected to keep going without her? The only thing that kept him moving at all was his son. Hern was still but a child who needed guidance. He’d stay as strong as possible for Hern. When Hern finally stopped crying Azaiah asked Sonata “Can I do anything for you my love?”

“Will you take me outside. I haven’t seen day time for a week. Please just carry me outside for a little while.” Azaiah gently slid his hands under her. Sonata cringed and it made him feel bad. “Don’t make that face. You know it’s impossible to move me without pain. I’m a grown women my love, I can take it.” Azaiah tried to smile but he just couldn’t force one on his face. In only a matter of days what was most precious to him would be gone.

Hern got up and followed as Azaiah walked slowly. The slower he moved the less pain she would feel. Fallon gave her many things to help with the pain but nothing could take it away fully. Azaiah stepped out and Sonata squinted throwing her hand up. Her eyes hadn’t seen day in so long it was a hard adjustment. Azaiah had to force back tears.

Out here he could see even better how pale her skin had gotten, the deep bags under her eyes, how completely fragile his brave queen now looked. “What would you like to see?”

“Lets go to the woods.” Hern go get two guards for me. I wont be able to fight with your mom if something happens. “Yes sir.” Hern said then ran off to find Richmond and Chisle. They were sitting when Hern ran into the throne room. They stood respectfully to their young prince. “Mom wants to see the woods. Dad needs the two of you just incase something happens.” They were shocked he was taking her out in such a weak condition but they came quickly.

They hadn’t seen Sonata in a few days and Richmond accidentally let a gasp slip. He bowed “I’m sorry I’m so sorry. That was so rude of me. Please forgive me Sonata.”

“Calm down.” She said weakly. “I know I’m not as I was. This body is deteriorating on me it would seem. I do have a mirror in my bedroom. Azaiah was angry at Richmond but held his tongue. He planned to yell at him later. Richmond could see it in the kings eyes but would take it gladly. He knew Azaiah needed a vent from the pain. Richmond felt he deserved it anyway. “You are still beautiful Sonata” Richmond said quickly.

“Thank you for your lies.” She said and then laughed the best she could. She started coughing right after and a bit of blood appeared on her hand. Azaiah’s heart sank “Are you sure of this my love?”

“Very, please I miss the world.”

~ Chapter 2 ~

Azaiah walked carefully with a guard at each side and Hern watching his fathers way to make sure he didn’t trip on anything. Azaiah had his eyes locked with Sonata. Each expressing their love for one another without words. Richmond was still very embarrassed because of his gasp. He kept his eyes straight forward. He almost hated himself in this moment. That was the second big screw up of his day. The trouble with getting Tulip pregnant was a strain on their marriage from time to time.

He didn’t blame Tulip in the slightest. If he blamed anybody it was himself. “What kind of man can’t give his wife a child” He found himself thinking frequently. He had been depressed about it that morning and ended up snapping at his wife when she hadn’t deserved it. It resulted in a huge fight between them. When he left their home his wife was in tears. He had felt pangs of guilt all day.

He hoped the king would let him go home early but now the king would be nothing but cross with him. Sonata was in her final days and she didn’t need people pointing out the state she was in. He just felt like he was causing nothing but trouble to everyone around him. Sonata took a deep breath. “It’s so nice to have clean air in my lungs.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.”

“Can we go to the pond on the other side of the woods?”

“Anything your heart desires.”

“Then how about a smile. I miss your smiles too.” He tried filling his head with happy memories. Finally once managed to push its way across his face. “You’re the most handsome when you smile Azaiah.” Sonata fell into slumber as the words left her mouth. “Should we take her home?”

“No she asked to go to the pond so we’ll go to the pond. She will wake beside it no matter how long we need to sit out there.”

“Yes sir” The guards responded. They walked even slower now that she was resting. The king preferred her to sleep. He hated knowing the immense pain she had to suffer through all day. Sleep was his only refuge even though he didn’t let it take him much. In his dreams his wife was still happy and healthy. It broke his heart all over when he’d realize it was only a dream.

They walked being sure not to step on anything that would make even the slightest sound. Nothing felt the same any more. The woods were filled with so many happy memories for Hern that only hurt him now. He would do anything to make his mother better. He wished he knew of a way to save her. He prayed nightly that Fallon would find a way.

~ Chapter 3 ~

They arrived at the pond and Aziah had Chisel steady him as he sat to make sure he didn’t move with Sonata more than he had to. They all sat in silence. Everyone’s eyes on Sonata, even asleep her face was slightly twisted with her pain. She was strong and showed how much she hurt as little as possible. She tried only to cry when her husband insisted or Hern was sleeping. Azaiah whispered to Hern “Why don’t you go home son. Bathe and eat something. You haven’t been taking care of yourself.”

“I don’t want to. I want to be with mom.”

“Son please go, your mom wouldn’t want you to mistreat your body the way you have been.” Hern sighed “I guess I will for mom. He sulkily stood up and began his way home. He was planning on talking to Fallon after supper. He hoped she would be at dinner so he could go ahead and talk to her there. Halfway back he realized how hungry he really was. He tried to think about the last time he ate. He realized it had been nearly two days since food was in his belly. He just could never bring himself to leave his mother longer than he was forced to.

Hern entered the castle and went straight for the dinning hall. Food came out and he ate slowly. His stomach was hurting form not eating as he should. When he had his fill he went to Fallon’s room. He knocked and she came quickly. “Does Sonata need something? Is she okay?”

“No mam she’s fine. Have you tried everything. I need my mommy. I don’t love anybody more than her.” Fallon hugged him “I have, I can’t think of anything else. I still rack my brain though. I’m sure I’ll think of something to save her. Just be strong for your mother.”

“I’m trying”

“I know, I’m proud of you.”

“I need to take a bath now.”

“Okay, hurry along. I need to think and try to rest in case your mother is up in pain again tonight.”

“I love you Fallon”

“Love you too Hern” Hern hurried to the bathroom and drew a bath. He laid in the water remembering all the times his mother would tell him stories while he bathed. Her stories were the best. Nobody could tell one like she could. The voices she made up for each person made him laugh thinking about it. Once he felt relaxed he washed and got out draining the tub and drying off. He got some clothes on then went to bed. It would be the first night he slept in his room in a very long time.

It was almost sundown when Sonata finally woke. “we’re here my love” She turned her head to see the beautiful clear water that had just a hint of blue. “I hope you weren’t waiting too long”

~ Chapter 4 ~

“Are you kidding? I got to take in how beautiful you are while you rested.” Azaiah smiled and Sonata smiled back “I love you so much” She responded then turned her gaze back to the water. She sighed “we’ve had so much fun in this pond.”

“I know”

“Can you take me in just a little bit? Please.” Chisel and Richmond helped the king up and he went into the water just enough for Sonata to be touching it. She smiled again almost bringing tears to her husbands eyes. Pain started surging through her again. Her comforted and happy look contorted and she clung to her husband “Sonata!” He exclaimed. She couldn’t speak. She just held him tightly and cried. He got out of the water sitting on the ground giving her kisses and trying his best to comfort her with words.

He felt helpless once again.There wasn’t a thing he could do. Chisel and Richmond felt like shedding tears too but kept it in. They weren’t sure the kingdom would ever see a ruler even half what Sonata was. They weren’t sure Azaiah would even be the same ruler. Not that a soul could blame him. He was losing his love. Richmond was now feeling selfish. He was throwing a pity party over not having a child when he had a perfectly healthy wife who loved him.

He decided no more trying. If they had a baby they had one. He’d start appreciating his wife since he actually had a wife to appreciate. When Sonata wasn’t releasing her tight grip Azaiah said “we need to take her to Fallon.” They nodded and once again helped him to his feet. They went quickly back knowing that she was in pain anyway.

Azaiah took Sonata to her room and the guards went for Fallon. She rushed to her queens side, her dear friend. Fallon had already made some things to help ease her pain. She quickly gave it to Sonata but it seemed to do little. Sonata cried and and held her husband. It was a painful tight grip but he barely noticed. His despair drowning out any pain he may have felt. It was almost impossible to watch her this way.

Fallon gave her more and almost forty minuets later Sonata quit moving. The pain too much for her body to bare she fell asleep. Azaiah went into uncontrollable sobbing. His body shaking to the point it almost looked like he was seizing. Fallon hugged him trying to give the man what little comfort she could.

~ Chapter 5 ~

Herns mother and father’s cries had woken him. He wanted to go to Sonata but he couldn’t make his body move. He doubted his father would’ve let him in anyway. Hern felt himself getting angry. He thought “why my mother? what did she ever do to deserve such a horrible thing. She’s always been kind to everyone. The best mother a son could have….why…” He cried until he had once again fallen asleep.

Hern woke with sunrise and he decided to go find his moms favorite flowers and bring them to her. The last ones he brought had long since died. He loved the way she’d smile at him when he brought them. It was the nearest she seemed to ever get to happiness. He walked out of the castle and off to find her flowers. It was a long walk which took him at least an hour to even get there but it was all he could seem to do.

He only wished there was something more he could do for her. After all she had spent his whole life doing so much for him. Thinking about it made Hern feel sad. There was so much he hadn’t even appreciated about her until now. He hated himself for the times he acted like a spoiled brat. If only he had known what few years he was going to have with him.

Hern had always thought his mother would be around forever. He hoped there was still a chance of her getting better but he could tell the outlook was very grim. He finally made it to the meadow where her flowers grew. He didn’t notice the animals playing or the birds. The whole world seemed grey to him. He followed the sweet scent of the flowers his mother liked so much and gathered a bundle of them.

He tied them together using a yellow flower since he felt it looked so good with the blue. He wanted to run them to her but knew they’d get ruined in the wind. He walked cupping his hand around them so nothing would hurt the beautiful flowers. He remembered last year when she was laying in them. Azaiah had asked “Why do you love flowers so much?”

“They are beautiful.”

“Nothings as beautiful as you. You should look in a mirror if you want to see real beauty.” His fathers words had filled his mother with such happiness. Hern smiled loving his father for it. Hern was glad when he could once again see the castle. He walked a little faster still cupping his mothers flowers.

~ Chapter 6 ~

Hern pushed open his mothers door. She was still sound asleep. Fallon was by her side holding Sonatas hand. “How long has she been sleeping?”

“I haven’t a clue. It’s been since yesterday though.”

“Good, she needs it.” Fallon smiled “She’ll be so happy you brought her flowers again. That was sweet of you Hern.”

“It’s all I can do for her.” Hern said looking at his feet. “She appreciates it greatly. She misses nature so much. She is where you got your love for it.”

“I know”

“Do you know how your father met your mother?” Hern shook his head. Fallon let go of Sonata’s hand and opened her arms for Hern to sit in her lap. He did and she began “We were playing in the meadow like always when your mother heard a man crying. She ran to the noise and saw your father hugging his knees sitting under a tree. She leaned down putting a hand on his shoulder. Azaiah jerked his head up looking at her. He stood wiping his eyes. Sonata realizing who it was bowed. Don’t bow, I’m sorry you saw your prince like that my lady. I’m Sonata your mother answered. I like that name.

I could tell Sonata liked him. She asked him why he was so upset and he explained how much of  a jerk his father was and how he could never please him. They spent nearly every day together and fell in love. Your grandpa was outraged your father loved a girl of non noble blood but your father didn’t care. He married Sonata anyway without his blessing.”

“dad was lucky to marry my mom” Hern said. Fallon smiled “well he agrees. He loves you and your mother very much Hern. Please always remember that. He may not always seem like it but if you only knew what kind of dad he had. He’s a million times the man his father ever was and he does his best.”

“where is my dad?”

“I convinced him to eat. I told him he’d probably starve himself to death if he didn’t.” Hern got up and went to the dining hall. His father was eating slowly. Hern walked to his fathers side and said “Thank you for marrying my mom even though your dad didn’t want you to.” The king looked a little confused but got up and hugged his son “I love you two so much. I’m proud of you Hern. Do you know that?”

“Even though I don’t want to be king?”

“I love you no matter what.” The king just held Hern for awhile then set him down. “I’m going to wait for mom to get up so I can give her flowers.”

“That’s a good idea.” Azaiah said smiling at his son. He thought his mother may have told him their story but now he guessed it was Fallon. Hern walked back to his mothers room with a better understanding of his father. He was glad to hear his dad was proud of him. Fallon was gone resting again so Hern crawled on the bed and laid with his head on his mothers stomach. The flowers gripped tightly in his hands.

~ Chapter 7 ~

Sonata woke up a few hours later and Hern lifted his head “I brought you flowers mom” He held them out and she grabbed them ‘thank you so much son.” Sonata hugged Hern feeling weaker than she ever had been. She knew she didn’t have much longer. She could feel her life slipping but still held on. Sonata wanted every second she could have with Hern and her husband.

“Do your hands still hurt Hern?”

“No, would you like me to play”

“Please” Hern grabbed his mothers harp. Strumming gently at the strings. It was getting hard for Sonata to breath. She spoke and Hern stopped playing “get Fallon and your father.” Hern looked at her worried but quickly ran off. Sonata could feel she wasn’t going to make it through the day no matter how much she willed herself to live. She wanted to say bye to the three people whom she loved the most. She had to make sure she got to say bye while she could still speak at all.

Hern returned with Azaiah and Fallon. Fallon could tell she was in her very last moments. “You three are my everything. I’ve loved you so much. Fallon my childhood friend. We have so many memories. So many precious memories. Thank you for doing your best. I wish it was not in vain. My husband, I am so proud to see the man you’ve become to spite your father. You are greater than you even let yourself believe. I love you, take care of my son and make sure he ends up happy. Hern come here.” She hugged Hern when he got close enough “I’m so proud and no matter what happens now that I’m gone your father will always love you. Try to be patient and understanding with him. Nothing brought me greater joy than having you as a son. Remember what I told you about doing what makes you happy.”

She kissed Herns cheek and then her hold on him slowly loosened. Sonata was finally at peace and off to be with the other great spirits of the past. Hern couldn’t believe it. He started to scream as he cried. He cried for his mother over and over, hoping she’d wake back up. Eventually Fallon tore the boy away so Azaiah could have a moment. She carried Hern to her room to hold him as he sobbed.

Azaiah got on the bed and just held her. He finally released the tears he had been holding back. He laid there for hours unable to move. He couldn’t get up, couldn’t leave her, couldn’t accept she was really lost to him forever. When he did manage to make himself rise he kissed her cheek saying “I will never have another love Sonata.” He left and asked the servants and guards to make ready the arrangements for the queen.

~The End~

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