The blonde youth sighed softly before opening brilliant blue eyes and looking across his bedroom. Morning was dawning, and it was yet another day to get through. Another day full of taunts and fights.
        He was getting tired of it.
        Reluctantly, he rolled out of bed, dressed, and headed out to the kitchen where his mother was cooking. Stopping in the doorway, he watched as his mother prepared breakfast with skilled hands that seemed somehow wrong for the daily jobs she did. Those slender hands looked so improper to him when washing clothes or dishes. They looked more suited for picking flowers in a meadow to be made into a wreath and worn atop her long flowing golden hair. Emerald eyes flicked sideways, and she turned to him, rose-colored lips curling into a fond smile at him.
        “Ah! My favorite son is awake!” Her voice was light, and her laughter was enchanting, like tiny silver bells pealing through the house.
        He folded his arms and walked into the kitchen. “I’m your only son, mother.”
        She laughed and hugged him. “In which case, it’s perfectly fine for you to be my favorite.”
        He laughed faintly, working his way out of her grasp. That was a morning routine, the lines old and well worn, but still meaningful. He knew that she loved him, knew that he was the reason that she stayed in this pathetic town. With no other family, they stuck together.
        No-one remembered that she was the daughter of a prestigious family. They called her Widow Ivey when they had to, but most of them didn’t speak to her at all. Her son knew that his schooling at the Weapons House was important, and so they lived in the modest cottage that his father had left them in his death. Garvin Ivey had made it perfectly clear that his wife and son would always own the place after he was gone.
        And while the villagers had respected Garvin, they had no love for Jianna. Or young Garvin.
        Garvin sighed as he sat at the table and looked to his mother. “Mother, why do we stay? My schooling is as complete as it can get here… and the others do nothing but taunt me.”
        Jianna looked at her son for a moment. At thirteen years old, the lad had seen more than his share of cruelty and no amount of her going to the Weapons Masters had changed that. But there was a destiny involved, and she couldn’t fight it. “Garvin,” she sighed. “You must complete that which has been set aside for you.”
        Scowling, he pointed at the box on the mantle that held the family sword. “And even with all of that, you will not let me take up the sword of our family? Will not let me claim the rights due the Ivey family name?”
        She looked at the box for a moment before walking over to the mantle and taking the slender box down, placing it on the table. “Because, Garvin, this is not the Ivey sword. That blade was broken, buried with your father.” She lifted the top and looked in for a moment. “No, this sword is my family sword. It will have to wait for when it is needed.”
        He ate sullenly, knowing that as long as the box was in her sight, he’d never get it open.

        The day passed slowly for Garvin, and the only time that he had any fun was when he was practicing his sword-skills. He enjoyed showing off in front of the others because it was the only thing that he did well. But at the end of the day, he headed home through the taunts and the thrown rocks and sticks just like all the other times.
        When he arrived at home, his mother wasn’t there, and suddenly, a resolve broke through him as he stood in the kitchen looking at the box on the mantle. Taking pen and paper, he wrote carefully, for he knew she had trouble reading fancy words: I went to find my Destiny. Please find your family. I love you. Your son Garvin.
        After a moment, he paused and added a line at the bottom. I took the sword.
        He opened the box, took the sword, and left the house alone.

        He watched from the trees as she came running out of the house, note crumpled in her hand, calling out to him. For a moment, he was tempted to run back to her and ask her to forgive him. But the moment passed, and he turned away.
        He learned quickly that a smart swordsman wasn’t hirable… people didn’t want a bladesman for his intelligence. So he started to keep his mouth shut, keep things simple. And when asked his name, he gave his mother’s family name as his own, in time, eventually even switching his given name to the one that her family had carried through with them.
        He hired on with a group of mercenaries headed to defend a city against a monster, and they asked him no questions. They accepted him for skill, and made no questions of heritage, even though his name spoke loudly for it.
        And so it was that Gourry Gabriev came to the city of Sairaag.