Chapter 2 – Go discover the world, son

James would have been sad to see his son go, but he had another thought which overjoyed him. He knew this young girl on the mainland and he was certain that if Raymond met her they would hit it off. After losing Rachel, James began to blame her for her carelessness in choosing to traverse the dangerous roads while she still bore a child. He was always on the lookout for a much safer wife for his son, and he had a particular young woman in mind.

It all started when Raymond hit the age of thirteen. James and Rose used to leave the farm entirely to Raymond’s care for one month every year and go on a charitable visit to a village in Ascalon. They became friends with a young couple who lived there that had a daughter who was only a few years younger than Raymond. Year after year they watched her grow, she showed good character and had quite a lot of spunk. James could think of no one better suited to be Raymond’s wife, but he never told his son of her existence. He was afraid that steering Raymond toward her would repel them from wanting to get to know each other as parents in Navaden were commonly known to make the least desirable choices for marriage.

Instead, James secretly formulated a plan to get the two together. Now that Raymond was finally about to leave, he put the plan into action. He suggested to Raymond where to land, and sent a message forward to the village where the girl lived to have them welcome Raymond on the first day of his arrival. Raymond would need a place to stay on the first night and would have an almost certain chance of meeting her then. Other than that, James did nothing further that would interfere with the natural occurrence of their relationship. He also feared that his feelings toward his deceased wife may have clouded his judgement so he wanted to make sure the choice was purely Raymond’s.

Raymond did not catch on to his father’s secret plan and four days went by since the rainy evening at the dinner table. Rose had just left to return to Ascalon for the month and Raymond would soon be on his way there as well. Raymond spent his last day packing and visited all of the other farms in Aimmes to say goodbye to them. It was a tough day, life on the farm was simple and he had grown very close to those farmers and their families. However, he had no trouble catching an easy full night of sleep on his last day because he was very confident in his decision to go. The next morning, James woke him up with a nudge on the shoulder.

As the sleep cleared from his eyes, he looked up at the wooden ceiling of the house he grew up in. Sunlight glared on the wall next to his bed and on his father’s face. The green fields outside gleamed in the morning sun but a dark cloud was visible in the distant sky. Raymond imagined how symbolic it would be if it rained in Ascalon when he arrived. Rain sent him there, and it might be there later to welcome him to his new home. His father knelt down next to his bed.

“Remember, after you land at the docks, take a wagon to Caerise Corner in Ascalon City.” James reminded his son. “I told some good people I know that you were coming.
“You’ll be able to stay there until you find yourself a house you can afford.
“Also, your boat leaves in an hour.”

Raymond looked at his father’s dark tanned face, which was now below the sun glare. He tried to look for any signs of sadness in James’ face, but he saw nothing but joy. Raymond knew that his father was not anxious to get rid of him, so there had to be another reason for his incredibly good mood. Perhaps he just could not wait to see what his son would become?

“He’s taking this rather well.” Raymond thought to himself.

Raymond slipped out of bed and followed his father out into the main room. A plate of ham and bread, and a small cup of water awaited him at the table.  He sat down and finished his breakfast before heading back into his room to check that he had everything packed. There was nothing left in his room except the bed and the walls. He came out of the room with all of his bags and hugged his father one last time before he left to board the ship.

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