One of the ways that I like to flesh out my characters is to write little short stories about portions of their lives. There isn’t much plot to this as I’m using it as a way to get a feel for Solus and how I want to treat him for one of my novels: “The Iron Queen”.

The screams of excitement and joy ricocheted through the cobblestone streets which ran between picturesque stucco homes. Each yard was unique in decoration and opulence while maintaining a formality almost subdued in nature. 

Solus Haestus’ head jerked up from The Tennants of Temperance as four boys shot passed the low, iron rote gate. One of them slowed and stuck his head over the entrance. 

“Solus. You’re reading at a time like this?” 

The twelve year old boy felt a bit ashamed for a moment about the heavy volume on his lap but he gave a resigned shrug towards his schoolyard friend. 

“Father wants me to finish this.”

The gate creaked open and there was a moment of panic that made him swallow rapidly. His father was in the other part of the house preparing his sermon for the town center the next day. 

“Tenants of Temperance? You planning on becoming a Priest to the Virtue of Temperance?”

There was a bit of wry sarcasm in his voice but it did not matter. Solus nodded his head.

“Since Apet chose to become a soldier against Father’s wishes, I’m the last chance that one of his children to follow in his footsteps. I mean, the book is interesting.”

The last part of his words rang hollow in his mouth but he was resigned to the fact he was destined to be a priest. The Enclave of Temperance wasn’t a bad place and his father seemed to enjoy the work, spreading the tenets of caution and moderation to the working class of the capital. 

“So you don’t want to come play red horse with the others? Faith will be there. Her dad let her come play with us.”

There was a slight bit of hopefulness in his friend’s voice and an attempt at bribery with dangling his school crush in front of him. 

“I’ve got to finish this. Father wants me to finish a small piece on moderation in the conduct of business for tomorrow.”

The freckled kid gave an exaggerated sigh and threw up his hands. “Fine. I’ll see you at school.”

Skipping out of the yard and leading the gaggle of kids that had returned to find him, Solus felt even more lonely in the now silent yard. Even the bird who was keeping him company had flown away at the intrusion. 

“I’m proud of you son.”

The voice to his right caused him to start and almost drop the treasure book to the dusty walkway. 

Solus’ father, a tall, willowy man with graying black hair smiled down on him. He had been standing in the doorway masked by the slats that allowed the breeze through. 

He sat down by his son and put his arm around his shoulder. “I’m proud of you for remembering your responsibilities. Most children would have took off at the moment their friends came.”

“But I wanted to. I don’t feel very proud about it.”

“Giving into temptation to abandon your responsibilities goes against the core of moderation.”

“Yes, sir.”

Silence reigned for a moment and Karus Haestus took the book from his son. He patted him on the back. 

“You’ve earned a reward. Go play. You can finish the piece after dinner.”

Throwing his arms around his father in a big hug, Solus released him and took off after his friends.

-end-

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