“Cailan,” said Father very quietly as he looked up from the chair he was seated in on the other side of the royal suite’s sitting room, “come here.”
Even at five year’s old, Cailan had known something had happened during the night when he woke up that morning. The Palace had been in an outright uproar and he’d seen Loghain storming around the halls, looking like he should have a small thunderstorm following in his wake given his expression. So when he was ushered into Father’s rooms after being dressed by Dora, he wondered if he was going to find out what was making everyone crazy.
As he moved closer to the chair, he noticed that Father was holding something. His first immediate though was a puppy but why would a mabari have the Palace so overwhelmed?
“What is it?” he asked, standing on his tiptoes in an attempt to see. When Cailan looked up and saw the strained, sad look on Father’s face, he added, “Is it why everyone’s gone mad?”
Father then leaned forward and Cailan could see it was a baby, all wrinkly faced and pink like Arl Howe’s daughter who’d been born last year. “His name is Alistair,” said Father gently, “and he’s your brother.”
“Mine?” breathed Cailan in awe. It didn’t fit quiet rightly in his head because Mother had died too long ago but that wasn’t the important bit in his mind. He had a brother.
Father laughed at the awe in his voice – that big, honest laugh that Cailan didn’t hear so often anymore – and nodded. “Yes, yours. And do you know what that means, Cailan?” As he shook his head, Father continued, “That means you’re his big brother. Big brother’s look after their little brother’s.”
“’Kay,” mumbled Cailan as he tried to arch even higher on his toes, reaching up to touch the baby’s blanket. As Father moved him closer, the baby opened his eyes and the five year-old grinned brightly. “Hi, Alistair!” he chirped as his fingers curled into the blanket. “I’m your big brother! And I won’t ever, ever let anything happen to you.”