3.4 What He Knows


These are the things he knows: My father and I are alchemists. Our youngest, Taurus, must be an alchemist too.

These are the things he may know: My father made potions of youth. The potions were never destroyed. They are still in the attic, above us, along with the recipe to make more.

These are the things he doesn’t know: I know I’m an alchemist, and I know about the potions. If he did, he wouldn’t have chosen to die with me…


I crumpled up the piece of paper I was writing on and threw it into the fire. The list was so short, and explained so little. The same questions, circling unanswered in my head, circled unanswered on paper, stark black against white. Why had Grim never tried to tell me I was an alchemist? Surely he knew I could have lived forever with him. If he had told me before we our children were born, I might have done it. I would have.

It was too late but that question will never leave me. Especially now, as I am lost on how to guide my own children.

When I was carrying Taurus, the doctor told us it would be best if he were our last, and I knew that Taurus would be the next alchemist in our family. But I never considered what this might meant for our other children. Why did Altair struggle so much to accept his younger brother? It seemed like simple sibling rivalry, but I suspected it ran deeper- somewhere, on a subconscious level, he knew something was taken away from him when Taurus was born. Vega, thankfully, seemed oblivious to her loss. It was the only positive part of this all.

And Taurus… he was always different from other children but I was starting to realize just how much. Reading alchemy books at thirteen, my word.

I bent over the desk, pillowing my head in my arms. The night had deepened along with my worries. As the candle burned lower and my eyelids grew heavy, I tried not to think of the overwhelming guilt threatening to crush me all over again.

6 thoughts on “3.4 What He Knows

  1. A subconscious awareness? That’s deep. Makes me wonder how transcendental the Winters are, because that would require Altair to possess some form of spiritual power to be able to carry that subconscious knowledge along with him. (Like his soul knows) Or that someone simply clued him in. Don’t mind me trying to make sense of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, I think both of those interpretations are valid! Maybe a mixture of both, too. This is actually my take on the ‘Unwanted Sibling’ anger moodlet that Altair got when he met Taurus. Little sucker decided he wasn’t impressed with his brother right away 😅


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