PART I – Bear
There were once two brothers, sons of one of the seafaring merchant princes, that some folk might call pirates. The elder, Girard, was tall, fair and gentle. The younger, Bastian, was burly, powerful and dark. They grew as brothers do, wrestling, conspiring, pranking and defending one another against all the world. Their father and mother loved them dearly and gave them a fine education in matters of both books and craft. Girard grew into a love of the sea and Bastian, while he enjoyed sport, loved spending his days in his father’s counting houses, tallying up the treasures that came in on the great wooden ships, and planning complex barters that would exchange silk for pearls or sandalwood for gold. Although their father made Girard learn the books, he would spend his days in the warehouses restlessly singing sea shanties. And when it was Bastian’s turn to go out on the boats, he would pass the days growling sullenly at the captain and the mates, irritably queasy even when the sun shone and the water was blue as cornflowers.
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