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Bealoran hated his name.

It should have been a girl’s name; “Bright Flower” was no name for a boy, and for one so dark, growing into such a strong and muscular young man, it was particularly unfitting. Yet this was not why he hated it.

From the day he was old enough to understand, he had known what his name meant; the meaning of the individual words from which it was derived were annoying but, eventually, insignificant.

The fact that his name was the last in the Book of the Tribe; that he was the Last Named of the Tribe, and that after him there would be no others, that was what rankled.

The Book had been handed down for generation after generation; legends held that it had been given to them by the Gods themselves, and between its covers it held every name of the Tribe; no two could share the same name or they would be cursed. When the names which had been crossed out and taken into history outnumbered the ones that remained, the Tribe had begun to take precautions; first only two children were allowed per family, then only one. Finally, it had come down to a lottery; only two children were allowed to be born into the Tribe in each year, and any child born without permission was thrown to the wilds.

Bealoran knew that he was lucky to have been born, but his name meant that he had no future; and that was why he hated it.

He was not alone in this. There were other children of his generation – all a little older than he was, of course – and all felt the same pressure. For them, there was no point in dreaming of what they would do when they grew old; there was no reason to think of love and no hope of having children of their own. They had the last names; they were the last of the Tribe.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Ooops, I wrote this earlier… and completely forgot to click “post”. Never mind, it’s still Friday somewhere!)

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