The Progenitor 9: Gondik and Barric


Barric stood before his father’s statue and dropped to his knees. “I’m here,” he said. “This is where it all stops for me and where I come looking for my beginning. I look upon your face now and I see a might that I feel in my heart. A might that I always thought myself capable of. I am across the water, I walked the Forest of the First Tree, I found evil and fought it, and brought myself here under power and with will. And I ask you now, what? What do I do now that I have come before you and seen your face? What would you ask me to do for you? For myself? For our people and my life?” Barric hung his head and sobbed. He dropped to his hands and knees and stared at the ground.


This is Barric. This was the message I left for myself in my work when I wrote a book called First Tree. First Tree is about many things, but among them is this kid. He is about 18 and has been a slave all his life. He finally escapes and goes looking for answers. He finds friends of his father who tell him that a monument to his father was built in a town called Deria. Now he stands at the foot of that tomb, and he does not know what to do next. What life can he live without knowing where he came from? What life can he live without the guidance of the mighty man he was birthed to?

It was February when I found this piece. I had written it in 2014 and stored it for the day I would publish it. I went on to write so many other books, but in February I came back to it to edit it and get it ready for publication.

First Tree is a book from a series called The Burdens of Beasts that I will begin to publish in October of 2021. This book will come out October 5th 2022. When I was revising it, I was working 15-hour shifts, and after I was done with this one, it was about 5. I came upstairs while Bekah was working and I tried to tell her what the book was about. I ran through the main protagonist’s story line, and then I came to Barric, a side story very important to the plot.

While I told her about Barric and his fallen father, Gondik, I wept. My chest heaved and I could barely stand. I fought to tell this story for ten minutes as I talked of the boy who never knew his father and came to the grave looking for anything he might find.

By the time I was done telling that story, I was exhausted. I went to the kitchen to collapse in my chair, in the second holiest place for the family we have. Bekah came to me, looked at me with a serious face, and said, “I need to talk to Informer.”

Shadow looked up at her with wet, swollen eyes. “What?”

“I just thought of something, and I can’t tell you what. I need to talk to Informer to see if this is something I can tell the rest of you, or something I need to tell just him.”

“Not tell the rest of us? I can’t live with that.”

“You gotta trust me. I need to talk to Informer. It doesn’t have to be now, but it needs to be soon.”

So we went to the holiest, most sacred spot in the Tellers’ entire world. The inner sanctum. We went to our bedroom. She sat on the bed, her legs crossed, taking deep breaths while I dropped into my spot on the couch. I lowered my head and from below swooped the one we call Informer.

“What do you need to say to me, Bekah?”

“This is a wild thought. Might not make any sense, but before I tell anyone else, I need to ask you if they are ready to hear it.”

Informer nodded.

“What is the percentage chance that Bramble is actually your biological father?” She sighed, drew in a deep breath and let it out. “Have you ever thought about it? Can you tell us anything?” She looked at him and rested her hands on her knees. “Is it possible?”

Well the idea was laughable, but Informer has never laughed. He looked at her and said, “Rose would have had to have had an affair while married to Char.”

“Yeah.”

“She would have had to keep it a secret from everyone for forty-five years.”

“Almost forty-six.”

“Of course.” He cleared his throat. And closed his eyes. So many things were impossible in the world, but this was the most impossible. He began to talk. He told every story he had about Bramble, my Uncle Wrath’s crew, and everyone around it. He talked about all of it before he shifted out and Shadow came forward.

“Bramble? My father? I wish.”

“Think, really think, is it possible?”

Shadow grabbed his phone and shook his head. “I wish,” he muttered under his breath. He sent a Facebook message to The Queen of Cats. She dated Wrath for years beyond count. She birthed his daughter Tigress. She knew a lot about Bramble and she was a part of their history I could reach out to. I sent her a veiled message that was as hard to interpret as they get:

Is it within the realm of possibility that Rose and Bramble had an affair, let’s say, I don’t know, nine months before I was born?

Her response came immediately and without pause:

I do believe there was an affair. I do not know when.

A day later leaves us with even more questions as we begin to unravel the tangled web of the family. We learn more and more, and soon we get ahold of Tasey. Tasey is a new member of Bekah’s family who found us through Ancestry dot com and a site called 23 and Me. Both DNA sites that do tests with DNA and match you to other people who are related to you. She is a nonfiction writer and masterful researcher. She began pulling up information almost immediately.

While she digs, I sent a message to Uncle Wrath:

Is it within the realm of possibility that Rose and Bramble had an affair, let’s say, I don’t know, nine months before I was born?

I added that I was not interested in bringing any of this to his widow. I had heard Bramble had died that October. I added that I knew Rose and Bramble were soulmates. And I told him I was getting a DNA test.

His answer took no time in reaching us either.

I never knew of an affair.

A DNA test might be a good idea.


It took us forever to find out that the man was really dead. There was no record of that death anywhere. But when we did find out Bramble died, we discovered his death had taken place days within my release of a novel called Plight of Madness. It is the third book in a four-book series that focuses on fathers and their relationships with their children. The Madness Wars was dedicated to father figures of my life.

Bramble died within days that I had dedicated a book to him.

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