Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 174

to do and closed his eyes against tears of joy. The priest looked at the bride’s father and the bride’s father took matters into his own hands. “It appears we were all misled, though there was no malice inherent in this deception. This young man truly believed he was someone else. I find no fault in letting him and his friend walk away unharmed and without blame.” Brian turned to the bride’s father and bowed deeply. “My humblest thanks to you, sir. Had I been in my right mind we wouldn’t be here.” Ethan grinned and turned to the still open doors of the church. He lifted one hand and someone came in wearing an oversized hooded cloak. “There is indeed a gentleman by the name of Reginald Potterfield and he is the one who wrote the letters now stored in your bridal chest.” Ethan reached up and pulled back the hood on the cloak to expose the real Reginald Potterfield. “Here is your groom, my lady!” He looked exactly like Brian. Brian’s stunned face lost all trace of color and the bride’s father had to keep him on his feet. “What is the meaning of this!?” Reginald’s eyes locked on Brian’s. “I am so sorry, brother. I could not stop them.” Brother? Yes. Brian brought a hand up to his forehead and was helped to sit on an empty part of the front pew reserved for the groom’s family and attendants. Save for a few men who’d volunteered to help, the pew was empty. Ethan watched Brian with a worried gaze and Reginald turned to the bride. She looked at him, turned to look at Brian, then allowed Reginald to approach her. He leaned forward and whispered something in her ear that only Reginald would know. He stood up and she turned her gaze back to Brian. “Oh my love, how can we help him deal with this?” Reginald held her hand. “I do not know, Alexandra. I only know he is now wildly conflicted and beset by all kinds of doubt.” Brian finally looked up and his eyes found Ethan’s face first, then Reginald’s. He spoke to both of them. “If I have an identical twin brother, who am I? Am I really Brian Fairchild or am I someone else?” Reginald looked to Ethan, who nodded. Reginald spoke gently. “The people who raised you are your true parents. I was whisked away when we were still babes in swaddling clothes. The couple who raised me made sure I knew everything possible about you and our parents in hopes of one day bringing me back to you.” Brian sighed very softly. “Mother died when I was sixteen. There was an accident on the dock where they kept their fishing boat. One of the other boats capsized in port and she was swept off the docks by the mast. She drowned because the heavy canvas sail kept her underwater and they couldn’t find the edges to rescue her in time.” Alexandra made a soft sound and Reginald exhaled quietly. “I am sorry, Brian. I know you loved her very much.” “Father was a changed man after that. He worked more and smiled less. The men who helped him stayed on even when he could no longer turn a profit because other fishermen were underselling him. I met Ethan when I was fourteen. He wasn’t the only one who befriended me, but he is the only one still alive.” Erich, Thaddeus and ten of the other boys from the tilling yard had perished in a border skirmish on the western boundary of Driscoll territory some five years back. Ethan and Brian had been the turning point for the Driscoll fighters; their arrival at the border with a fresh score of soldiers had sent the intruders running. But the damage had already been done. Of the forty-six men at the border that day, twenty-one died. Families cried and mourned while Ethan did everything in his power to learn all he could about the attack. Ethan blinked once then smiled. “Do you remember PAGE 173