Okay, here's the first instalment to my new story about Flynn Rider (or Eugene Fitzherbert – whichever you like to call him!). I have let my imagination run wild and gone right back before the story of Tangled actually begins, and have tried to depict Flynn's childhood and how he came to be a thief. Enjoy!
The Poor Orphan
I was barely eleven years old when I found myself a penniless, unwanted orphan. My mother had died at childbirth, and it had just been me and my father, Gilbert Fitzherbert, during most of my childhood. He was a blacksmith, and most days he would let me sit and watch him shoe the horses, and I would sit in the yard crouched on a little stool, chin cupped in my hand watching, spellbound, as I beheld my father work dexterously with the hammer and anvil. He seemed to have a way with horses, and I admired the special touch he had with them as he carefully but firmly held on to the horse's leg, and bend over it as he nailed the new shoe to its hoof. I learned a lot from watching my father, and we were very happy together. I was the apple of his eye, and it was his dream for me to take over the family forge one day, to keep it in the family. That was why he would let me sit and observe him so often; he said that the more I watched the more I would learn. He would even let me help out sometimes as I grew older, which filled me with the greatest delight. I was never happier than when I was with my father, helping him at his job or occasionally going fishing with him some early mornings.
When I came of the right age father sent me to the local village school, much to my disgust, as he deemed education just as important as a life work. "Eugene," he used to say, as he drew himself up straight and tall and proud, "A man isn't a man, unless he knows how to read, write and do arithmetic!" I enjoyed studying nowhere near as much as helping my father out with his work, but I had no choice in the matter. So off to school I went, to do my learning as my father wished me to do. I stank at arithmetic and was a perfect nightmare at writing, but I could never get enough of reading! In my spare time I would find myself snuggled up in a cosy corner of the hayloft, nestled amongst the straw, biting into a rosy apple and losing myself in some adventurous story of knights, daring sword fights and villainous rogues who were always defeated by the hero in the end. My particular favourites were the Tales of Flynnagan Rider.
There were other benefits of going to school. I was extremely popular among my playmates, and was often looked up to as 'the leader' of our small circle of friends. I guess I've always possessed those kind of qualities that inspires awe in others (and especially amongst the village girls, who seemed to dote on me even from a young age, but then I've always had those good looks that makes that kind of impression – I was born with them)! Even as a young lad I was a good-looking boy – tall for my age, very strong with brown locks of hair and hazel eyes. Ah, yes! The girls have always admired me, not that I can say I blame them. It was only natural really!
It was the greatest tragedy of my life when my father one day was taken very ill. I remember that day vividly – the memory has hung with me ever since. We were together working in the blacksmith shop, and my father was supervising me hammering at a horseshoe on the anvil. One moment I could feel him behind me, his warm breath on the back of my neck, and his hands guiding me as I worked. I could feel his breath coming in shorter pants, but took no particular notice of it, until I heard a dull thud behind me, and could no longer feel his presence at my back. Whirling round in panic, I discovered my father stretched out on the floor, streams of sweat running down his face, which was as red as a beetroot. I felt his forehead, and instantly drew it back in horror as I realised that he had a high, burning fever.
Terrified, I ran to find the doctor, who promptly came back with me and together we managed to shift the feverish form of my father to his bed. Forty-eight hours later, I was fatherless and without a relative in the world. And that was how I came to be an orphan, and just another number at an Orphanage for children. I was alone, miserable and forlorn when I arrived at the Orphanage, and a light in my life had seemed to be snuffed out. When my father died, a part of me had died with him.
I did not receive a warm nor friendly welcome from the matron of the orphanage – in fact, she treated me with disdain and contempt, as she did with all the children. She was a tall, gaunt woman with a beak-like nose, and small, dark piercing eyes that seemed to always see what you were doing no matter where you were or what you were doing. We all had to call her Aunt Elizabeth, though her character certainly never earned her that title of 'Aunt.' Dragon was a more befitting name, and one which we all secretly called her by behind her back (instigated by me, of course)! At night, I used to lay awake in bed, the covers drawn up tight around me, and half-covering my face, with my bright, wide timid eyes peering out from behind the covers, always expecting to see those dreadful, accusing eyes fixed at me.
Not only did her very presence haunt me, but she was vicious and cruel in nature, and almost appeared to watch with hungry, vulture eyes for one slight action that she deemed worthy of punishment, and when she decided whatever act you had committed was a misdeed, she demonstrated no mercy. All too often I was the victim of her brutal instrument, the cane, which she brandished ruthlessly upon any child caught within her grasp.
Another enemy that lurked at every corner of the orphanage was hunger. You could see it in the pinched faces of the children, in their wild, famished eyes and their skeletal forms. Often I wondered whether there was a better life beyond the caged walls of my prison, for that was how the orphanage appeared to me and the others trapped there.
` Most of my life at the orphanage was lived out in fear and dread, however there were some happy moments that I can recall with pleasure. It was in the still, dark twilight hours that we all found comfort in my adventure books, the Tales of Flynnagan Rider, and it was then that I was very glad that my father insisted upon me receiving an education, for I could read and most of the other children there could not. I enjoyed having the children gather around me in our dormitory at nights, and reading to them in hushed whispers, enthralling them and myself equally over the adventures of my hero, after whom I came to name myself, which leads me to how I came to be called Flynn Rider.
In truth, my real name was Eugene Fitzherbert, a name that I had once been proud of, but of which I had come to be embarrassed and ashamed. Several of the boys at the orphanage mocked and laughed at me, declaring that it was a 'sissy' name, which fired my temper several times. I was not accustomed to being laughed at or side-lined, as I had been so popular among my friends at home, and so I was determined to once again be leader and have the others look up to me at the orphanage just as the village children had back home.
I proved that I was the strongest and toughest out of the lot of them by winning several fights with some of the boys who had teased me about my name. I also announced that I was to no longer be called by the name Eugene, but was from then on to be known as Flynn Rider, which all the children humbly (and tremblingly) obeyed. Of course, I was still Eugene to the Dragon, but then I didn't want her to ever know about the stories I read to the others – I was too afraid that she would confiscate them, as I was sure she would!
I soon found myself once again the leader, which I had earned not only by my display of strength and good looks, which once again made me a favourite amongst the girls, but also through my excellent reading skills, which captivated all the children. Indeed, I earned the designation of hero in time, which leads me to tell you another tale of how I came to be awarded that distinguished title . . .
I hope you like this story! I will try to update as regularly as I can . . . please leave me a review and let me know what you think of it so far. Many thanks x