A PLACE IN THIS WORLD?
Two years had gone by since the children's births … and Rantyl's untimely demise. For two years, life for the family had been anything but happy. For two years, there was somehow a sense of emptiness for everyone, even the children. It was as if everyone knew what had happened, although that was clearly not the case.
No one had been hit harder, however, than Cerusa. For two years, she had been raising her children with an empty place in her heart left by the horrific murder of her beloved mate. It took her everything not to let her bitterness towards the cruelty of the world get the better of her as she raised her young with now just her brother to help her. Ever since that horrible tragedy, everything just felt … wrong …
For two years, the children were left clueless as to why Daddy was not around. Just what could have happened so soon after they hatched? They seemed to know that something didn't seem right.
Even now, Cerusa wondered how she would ever tell her children what really happened. How could they live with the harsh reality that they had had no father pretty much throughout their entire lives? It didn't seem fair to her that those adorable little ones would one day spend the rest of their lives having to sink in this awful reality. It had already stung her bad enough, but how would it affect her kids if she one day told them?
The poor children …
… the one and only thing that stopped Cerusa from wanting to just leave this cruel world behind her forever. Rantyl had wanted his children to grow up to become strong Flyers. Cerusa's will to ensure that would happen was the only thing that left her with any determination left in this world. She knew she had to carry out her mate's dying wish and see to it that the children all grew up to become well-respected members of Flyer society, … even Petrie …
Petrie had become the most worrying of the five. He still showed signs of timidity that none of the others possessed, and only rarely did he have the courage to ride on his mother's back or Pterano's. His fear of the sky had dwindled in the two years that had passed, but apparently not quite enough if he were to ever learn how to fly. This was what worried Cerusa more than anything. Even with all the love she could give him, Petrie was still behaving like a coward in comparison to his siblings. Every Flyer should be able to fly, but if Petrie was still afraid once the time finally came …
No. Cerusa would not think about that just yet. She knew it was still at least a few more cold times before the children would be able to start trying to fly. For now, all she could do was keep giving them lots of love to get one step closer to fulfilling her late mate's desires.
"Mommy?" said Pearlwing one morning as Cerusa sat alone by the nest.
Cerusa smiled a little at her youngest daughter and patted her head.
"What is it, dear?" she asked.
"Um, … w-where is Daddy?" the girl asked innocently.
Cerusa's chest fell and her smile instantly vanished. Nearly every day, most of her kids would come asking where their father was and when or if he would ever be coming back. Cerusa didn't have the heart to completely destroy their spirits. It was too soon for them to know the truth. No matter how many times they asked, she thought it was best to feign hope by giving them a believable lie …
She hated lying, especially to her children. Even worse, she was lying to children that were only two cold times old. Kids that young didn't deserve that, but they also didn't deserve to bear the reality of a dead father at such a young age.
"Your father will be back … someday, I hope," she said after a long silence had passed, hugging her daughter.
"I hope he comes back soon," said Pearlwing.
"Me, too, dear," replied Cerusa with a sad sigh before she decided to quickly change the subject, "Where are the others, Pearlwing?"
"I think they are playing with Orcrest's kids," the girl answered.
"Why don't you run along and play with them for a while?" chuckled Cerusa, "I think they could sure use some more company."
"Well, I was wondering if … Petrie would like to play?"
She turned over to her little brother, whom was sitting in the nest, staring off into space, seemingly thinking of nothing to do than just daydream.
Cerusa frowned as she eyed her youngest child. This was all Petrie seemed to do whenever he wasn't eating. Unlike the other kids, Petrie had still not yet learned to talk, and he never played with anyone. Instead, he only preferred to stay in the nest with either his mother or uncle, remaining completely silent and shying away from anyone other than his own family.
"I'm not sure if Petrie would like to play right now," sighed Cerusa.
"But he never plays with us!" complained Pearlwing, "Doesn't he get bored?"
"I'm sure he does, … but he's just too shy," her mother replied, "Just give him a little more time, and I'm sure he'll talk and play just like you and the other children."
Pearlwing eyed her mother doubtfully.
"I guess," she said, unable to think of anything else to say.
"Trust me, dear. Your brother will be alright," assured Cerusa, "Run along now. The other kids must be waiting for you."
"Okay, Mommy," said a defeated Pearlwing, and she stared worryingly at her little brother one more time before climbing her way down the tree.
Petrie didn't even turn to watch his sister leave. Instead, he kept staring off blankly. For two years now, he never seemed to find anything fun. All he ever wondered was where his Daddy was and why he seemed … "different" … from the rest of his family. Just the idea of speaking a single word felt so difficult. He felt he had no courage to speak, or maybe he was cursed to learn later than the rest of the kids. For a while now, he had wanted to ask his mother what had happened to his father but didn't know how. His mother never seemed like a happy Flyer, and Uncle Pterano was always too busy looking after the others, even though he always made sure to give attention to Petrie as well. All the time, he just felt … empty and wondering if he had a place in this world or if it was too soon for him to know. Why did everything have to be so scary? Why did doing the simplest things have to be so hard? Why did Daddy have to … disappear? Every day, he mentally asked himself the same questions over and over again, and he felt like a poor, helpless child waiting for a day he could finally find a place in life.
Cerusa approached Petrie and sat down next to her lonely son, gently rubbing his back to get his attention. The little Flyer tensed and looked up into his mother's loving eyes, and he gave her a sad frown.
"Petrie, … why are you always sitting here all alone? Don't you ever get bored or feel left out?"
Petrie gulped and shrugged his shoulders. His mother sighed despondently. Although her little boy was by now understanding emotions and feelings, being shy and unable to talk seemed overwhelming. It was like he wished he could speak out his true feelings but learning to talk had been a nightmare.
"C'mere," Cerusa said soothingly, gesturing for Petrie to come and sit on her lap, and Petrie obliged and allowed her to lovingly hug and nuzzle him.
Despite this, though, the boy didn't smile. In fact, he rarely ever smiled. He just seemed to be a sad little one all the time. He seemed to understand that he had something wrong with him and wished he knew what it was. Cerusa sympathized and nuzzled her beloved son, giving him a kiss on his head crest, but even that couldn't make him smile.
"Petrie, … what is the problem, my little one?" she asked him.
"Hmmmmm?" was all Petrie could say, too afraid to open his beak. Speaking just seemed impossible a task for him to muster the courage for.
"Oh, Petrie," sighed Cerusa, "You know you will have to talk sooner or later. It's one of the easiest things anyone could do."
Petrie sunk his head, crestfallen as a single tear escape his eye.
"Now, now, Petrie. It's okay to be shy now and then, but you must be brave … just like Daddy once told you," said Cerusa, sniffling as she mentioned her lost love.
Petrie glanced at the skies to the west. Somehow, he could remember seeing his Daddy take off in that direction that day … and was never seen again.
"Mmmm, … uhhhh?" the boy muttered.
Cerusa had to stop herself from breaking down completely as her son hopelessly tried to mutter just how he felt about his father being gone his whole life.
"I know, Petrie," she said in a broken voice, "I miss your Daddy, too."
The two looked into each other's shiny eyes. For one, it was a general feeling of helplessness and loneliness as he wondered if he had any sort of future in this world. For the other, it was all just emptiness and bitterness at the world her children were forced to live in.
Even if the odds were against them, Cerusa knew she had to do whatever it took to give Petrie as much of a happy life as he could have, no matter the costs. Even if he was timid and perhaps developmentally delayed, she was sure one day he could be a much happier Flyer.
"Is there anything you'd like to do, Petrie? I don't want to see you sitting around and feeling bored. Being a kid is all about having fun," said Cerusa.
To her heartbreak, Petrie sunk and shook his head.
"Would you like to spend some time alone with me?" she offered.
Petrie perked up at this suggestion, and after a moment of hesitation, he shyly nodded. This earned a smile from his mother, and she happily placed him on her back. She heard a whimper from him upon doing that. It seemed he was anticipating another "frightening" ride through the sky, which he still hated with a passion.
"Don't worry, little one. I'm not gonna go flying. We're gonna head down into the forest and walk around. You can't stay in the nest forever, you know," chuckled Cerusa.
Petrie gulped and closed his eyes while Cerusa walked to the edge of the nest and began to climb her way down the tree. It wasn't until they were halfway down that Petrie stopped whimpering in fear and realized what she was really doing. This wasn't flying; it was just going to be some harmless nature walk or something.
Once they were all the way down, Cerusa pulled Petrie off her back and placed him sitting on her left shoulder. She thought he would be better off this way so that he could get a better view at everything around them.
"Now then, little one," chuckled Cerusa, "This won't be scary or anything like that. Just hold on and you'll be just fine."
Petrie did as he was told and placed a wing behind his mother's head while she made her way into the forest. He nervously looked around and soon found himself gazing with wonder at what little fruits and green food surrounded them. Even for a forest that had little food, it was still a sight to behold for anyone his age.
Cerusa was surprised to see that wondrous expression on her son's face. She hadn't seen anything like this from him since … that day. She giggled and playfully tickled his chest to get a laugh or two to escape from his beak. It was the one and only thing he seemed to enjoy when they were alone in the nest, and until now the only thing Cerusa knew could bring a smile to Petrie's face.
"You're surprised, I see," she smiled, "I told you this world is filled with wonders!"
Petrie just laughed and nuzzled his mother's cheek, and she laughed along with him and continued deeper into the forest where food wasn't as scarce.
Before long, Cerusa walked next to a plant containing sweet bubbles, and Petrie's eyes immediately grew wide in surprise, his mouth wide open with wonder. His mother noticed this and saw the purple fruits for herself, and she noticed her son seemed to have a curious interest in them.
"Hmm, sweet bubbles, huh?" pondered Cerusa, "Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try one."
She looked around to see that no one was near, and once she felt assured that the coast was clear, she approached the plant and picked off a single sweet bubble.
"Here you go, dear," she said, handing it to Petrie.
The little Flyer gazed with wonder at his surprise food and cautiously took a bite from it. His tongue immediately felt soothed by the wondrous taste. A smile crept its way onto his beak, the kind of smile Cerusa had not seen on his face in a long time. It was a smile that told her that he apparently had a new favorite food.
"I see you like it," she chuckled, and Petrie nodded and nuzzled her cheek with his own.
"Well, Cerusa, what brings you to my sweet bubble plant?" said a voice, and Petrie immediately flinched and shivered nervously.
Cerusa noticed a purple Flyer whom she recognized as Veron. The two had always been on good terms, although he wasn't afraid to chase off any who disturbed his precious sweet bubble plants.
"My apologies, Veron," she greeted him, "My son was curious and wanted to try one for himself."
"Well now, … one of your little ones, eh?" said Veron, curiously glancing at Petrie.
"Apparently, he likes them," chuckled Cerusa.
"I noticed," agreed Veron, "Say, little one, what's your name?"
Petrie gulped and refused to make eye contact with him.
"He's still not talking yet, and if I may, he's kind of a nervous one," said Cerusa, caressing her son, "His name's Petrie, by the way."
"Ah, Petrie. Good name," said Veron thoughtfully.
"Sorry to disturb you like that, Veron," said Cerusa, "I had to get this little guy out of the nest one way or another."
"Don't mind me, Cerusa. Carry on and make sure he has a good time," said Veron, "Bring him back here again some time."
"I will," smiled Cerusa, and she turned away, "See you later, Veron."
"Same to you," replied Veron.
As Cerusa walked off, Petrie stopped whimpering but still frantically looked around to see if anymore "strangers" were near.
"Don't worry, Petrie," said Cerusa, "Veron's a very good Flyer. All he does is look after his sweet bubbles."
Petrie looked as if he didn't feel so sure, but being mute, he couldn't find a way to argue with that.
"Come on, dear. Hmm, I wonder …" she pondered as she heard what sounded like … children playing around.
Petrie let out one faint whimper upon hearing that sound, and Cerusa gently nuzzled him.
"Aw, Petrie, you don't have to be afraid of everyone," she chuckled humorously.
Petrie glanced at his mother with a confused expression, and she laughed at what he was apparently trying to say.
"You silly little one," she laughed, "Let's see if anyone's around."
Petrie frantically shook his head, but Cerusa was determined to see to it that her little one wouldn't be alone forever. He needed a friend sooner or later.
She brushed a large leaf aside and noticed a beautiful, small open space with several children playing. She managed to recognize all four of her other children, Pterano and Orcrest, a neighbor of their family with three children of his own whom all got along well with her kids.
Petrie immediately wrapped his arms around his mother's neck and softly whimpered as his mother rubbed his back.
"There, there, Petrie," she whispered, "They're not gonna hurt you. They're little just like you."
The boy shook his head as his way of replying, "I don't believe you!"
Instead of turning away as he would have wished, Cerusa sat down and placed Petrie on her lap, hugging him lovingly.
"Let's at least watch what they're up to," she suggested.
Petrie shook his head, but his nonverbal gesture fell on blind eyes as his mother watched her other children playing what appeared to be a game of "Toss the Seed."
"That looks like a lot of fun. I wonder why I never bothered to watch them before?" Cerusa pondered to herself.
Petrie stopped squirming only after he realized that they seemed to have their attention completely on something other than him, and he watched with curiosity as his siblings and the other kids seemed to be tossing a pointy seed around the place over and over again. He had never seen anything like it, and it seemed to look like fun judging from how happy and excited everyone looked.
Eventually, Pterano noticed them and gave a small smile. His sister smiled back while Petrie just sighed and kept watching their little game. He simply felt it was best to just stay where he was rather than get involved himself.
While Orcrest kept the kids' attention away from them, Pterano approached his sister and nephew.
"What brings you here, little one?" he asked Petrie.
"I just needed to get him out of the nest one way or another," answered Cerusa.
"Is he doing okay?" asked Pterano.
"Well, I found out he has a soft spot for sweet bubbles," his sister chuckled.
Pterano looked down in surprise at his nephew, who simply blushed nervously.
"Sweet bubbles? That's … really not very common for Flyers to eat those."
"We bumped into Veron and he didn't mind sharing one with him," said Cerusa, leaving her brother quite stunned, "So, how are the other kids?"
"They're having a good time," replied Pterano, and he eyed his nephew, "Someday I think you ought to try the game yourself."
Petrie gulped upon hearing that, and his mother swiftly replied, "Maybe when he's brave enough."
The two siblings giggled at the younger Flyer, and Pterano patted his nephew's head.
"Be brave, little one," he said with a wink, and he went back to watching the children.
As Petrie's eyes turned away from Pterano, he shifted back over to the kids and noticed that Pearlwing was suddenly looking at him, and he gulped with dread, fearing he was about to get noticed.
Sure enough, his sister excitedly approached them with an eager smile on her beak, and he knew that any moment now he was going to get dragged into something against his own will.
"Hi, Petrie!" said Pearlwing, "Did you finally decide to play with us!?"
This got the others' attention, and Petrie cringed, shut his eyes and turned his head away.
"Now, now, Pearlwing, I only wanted to get him out of the nest for just a few minutes. I was actually starting to enjoy watching what you were playing," chuckled Cerusa.
"Besides, Pearlwing, Petrie can't talk, so surely that worthless baby doesn't know how to play," said Donnie coldly.
"Now, Donnie, be nice to your brother," said Pterano sternly.
Donnie didn't speak another word and pulled his sister away from their mother and little brother. Pearlwing frowned at Petrie with a sorrowful expression before she turned away.
Cerusa looked down and noticed how hurt Petrie appeared to look from his brother's rude remark. Even though he hated the idea of doing anything with anyone, being looked at like he was just some worthless nobody seemed to hurt him. It broke Cerusa's heart knowing that her son was so afraid of learning how to talk and yet felt humiliated because of such consequences of learning late. It was like he had no control of it and was paying the price for it.
"I guess I should take you back to the nest, Petrie," said Cerusa as she noticed Petrie's eyes beginning to look shiny, an indication that he was about to break into tears.
Wasting no time, the older Flyer stood up and carried her heartbroken son on her shoulder again. He began to quietly sob as they left the area and went back into the deeper part of the forest. She didn't stop anywhere to enjoy any of the sights she thought he might like, and instead just kept walking until they were back at the tree where their nest was situated.
She brushed a single tear away from her own eye before she placed Petrie on her back and climbed her way back up. It crushed her heart seeing that even the simplest nature walk ended up crushing Petrie's spirits about himself … and about … anything. If even that couldn't make him happy, then it seemed nothing ever would. Cerusa didn't want Petrie to be sad forever, but no matter how hard she tried, nothing could ever bring any happiness to her youngest child.
Once they were back in their nest, Cerusa gently brought Petrie back down, and he immediately ran to the other side of the nest, lied down on a tree star and covered his head with it, weeping dreadfully and soaking the only thing he could find as a coping mechanism to hide his sorrow.
Cerusa sat down and caressed her son. He tried to resist but eventually gave in and allowed her to pick him up and hug him tightly, kissing him all over to give him as much love as possible.
"Please don't cry, my little Petrie," she sniffled as she tried her best to not break down herself, "Mommy's right here. Nobody's going to tease you as long as I'm here."
Petrie grabbed one of the pointy ends of his tree star and rubbed his soaked beak with it in a vain effort to dry his face, and he looked up at his mother with tears streaming like waterfalls. The sight of it made her heart sink with guilt. Somehow, she felt responsible for how their quiet little walk ended so badly. If only she had decided not to watch that game the other kids were playing …
"Mmmmm … mmmm … mmm … Mom-my?" cried Petrie.
Cerusa gasped once she heard that. It couldn't be true. Did she really just see what she thought she saw? Did she hear what she thought she heard?
"D-did you … really just say something, Petrie?" she gasped.
At that moment, Petrie realized what had just happened, and his eyes went wide with shock as he saw his mother's surprised expression. Had he … finally spoken his first word? After all this time, had he somehow gained the courage to speak even a single word at all? How could it be? How could pain give him encouragement? To him, it made no sense. It was like the pain from that insult seemed to empower him just to do that one simple thing.
"I'm … so ecstatic, Petrie," Cerusa cried happily, "My little boy finally spoke his first word."
Petrie blushed in embarrassment upon hearing this, but he had no time to react before his mother just about crushed him in a tight hug.
"Oh, Petrie, … I'm so proud of you, dear," Cerusa whispered into her son's ear, and as she eased her hug a little so she could look at his face again, she saw something she never thought she would see again …
A tearful smile.
Petrie was sobbing just as heavily as before, but now it was happiness that had consumed him instead of pain and sadness. Even if it embarrassed him that he had actually spoken even a single word, even he had to admit it in his mind that he was quite happy for himself, too, … and for his mother. Making her proud was something that brightened him, and he was overjoyed to have finally done something so simple that made such a positive impact on her.
What Petrie did next greatly surprised his mother …
He joyously climbed up to her shoulder and kissed her on the cheek. Cerusa laughed at this behavior and let a few happy tears escape her eyes.
"Aww, Petrie!" she giggled, "You are such an adorable one!"
Petrie blushed sheepishly, and his mother playfully grabbed him and placed him on her lap before she began tickling him all over, making him laugh uncontrollably. After a minute, she stopped to let him catch his breath, and she kissed him on the crown of his head.
"I love you, my little Petrie," she said soothingly.
Petrie smiled in response, and he placed his tear-soaked tree star on his head, squirmed out of his mother's hold and began running around the nest, cheekily laughing all the way. His mother playfully followed him around and caught him in just a few moments since it was just about impossible for a two-year old to run very fast.
Just as Cerusa pulled Petrie back onto her lap and began tickling him again, she heard a faint hissing sound, and soon the laughing stopped. She knew just what was happening …
She looked down and was shocked to find several leaves suddenly soaked with a bad stench hanging in the air.
Petrie blushed profusely and gulped nervously, apparently fearing his mother's reaction even if it was normal for kids his age to wet the nest even while awake in broad daylight.
"Oh, dear. I think we got a little carried away with our fun," said Cerusa humorously, and she quickly picked up the ruined leaves, "I'll be right back, okay? Stay right here."
Petrie nervously nodded, and his mother made her way down. Suddenly, he realized he was all alone in the nest, … something that had never happened before. The mere thought of it paralyzed him. It was one thing for things to be quiet and peaceful, but for there to be no living thing around other than himself, it creeped him out.
The tense silence didn't last long, though. The sight of his mother returning to the nest forced a sigh of relief from Petrie, knowing that his loving, protecting mother was back to keep him company. He smiled as her feet touched back down and she placed new leaves where the old, wet ones used to be.
"Good as new," she said, and she gently picked up Petrie and lovingly pulled him in, "Now then, try taking it easy when we play the tickling game, little Petrie."
Petrie blushed profusely, and Cerusa laughed at his reaction.
"Oh, you silly little Petrie!" she giggled, "Come here, ya!"
Before Petrie had time to think of a response, he found himself trapped in a tight hug while his feet became the victim of tickling once again. The little Flyer laughed helplessly, wishing the playful torture would stop, but it seemed speaking his first word had made his mother so happy that she didn't want to stop playing with him. He knew, though, that she was just trying to be the most loving mother around.
Cerusa turned and saw her brother at the other end of the nest, seemingly appearing from out of nowhere.
"Oh, … Pterano," she greeted him awkwardly, "I didn't hear you arrive."
"I just came to see if Petrie's alright," replied Pterano, "He seemed … glum when you left."
"Well, he's doing okay now," chuckled Cerusa, playfully tickling her little boy, "How are the rest of the kids?"
"They're in Orcrest's capable wings," answered Pterano.
Cerusa nodded in acceptance, and she quickly remembered …
"Oh, I've got some news."
Pterano eagerly approached his sister when he heard those words.
Cerusa gave her brother a beaming smile.
"Petrie spoke his first word."
Pterano gasped in shock, "What?"
"My little boy finally said his first word!" said Cerusa excitedly, "The sweet little guy!"
Pterano was utterly speechless. He had been sure Petrie was going to talk at some point but not anytime soon, so to hear that he had spoken his first word this soon was quite surprising.
"What did he say?"
"He said, 'Mommy'," answered Cerusa with a smile.
A smile crept its way onto Pterano's beak as he sat next to his sister and looked at his giggling nephew.
"So, I see you know who Mummy is, Petrie," he said, "Do you know who I am?"
Cerusa smirked at her brother, obviously not expecting any answer from Petrie …
"Un-u-uncle Pt-Pterano," stuttered Petrie sheepishly.
Huge gasps escaped Cerusa and Pterano's beaks. They stared at the little Flyer with amazement, and in response he blushed and grinned nervously as if he knew what kind of reaction he was about to receive.
"Petrie, I'm heart warmed!" beamed Pterano, "Come here, you smart, little one."
Cerusa used her beak to gently push Petrie towards his uncle, and the young boy waddled his way over and climbed onto his lap with a cute smile on his little beak.
"Aw, Petrie," Pterano spoke warmly to his nephew, "You'll grow one day to be a very smart Flyer."
Petrie nervously grinned at those words and blushed while Cerusa had to stop herself from tearing up again.
"Your mother and I will be there every step of the way. We promise," Pterano added, and he turned to his sister, "Won't we, dear sister?"
"We will," nodded Cerusa hesitantly, feeling unsure if her brother would be right about his predictions. Petrie may have been smart, especially at his age, but something about him still worried her, and it wasn't just about his potential fear of the skies …
She watched as Petrie climbed up to his uncle's shoulders and tried nuzzling him, and Pterano hugged the boy and tickled him lightly, earning a few laughs from the little one.
"Ah, beloved nephew," smiled Pterano.
Watching the two play together brought a big smile to Cerusa's beak. Pterano had tried his best to give equal attention to all five children, but for Petrie it had always been easier said than done. The two didn't seem to be as close as it looked from afar, but after watching this moment, Cerusa could confirm that Pterano had a very soft spot for his youngest nephew just as soft as hers was. He seemed just like a Daddy to Petrie …
Just like the Daddy he never got to have …
In Cerusa's heart, Pterano could never replace Rantyl as their father, and he had been very ill-prepared to look after the children when everything happened all at once, but it seemed the lessons she had taught her were paying off, and perhaps the children could still experience having a father figure in their lives, … until they would eventually have to learn the truth …
Cerusa shrugged off her negative thoughts and playfully poked Petrie just like Pterano was doing. Receiving playful tickles from both mother and uncle brought very happy laughs from Petrie. For the first time in his life, he seemed to be enjoying something that involved playing with family. It was just him and his two most beloved figures by his side. The moment was perfect. Nothing could be better than this. There could be nothing happier than a moment like this …
They only hoped they would be able to do more to keep Petrie as happy as he could be …
This chapter was a consistent nightmare to write since it was perhaps the trickiest portion of the story line for me to establish. Everything after this, however, I have mentally planned out better, so hopefully we won't have any more delays nearly as long as this one was. I apologize for taking over a month to write this chapter even after everything our community went through in the last few weeks.
This chapter was merely meant to show Petrie's early struggles and establish his loving relationship with his mother and uncle. Everything after this, I'm sorry to say, will not be filled with so much happiness. The series of unfortunate events has only just begun, and not everything will work out in the end.