Pallis is only five when it happens.

He may be young, but he cannot ignore the feeling of dread as he walks down the dark halls with Sangara leading the way. The butler, with his apron stained red from dealing with the kingdom's criminals (they can't afford to hire a separate executioner - aside from this, Sangara also cooks for them), is in an especially bad mood.

When they reach the door, Pallis hears screaming from inside that makes him wish he were deaf, considering the screams are in his mother's voice. Sangara and him wait silently outside until the screams are replaced by crying. The door suddenly flings open, and the young prince shakes as his father appears.

"Do what you want with it. Just keep it away from me," he growls into the room, then stalks down the hallway. As Pallis watches him go, he can't help but think, that if this thing makes his father angry, then he should enjoy it.

They step in, and a doctor, one of the tribe of witch doctors that live up in the mountains, is laying a white sheet over a body on the bed with his dark-skinned apprentice at his side. Pallis wonders where his mother went and why she was screaming, but no one tells him. They all fuss over a pink thing wailing in the corner. A nurse notices him and pulls him over to see it.

"Look, Prince Pallis. It's your new baby brother," she says in soft tones like velvet cushions that suggested he fall on them. And as Pallis stares at the thing, this "brother", he knows that he will like it. If it makes his father that angry, he will love it with everything he's got and never let it go.