He is fifteen and he hates.

He hates being stuck indoors with his books about law and history and how to be a king while he watches Adakias dance in the moonlight through the charred and barren orchards. He hates that his father takes every opportunity to criticize him in everything he says and does. But most of all, he hates that Father has finally started communicating with Adakias.

Pallis notices the first bruise in the winter.

They share a room, not because they have to, but because Pallis always worries about Adakias' head that is always floating up in the clouds, and Adakias thinks the world of his brother. Adakias dresses, not wearing the proper princely clothes that are tailored for his growing body, but the shabby, brown clothes he wears to romp about in the woods.

Before he pulls his shirt on, Pallis sees them. Four thick blue and purple marks on his arm, offset by a fifth on the opposite side. He asks, and he is shocked that his brother lies to him.

"I fell out of a tree yesterday." He says it so coolly, so smoothly that Pallis almost swears that he said it and not his little brother who is always so innocent and goofy and good.

He sees through this immediately, but does not question it. His brother doesn't want to talk to him about it, but then, a sharp pang goes through his heart, the thought that maybe his brother doesn't trust him enough to talk about it. At the same time, Pallis realizes that Adakias croons his romantic notions to the whole town, but never to his brother, and he wonders what he, as a brother, has done wrong.

Has he not for years shielded Adakias from their Father's wrath? Has he not for years protected his ridiculous (this is the first time he calls them ridiculous) dreams of reuniting the two halves of their world? Has he not, through the beatings and heartache and ridicule experienced on behalf of his brother, earned the right to be a part of his brother's life?

And so he hates, for the first time in his life, his brother.