"What are you doing son?" King Par chuckled lightheartedly.
"I'm trying to see like you." A young Norm replied.
"If I were such a strapping young king indeed. Tell me son, what do you see from your cushioned perch?"
Norm giggled with joy, father rarely talked to him. What made this moment so grand? This little prince didn't care in the slightest then. Finally his father spoke in words rather than moral building riddles.
"I. I see you... and momma." Norm's voice quaked as he saw his mother's frail body. Par opened his eyes wide in a wild fury as he hurried her back up stairs. Norm waited there eagerly, yet his father did not return. Norm sighed slowly as he puffed up his chest and threw his strongest hoof into one of the throne's pillows that he had stacked up.
"Mother always ruins my time with father. She wouldn't have gotten sick if she'd gone to the sacred tree." Norm huffed under his breath.
"Is that what you believe son?" Par towered over Norm. "Surely I raised you too well, to speak such truths in the throne room. Come with me Nor' mal."
The sun seemed eager for my departure it seemed. From breakfast to the third meeting with Luna the eve had already graced us. Another hour and the delegates where to establish the founding rules to our treaty. With any luck the treaty could be inked in another day or so, I could sail back home and everything would be back to normal.
But nothing could be normal as how it was when I was young, even the future of normalcy was bleak. I could not leave Equestria knowing one of her rulers was not well. I couldn't leave Luna like I left my father those many years ago. Was it wrong for me to see her as merely redemption... only The Sacred Tree knew. Through it all she was silent, like the sky, the air. I was so attuned to everyone else's woes that I could not hear her whisper to me within the winds.
Luna had left my company after my heart calmed down, and I took a walk in to the gardens to lighten my mood. The subtle beauty of the morning glory and daylilies consoled me, until I saw the sprouting weeds below them. Weeds... they were just like other plants, and yet they were despised because they had no place within ponicured rows of flower beds. Some of the weeds had hidden themselves well, mimicking the petal shape of the native flowers. The sound of soft hoof steps drew closer to me.
"I thought I might find you here." Said Celestia.
"Celestia." I said back to her. "You've got some weeds within your flower beds."
"Do I?" She craned her neck to my level. "I'm Sorry Norm... I don't see any."
I glanced over to her signature smile. The kind of smile that outside eyes would see as polite, and everyone else knew as a playful grin. "I love all the flowers in the garden." She whispered to me.
I gave a nod of my head as my eyes swayed to one of the Griffon delegates peering in. Thankfully not Burred-paw.
Norm marveled his father's gait, each hoof fell softly yet every leg moved with such power and determination that Norm was sure they would make some noise. His thick cream hairs hid the growing silvers and whites from anyone unable to know his father closely, and in the coming years they would become a majority. His brows seem glued into a perpetual wonder to the sights around him, even as he traced the same routines.
His father seemed flawless. Ever ready to listen, never without a proper lesson to teach. Even as they made their way upstairs to Norm's sleeping quarters, Norm kept his ears alert for his father's poignant lesson. All he heard though was the subtle rasps of his father's breath, the uncomfortable seizes he muffled as his joints flexed. When they had reached the final stair Norm looked back to his father eagerly still awaiting his moral. Par took in a deep breath.
"I'll see you tomorrow son, for breakfast." His father had a subtle limp as he continued to his chambers.
Norm sulked his head low and readied himself for bed.
"Hello there, hoof-friends!" The lithe Griffon exclaimed. Celestia gave a welcoming smile, to which the Griffon stopped tapping his claw to the well-fed grass timidly and hurried out to greet us more personally. His arm wrapped around me and Celestia as he began apologizing. "I'm just dearly-dreadfully sorry about Burred-paws more savage lifestyle. He's has an unmistakably eccentric personality, he still isn't used to getting every nitty-gritty whim he desires though."
"Just wonderful" I remember thinking as I gave a sigh in agony. "Just the character we need charting up a new treaty" I mumbled bitterly. Celestia of course was quick to dismiss my spitefulness. A steely gaze from her eyes, unleashed a half hearted glance of mercy from me to the Griffon. He shook his head. "There's no need for apologies, Norm de Parnce is absolutely correct. Burred-Paw will be a great evil in our endeavours to declare amicable peace within our species. He holds onto the old ways of the Griffons, Honor, strength. Any notion of frailty sours his lion's pride, and he is all but unreceptive. A solution for this would requi-"
"Finchelstein." Celestia said softly. Her words made the Griffon seize, forgetting his train of thought. "I invited Burred-Paw here for a reason. I want him to feel welcome here, as his thoughts are as wanted as Philias' and yours. I need the "old ways" and your ways to be unified in this treaty. No exceptions of customs or traditions can interfere the commune. Do you understand?"
"Princess, please excuse me if I sounded wicked, or deceptive. I understand Burr's consultation... I didn't mean to." He closed his eyes, pulling away from us as he exhaled slowly. "As you wish Princess." He tipped his hat and exited the gardens. I couldn't keep my eyes from watching him. Somehow I believed that Finch and Burred could learn a lot from one another. Yet that seemed as likely as Celestia raising the moon... I digress.
I'm going to be honest and just tell you right now that I don't remember how Celestia and I left the gardens on bad terms. I do remember that even though we were on bad terms she still requested I follow her, and that I followed for Luna's best interest. My mind had been replaying my morning memories like senile rooster in the midst of Celestia's questions or in mid-sentence. She had placed her golden slipper to my shoulder enough times for any onlooker to assume she was knighting me. I wanted to hear her words, relate to her problems but Celestia knew that I was in another world at that time. I only feared she believed it was out of boredom or disinterest. She held her arm out in front of me, jogging me hazily back.
"What is clouding your mind Normace." Celestia said. I could sense her pensiveness was more in irritability then true concern.
"This morning I had a memory of my father. It was a week after my mother's disappearance, I was a still a kid, month shy of my birthday. All of the memories I reflect on have a moral lesson from my father."
"What was this lesson?" Celestia asked.
"I... I don't remember. I remember the climb up the stairs, and him telling me something important... but this time all I heard was his aging body. This memory feels... hollow." I admitted.
She took her time with this insight. She must have known how such and event vexed my conscious. The idolization of my father's words, erased from my mind.
"There might yet be a lesson in what you saw, yet I do not know of you needed the answer again. Your mind will guide you farther in dreams and thoughts than mine could travel." She smiled softly, until her mind wondered. "Since your visit here in the castle, have you seen other distorted memories?" She asked worriedly.
"This is the first to distort." I replied. "Thank you Celestia." We both shared a relieved smile and continued our walk.