The swings were old and a little rusty, and they complained loudly as Linda whooshed rhythmically back and forth. It was autumn, and a cool breeze was blowing little leaf clusters around in circles. The ground was littered with the red, orange, and yellow foliage that came every year.
Linda was there with her father, and he was pushing her forward, propelling her to go faster and higher. She could feel his strong, comforting hands on her back each time he pushed her. This was her favorite place to go with him, and he knew it.
After a while, they retired to the old worn blanket their family used for picnics. The patchwork quilt was made of soft, faded cotton triangles in red and white, and the stuffing had been flattened from repeated use. They were eating simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and some chips from the store.
"Linda, I brought you out here for a specific reason. I need to talk to you about something." Her father said gravely. Linda was afraid she was in trouble; her father, though solemn, rarely spoke to her quite this way.
"You cannot realize this yet – simply because of your age – but you are special." He told her. Though Linda was delighted, he didn't look any happier. "Do you remember the story I told you about the cousins and the dragon?"
"Of course! I like the enchanter, because she's pretty, like my Barbie." Linda replied in a childlike way, fitting for her young age. She beamed up at him. Her father gave a quick smile, but his graveness quickly returned.
"I'm glad you like her, sweetie. You're just like her." He told her.
"Oh I know I'm pretty, Daddy. People tell me all the time." She didn't understand why her father was so upset when telling her such nice things.
"I don't mean that, though you are pretty. I mean you are an enchanter." He said. Linda was confused.
"You said that story happened a long time ago, Daddy. How can I be her? Besides, it's make-believe, like Cinderella or Rapunzel." Her father knew she was sharp, despite her age and carefree manner. He hated to impose this on her, while she was still young. But she needed to hear it.
"It's not make-believe. It actually happened. You are not her; you are one of her descendants. So am I. Except, we're also descendants of the sorcerer, which is why I'm not an enchanter like you are." He told her kindly. Linda appeared baffled.
"How can it not be make-believe? Dragons don't exist. I've never seen a dragon. And how am I an enchanter? That doesn't make sense." She sounded scared, and more like she was trying to convince herself than him. "Dragons are scary, Daddy."
"I know they are. But it is true. You haven't seen a dragon because they are all sleeping. You remember the stones they swallowed?" Linda nodded in response. "They carried magical properties. Their children inherited stones also. And so the Weir were created. People like us, who are descendants of those cousins and powers from the stones we carry. You carry an enchanter stone." He explained in an almost rushed way, hoping to get it all out before she stopped listening to him.
Linda paused for a moment, and then exclaimed, "You mean I have a rock in me? That's weird."
"Not a rock," her father returned. "A crystal. Like the gemstones in the bracelets you like. Except magical. Much nicer than a rock." He steered her toward a happier way of thinking.
She mulled this new information over quietly, then sighed. "Well, it's better than a stupid rock. What does it do, anyway?"
"It gives you powers, sweetie, but not until you're older. Not until you're older." He said the last part softly, almost to himself, thankfully. She was persuasive enough as it was. Linda would a powerful weapon when she was older.
Her father had accomplished what he wished. He couldn't bring himself to tell her anymore than that today, and she seemed preoccupied enough as it was. He just laid the groundwork for future revelations.
He hoped she would take those much darker ones as well as she did today.
"Not until you're older." He repeated.