Chapter 2 – The Name Oliver
The child of Baron Jackson Sheen and Lady Laurel Sheen was born on an inauspicious eve, but was treated with a love only parents can provide from the moment of his birth. He was cared for, held, shown affection and never left alone. Lady Laurel saw this boy as the most precious thing in the world to her. She showed a love and affection for her child equal to the love and longing she held for her husband.
It took the Lady over a month before deciding on his name. It was only on the eve of a certain day when she was walking with her child in her arms through the servants quarters as she was feeling peeved that day and had decided to let some of the lazier servants go, that she came across another mother. Instantly deciding to brag about her son she walked over to her “Good day, I see you are also a new mother as well.”
“Oh my! Good Afternoon Lady Laurel!” The woman half bowed with her child in her arms as she nodded at her in response to her question. She was currently staying with her sister who was a maid at the manor. The servants had their own quarters in a building in the back and the lord of the manor was quite lenient with the commoners as he used to previously be one himself. This allowed for them to have their family stay whenever necessary and were given a leniency normally not allowed for those working directly for a lord.
Lady Laurel stared at the child in the woman’s hands “He’s quite adorable. He doesn’t have as much hair as my boy here but still quite adorable. He’s quite small too, aren’t you feeding him enough?”
The woman could tell that this Lady lived true to her reputation. She hadn’t asked for her name and had given her a backhanded compliment, but she herself was a commoner and in no way would she speak back to her, so her only response was “I do the best I can my Lady. How could a commoner born child be as wonderful as your child? He’s clearly destined for great things.”
They say flattery will get you no where with some people. Normally that was true of Lady Laurel, except her son was the exception. She loved hearing wonderful things about her child, especially by those who she didn’t personally know. Lady Laurel nodded her head in satisfaction “Yes he is, you have good eye sight. If you need anything let the other servants know that I have approved of it.”
Turning around and walking away, Lady Laurel didn’t even pay attention to the woman’s look of gratitude as she was leaving but she still bowed towards her and spoke “Thank you so much Lady Laurel! My little Oliver will one day thank you for this himself!”
Lady Laurel froze in place as she heard those words and turned around to face the woman. The look on her face enough to make a chill run down the woman’s spine as she stared wide eyed at Lady Laurel with an expression of fear.
“What did you say…?”
Unsure of what she’d done to suddenly change Lady Laurel’s demeanor. The woman backtracked through every word but could find no fault with what she’d spoken and could only respond in a soft whisper, afraid of what the Lady would do to her “I said… Thank you and that my son, little Oliver will one day thank you for your kind grace”.
Lady Laurel’s eyes brightened up knowing that she hadn’t misheard her. She’d been searching for a baby name since she got pregnant but could find nothing to suit her child.
‘It’s gotten even harder than before since my wonderful little child was born. Now that I know how amazing he will be, he naturally needs and deserves a name that will fit him perfectly! This name…. This name is perfect!’ she thought.
She looked back at the woman before her with a gleeful expression as she said “Wrong. My child’s name is now Oliver. Your child will now be named…” unable to think of anything she looked around the room trying to think of something as she saw a hat, on a child with a feather at the top. Making her think of a phoenix, or a peacock, or a chicken. Thinking of a rooster, she decided “Your child will be named Plucky! My child will be named Oliver. You may go now.”
The woman gaped at her. ‘What the hell do you think you have the right to name my own child!?’ but naturally she couldn’t voice her thought… As a tear formed in the corner of one of her eyes “Uhm… Miss… I don’t want to be rude… But Plucky…?”
In place of the previously gleeful expression appeared a glare that made the woman stop in her tracks before continuing. Lady Laurel’s nose was flared as she prepared to yell at the woman before her.
“No I understand! Plucky! It’s a wonderful name! It’ll be good luck for him to have such an energetic name!” the woman quickly said not wanting to get on the Lady’s bad side after all the rumors she’d heard and the look she’d previously been given. Even though this was her sister’s room, she decided it best not to point that out.
Leaving with a small bow at the edge of the door, she left into the hallway.
It was only a few minutes later as Lady Laurel was staring at her beautiful son calling him Oliver repeatedly that she realized she’d asked the servant woman to leave her own room as she let out a childish laugh realizing how silly she’d been. This was followed by another round of giggles as she thought about how unreasonable she’d been naming the other woman’s son Plucky. ‘What a stupid name… I really have to work on my temper… Well whatever, it’s her own fault for not saying anything. It’s not like I really care what she names her son as long as it isn’t Oliver.’ she thought as she left the room in an even better mood than before.
The young child Oliver was special. More special than anyone in the Lord’s manor. He was the only one spared the wrath of Lady Laurel. In fact he was coddled from the moment of his birth, given the best toys, the best milk (Lady Laurel’s of course), the best bed, the best crib, the best teachers.
Lady Laurel desired for the world to understand just how previous and incredible her child was, and begun his formal education at the age of 6 months old. The child was learning to crawl and placed in front of teacher after teacher. Allowing him to choose the one he wanted.
Each one of these candidates held a wry smile as they learned from the Lady of the manor that the child would be picking his own teacher. Some found it a bit beneath them, but stayed calm until they realized the child choosing them was only 6 months old. Unable to contain their indignity, a variety of them left at this. Some stayed and decided it would be the easiest job interview in the world, they merely had to get the child to point at them and giggle and they would have a year of nothing more than babysitting. Those who thought like this figured this would be the easiest job in the world.
In fact, they were right. Little Oliver despite Lady Laurel’s bragging and wishful thinking had not exhibited any traits of being special (to anyone but her) since his birth. When placed in front of the 11 remaining teachers, his eyes unfocused merely gazed around the room as he toppled over from the sitting position he was placed in.
In the end, it was the first teacher who happened to be standing in the direction he pointed that was chosen. This shocked Lady Laurel as she realized her son had chosen a fat and slovenly looking bald man who was dressed in buddhist robes. The Lady instantly decided that her son must have seen something she had not, further causing her to believe he was indeed a genius. She judged this man by the clothes he wore and slovenly demeanor but her son saw past that and must have seen something special.
The two servants in the room nearly burst into giggles. The Lady was stern and firecracker, and no one wished to get on her bad side, but when it came to her son she seemed as blind as a bat.
Coincidentally Oliver had chosen his teacher because the light had reflected off the bald man’s head causing him to point at the light coming from the bald teacher’s head.
What others didn’t realize was that this sloven bald man was actually quite an interesting and mysterious fellow. He had a rich background and he was quite the catch as he was looking for somewhere to lie low for the next 3 years of his life. When the Lady and Lord found out about his background, they were stunned. The servants themselves were also stunned as a few of them and guards were in the room while the formal interview was taking place. The news quickly spread throughout the manor giving rise to the theory that the young child was special after all.