I was born under the sign of the broken wheel. My parents do not speak of this, nor do they speak of my first year. Secretly, I know my name is Livinuk, he who mends, but I also know I bore that name for only one year before they renamed me Zyrich, one who waits. I found my original birth gift in a box in the farthest corner of the storage shed, under everything we never use. I thought, at first, it was an announcement for a sibling I never met, but I cannot have had a twin born a year earlier, and the prints are a match.
No, my parents named me once, and then a year later named me again, and in between they changed my sign. My new announcement lists me as born under the crafter’s bench, though I’ve never felt as though it suited me. Not everyone does, of course. It is the way of things, and so I brushed it off. But the broken wheel is a bad luck sign, has been for generations, and it seems my parents are more superstitious than I gave them credit for.
Either that, or something terrible happened in that first year.
I cannot ask them. I am not supposed to know. They believe they have kept their secret well, and I do not know what they would think or feel if it were revealed they had not. If they knew that in assigning me the chore of cleaning the shed, they put the answer in my hands. Nor do I know what to do with the information that I was born not who I am and my parents saw fit to change that.
There is a fist of worry that strikes my stomach whenever I think of it, and I cannot blame it on the bad luck of my sign. I feel as though I am waiting for something terrible to happen, the meaning of my replacement name becoming more accurate than I ever could have guessed, and I cannot help but wonder if this results from some long ago incident, the sort where the memory does not take hold in the mind that speaks, but nestles deep in the mind that knows and directs your intuition.
Secretly, I know the first year of my life resulted in something terrible, something my parents sought to protect me from. Yet, now I know, I cannot help but want answers, all of them, if only to understand the dread that twists my stomach at every turn. I cannot ask my parents, but I cannot forget that I know. The only thing I can think of is to find one who might have the answer as well, and that means visiting the one who sees, deep in her forest where only the desperate travel.