Venatori children are much like children ones if they have a loving family. When I was five my favorite toy was my stuffed Mushu dragon. He went everywhere with me. He was my own personal dragon guardian just like in the movie Mulan. He helped me cope with the woes of a 5-year old which at the time were mild to none.
I cried on his soft fur when my mother dragged me off on an already terrifying airplane to live with aweful people I didn’t know. Life might have been easier if Mushu had survived the first few weeks. But he hadn’t.
I was sharing a room with another fire-starter boy – Aaron Woolbright. He was a large black boy with a big head and even larger hands. The first night we spent together we got into an argument over who slept where. He had taken the bottom bunk of one bed and refused to let me have the bottom on another – being afraid of heights I couldn’t deal with the top bunk at all – even then and I still can’t now.
Aaron stole Mushu from me, and in my attempt to get the little red dragon back I started a fire. Which in a fire-starter room is little more than impressive since very little is flammable, but I managed it. When we fled the room Aaron tossed Mushu into the fire and I watched my little friend melt into oblivion before a counselor pulled me out of the burning room.
It was the last toy I ever owned. An orphaned Venatori which is basically what I was, is given the basics needed to survive – clothes on your back that mostly fit and the supplies you needed for your lessons, everything else you did without.