The first sin is Greed.
The first- and only- time Vir stole from another, he was a child of five seasons. The incident was in fact one of his earliest memories.
It all started in the family garden. One of the ladies of House Cotto some generations back was quite taken with botany, and had seen to it that several very rare and beautiful plant species were coaxed from the tired soil. One of these was a low-growing flowering bush and it was under a group of these bushes that Vir found what became his secret hiding spot. His older cousin, Dima, and his friends couldn’t see him in there and they certainly couldn’t squeeze into the tiny space, which only barely fit the small but chubby Vir. Knowing that he could crawl out of sight whenever Dima got it into his head that tormenting his shy little cousin would bring sufficient entertainment made Vir feel safe.
On the day of his transgression, however, Vir was not hiding from Dima. He had fled the house and his father’s temper after, in an unfortunate moment of clumsiness, he had shattered a ceremonial icon that had been owned by his family for at least a century. Curled up within the bush, the sting on his bottom still lingering and tears streaming silently down his cheeks, Vir hoped no one would come looking for him until his father was no longer angry.
Some time passed before Vir noticed the strange chirping by his right ear. His tears slowing, Vir rubbed his runny nose with his sleeve and shifted to see what was making the sound.
Beside him was a nest and in the nest were three newborn volatilis birds. When Vir peeked over the edge of the nest, the birds extended their necks and opened their hungry beaks. “Where’s your mama?” he asked softly. The birds opened and closed their beaks in response and Vir bit his lip, suddenly knowing the answer.
At this time, there was a great deal of whispering among the adults of House Cotto regarding the young Vir’s future. While Vir’s cousins all began to speak in infancy, almost four seasons passed before Vir uttered his first words. While the other boys began to demonstrate their prowess for sport around the time they began their schooling, Vir was uncoordinated and unskilled. While the other children stumbled over each other seeking the attention and favor of the adults, Vir hung back and watched. A year before, Vir’s uncle, believing that none of the children were within hearing distance, once wondered aloud whether Vir was an imbecile. Dima had heard this, however, and gleefully mocked Vir and his “head full of spoo” until Vir stuck his fingers in his mouth and burst into tears.
But there were a few in House Cotto who were kinder to the household's youngest member.
Ugo, the gardener and a retainer at House Cotto for many years, was a white-haired, grizzled Centauri who had very little patience for most children. They trampled his flowers, tore through his hedges, and basically made nuisances of themselves while he was trying to work. But Ugo abided Vir because the little boy was quiet, careful and even assisted him as much as he was able.
A few days before Vir found the nest in his special bush, Ugo had allowed Vir to accompany him while he saw to trapping the volatilis birds that had taken up residence in the garden. “They’re pests,” Ugo explained to Vir upon seeing the boy’s horrified reaction when Ugo killed the first bird he was able to capture. “They eat up brivo roots.”
Remembering this, Vir realized with sadness that the mother bird had probably been killed.
The baby birds looked so small, so helpless. Vir didn’t want them to die even though Ugo said they should. So he made a decision.
As Vir pulled with all his might to get the outer cellar door open, he knew he was being bad. If he was caught, he was sure he would get more than an open hand across his backside. His knees knocked together as he closed the door behind him, palmed on a handheld lantern, and tiptoed down the cellar stairs. His hands shook as he filled his pockets with brivo root.
He was just about to climb back up the stairs when he heard the interior door begin to creak open. Terrified, he palmed off his light and hid beneath the stairs behind some boxes, covering his mouth with his hands. For several minutes, he cowered in darkness so profound that he could barely see his hands before his face, his hearts racing so fast their beats could not be distinguished from one another.
When the footsteps retreated back up the stairs and the interior door slammed shut, Vir crawled out of his hiding space and hurried out of the cellar, knowing that he would never, ever do something like this again.
In fact, even long into adulthood, Vir’s hearts raced and his bladder weakened slightly in the midst of a deception or subterfuge. He merely learned to hide it better.