Defying the stereotype that parents who were House Heads were strict with their eldest, Marcos Fernandez, or Ismael as he preferred, was rather lenient with his son. He allowed Val the privilege of making his own choices as soon as the boy was capable of thinking, but advised him all the same. The pressure of managing an entire region sadly did strain their father-son relationship, but it never really did break.
Being named after your mum usually took a toll on a guy, but not Anf. He was okay with "Valentin" being his second name, though he went by Anferney during the majority of his childhood. Valentina Fernandez was a busy woman, but somehow she managed to stomach all the kinds of shenanigans her son came up with. Which was a lot.
Loads of guidance counselors tried everything with Anf to make him stop. He pulled pranks on adults and kids alike, not differentiating by age or personality. Everyone got a dose of what was known as the Fern Folly. Trouble trailed after the boy like a squirrel going for a nut. Social events, national parties, noche buena, birthday parties, graduation, and all that? Promptly torn into disarray.
One would think that people would hate the kid for causing so much crap. Or at least get bad publicity for his family, seeing as they were nobles and all. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No. The commoners loved Anf, and nobody could help but warm up to his mischievous little exploits. The strictest lolas and the most grumpy lolos gave in to his innocence. Everyone was witness to his uhm...rather sui generis way of life.
Oh, but don't think this little boy was the only one who got around to making their version of fun real. Hazelle del Castillo was his partner in crime whenever his family visited the royal family. Whenever those two were in the same room, you could bet your bottom dollar (or peso, whatever) that sh*t was going to get real. Imagine exploding balloons, stink bombs, and owls dressed up to be unicorns pooping everywhere. (No owls were traumatized for life in this.) That was the sort of stuff that was well anticipated.
None of his antics were dropped upon receiving his acceptance to PIM. As a matter of fact, nobody else but him and his younger sister knew precisely what his first sign of magic was, but nobody was surprised anyway. "No one could be that annoying without some sort of supernatural assistance." But of course, every child has a secret.
What was Anferney Valentin Fernandez's?
He's a Parselmouth.
Animals in general he was already very talented with. For his seventh birthday, his parents even decided to buy him a private zoo of his own. A little extravagant, right? But Anf didn't care. He loved animals and the feeling was very much reciprocated. Reptiles, mammals, birds - you name it, he'll know it. But while he was gifted with them, Anf specialized in snakes.
You know that terrifying king cobra? That's his favorite animal. That's the one he tamed when he was seven years old by speaking to it. People talk to animals all the time. I'm pretty sure you'd talk to your dog or cat or hamster or whatever. The eldest Fernandez boy was the same with his animals, except the cobra actually talked back and he understood it. Utterly mystified, he continued to speak to the snake daily until his five year old sister Rina caught him at it. The two weren't dumb - despite Anf's boisterous behavior and Rina's constant rebuttal of society's views, they did know how to pay attention to their tutors sometimes. By the time Anf was nearing school age, they had managed to trace back their ancestry to the last known Parselmouth in their lineage. Least to say, it had been a very long time since a Fernandez had inherited the ability. And it certainly wasn't one that could be flaunted.