As thunder cracked outside the nearby window, King Lennox Mortas paced within his castle. It shared his sense of tension and anticipation, while the sky remained suspiciously clear and bright. Knowing it wasn't the doing of his own hand, that even his most erratic magic hadn't run loose for nearly a decade, he contemplated the possible cause as being planetary.
After all, the stars were aligned this night, for the first time in near a hundred year.
Most importantly, it was nearly time. The prince would be born any minute and he did not want to miss his big entrance. If the weather didn't abate naturally, he would use his own talents to keep it at bay.
A gravelly voice interrupted his contemplation, whimpering when Lennox turned to evaluate the creature. Willian, the one he least had time for. "What is it?"
"The caretaker is here," he announced, bowing low and backing away, with his body still bent nearly in half. He bumped into the corner pillar of Lennox's sanctuary and the Katana displayed on top wobbled precariously.
Willian spun on his heel and grabbed for the small, clear stand that cradled the tip of the sword.
Lennox let out a sigh and rubbed the bridge of his nose, while raising his free hand and curling it into a fist, with a flourish. The Katana spun out of Willian's reach and levitated above the pillar, while the stand moved into position below. The sword gently dropped into place and sat where it had always been.
"My apologies, Master." Willian grovelled, bowing over and over again. It was quite ridiculous for a man of his bulk and near seven foot of height to keep bowing and scrambling along on his knees.
"Just show Eusebio in," he snapped, having no patience for the pitiful creature. While Willian scarpered quicker than he had ever moved before, Lennox resumed his pacing.
He was frustrated by the ineptitude of his servants. Willian wasn't entirely at fault for his own failings; he'd been born a perfect specimen of health, but had suffered a near fatal head injury in his youth that limited his cognitive and mental growth.
Lennox really shouldn't be so short with him, but it pained him to constantly fix his innocent mistakes. Especially on a night when his patience was already worn thin. He should have lived in the grand castle of Solrun and had the staff to give Willian the medical care he required and the attention he deserved, but was relegated to the forests of Sanelma through no fault of his own. Solrun was the bright, shining city of laughter and joy, while Sanelma was the dark shadow creeping into the souls of his people. Maybe if he lived in Solrun instead, he could take on a better calibre of staff to maintain his crumbling property and see to his wishes.
"Master." Eusebio's voice was clear and authoritative, where Willian's had been dripping with desperation. "I am here, as requested. How may I serve you?" he asked.
Lennox turned slowly, evaluating the many answers to that question. He was humming with need, but no one like Eusebio would ever be capable of quenching it. Eusebio was of a rare ilk; damned ugly, but indispensable. Scars and pock marks covered his face and arms, from a childhood disease and many years of fighting in Lennox's father's Royal Army. Short and stout, he had trollish features, though the creatures themselves had died out long ago.
Regardless, there was only one who could satisfy his needs and he would have to wait a very long time for that to happen.
"The child will be born this evening. When I bring him here, I trust you to ensure he is raised properly. I expect him to grow into the kind of young man I can be proud of. Do you understand?" he asked, wanting reassurance that Eusebio would know what was required of him, before he went any further.
YOU ARE READING
Shadow and ShadeFantasy
An epic new fantasy adventure from Elaine White. King Lennox Mortas has struggled since childhood. His father was murdered before his eyes by the then Steward and friend to the throne, Jerrell Loflin; his pregnant mother was kept to provide...