43 The Knight General Turney“s Report*
At the same time that Rassa, Jane and Arita were making their way towards the Farming City of Toulle, Knight General Turney was arriving once again in Fountain Ridge. He had pushed horse after horse to their limits to make it back as fast as possible. Cutting his month long journey nearly in half. However, as Turney approached the fabled Kildare Castle to give his report to the Duke, he found himself pacing back and forth. He'd been wondering the same thing for his entire journey and had yet to come up with an answer.
Exactly how was he going to tell the Duke that the Grandson he had placed so much hope in was actually...
No, Phillip had told him not to use the word monster.
But the speed, the strength, the pure power. The merciless killing. All of it added up to that one word. It was times like this that the Knight General truly resented his position. This is hardly what he imagined when he dreamed of climbing the ranks.
As Turney paced, he noticed the figure of the old skinny beanpole of a man, Ludwig, that was the Duke's foremost advisor. Turney knew as soon as Ludwig spotted him, that there was no avoiding this report any longer.
"Knight General..." Ludwig began, looking over Turney's dishevelled appearance, "You have returned rather quickly from your journey".
Turney gave a deep sigh, then straightened his shoulders, "I need to see the Duke, Ludwig. I'm afraid the report is rather urgent".
Ludwig decided not to mention the fact that if it was urgent, the General wouldn't have spent so long pacing back and forth before the gates. Though, in all his years of service, Ludwig knew that such avoidance of an audience with the Duke only meant one thing. Bad news.
"I'll have the kitchen prepare some calming tea," Ludwig stated. Though there was only a 50% chance the Duke would drink it instead of throwing it across the room.
Turney followed Ludwig into the Castle.
"...And so, that's why I made my way back here so quickly, my Lord," Turney finished reiterating what he had learned and the events that had taken place in Cordon. The Duke, whose expression had turned darker and darker as the story unfolded, was silent as he sat behind his desk. The Duke's dark stare unsettled Turney, perhaps as much as Rassa's had when he'd attacked the little girl, and Turney tried very hard not to fidget and maintain his composure. After a moment, the Duke asked a simple question.
"So my Grandson...not only drinks blood...but is also one of the most powerful beings you have ever come across?" the Duke asked.
Turney nodded, "I hate to say it, my Lord, but I very much doubt anybody could stand against him if not for the Anthrite-"
The Duke cried out triumphantly, jumping to his feet as a dark grin took over his face, "The Gods have seen fit to bless us with a miracle! That damned elf would never have seen this coming!"
"My Lord?" Turney asked, surprised by the turn of events.
"Good work on bringing this news to me so quickly Turney, you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts," said the Duke.
The Duke motioned for the Knight General to leave, and Turney did so with an obscene amount of confusion. The Duke was...happy about his Grandson being a monster? Had Turney read his expression wrong?
Regardless of his questions, Turney was not privy to what occurred next in the Duke's Study.
The Duke was silent as he looked at the now closed door, Ludwig turning to face him with a short nod. The Duke turned to the bookcase to his left, and it swung to the side on cue with barely a whisper of sound. From it stepped a younger man of perhaps Francois's age, though he was somewhat taller, and if possible dressed all the more regally.
"Not exactly what I had in mind when you said you had important news for me, Cornelius," the young man spoke, almost gliding across the room with practiced grace before he dropped just as elegantly onto the couch, brushing non-existent dirt of his knee, "So this...Rassa...he was born after the curse?"
Cornelius nodded, "Though it seems with his new physicality our plans have grown all the more difficult".
"Nonsense, you heard it yourself," the man said, "This boy is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most powerful beings our world has ever had. And the Knight mentioned a witness heard the boy say himself that he had not even grown into his full abilities yet. The boy simply needs to be ignorant to the fact that we are grooming him, and when the time is ripe, we can have him sire all the heirs we need. With the boys abilities passed on...our dynasty will likely remain unchallenged for another thousand years, no doubt more".
"Forgive me, your Majesty, but we do not know enough about him yet. We don't even know if he can-"
"Then find out," the man said, "You are not incompetent Cornelius, don't make me believe you are. What was that man's name? The one who experimented with the Voluton Fruit those years ago? Sagen somebody?"
"Doctor Sagen Zaroth?" Cornelius asked.
The man eyed Cornelius, "Surely after his last failure he is looking for a new project?"
Cornelius grinned, "It shall be done with the utmost discretion, your majesty".
The man stood, turning to the study door, "Good, it seems this trip wasn't in vain".
Ludwig opened the door for the man, bowing as he exited, then he closed the door again and turned to Cornelius who was sneering at the closed door.
"Like a petulant child, no respect for his elders," Cornelius mumbled, "Ludwig, have the Ridge Men retrieve the boy, and send a message to Doctor Zaroth detailing what we know so far. Tell him to expect the boy...and ensure he is stocked for my grandson's unique...dietary requirements".
Ludwig nodded with a boy, "It shall be done, my Lord".
"Remember, Ludwig," Cornelius warned, "Discretion, the boy must not know".
Ludwig retreated from the study, "Of course, my Lord".