Venis looked over himself in the basin of water, that he held in his hands. He needed a shave. The thought came suddenly, it was perhaps the least of his worries but it bothered him none the less. He could stand having a thicker beard, in fact, it looked rather nice on him. This, in truth, was sadly little more than having obtuse facial scruff. He ran a weak, decrepit hand through it all. It felt as if he was touching an unfamiliar face, one he was neither born with nor had grown to love. He felt no real connection to the body that he resided within.
"Venis... Dauphin Quan?"
The words, gentle and ethereal, snapped the prince back into reality. A rather cozy coach. One that was large enough to take up most of the road, as ostentatious as the Chevalier that provided it. He took a sip from the basin before turning to His companion, "I am fine Monsieur Twardowski. I just found myself musing on my schedule, once I return to the Versailles. That is if we do."
"We may not be able to stay very long in your chateau, milord. We shall need to bring you to one of the college's of my brothers soon. I would surmise that time is not with us, you in particular. Your ailment's progress does not appear to be slowing." It was unnerving at the ease at which the mage spoke so calmly on the matter, almost hollow. Something that earned him a look of rebuke. Nevertheless, Conan did not seem to notice Venis's obvious distaste.
That was not what the princeling wished to think about, and hearing the thoughts voiced was far less enjoyable. He turned his head out the window and watched the hills of Oryln rolled past at their gentle pace. The local tributary that they were following with singing It's gentle song. It was a little thing not worth note on most Maps, only an offshoot of Sirene Minor. Just across its waters, he could see men of lesser birth toiling the land in an attempt to take in the d'autone harvest before winter fully struck.
The young sons of the peasantry playing with makeshift swords, all hoping one day they'll hold the mantle of Knighthood, unaware of the misfortune bestowed upon them by birth. Nevertheless, it made Venis long for the simpler times of his youth. Times when he and Gabrielle were but boys in the countryside, when dear papa managed the matters of State, "I think I shall have to make the most of my time then, once we arrive. All this land is my home and though I make no claim of entitlement a man's home is his right, one which..."
The noble stopped, his tongue dying in his mouth as if becoming an iron weight. His eyes widening in horrid recognition before it came upon him. Frail hands grass his hat as his senses were assaulted by the words and printed on his very soul and locked away behind bulwark lost his mind, "enchainment has held our two people, broken brothers, from the enlightenment which we..."
The moment quickly passed as he felt a hand coming upon his shoulder, shaking him followed by a rush of unnatural stamina, as if it was call him from this miasma. Venis was covered in sweat by the time of his sense's return, even if it had been but for a few moments, " my thanks." He mattered out between pursed lips.
"It was nothing but my duty, milord," Conan assured. The mage looked as if a withered twin, skin ashen and weak. While Venis knew this matter was but temporary, the Seer's apparent visage seeming to change with the tide, he nevertheless felt horror at the sight. This terror stemming from knowing that by some manner this was caused by him, and the preservation of his self.
"Yes... I think I should join the others outside if it is all the same to you."
"Are you sure you are capable yet? You may have yet regained your strength," those glowing bloodshot eyes countered, this sympathy only strengthen Venis's resolve.
He was not going to be seen as inept as an elder or a child. "I am most certain, please enjoy yourself without me. I am sure you can find something to imbibe upon," Venis's words came with more speed and urgency than he had intended. "You may have free reign of anything my servants can provide, of course." whether Conan noted this alacrity, or cared, he did not make a show of it. The Mage simply nodded. The prince took this acknowledgment and that moment to push the carriage, or cage, door open. A concierge, keeping pace with a coach, scuttled up to the door. The young lad looked worried at his master, it looked as if he might have voiced concern but at the moment he held his tongue.
"I hope you find what you think you are looking for, young Dauphin." The words echoed from behind Venis as he was about to leave. The words sent a cold shiver down his spine. Venis chose not to reply, for he knew the answer, he wished to know what fate had set out for him. It was something men were not meant to know, yet why must these events bind him so. Why was he stuck with this curse and put in this cage? Venis nevertheless muttered his thanks under his breath, before turning attention back out to the road.
Venis pushed himself from the carriage. His knees buckling at the sudden jolting stop. Instantly, he knew if the concierge had not been there to help him, and in this case, catch him, then he would have fallen without a doubt. Nearly a dozen menials were upon him in a matter of moments, it was all he could do to keep them off. He was a man of youth, he would not be doted on like an invalid elder. He was only grateful that Samuel was near the front of the caravan with Stearne, lest he was forced back into that carriage. After a minute he had managed to push most of them away and took the moment to adjust the wrinkled Petticoat he wore, all the while doing his best to reassure them of his capacity.
Venis set forth in a purposeful stride. It was an illusion, one which did not lack a purpose. It would nevertheless show the other men that not-but-death could stop the Quan family. He did not attempt to keep up with the rest of the upper elements of the Caravan, allowing himself to drift back. He did his best to appear as if he was inspecting the workers. Most had little to keep their attention, given that much of the caravan was empty. They had abandoned much of the supplies that had been meant for the fort, with little disagreement. The Witch-picker had stressed alacrity, and Venis was not one to disagree. They had to make haste to the Chemin Royal and then to Versailles.
Venis broke from the road and move towards to Sirene Minor. All the while, he slowed down his pace and let many of his men pass him. He made a show of inspecting them, an act but one that was effective in encouraging them. All the while, it is best to take in his reflection and even watch the little Trouvere fish skimming the waters. The water made to sing between their fins.
The young children, their interest caught, had begun to approach the river that separated the road from the vineyards and fields that their parent's child. He had little doubt that they were curious of the Caravan. He could not fault them, in all likelihood the young one thought they were a traveling carnival troupe or perhaps they brought wonders from across the world. None of them dared approach to close, likely fearing their parents' reprisal. with a smile, Venis stopped and waved them in his direction.
It took a moment for the lot to look at one another and choose one of their kind to send forth. Whether the bravest or one with the least luck, one soon broke from the group and came forward as fast as his legs carried him. It was most unfortunate that he was the littlest of them, with hair like burnt wheat and pudgy face sprinkled with dirt.
Venis waved to the child, the boy he meant no harm. The child managed to get as close to the river without falling in as he could. The young boy's eyes for wide with some unspoken excitement. A number of his companion's watched, though the child remained silent, as carts and laborers move past just across the river. The noble took a knee and asked "Oui, petit?"
"Are you a chevallore sir?" The boy managed to mutter out, the sound was so quiet that Venis thought it could have been blown away by the wind.
"A Chevalier," Venis offered in reply, a curt little nod was given in return."And what makes you believe that I was?"
"You dress all well and proper, and you got the flags, like a chevallore."
Venis brought himself down to his knees, he did this despite the fact that they cried out against him. He but gritted his teeth behind pursed lips, " sadly no, alas fate took me down another path." he did though give the child some small gesture, " although my papa was a Chevalier of the throne when he was young. He wants to most valiant warrior one might have ever seen." the boy's eyes slowly went wide with as certain glee in them as he was regaled with a short tale of the late Roi and his grandeur. It was only then that Venis looked to the little one and asked, "And what of your family and name young one?"
"Octave, sir master. My blood is but spade n' plow and no hero. My papa works the fields and mama the spindle." The boy to illustrate this turned to the vineyard and pointed past his companions and to the men working the field.
"One does not need to be a Chevalier to be a hero, Monsieur Octave," Venis thought to assure the boy. "You only need to do what is right. Virtue does not always mean victory, but if one does what they believe in, it matters not if you are a chevalier. A man of virtue brings other men of virtue to himself, a rogue can only count on another rogue and in the end, those who are united can better change the world."
"Like the black knight, who has none who trust him," Octave nodded at the lesson, his expression showed a small bit of understanding. It might not have been a great tale like Ronald and Reuan but it was something that was far more important to know. Whether the child actually understood the lesson and the whole meaning of his words or not, Venis could only hope.
"Quite the tale to tell," the voice echoing from behind sounded as stern as the man who spoke them. Venis only craned his head but a fraction, the image of the Witchpicker hanging just in the corner of his eye. A pit growing in the noble's stomach, young Octave did not seem to notice in truth, Venis missed that beauty of ignorance.
"Well now little one, it seems that I must away like the break of day," Venis tried to smile at the child and took a moment to unpin a trinket from his coat. The lilies of Kyrios embossed in silver. He tossed the simple coin over to the boy. While Octave failed to catch it, the boy made quick work to pick it up and wipe away the mud. It was ruining his shirt, but it was the least of the child's worries."Carry that with you child the luck of the sirens with seeing your fate woven into the great song," he said feeling a bit of joy himself in how the young boy felt. "Now run along."
The child was too busy trying to spit shine the silver to pay much attention to the blessing, its value purely sentimental to him and yet, Venis hoped, it might one day buy him a better life one day. "Thank you monsieur, a thousand times." Octave gripped the trinket and did his best to properly bow to the Dauphin, it was poorly done, before charging off in the direction of his fellows. His little legs carrying him as best as he could, his strides greatly stress what his legs could bare.
wow never thought it would take this long to get around to chap 6, just life has been a bit of crazy thing, but I wished to start writing again to calm the stress of college.
Check out the Codex Magistatus if you want to know more about this world or Tales of Prospero if you want to hear tales from the world as everyone has a tale. (10/13/2017)