An End And A Beginning(3)
“The Baron won’t make it?” Richard asked in shock. Even though Fontaine’s injuries were serious, he had seen clearly at the time that they weren’t serious enough to be untreatable. Flowsand had healed him in time as well. Of course the wounds would affect his might in the future, but how was it so critical all of a sudden?
Fontaine had been carried out of the battlefield after the battle, brought to the central keep to be treated by an elderly family doctor. By the time Richard got there, the Baron’s bedroom was already filled with people, many being women and children. Fontaine himself was laying in his bed, his face ashy white.
Two old, clearly worn out men were sitting at a sofa in the corner. They were shamans of the Fontaine family, using blessings from their ancestors to heal their patients. They were similar to clerics in their duties, but lagged far behind in terms of power. It was evident that they had used all of their power, but they could do nothing to cure their liege.
Richard swiftly made it to the bedside and sat down, grabbing Fontaine’s hand. His gaze quickly swept over the man’s body, but that only made his heart shrink.
The Baron’s vitality was being consumed not by wounds, but a power of death and decay within. This was obviously an after-effect of Sinclair’s attack; most of the man’s internal organs were already destroyed.
Richard felt his heart tightening, suddenly thinking of Waterflower who had similarly been dealt a heavy wound by Sinclair. He immediately searched his consciousness for the young lady’s presence. Thankfully her soul was still stable, albeit quite weak.
When he saw Richard nearby, Fontaine showed a cheerful smile, “Richard, my friend. We fought side by side in battle, and defeated a mighty foe. It is such a shame that I cannot share one last drink with you…”
“You must hold on,” Richard said encouragingly, but deep down he knew that the Baron would not survive. These wounds were impossible to heal even for a powerful cleric, and Flowsand was drained of all mana during the battle. Only the grace of a god could pull him back from the brink of death, but such grace would only be granted to the god’s followers. Being from a family that worshipped their ancestors, he would never seek a god’s intervention.
Fontaine smiled weakly, “I know I won’t make it. For the sake of… our partnership in tonight’s battle, can you help me take care… of my children?”
Richard followed the man’s finger, seeing four children of different ages. The oldest was fifteen years of age and a level 7 swordsman, his youth having faded quite a bit already. The youngest was only four.
“Alright!” Richard nodded, “What paths would you like them to take in the future?”
Fontaine struggled to prop himself up. The assistant by his side immediately took up pen and paper, knowing that this would be Baron Fontaine’s last will and Richard would be witness and executor.
The Baron’s oldest son would take on his mantle, preserving the family’s traditions. The two youngest would live their lives out in this territory as well. What came as a surprise was the request with respect to his second son. He asked for the fourteen-year-old to give up ancestral worship, following in Flowsand’s footsteps as a member of the clergy.
Richard was astonished by the decision, gazing deep into Fontaine’s eyes in an attempt to find some reasoning behind it. Unfortunately, the man would never get to explain himself. Baron Fontaine’s eyes quickly dimmed, the room lapsing into silence.
His wife and children did not cry, a request made known before his death. This was not the time for them to be weak. The Baron had died in the prime of his life, and the impact of this on his family was undoubtedly great. More than half of the family’s elites and soldiers had died, while half the rest couldn’t fight again. Even if they summoned their reserve troops and other platoons at the earliest, that was only about two or three hundred people. Such a pathetic number of troops would be pathetic even under a normal knight; and the strongest remaining warrior was only level 11.
The haze in the room lingered for a long time, eventually getting up and walking in front of Fontaine’s second son. “What is your name?” he asked.
“Caesar, Sir Richard,” the teenager replied shyly.
“Now then, Caesar, are you willing to serve a true god? To become his loyal disciple, fulfilling every wish of his in the mortal realm?”
Caesar looked left and right before finally bowing his head, not daring to look Richard in the eye. He spoke softly, “Those are the wishes of my great father, so… I am willing.”
The moment these words left his lips, some fierce glares landed on Caesar. The son of a family that worshipped their ancestors producing a cleric was difficult for many people to accept, especially the two elderly shamans. Even though they had heard this from the Baron’s own mouth, given their status in the family they could still reject such a wish. The Baron could refute that, but that was only if he was still alive.
Richard raised his hand and waved it slightly, bathing Caesar in a magic glow that calmed his mind. It was a simple spell to calm the spirit, but it also reminded everyone present that Richard was a mage.
He looked over the boy, speaking seriously, “Caesar, your father had incredible foresight. It is a pity that he could not keep you company for a longer time. Follow me, I’ll bring you to your master. Her name is Flowsand, someone destined to be a high priestess.”
Before he left the room, Richard looked at the Baron’s wife before casting a glance at the young man who had just taken over as Baron. He eventually sighed, speaking to Fontaine’s wife, “Baron Fontaine originally made a deal with me to provide, food, weapons, and supplies for my lands. It was a sign of our friendship, I hope the deal can still be honoured. As long as I remain here, I will be a steadfast partner of the Twilight Castle.”
The woman controlled her sadness, speaking in a clear tone, “We shall fulfill all of the Baron’s wishes from when he was alive. Please rest assured, Sir Richard.”
Richard sighed without saying anything, grabbing Caesar by the hand and leaving the room. He himself was a teenager who was no older than seventeen, a mere three years older than the boy. However, the few months he had spent in Faelor felt like years.
Once he walked out of the main building, the dense stench of blood returned. Faint cries filled the air, the citizens of the castle coming out of hiding to look at the front of the city. Their greatest fear was recognising a familiar face amongst the piles of corpses that were being cleared out from the battlefield.
Richard walked around aimlessly, looking at the fresh life around him. It was now dawn, but the dense clouds still covered more than half the sky. In the hazy morning light, the world seemed to be one of black and white. Everything seemed unreal.
Richard felt a void in his heart. Baron Fontaine’s death had caused him unexpected shock. This was a special feeling, one known as the mourning of a friend.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA