Fred lay in bed with eyes wide open, the person of Dr. vonCushing making
him to remember the heart of his quest. ~~the Dragon! even dead it
incites mystery. yet no one but I know of the others…is Dragonkind truly
caught in some internal struggle or was that simply a ruse by the one who
gloated over my change into a manbeast? what of the other beasts
encountered on the way...the inhuman and human alike?!? bah! too many
mysteries!!!~~ It took some time for the poor Lord to succumb to
The morning arose and farewells were made with the goodly Sir Lens and his House. Dr. vonCushing was also present to bid his farewell. Introductions the previous night brought to his attention that this troupe held the Guard D’Honaire and a Lady D’Honaire as well. There had been raised the question of whether the Doctor would join them in their travels northward in order to speak with the Duke of Suffix, the father of the Dragon-slayer. Yet with a graciousness of manner, he declined, explaining that his way led first to Kugels’ Desolation.
Four day’s ride came and went with nary a problem. The Guard, Lady Rowena and Fred, Pall and the Chanticleer all traveled up the Longspeer – their destination being the Iris Estate, home of Duke Harold of Hindsight.
As they approached the House grounds, they could see the Family symbol in prominent display: the All-Seeing Eye. The guardsmen of the gate guided the travelers to the first courtyard and as all wondered at the sight before them Fred couldn’t help but notice Pall. For the first time since the attack of the bandits the eyes of the merchant seemed to sparkle in something other than despair. They were instructed to leave their wagons and steeds with the stable boys and they then entered the mansion that rose about them, a castle of stone and timber.
The majordomo greeted them at the door and escorted them into a gathering hall. All were in awe of the place, even Rowena who had been brought up in luxury. There was an opulence to the décor, an extravagance of wall hangings and portraits, of ornate designs chiseled into brick quadrangles and carved into wooden panels. All were in awe, except for Fred. He stood motionless, frozen in place by fear. He stood staring at one painting among many – a portrait of a Lady standing in a field of clover. It was not the Lady who caused his apprehension, it was the field of clover, for in lieu of verdant pasture the leaves were all of black. ~~by all that is holy, a woman in the midst of black clover! she is the Queen of Clubs!!!~~
"I see you like the painting," said a voice behind Fred. "She is the Lady Tabitha, she is my wife." Fred slowly turned and looked upon the Duke dressed as he was in his finest finery. "Forgive the condition of the colors, though. This was commissioned many years ago when my wife was younger. As she has aged, so too the paints; yet for a reason she has never confided, she refuses to have it touched up."
10/8/2000 9:03:04 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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