Chapter 13: Decisions and Despair
Even though it was still morning, I was exhausted to every bit and piece of my very being. Since I had skipped my former night’s sleep for the meeting with Harold, a wave of tiredness was due to hit me sooner or later, but I was determined to make most out of the day without getting stuck on sleep, or in my case the lack of it. However, at the current moment I did not share the same enthusiasm as my positive former self. The encounter with Vincent had left my mind reeling; I was not sure of what to think but my mind refused to not think for even a moment, and drained me of whatever energy I was left with after the night’s episode, which I previously intended to drive me on through the day till the impending night.
As I burnt holes with my gaze into the back of Vincent’s retreating form, weariness hit me hard. The amount of mulling over his words I had already done in the few minutes since their utterance to the departure of Vincent was vast as well as vastly shocking. With tired movements I closed the door, undressed myself and fell into my bed. Despite the physical exhaustion, I could not embrace sleep with anything less than hours of tossing and turning on the bed. Perhaps Vincent was right. I should drop the idea of personally seeking revenge. Maybe my complete ignorance towards the political game would lead me to take actions such that will warn the beasts who harmed Andre and save them from the fate of pain and misery they deserved. Maybe I should let the people who are appointed for and are skilled in such tasks of enforcing punishments, do their work. Maybe I should believe in the king’s justice and give it some time. But why on this wide Earth would a king of the world’s largest empire bother about the death of one person, when he had millions of masses under his thumb. There was a great likelihood that no such things as the justice of king and the master of justice with his system of justice existed; they could all be just a fragment of the king or one of his supporter’s imagination to keep the masses alight with hope, and extinguish the sparks of rebellion and hatred against the king, or it might be the conjuring of the commoners of The Estercrest Empire to provide themselves with hope and something to hold on to during their stormy days. Even if the king was fair, as is said by his supporters, it would be years or decades or maybe even centuries before Andre got the peace he deserved and his killers got served with justice, since everyday there were countless cases of minor and major crimes occurring all through the empire, and only a small band of people armed with responsibility of serving the justice. The pessimist in me won the battle of dominance and, more importantly I realized listening to Vincent and giving up on avenging Andre’s death would mean I would have no purpose for my life then onward which I was not going to let happen. As smart as Vincent was, or he thought he was, he did not knew me. I was going to avenge Andre, no matter what, regardless of his very convincing arguments. This was the last thought swirling around my mind before I feel into a deep slumber.
Once again, I dreamed of Andre stooped in blood and gore, screaming in utter agony as a man with a black cloth draped around his face, repeatedly, plunged his sword deep into his heart. Blood spurted out of Andre’s body and ran freely onto the muddy marshland; Andre lay on, twitching with unbearable pain coursing through his body. Sounds of labored breathing and coughing of Andre filled the air as he spat out blood. His assailant pressed a leather boot clad foot on his chest at the exact spot of his heart. Andre let out blood curdling screams laced with intense pain for few moments passing with agonizing lethargy, until his lifeless eyes stared right into my soul.
With a jerk, I sat up drenched in sweat. The memory of Andre’s beautiful eyes devoid of life still lingered in my head. To hell with Vincent and his wisdom coated words, I will extract every single drop of blood painstakingly slowly from the bodies of Andre’s killers, if there was even a shadow of truth to the torturous dream my mind had just conjured up.
Pulling my knees up, I pressed my front against my thighs and rested my head onto my knees, as my arms tightly encircled my semi folded legs. I tried to clear my mind and concentrated on my breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. After a while my nerves stilled and my breathing fell into its usual pace. Pushing myself off the bed, I made my way to my closet, grabbed the first dress my eyes met with, and exited my bed chambers. Roaming through the eerily empty hallways I reached my desired destination. Leaving the silk night gown on the floor, I stepped into the cold water filled bath tub and scrubbed my skin vigorously to wash away the reeking sweat clinging to my body. Being honest the scrubbing was unnecessary. I believe, I was trying to rid my skin of the lingering horrid feels of the dream, uselessly as I already knew.
Dressing up with quick practiced moves, I walked back to my chambers and sat in bed with a book I had managed to pick up from father’s study. The book was supposed to contain the names and records of all the influential people of the empire; who came in the years before us and also the ones holding power and influence in the existing era.
More than expected was my fatigue from the happenings over the course of the last two days leading me to sleep all through the day. Everything outside was enveloped in darkness of the night. Inside the only light warding away the darkness came form of the considerably faint glow rising from the crackling fire dancing in the fireplace of my bed chambers; which I believe Francis had lit up some time while I was asleep. One last time before I buried my head into the book, I got out of the bed to fetch a candle and lit it. I was looking for any information about Andre and in turn his killers. He was the master of coins; which was one a too important post for him to not be included amongst the influential people of the empire. After hours and hours of reading and three hundred and ninety five pages of going through, as per my expectation I spotted the name Andre Theon Ozera.
Andre of house Ozera based in the state of ‘Red Waters’ is the second child to Theon and Sasha Ozera. Tall, fair, blonde haired and blue eyed gentleman took up the office of the master of coins at the age of twenty one, as His Majesty king Cedric rose to power. Andre of house Ozera is thought to play heavily in the king’s favors, and is a great supporter and trusted adviser to king Cedric. He beat his brother to the office and was appointed as the master of coin, despite being the younger one of the two brothers, and his brother; Ethan. T Ozera, being nominated for the same post prior to Andre T. Ozera. His success in the office is widely known, and his policies on the account of economy have brought huge amount of wealth and stability to the empire.′
Shutting the book with a loud thud I let it fall onto the bed next to me. I massaged my temples gently to relieve the pain that took home in my head due to the hours of utmost concentration I had invested on going through the book. Some good had come out of all the hard work, after all.
Who was Ethan? Why was he not with Caroline? Was he dead or alive? Where was he, if he was living? So many questions took birth in my mind.
I was formerly unaware of Ethan’s existence. Andre, in our short time together, had never mentioned a single word about his brother. I was under the impression that Caroline was the only living family member Andre had, and of course Vincent too. So was Ethan dead too like his parents? The books did not say any such thing, but then it did not say he was alive either. It looked like there was some kind of competition between the brothers to rise to power, or at least the book gave similar ideas.
If Ethan was up for consideration for the title of the master of coins he must have been sufficiently influential too. Grabbing the book again, I started a thorough examination of it from page one, in case I may have missed Ethan Theon Ozera during my first reading of the initial three hundred pages, since I was not interested in biography of any person named Ethan. Four hours and three hundred pages into the tedious book I found the excerpt I was looking for.
Ethan of house Ozera based in the state of ‘Red Waters’ is the first child to Theon and Sasha Ozera. With his tall, lanky frame, blonde hair and handsome features, Ethan is known as one of the most handsome men in the empire of the Estercrest. Ethan. T. Ozera the now lord of ‘Red Waters’ and member of the king’s privy council was nominated for the post of the master of coin of the Estercrest empire but lost the position to his younger brother Andre T. Ozera. Ethan Ozera is a distinguished trader, and controls most of the Estercrest Empire’s sea routes.
It was informative, yes, but the major questions in my head still remained unanswered. I needed to know more about this Ethan and his relationship with Andre.
Before I could chalk out what would be the next milestone in my line of action there was a knock on the door, and in stepped Jenna with a food stocked tray in her rough and wrinkled hands. Seeing her brought a very genuine smile on my face.
Jenna had been working in the kitchens of our castle for years; when I and my family had shifted in the castle Jenna was already there to greet us and serve us. From that day till the present moment Jenna had served us with loyalty. For my siblings and I Jenna had always been more than a maid, she was the mother figure we never had. She loved and cared for us like she would have for her own children; though she would never see the happiness of her own kids, as she was bound in the service of king and would never be allowed to marry or have a family of her own. unless the king wants her to.
Putting the food down on the table adjacent to bed, Jenna gave me a warm smile that lit up her hazel eyes.
“Lady Eleanor, you should eat. You missed supper last night, and it is well past breakfast time; closer to noon now.”
I returned her smile with one of my own, and without any word started eating. I may not have realized it earlier due to distraction of mind, but I was starving; more than half a day had passed since I had my last meal.
“You are well aware of the fact that you are not supposed to be here, Lady Eleanor, are you?”
Jenna asked me, but the way of her inquiry told me clearly that she already knew the answer. Gulping down the piece of buttered bun that I was chewing on, I nodded.
“Yes, I know.”
I knew what was coming next, so I kept my eyes trained onto the glass of orange juice, like it was the most interesting thing in the whole world, refusing to look elsewhere.
“Your father ordered you to stay at Carter Manor for as long as he does not summons you back. He will be furious when he finds out that you disobeyed him.”
“Who says there is any need for him to find out?”
She let out a heavy sigh.
“It is not one of your childhood pranks and mischief that I can hide from General Black. It is a matter of your safety.”
“I know that Jenna.”
“Then why, Lady Eleanor, did you defy your father’s orders and came back?”
“I cannot tell you that Jenna, but you need to trust me; it is very urgent and important a matter that brings me back home.”
“I wish my lady that you would tell me what it is that bothers you, like you did when you were younger.”
Now it was my turn to sigh.
“I’m not a kid anymore; I cannot tell you my worries all the time.”
“I understand. I will as always try to prevent any word of your arrival at Castle black from reaching the ears of your father, but you need to promise me that you are not going to go out looking for trouble.”
“Thanks Jen. You are the best.”
Smiling like a kid in a candy shop, I pulled Jenna in a tight embrace.
Her laughter stocked the air as she kissed my forehead and walked out of the door, once again leaving me with my thoughts.
I was still eating when Francis made his appearance in my chambers. He had brought me a letter from Harold. Dismissing Francis from the chambers, I gave my undivided attention to the letter. Breaking the seal, I unfolded the piece of paper and went through its contents.
I write to bring to your knowledge the fact that what you asked of me, I would not be able to provide you with. Assassination of Ozera is a very important case. Prince of the empire is personally investigating the case and every detail is being kept highly confidential.
Tearing into tiny pieces, I threw the letter, or what was left of it, into the fireplace.
What was I going to do now? I had not the slightest bit of an idea. It was like I was running through a maze hitting a dead end every once in a while, but I could not give up. I had to continue walking, and find my way out, or I would die lost. Despair was one thing I could not afford at any point of my mission of seeking revenge.