Was this the price of his power, his ability to become more than just some backwater nobody living for nothing more than that moment?
As a child he had wanted simple things, but before he’d hit the double digits his father had passed and his mother had slowly gotten sicker and sicker. He’d had no siblings to help care for their small farm and the neighbor’s weren’t really interested unless they got to keep more than they really needed. They weren’t interested in being neighborly towards his family, small though it was, so he wasn’t really interested in giving them any of his father’s and his grandfather’s hard-won land. They’d taken this from the forest and he’d give it back to the forest before he’d let them get their greedy, selfish hands on it.
His mother hadn’t lasted the year, and he just knew that it hadn’t been a completely natural death. The remnants of different types of strange things that he had found around an on her spoke of something else, something…more…than natural.
He hadn’t known what they were and he hadn’t wanted anyone else to know either. He’d kept some of the things in a field journal that his father had given him and took notes and sketches of them before burning them and his mother’s body. He’d sold what he could to start his new life and then traveled.
He hadn’t sold any of the land though, just let the neighbors know that he’d be back for it, and kept all the proper papers with his field journal as well as filing a copy of them with the magistrate in their area.
That was all decades ago by now. Most of those people were gone, dead or moved away or not even the people that they had been before. He certainly was different. None of his peers from his childhood would ever recognize him now and not just because most of them were gone as well.
He wasn’t the same poor farm boy, a nobody who only held land because his grandfather had come with a sizable family, only to lose them because of sickness and accident and injury.
“My Lord,” his majordomo bowed to him and took his cloak, “I hope that all went well on your latest journey?”
“It did, Marcus, it certainly did. Anything new come about while I was away?”
“No, my lord, your lady wife is still ill, just as before, I am sorry to say.”
“Mayhap what I found whilst out will aid her in her recovery.”
“One can only hope, my lord.”
He moved away from the man behind him and he was alone once he’d reached his wife’s chambers. No one but he was allowed in these rooms without his express and written permission and even then only for a certain amount of time. Once he was in her chambers, he moved towards the door that led to her tower, taking a key out from around his neck and opening the door that led up and up and up the stairs. They seemed higher than they actually were and well they should. He had no need to brush a hand against the runes carved into the walls here and there.
Once at the top he found his wife, sickly looking, but with a smallish bulge at her hips. Her eyes were closed and her breathing labored. This wasn’t unusual and he pulled a small hip flask from his belt and sat at the edge of her pallet. With one hand he lifted her otherwise waif-like body and when her mouth fell open with the aid of a thumb he slowly but surely fed her the liquid from the flask. He was careful to rub his fingers down her throat in order to make sure she swallowed the liquid instead of drowning in it.
She would need several more doses of from the ever-refilling flask at least twice more before he retired for the evening. He had to make sure that the child survived the pregnancy.
Combining species that had never successfully procreated together before was a tricky business.
But, he thought to himself as he laid her back gently on her little cot, it is certainly worth the rewards.
He left the small tower room, his wife never once awakening during his short visit.
In order for his wealth and life and riches to continue, he needed viable offspring with which to continue his work. He could only go so far with unsuccessful and dead fetuses.
Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt and this wasn’t how it was meant to end, but when a story’s done with it’s little scene, then it is done.