Father and Son
6th of Sown Seed, 1 SE.
“It happened here?” the Nemertingi inquired, looking upon a clearing in the forest. A score of corpses littered the field, with overturned wagons serving as makeshift barricades. The grass was bleached a deep, dark red, broken up by the occasional abandoned weapon, or abandoned body. A few arrows dotted the surrounding oak trees.
It was an area Gaius knew well, from this life and his past lives. It lay deep in the Lordswood, and, in his opinion at least, was one of the best spots for hunting deer in the nation. Although the region was not administered directly by House Pompeius, the family had owned a hunting lodge just on the outskirts for hundreds of years. The lodge and the woods held some of his fondest memories from the last few centuries; a cruel irony, he thought, that it was now inexorably linked with one of his worst.
“Where else do you think.” his son retorted. Though this mutiny was swiftly silenced by a stern glare from his father, he was clearly not enjoying this outing. Since the death of his brother a few nights before, Lucius had barely slept. He had hardly eaten or drunk anything. He refused all visitors to his chambers, even his mother and sister. He had only emerged for dinner; of which he ate nothing, and only to pester his father.
“Watch your tone” Gaius snapped back. His glowing blue eyes surveyed the battlefield. Usually, they were energetic and engaged, but today they looked agonised and had done for the past days.
“So,”, Lucius took a deep breath “when will the coronation ceremony be?”
Gaius sighed a deep sigh “You are not ready. We have discussed this. You must be educated in finer points of ruling. Your, ahem, antics, have gone unpunished for too long. They cannot continue”. This conversation seemed to be an hourly occurrence in Gaius’ eyes.
“But I’m ready now!” Lucius whined.
“Anyone who says he’s ready probably isn’t ready,” Gaius remarked. He sighed again; that had not sounded nearly as wise and intelligent as he had hoped.
“Tell me why I’m not ready then. If I’m not ready, then start my stupid training, or at least do something.”
“After your brother’s funeral, I’ll begin your education. Patience will be first on the list”.
Though trying to remain calm, Gaius was awfully close to boiling over.
“Why not now? It’s always about Marcus. Even now. “ he looked down at his feet and kicked the dirt. “You don’t care about me. You never did”. By this point, Gaius had had just about enough. For days his son's incessant yapping had continued, begging and pleading to be made Nemertingi. This latest episode did nothing to change his father’s mind, it only served to provoke him.
“Silence!” Gaius roared, making the golem guards behind him flinch. “I will not have such discord in my own household! We will speak no more on this matter. I’ll have the guards escort you back to the city”
Gaius snapped his fingers twice, and one of his golem guards opened the carriage door, with the others forming a corridor towards it. Lucius looked to be on the verge of tears.
The new heir to the Verum stormed off through the golems and slammed the carriage door, leaving his father on the hill to look over the clearing in the forest, alone.