A light breezed rolled over the fields as The Marquis awoke from the little sleep he did take each day. The night was still heavily upon them and the dawn was more than several hours away. He hated sleep, it wasted so much time that could be better used for more fascinating pursuits of the mind and body. His lip curled into a smile as he thought of the word body. Three, possibly four, young women and men laid sound asleep on his bed, their minds and bodies spent from the actions of the evening. After all, what good was coming home if you did not get to enjoy the simple things that came with it?

He walked over to the double doors that led to the veranda outside of these rooms. Naked as the day he arrived on this world he stepped out into the night air and looked over the land. The land stretched for miles in every direction with very little save rolling hills of perfect grass. He was not one for gardens and amusements of that nature. He would rather be able to see his enemy’s approach his estate than to see if oranges could grow near the dates. He had wealth, a great deal of it in fact, but his money was spent on deeper and darker things.

Speaking of which.

He walked back in and closed the doors behind him and locked the door. Safety first for those asleep like a puddle of poured kittens on the massive bed that dominated the bedroom. Shelves of books and liquors, clothes and very sharp things were scattered on the walls, the spaces taken by art that was solely focused on the Mothers and the power that they would wield when the time came that the Cauldron ascended. Pictures of mostly black and red, unmistakable images of agony and death on grand scales. Whole islands sinking in seas of frothing blood, cities being covered in the Void that has no end, the Eight coming, each pictured as one horror after another destroying all that man and the Light had ever created.

He nodded softly at the thoughts that came unbidden as he looked at the art and opened the door that led to the halls beyond. He was immediately met by Claudius, as far as he knew the man had never slept. He walked slowly and allowed the man to give him his report as he did every morning.

“Marquis, the first group has been brought for questioning and is awaiting you below. The tithes of your trusted ones have come in and I am afraid to say, as you thought, Darius has indeed defied your order and given you not even a tenth of the amount that you demanded from him for the safety of He and his people.”

Stopping in mid-stride The Marquis turned to Claudius and let out the breath he had apparently been holding.

“Those below will never leave, so if they wait a day then all is well. The Council will understand a small delay. You will leave here and go to Darius, you will use any lie you desire to bring him here. I don’t care if you promise him my decapitated head shorn to the scalp for him to fuck as he laughs. You will bring him here and you will bring him to my study. You will do this now.” His voice never rose above a whisper, yet the anger, the rage, was very clear to those that had seen him raze cities.

Claudius looked to his Marquis and bowed low before him, the man was his eternity. “So shall this be, by the Eight Mothers and Blood I swear he will be in your study before dawn.” he quickly pulled a blade and ran it down the meat of his bicep, the blood instantly welling and pouring own his arm, the cut deep.” He raised and nodded a single time more and walked down the halls to carry out his task, leaving a stream of blood he knew would be cleaned moments after The Marquis left the area.

As Claudius left, The Marquis smiled at this friend, the tradition observed, an oath given, honor bound.

Blood sealed all things.

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