Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 35

Doctor Aemilius Praetorius glanced at the coachman, and wondered, vaguely, if he gave the man the word to go if the carriage would drive off, and he would leave the world of the Prince-Regent and all his madness, and murderous lunatic thugs, and never see it again.

But then Amfortas emerge from the chateau, a pleasant smile on his face, the little... creature... Gilly following after him.  As they came out the gate, the Prince turned, and regarded the girl.  "So then, are my order quite clear, my dear?"

Gilly gave an enthusiastic nod.  "Burn it.  Burn it all down!"

Amfortas gave a pleasant chuckle, and patted her on the head.  "Very good, child. Very good."  He crossed his arms.  "Now, do it well, and I will have many, many other things for you to keep yourselves busy on this trip.  Is this clear?"  The girl gave another nod. Amfortas smiled, pinched her scarred cheek, then turned and made his way to the carriage. 

"You know," he said, as he entered it, "I really was disappointed in what they'd done with my chateau."  He sighed and shook his head.  "They'd made it so drafty.  So intolerably drafty."  He leaned back in the carriage.  "I do not know how they did it.  But they did."  He glanced at the doctor.  "I'm so lucky to have had you here. I might have died from a chill, without your services."

Praetorius nodded, uncertain whether Amfortas meant what he said, or was just imitating conversation, in that strange manner that he had. After all, other times, the Prince seemed utterly convinced the gods wouldn't let him die.  And other times... he simply didn't seem to care.

"It was my pleasure, my priviledge, and my duty," said Aemilius quietly.  He toyed again with the thought of poisoning the Prince, but a half of him suspected these requests for medicine were a game where the Prince was trying to encourage him to make the attempt, so that he could have him killed.

But then, he thought, did Prince Amforas really need an excuse to kill him?  Didn't the man normally do things--terrible things--simply for the amusement of them?  It was quite baffling to Aemilius, who after all had killed numerous people for money.   Or because they'd annoyed him.   But mostly for money.  The thought of killing... simply to kill--it baffled him.  What was the point?  Why did Amfortas do what he did?

Glancing out the window of the carriage, Praetorius saw the Chateau de Nestor was on fire.  He considered telling the Prince, but decided he already knew.

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