The master of the house sat behind his antique Carpathian Elm desk with his trusted major domo and officer standing dutifully and silently in the corner behind him. The only witness to a very interesting discussion with his wife.
“Someone has been wiping her memory. Any idea which one of them it could be?” Sir Drake asked arching one thick dark eyebrow.
“How unusual, but why do you ask me such things my love? The boys are your department not mine.”
“I was wondering if one of the girls may be behind this. You know how lively Erzsébet is and irritating her brothers isn’t beneath her. It would be quite the game don’t you think?”
“True, but I don’t believe any of the girls have been in to visit our new pet for any reason. I can inquire of Lana if you’d like?”
“No, not yet. Let’s see what happens and let this play out on its own. It could be quite amusing; for all of us.”
“She seems to be of good stock. I wonder why Devilicus chose this one? It’s not like him. Lana tells me there’s no sign of any of the normal impurities we usually see. No need to wait the full purification time.”
“True, but I wouldn’t want to interrupt the boys’ enjoyment. They’re always so much sweeter when they’ve endured a little fun. No point picking a fruit before it’s ripened.”
“Agreed, husband, but how will the mind altering affect her flavor? There won’t be the normal influences on the spirit if she’s too at ease.”
“I’ve considered that. Perhaps it will work out in the end. The mind has many ways of producing the same effects and if it fails to produce a pleasing result than we’ll know to prevent it in the future should one of them decide to try it again. Would you like to join me, my dear? We could find out together.”
“I may, after you’ve had some time to enjoy yourself, but they’d better not try it next season. I don’t care to have the recipe messed with.”
“Of course my dear. I shall speak to them. If they want to corrupt each other’s stock that is between them, but ours should be off limits. What you say is right, even if it is some kind of mischief they should know better than to attempt anything with our feast.”
“Do you have any ideas husband?”
He steepled his fingers as if in thought, “If it’s none of the girls than yes I have a few guesses.”
“Have all the boys been enjoying their new toy?”
“The usual, Rais and Ivan mostly. I have reports that Maximilien has given her a try, though he didn’t seem too impressed. Seems he went right back to his machines.”
“I do worry about that boy. I hope we’re not raising another Drakon. Has he been in to see the girl?” The woman asked hopefully.
“No, but that’s not unusual. He does so despise them. I think had it been his sacrifice he would have bled her right then and there in that field.” He didn’t know whether to smile or frown at that thought.
“I guess I can handle that as long as you’re not shamed,” she picked at an imaginary piece of lint on her skirt, clearly agitated, “but Maximilien seems too caught up in his other activities. It’s like a bad habit. I know the other children have their hobbies, but at least they enjoy the hunt even out of season. He doesn’t even seem interested in that, sometimes I think he actually likes them and this idea of wanting to be called ‘Max’ is appalling. If he is becoming one of those… temperates I expect you to handle it. I will not have a son or daughter of ours shame the house of Drake.” Her back went rigid as she sat up straighter to stare at her husband.
“Relax my dear, he is young and you forget he is being brought up in an age of progress. He doesn’t know the old ways like the others he’s only sixty-two.”
“Sixty-three.” She corrected.
“Sixty-three. Don’t forget that many of our race had the same passions at the beginning of the age of iron and machinery. It’s a fad. He’ll soon grow tired of these excursions and things and settle into a Drake just fine. I have no worries my dear, right now he’s bombarded with something new almost daily. If you remember our youth something new only came along every century.”
“If you believe that to be the case than I believe it too. I trust your judgement. Until tonight?”
He nodded and smiled warmly, waiting for his wife to leave before turning back to his ledger. Lady Anula left her husband to his work and returned to hers. Sir Drake wasn’t too concerned about the mind altering of the girl, but his wife had brought up a good point. The young should know better than to alter his cuisine. No doubt it was one of them attempting to get a rise out of another by taking the fear away from their visits. Of course it would also be a nice way of experiencing that first terror over and over again. Sometimes the first is the most enjoyable. Either way he’d get to the bottom of it. If it wasn’t one of the girls having a game with their brothers than that left only Rais, Drakon, Ivan or Maximilien.
No, he could exclude Drakon, he had no interest in them outside of the hunt and the purge. There was a strong sense of pride and honor in that boy. He would make a fine head of the house of Drake; less likely to let his passions and hunger rule than Rais. Too bad he was the second son. Oh well, he’d make an excellent advisor to his brother when the time came and would be able to take care of any unfortunate business that may arise. Just the task of handling Ivan would be difficult, his bloodlust and sadism knew no bounds. It was entirely possible that he was responsible for the girl’s memory loss, some kind of new experiment in torture. Maximilien was a long shot, but still. Where indulging with the girl may not be as interesting as he’d hoped, messing with his brothers may have proven more enjoyable.