Greetings, glorious adventurers! If you're joining in our Alpha One spot testing, please follow the steps here to see all the latest test info on our forums and Discord!
[Short Story - House Raine Prologue: Part1] Tiberius Raine
Author's Note: This chapter occurs approximately 20 years prior to the current roleplay timeline, which brings us up to year or so prior to the reopening of the Divine gateways.
Chapter One: The Beginning
Part One: Almark Raine
Sitting up from his bed, Almark lets the covers rest over his waistline while his brow came to rest in his palms. In no hurry, he gives his eyes a good rub before looking to his left and seeing he's alone in his bed. What twenty-something son of a noble Lord enjoys waking up alone? Before he could decide on how to feel about that, the morning sun obstinately shone threw his window, causing him to shield his eyes out of instinct. Taking a moment to stifle the inevitable yawn, he orients himself to the side of the bed before rising to draw the curtains closed.
Unfortunately, nobody installed a curtain at his chamber door, and the poor serf girl that entered to serve his morning tea got more of a view than she was prepared for. Almark hadn't seen her expression when the poor woman walked in and saw the new heir to the House in the nude, but he'd certainly heard the wooden tray crash to the floor. Along with it was a cup of tea and some sort of letter. Of course, the serf woman was already halfway down the hall, face redder than the ass of the woman Almark woke up without.
Breathing out a somewhat exasperated sigh, Almark plucks up a purple robe with golden accents from the foot of the bed, tossing it around his shoulders and tying the sash. Stooping down, he gives the letter a couple shakes before looking it over. He even vocalizes the first few words in a dreary boredom before he tapers off, every word garnering more attention than the previous.
"Long have I been fortunate to have ..."
After reading his father's enlarged name at the bottom, Almark gave the letter another read, as if expecting some barely-perceptible meaning to become apparent. Folding it neatly in two, he sets the letter on the bed before himself sitting down beside it. He almost didn't hear the third or fourth knock on his door until the he heard the hinges finally turn.
Starting from his thoughts, Almark looks to the door, seeing an elderly woman that had been tending to him since he'd been in diapers. Noémie.
"Al, did you get frisky with the new girl? You know your mystery sweetheart could be a little ... volatile, if she found out." She playfully chides after the door is shut behind her. Leaning down, she collects the mess left by the new girl. "She left a couple hours ago, half way back to Thorne lands. I don't think she wanted to be too close during something like this," She added, motioning to the letter at Almark's side.
Servant or not, Noémie had a point. There was something universally understood about how successions were handled in House Raine. By the end of it, someone was being buried in an unmarked grave. Countless centuries ago, House Raine had been a major controller of land on a world called Verra, though most people on Sanctus believed Verra to be nothing more than old legend. Legend or not, in their ancient lifespan, the House Raine had probably never experienced a peaceful transition of power.
Why? Well ...
Shaking out of his thoughts, Almark looks to Noémie. "I'm sorry?"
"Master Almark, you're going to have to make yourself presentable. Your father is expecting you, and I'm sure it has to do with the letter. How about I get this tea replaced, you get properly dressed, and we shake off that old wives' tale about the Raine family?"
Anyone else would have lost a tongue, for that, but Noémie had been more of a mother to him than his own mother had. He was self-aware enough to know that any threat he uttered to the woman would be unmistakably hollow. Besides, the wives tale Noémie was referring to was what he'd been daydreaming about, before.
Why had there never been a peaceful transition of power in the Raine family history? Because when a Raine tastes power, they change. Once they taste it, they'll steal it, hoard it and kill for it.
"Tell Father I'm up ... and ready."
Almark Leontine Raine, Patriarch of House Raine