Chapter I: Nightmare (Part 2)

THE SERVANT POURED his cup full of tea. She finished her task with a slight bob of her head and proceeded to exit. When she was about to leave her master’s presence, the older male within his late forties ordered her to complete another task for him.  “Call my niece to me at once.” The command now in place, the maid bowed her head and left the room to retrieve his niece. The general knew that something was coming and he needed to confirm that his eldest niece was fit for the task ahead of her. She was the only one who could continue in his footsteps, but only if she wished to.

“You called me Uncle?” His niece appeared in the open doorway looking just as radiant as her mother had years ago.

“Charlotte, have you ever heard of the tale about the Relic Stones?” He saw his niece tilt her head to the side allowing her auburn hair to fall over her shoulder.

“I have heard the pirates’ tale, but I thought it was nothing more than a child’s fable?”

Her uncle smirked at his niece’s tone. He knew of her abhorrent hate for pirates ever since her father’s vessel was attacked.

“Do you seek its glory Charlotte?” His niece gave him the most bewildered look.

“Why would I Uncle Gerald.” She was aware of the tale and knew of the possibilities but she never considered actually seeking it.

“Perhaps it is for the best you feel that way.” He paused before gathering his hands together and stared at her. She was an adult in terms of the era, but she was still a child in his eyes.

“Take this ring.” He remarked, removing from his desk a small ring with the Rothschild emblem on the face of the silver sterling. “Your father would have wanted you to have this by your eighteenth birthday, though it’s a bit early.” He smiled at his seventeen year old while she gingerly accepted it from his open palm.

“Thank you, it is beautiful Uncle Gerald!” Charlotte smiled brightly for her Uncle before trying it on her left hand’s middle finger and nodding in appreciation. “Why are you giving this to me now Uncle? Are you going on a mission or voyage?”

“Not necessarily,” The man with dusky blonde hair in the military uniform replied. “If you are ever in need of assistance, use this ring. You will get help from any State personnel if they see this ring. Am I clear Charlotte?”

The girl nodded her head with a queer expression. “Why Uncle?”

“I just want what is best for you Charlotte.”

The auburn girl scrunched her forehead together, a frown appearing eloquently just as he expected. His words were confusing his niece after all, but when she opened her mouth to utter her complaints, she yawned instead. He had not expected to see her as tired or as heavy as she looked. Gerald merely silenced her with a raised hand. He had already known of what had happened during dinner, so to ease her curiosity, he smiled.

It was a rare gesture to smile especially after her father’s murder a few years ago. “Off to bed. You must be exhausted from eating earlier.”

Charlotte bowed her head. Confusion marred her beautiful complexion by his words about the Relic Stones. She would probably wonder why her head felt fuzzy and then why her vision would start to blacken as she left his office. Yet she didn’t utter a word of complaint as she was led away by a servant waiting by the door. Watching his niece go, he hoped his servants would lead his niece to safety when the razing began. Unfortunately his nephew had already fallen into the hands of the enemy from what he gathered.

When the door audibly clicked shut he sat tapped his finger calmly against the oak. Gerald had surmised the fate that was to come, and had to prepare accordingly. If he had any chance of making this plan succeed, he would have to fall into his enemies trap. His office was a closed off room, only two large windows shut closed and a door leading into the ornate hall. Lifting up a hidden alcove in his desk, he stared at a black box with the lock firmly securing the piece together. He took out the key from inside his coat pocket and opened the lock. Inside the box were four stones shining in the firelight.

“We will meet again Charlotte, Skylar.”

He closed the lid before sealing the alcove. When he was sure it was locked away, he stood up at his desk to look over at the east window. The window to his office blew in the curtains letting the ocean breeze permeate the atmosphere. Sitting on the window ledge was a man Gerald had expected to arrive. It was not every day his rival and personal fleet decided to greet him. The rival’s sword was drawn, the tip wet with red blood from his latest kill. It appeared the killing of his people in town had already commenced, it had probably begun when the woman spy poured sleeping powder into their dinner earlier.

“I knew you would come.” Gerald Rothschild replied stoically. He walked around the desk and also drew his blade.

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

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