Wraithmarsh. That word had plagued Logan's mind ever since Reaver had uttered. The man knew that he had read his mother's secret diary, where Wraithmarsh had been explained. Logan didn't protest to what Reaver was going to do. Rather his thoughts raced with scenarios of what to do if Reaver tried to send him in as well. Whether or not he was to sacrifice himself was out of the question but he wanted no part of what Reaver was doing.
They had slept in the carriage, the driver seeming to need little rest themselves. By day break Logan noticed they had stopped and he was left alone. He felt his stomach knot itself; they couldn't be in Wraithmarsh just yet. With a shaking hand he pushed open the carriage do and walked, blinking into the morning light.
"Ah, you're awake!" Logan turned to voice, squinting in an attempt to make his eyes adjust to the light. He found Reaver and Vanessa sitting on a blanket a few yards away, the young woman pulling food out of a basket. "We were beginning to wonder what would wake you." Reaver still looked worse for wear, his colors almost dulled by the bright grass surrounding him.
Vanessa pushed herself to her feet, face flushed as she smoothed her dress and curtsied. "Y-your majesty."
Logan nodded to the girl, stretching his arms as he approached the duo. His body ached from sleeping in such a cramped area. "A picnic so early?"
"We do need to eat, majesty," Reaver chuckled, "and our beautiful young friend here insisted that we take a break from the carriage."
"I think a good stretch was in order," Vanessa replied, taking a seat beside Reaver. "That and eating in a carriage can be rather messy."
"Indeed it can." Reaver took a plate and held it up with a knowing smile, "Come, Logan, I think some food will calm your obviously harried nerves."
A frown tugged at Logan's lips but he masked it as he took the offered food. Vanessa led the conversation with Reaver picking up the slack when Logan seemed to have little interest. They ate slowly and soon their meal was finished, but none seemed to noticed. Logan was drawn into the idle conversation and Reaver led him along, leaving Vanessa to listen like an enraptured child.
The morning faded through the conversation and stories. Before long the driver, an yet unnamed red haired man, approached with another basket of food. Reaver stood to meet him, taking the basket and saying something to the man. Logan strained to hear it but Vanessa's voice drowned out what the two said.
"Looks like we've talked the morning away. Luckily we have some more to eat," Reaver smiled.
"Oh dear," Vanessa giggled. "I didn't realize we had been talking so much."
Reaver sat beside Vanessa once more, "We've been enjoying ourselves, so no matter. Besides, Wraithmarsh won't be going anywhere."
Vanessa turned her attention to Logan once more. "Surely you've seen more interesting things than Wraithmarsh, your majesty. Why did you decide to join us?"
"My mother spoke of the area when I was younger," Logan replied, catching Reaver's eye. "When Reaver mentioned traveling out here I couldn't help but come along."
"It sounds like you regret the King's attendance in our little journey," Reaver laughed.
"Oh no! It's nothing like that, I swear!" Vanessa stammered.
Logan smiled slightly, "Don't tease the girl."
"I wouldn't dare." Reaver dipped his hand into the basket and pulled out a bottle of wine. "Let's drink to new adventures, and friendships."
"Isn't it a little-"
Reaver glanced at Logan, "Live a little, majesty. A bit of early drinking never hurt anyone." There was little Logan could do to persuade Reaver otherwise, watching in surprise as Vanessa eagerly retrieved a trio of glasses from the basket. "In fact, I think it makes you a little more interesting."
"Here you are, your majesty," Vanessa said, presenting the glass of wine with a new found blush in her cheeks.
Logan muttered a thank you, taking a quick drink as he watched Vanessa do the same. They continued to chat between sips but food never seemed to be brought forward. As the hour wore on and their glasses seemed to remain filled, Logan finally noticed that Reaver's glass had yet to be filled.
Vanessa let out a soft yawn, "Why do I always get so sleepy when I drink wine?"
"You'll grow out of it, my dear," Reaver smiled as he retrieved the glass from the girl's drooping hand. "Rest your eyes. I'll see to it that you're taken safe back to the carriage."
Logan watched Vanessa as she lay on the ground, eyes quickly drifting shut. He felt a yawn escape him and dread quickly followed. "You haven't been drinking," he muttered.
Reaver cocked an eyebrow and raised his glass. Before it could meet his lips he emptied it onto the grass. "You shouldn't worry yourself about these things."
"What did you put in the wine?"
"Go to sleep, Logan."
Logan fought the urge to close his eyes but knew his body was losing the battle against the induced slumber. He felt the glass slip of his hand before he went limp. Reaver passed within his blurring vision with a strange satisfied look on his face. He could hear him say something but the words were lost to oncoming sleep.
Logan woke with a start. His head was pounding and he had the faintest memory of Theresa's voice in his mind. 'A dream.' The smell in the air was stale and the blankets, not earth like he remembered, was unfamiliar. Logan propped himself up on his elbows and let his eyes take in the room around him. A chair and its companion table were covered to keep dust away and the bookshelves that lined the wall were empty; the place was old and hadn't seen people in many years. This place was completely alien to him.
Try as he might, Logan found fear raging in his mind as his legs seemed to refuse to move. "Reaver!" Anger was evident in his voice as he yelled the man's name. He could hear frantic scrambling from a neighboring room and hurried footsteps trailing closer. His anger must have been written on his face as the nameless redhead stepped into the room, adjusting his clothes. "Who are you and where the hell am I?"
"The name is Barry Hatch, your majesty," the man replied, "and you are currently in Bloodstone."
"Bloodstone?" Logan let himself fall back against the bed. "How in the world did we. . . . No, it doesn't matter. Where is Reaver?"
Barry smoothed his hair before standing straight, "Master Reaver is taking care of some personal business. He told me to look after you and make sure you are comfortable whenever you woke up."
Logan lay an arm over his eyes and clenched his jaw, "How long have I been asleep?"
"For nearly a day."
"Tell me, Barry, when do you expect your master to return?"
"Um, he never really said as much. Just that he'd be back when he was finished."
"I should have known that bastard had property out here."
"Actually, your majesty, this property is in your mother's name."
"Though it did belong to Master Reaver before that. He didn't think you'd mind since this manor now belongs to you." Logan heard Barry shift around nervously when he didn't respond. The redhead cleared his throat, "Was there anything else I can do for you?"
Logan sighed, "Can you tell me why I can't move my legs?"
"Ah! That is nothing more than a side effect of what we gave you! You'll be up and about soon enough!"
A new wave of anger welled inside of Logan at the matter-of-fact way Barry respond. He sat upright and the pain that blossomed down his spine only made the anger grow. "I should hang you and Reaver for this. You kidnapped Albion's king."
Barry laughed, "Kidnapped? Master Reaver said you came because you wanted to!"
Logan stared after Barry as he left, laughing and proclaiming that if he needed anything that all he had to do was shout. He didn't move. The pain was subsiding but his anger was still roiling in his mind. Minutes passed, perhaps even hours as there were now clocks or windows to perceive time, and Logan heard no other sounds from Barry and no indication that Reaver had returned. This left him with his thoughts which eventually turned to the house he was in.
Searching his memories Logan could not conjure up any mention of his mother owning property in Bloodstone. The city had been mentioned in his mother's diary and he vaguely remembered tales of a rebellion. This place was within the rule of Albion but it was secluded and none of its residents turned up in the capital nor sent requests for the King's audience. Bloodstone was port city with the type of people that enjoyed debauchery and their own laws. A place Reaver undoubtedly felt at home in.
When Logan finally regained sensation in his legs he left the room. There were other rooms in the hall, one door closed and the other opened. He had no interest in Barry or what he was up to. For the time being Logan made his way to the first floor. Here the bookshelves were full but dust covered as were the furniture. The main room led to another that had been partially visible from the walkway on the second floor. The room housed a fire place with a fire already burning, as well as desk and a few lounging sofas.
It was the covered paintings leaning on the wall that Logan took interest in. Much of them were landscapes and seascapes, worn with age. There were also a few unnamed people, smiling and sitting properly for their portrait. The last couple of paintings, though, were of Reaver. He hadn't changed much, save for his hair and his style of dress. While the paintings must have been lavish in their moments of hanging on the walls, here they were slashed by blade and one or two had bullet holes leveled with the painting's chest.
"Well, looks like someone wasn't too pleased after they bought this place."
"If what she wrote was true, I can understand why." Logan glanced at Reaver, doing a double take. It was almost like night and day with the man. The last he remembered Reaver looked washed out and dulled with time. Now he appeared to be revitalized, the shine back in his hair, and that glint of knowing mischief in his eyes. What bothered Logan, though, was the absences of one thing. "Where is Vanessa?"
Reaver smiled and strolled in to the room, surveying what was there. "Don't you worry about her, Logan. Everything is fine now."
"Fine?" Logan let the paintings fall back against the wall in a cloud of dust. "What's happened to her, Reaver? Did you leave where ever it was you took her? Or did you let someone have a turn with her."
"Don't you elude to me whoring out a young woman," Reaver spat. "It may not seem like it but I do have some morals."
Logan took in a deep breath, "Alright, but tell me where she is."
Reaver stood before the fire and stared into the embers, "In your mother's writings, did she ever say exactly what happened when I sent her to Wraithmarsh?"
"Just that she found out the secret behind everlasting youth."
"No mention of what said secret was?"
Logan shook his head, "Just that she met with the Shadow Court."
"The Shadow Court takes the youth from those bearing their dark seal. That youth is then given to me and the vicious cycle continues until I decide not to continue it."
"Take the youth?"
Reaver turned to Logan, a smile spreading across his face as he noticed the confusion. "Yes. The sacrifice, if you don't mind such a crude term, is suddenly and unceremoniously thrown into their elderly years."
Then it hit him. Logan's eyes grew wide, "My mother. . . . She aged properly."
"That she did. Sparrow kept her youth by forcing the seal into the hands of some lowly girl who was somehow teleported into the temple." Reaver slowly closed the gap between the two, studying the look of shock that passed over the king's face. "Like I said, your mother was different person before your father came along."
"I can't believe that. My mother. . . . my mother was kind and gentle, and from what my father says, she was always like that. She wouldn't hurt anyone unless there was no other way. What happened to her?"
"The Spire that you've seen in the distance all your life? You mother was a slave there, so I've been told. For ten years she worked in that place, working for Lord Lucien, a man she had been after her entire life. Brainwashed until she forgot nearly everything else. She killed on command and never thought twice. When she finally escaped and returned to our shores she was greeted by more pain. Your mother had a husband before leaving for the Spire and when she returned he promptly left saying she had been neglectful, crushing her even more. With only her dog and the ever present voice of Theresa in her head to push her along, she vowed to make Lucien pay no matter what and killed whomever was in her way."
Logan took in a shaky breath, realizing that he had held it during Reaver's admission. "She never spoke a word of this," he muttered. He turned away from Reaver and let himself sit on one of the sofas. "She never wrote any of it down."
"When your father courted your mother, she found hope in the world again. There was a chance to love and have a family. All those horrors still haunted her and those urges to lash out still simmered beneath surface, but Sparrow had the ability to contain it. Her past was locked away and no one was to speak of it."
"Stop it," Logan seethed. "I don't want to hear any more."
"As you wish, but I think thing will be better now that you know about dear mommy's past. Given the circumstances you're in, she'd be doing the same thing."
Logan lowered his head, "This is not comforting, Reaver."
"It's not meant to be. Just think about all of that; we'll be here another few days until I can procure a ship to take us back to the city."