AN: Bit of a wait this time, I'm aware. I do apologise for that; I had been camping this week and had no access to the internet nor a computer to write a new chapter.
This is a bit short, I'll admit, but I didn't really want to write much more than this concept. It struck me after I watched the trailer for the new Fable game that's coming out. "The Journey" or some such thing it's called. The idea of Heroes being created rather than born and the differences between them. Not that I went overmuch into a comparison but I somewhat explained how I figure it works.
As always, reviews are appreciated.
Reaver hummed thoughtfully at the nobles assembled before him and kept his eyes trained studiously forward. The wide windows at the end of the room gave him a clear view of the Princess in the gardens – though of course it only looked like he was bored. The stammering began to get annoying and the King dismissed the room for the day.
"You must stop that," the King ordered darkly.
Reaver shrugged elegantly. He could hardly stop being impressive when it was his natural state of being. Logan sighed and muttered something about leaving Reaver to look over the documents on his own and left the room, shutting the doors behind him with a sharp snap.
He returned immediately to peering out at Rose.
The girl looked politely interested in whatever the noblewoman with her was saying. He'd slept with the woman but he couldn't for the life of him remember her name. He did, however, recall that she enjoyed rambling on about each and every little change to her manor that she could recall at any given moment. The Princess was clearly being bored to tears.
Not that Rosalyn would shed tears, he amended to himself. Really, it was almost disturbing the level of interest he held for the blooming (ha! His own wit astounded him) young Rose.
Reaver was only a handful of years into this new life of his. Giving up his pirating and his ship had been difficult but really only a mild annoyance. He missed the freedom to do as he pleased sometimes, or the rocking of his boat, or the rows and rows of innkeeper's daughters. Bowerstone Industrial was a fair trade though – especially with Logan so desperate for funding that he was willing to place jurisdiction over almost all dealings in the city under Reaver's control. It amused him to watch the little folk dance to his rapidly changing tune.
Sparrow's daughter was very much like him in that respect. Even restricted as she was to the Castle, the entire staff and guests fell into the neatly ordered places she arranged for them.
Logan, for instance, was King; he ruled on problems and arranged laws and decided where funding from the treasury would go. That funny little butler of theirs was in charge of the Castle staff and that fat old man had been appointed advisor by Sparrow years before Logan ever took her place. But all of those positions were really reacting to the whims of the Princess.
Jasper (he did know the man's name, it seemed) had raised the Princess in her parents' and then her brother's absence. There was a paternal sort of caution in the way he hovered in the doorway to the kitchens so he could keep an eye on Rose in the gardens while still overseeing the staff. All it would take would be an absent comment from the girl for Jasper to rearrange things to her liking; he wanted to ensure her utmost happiness after all of her perceived losses.
Walter had been a soldier once upon a time, under Queen Sparrow. The Hero Queen had holed up in his little coastal paradise for a time and she'd gleefully informed him that she'd shut down the smuggling trade in the area and was planning on returning to Bowerstone with the (then considerably younger) soldier who'd come to fetch her in Bloodstone. They wanted to make her Queen, you see, and she would have a Castle once the reconstruction was complete and so she hardly needed his quaint little manor anymore.
She also took his diary, as he recalled, and she delighted in withholding it from him. He huffed to himself because thoughts of the diary inevitably made him think of the girl and her sweet soft smile as she gleefully explained her latest plan to convince Logan to allow her entrance to the old study within which it was likely kept.
Such a smile, he mused, lips curling at the thought.
It had been such a long time since he'd been properly amused. Before her, the last bit of amusement he'd found had been discovering the Hero blood in his veins.
"It always breeds true," he murmured thoughtfully. "Such a curious thing that no one else notices. Perhaps a defense mechanism…?"
He could never tell anyone, but he truly did miss Sparrow. Perhaps the blind seer would know of the Old Traditions, but he doubted the former Queen had ever noticed. She was so devoted…
Heroes, he had learned (through many long years of crafty and illegal means), were born in fours. Skill, Will, Strength and their Fourth. Sparrow had been his Fourth; she was the one born to equal all their powers and bring them together. In days of old, the Heroes guild had been a gathering place for those of the blood and they were placed into their Fours by older Heroes until the correct formation was found.
Now, without the Guild, any of Hero blood had to find their own on their own. They could ignore the urge, of course, as Reaver had for years (though, to be fair, at least half his Four hadn't been born as he'd been growing up) but it was more difficult without a multitude of Heroes to thin the call throughout.
Heroes were few and far between now, though. Garth had a multitude of adoptees in Samarkand but was unable to produce any offspring of his own; Hannah had made her vows of celibacy many years ago and had upheld them until her death a scant few years before. Reaver hadn't had any children and did not plan on it. Sparrow, their precious Fourth, had been the only one to bring any little ones into the world.
And of those little ones, only one was a Hero.
"Such a pity," he drawled lazily. "I do wonder what our lovely Seer will have to say when the last of our blood dies."
He doubted that there were any other Heroes left in the world. Little Rosalyn would likely live her whole life without finding her other three. Though, Reaver himself would attempt to remain nearby. It was a balm to know of another Hero and soothed the twinge of loss that came from finding his Four and losing them.
Which is not to say that he cared that they had died. They were mildly amusing at best and entirely too good at worst. He had heard from Sparrow that the other two had died and he hadn't cared in the slightest. He'd nodded politely and made a rude joke and the former Queen had laughed and then banned him from the Castle for a month to mourn them in peace.
Really, it seemed the Bowerstone Royals just couldn't take a joke; Logan had forbidden his sister from visiting just because they got along. He wondered idly if Rosalyn had ever held a grudge and dismissed the thought almost immediately. That girl wasn't likely to hold a grudge over anything – she saw everything as entertainment and would hardly care what others thought of her.
The papers before him rustled as a servant opened the windows. He sighed theatrically and delighted in the frightened squeak and hurried rush of feet from the room. He looked up again and Rosalyn wasn't outside.
"Suppose I could work then," he muttered.
"Suppose you could," Rosalyn murmured from the doorway as she passed. She didn't look at him or even pause to hear a response but continued on her way as if he didn't exist.
"Begging your pardon, Master Reaver," the little butler breathed, "but the Princess wanted this room cleaned for a card party later and I had no idea you were still here; she wanted it done immediately, sir."
"Yes, yes," he waved a fluttering hand and got up. "Have those sent to my Manor, would you?" He left before he got an answer.
He would never admit it, but the loss of Rosalyn's company almost equalled the loss of Sparrow.