The Tale of Three
Chapter 1: Along Came a Knight
Alexius shook the mud off his spurs and from his shield, as the day's battle was nearing it's end. In the ten years he's stood by his Lord King, the thought of going home was always a far away dream. The weather was dreadful to the point of tears, and yet the mere image of his royal charge was reason enough to march on.
The Crusades were anything but glamorous, and at the end of the day there was always an assassin or two to deal with who would try -and fail- to murder the King from the small island that dared to rule the hearts of men.
I do hope that one man whose name I still can't pronounce has finally given up on that. Alexius spoke to his squire.
His name is Abdul Rahman. The young man answered as he pulled back the sheets for his Master, lit several candles, and burned some incense to help relax his Lord.
Yes, that's right, Saladin's man. His first attempt was death by poison, and ironically the cook died when he sampled the dates brought in for the kings dessert. Alexius stood near the window feeling the cool night air.
The second time was by bow and arrow while King Richard was enjoying the evening breeze. The arrow missed him and struck the musician. Also a bit of bad luck for that man, who was discovered to be his accomplice; no doubt in case his arrow missed.
It was a serious attempt on his King, and no laughing matter, but Alexius couldn't help but laugh at the man's daily trek.
I wonder what he tells his master every night when he returns? Alexius took a sip of wine before he was led to his bed by his squire.
The tired Lord was being helped out of his tunic and into his nightshirt. He was about to get in bed, when he heard the midnight hour being called out.
Now this is something I know I won't miss when I leave this land. Alexius whispered to himself as the young man blew out the candle in his room.
He could hear the watchman making his rounds with his noisy suit of armor along the stone walls of their fortress. He would always make a mental note to take the oil can to it, but would forget when he woke the next day.
The young squire would sleep in his Master's arms, as he's done for years since he first was given to Alexius by his father at the young age of ten. A tradition that went back three generations on his lands.
Coen was fair to the eyes with blond straight hair and green eyes. His skin was at one time pale, with a slight blush to his cheeks. But now it was sun kissed and tanned after years of exposure to the harsh desert heat and dryness.
Now a young Squire of nineteen, Coen had survived many battles with his Master and worked hard to become a Knight in training under Alexius' watchful eye. After all, the tall Knight became the youngest to achieve knighthood at the age of twenty, much to the amazement of his peers who were all nearing thirty years of age. But to see Alexius climb in status to First Knight at the age of twenty five, made him a target of jealous gossip by those same peers.
There was always talk of his unnatural strength and knowledge of weapons. His gaze was once said to bewitch many a soul, including King Richard. Of course Richard would not have it said that his First Knight was anything less than an apt soldier, and that anyone found gossiping with regards his favorite, would stand guard outside his window every night during banquet.
And they all knew what happened every night.
But Coen was above the gossip, and was very proud of his Master. Having grown up in his shadow, Coen loved Alexius from afar, but expressed his affection in his care for the accident prone Knight. He was always impressed to see him win the day out on the battlefield.
Alexius took the young man and made him his own on his first campaign, when inexperienced troops found death around every stone or treasured body of of water. They shared their fears, and their love despite their stations of Master and Squire.
It happened on a cool night when they had camped near the sea. Coen had prepared his Lord's tent and was in the middle of bathing his Master when Alexius gazed into the young man's eyes and whispered, Coen, do you miss England?
Coen stared back, and without hesitation answered, Nay my Lord, for you are England.
Alexius stared at the young man and was struck by his words. He didn't know what to say in response and could only think of kissing the lips that loved him so.
Coen dropped the cloth and soap into the large bucket of warm water, as Alexius kissed him hard. He had waited ten years for the right opportunity to say what his heart felt every day that he stood by his Master. He closed his eyes and returned the kiss with equal force.
Alexius who was accustomed to bedding whom ever he pleased, had been all but abstinent when he first arrived in the east. He had his eye on Coen, but feared crossing that line. Should he lose his life in battle, he didn't want to leave the young man to fend for himself. But he didn't think Coen shared his mutual affection.
He pulled Coen onto his wet lap and caressed his face as he continued to kiss him. Hands that knew their way around ties that held garments together, were pulled and discarded over the shoulders of the young man.
I did not know you felt this way. Alexius whispered.
Coen felt his trouser flap being untied, I have loved you from the moment I heard your voice call my name Master.
Alexius yanked on his soaked pants pulling them off with the help of Coen. Looking down at Coen's growing erection sent a chill of carnal agitation to his groin making his cock twitch with excitement. He turned Coen's body so he could straddle him in the warm water.
Coen blushed to be exposed in such a way. It was not like he didn't know what came next, as he was accustomed to seeing his Master with other men. But it was his turn now, and he was not going to shy away from it.
You have a beautiful body Master, it's a pity that you have so many scars. Coen touched, then kissed the numerous scars that marred Alexius' lean body.
And you have treated nearly all of them with your healing skills. Alexius smiled, once again taking his mouth.
He pulled Coen tight against his wet body feeling the younger man's hardened member against his abdomen. This only made Alexius eager to ravish his new lover knowing he was a virgin. He couldn't ask for a more perfect setting in the warm soapy water that would work as lubricant.
It's the least one such as I, can do for their Master. Coen whispered, I never saw it as a duty really, though I was raised to be in your service, to the point of forfeiting my life.
I would never allow that little one, Alexius now pressed his tongue between Coen's lips and gave him a deep kiss.
But I would. Coen broke from the kiss, To become someone of worth to you. Coen whispered between kisses.
Oh love, you say the sweetest things, Alexius smiled
Alexius gently bit his lip as he fondled Coen's hardened cock with one hand, and slowly inserted one finger feeling the young man tense up.
Relax love, there is only pleasure to be had tonight. I need to prepare you properly for my eager, and albeit quite neglected manhood, or this won't be easy on you.
Coen raised himself slightly by placing his arms around Alexius' neck to give him easier access. He was overcome with the desire to press his body against his Master's.
And Alexius obliged by opening his mouth and sucking on his nipples. He placed one arm around Coen's body and hungrily kissed him, now ready to move on. He inserted a second finger and opened him up a bit more.
Coen began to moan. His face blushed several shades of red as he heard himself, but it couldn't be helped. He began to lower his body, feeling Alexius' erection press against his legs.
That's it... Alexius whispered, as Coen slowly lowered his hips. Oh my, you are tight... Alexius smiled into the kiss, as Coen closed his eyes.
Oh! You are nearly as big as Walter...! Coen broke away from the kiss and gasped as he continued to go down.
My stallion? Alexius smiled slightly, Indeed, I'll take that as a compliment, my love.
The water splashed a bit when Coen finally settled down completely filled by his Master. He held his breath as Alexius began to pick him up and bring him down onto his engorged member. It only took a few moments until Coen's breathing synchronized with his lover, and their bodies came together.
Mmm, you feel perfect...such a wonderful fit. Alexius moaned as Coen began to grind against his pelvis. Coen's member throbbed between their bodies, and soon thereafter, Coen was in the heat of passion for the first time.
He loved the care given by his Lord, knowing he was far more experienced in his liaison's with other men. He felt he would never measure up to them, yet here he was being taken by the man he's loved all his life.
Alexius trembled with excitement having always admired Coen's beauty. He had great hopes that he would follow in his footsteps to Knighthood, and become a noble. He loved his perfectly toned body as he grew and matured, having waited patiently for him to become of age. It was just his way even for a sex crazed pervert like Alexius.
Coen was now close, as his essence rose and his breathing labored. I'm..going..to..come Master... Coen moaned as Alexius rubbed the sweet spot he knew would set him off.
Yess, that's right...so perfect my love, Alexius gasped, as his cock was near bursting. He lifted the young man with his hands bringing him down hard and fast.
Coen placed his hands on the rim of the large wooden tub for stability, his hips rising and falling and his cock bouncing between them.
You are beautiful my love, Alexius bit his lip as Coen tightened his ass and ejaculated, his cries and trembling body were too much for the tall Knight, and he erupted within Coen.
The two men seemed to freeze in position as they felt residual spasms in their spent cocks. Master and Squire gazed at each other as they caught their breath, and relaxed in the water.
Alexius pulled Coen to his embrace and kissed him gently. You are now mine little one.
I have always been yours Master. Coen whispered. Heart and soul.
The new lovers slept very little that night. As one lovemaking session ended, another would begin. The dawn came too soon for them, and they would never see each other as anything less than lovers.
Coen was not bothered that he could not express his affections openly, but was pleased that Alexius never took another lover to his bed again.
The two men were more aware of their positions in the battlefield, as Squire made sure his Lord was always armed, shielded, and yes, when the need arose, defended by his second.
Coen grew and matured as a knight in training, surviving the ten years at his Master's side. The days were always long, and the dangers many. But the nights belonged to them, regardless of where it found them. Comfort was given, and despite the horrible conditions Coen always kept a strict routine in all things.
Alexius had Coen make all his food, never hiding the fact that he had never in his life trusted a cook. It was just a thing with Alexius, and it was well known that he was a finicky eater; always insisting on certain foods being carefully prepared.
His one mistake was the final banquet held the night before they departed for England. Coen knew his master enjoyed sweets, and perhaps it was the excitement of leaving the holy lands that had him distracted. It would become his last. The young man decided that instead of making his Master the sweet bread he enjoyed, he instead opted to bring him a bowl of rice pudding made for King Richard.
As luck would have it, the young man tasted the sweet dessert and suffered the cook's lack of cleanliness, falling victim to a fatal case of food poisoning.
Alexius had demanded satisfaction for the loss of his Squire and lover, however before he reached the kitchen staff, he learned many had fallen ill and soon thereafter died.
It was no wonder as to why his Majesty had a line of personal food tasters a mile long, and shear dumb luck that he did not care for rice pudding.
Well that certainly put a damper on the going away party.
That night found the saddened Knight drunk and passed out in his bed with Coen's tunic in his hands. Alexius' sleep was chased away by a powerful dream, and he woke with a start. He was often haunted with images of battle and the stench of death, however he never felt it was truly him in those dreams. Even as a child, he would tell stories to his mother of distant lands filled with many daring deeds under his sword.
Of course his mother would say he had a lively imagination, and perhaps spent too much time watching his Lord Father train as Knight for the royal court.
But Alexius knew this was not true. Those dreams always found a way into every swing, and thrust of his sword in battle; and could swear it was possessed by a spirit of a past life of some sort. Of course this was never the type of thing one said out loud.
So after many years of travels to eastern lands and preaching one faith, Lord Alexius De Trois was now looking forward to the quiet life as Lord of his castle.
King Richard was fond of Alexius, and would rather let the wars continue, than let the young man escape his sight after serving him loyally as First Knight. Not only that, he knew how to dine safely and keep him entertained.
But the campaign had come to an end, and both King and Knight were now heading home to England. Lord Alexius had many tales to bring to his castle, and now looked forward to finding a nice Princess to fill his manor with heirs.
That was a great and expected role, if he were inclined for such things. But Lord Alexius did not favor the female form, and this was going to become an issue with Lord Reginald and his wife the Lady Margaret.
They were saving their daughter Camille for him, and when he last saw her was just turning twelve. Of course he'd been a way for ten years, and the young maiden would be the perfect age, if not considered an old maid by now.
Lord Reginald and his wife were not the sharpest tools in the shed. They promised their daughter to the rising Knight without taking into consideration that the Crusades would take more than a few months. The Maid Camille was to have wed as soon as she blossomed, but as the years passed her dowry chest was now filled to overflow and quite dusty.
Of course Alexius was quite the charmer in the royal court, but had always preferred men over women. Which was never really a secret among the courtesans, if only kept from his would-be future in-laws.
His return was highly anticipated by Lord, Lady and yes one or two private male lovers. With the loss of Coen, there would be many vying for the position.
As the men returned to England, it was one feast after another, and many celebrations filled with tournaments and balls. Being the First Knight of the Royal Court, he was often the center of attention, to which his promised bride found herself often overlooked and neglected.
She soon tired of it all upon seeing her betrothed dancing rather intimately with the ever popular wife of the Black Knight; one Lord Fairmont. Camille stormed off creating a scene by breaking off her engagement with him.
Lord Reginald and his wife were about to protest, when the Black Knight struck Lord Alexius in the face with his glove as accusations flew, and the challenge was made.
Alexius laughed at the Black Knight, Do you not know that while you were getting fat and lazy, I was out defending King and England?
The now inebriated Knight bragged while tossing the glove back at Lord Reginald, striking him in the face.
Not only that, I hear it upon good authority that you are not pleasing this fetching woman you have the gall to call your wife, in bed?
Alexius held his pinky finger up to show everyone the size of the man's penis.
Yes, it takes a real man to please such a woman, and please her I did.
Of course he was blind drunk at the time, and had several others in that bed. He was shocked to find a female among them.
How dare you! Lord Fairmont roared.
With that said, tables were overturned and the fur was sent flying as the two drunk Knights threw punches and insults.
Of course the Black Knight looked at his wife, who feigned insult with a near fainting spell perfectly choreographed around her ladies in waiting.
I shall see you at dawn you poor excuse of a Knight! Lord Fairmont growled. He was already quite angry that the war hero was stealing his thunder now that he and King Richard had returned.
It is clear to me why you were out on the front lines, seeing that you can't keep your cock under lock and key. Surely many a Knight present hoped you would end up at the end of some fool's sword. It would save many the trouble of taking that gourd you call a head off your haughty shoulders!
Alexius laughed, Bark all you want you bastard, you did not answer the call of your Lord King and country because you, Sir Knight, are a coward and an embarrassment to that black tin suit you wear!
Well that did it, as the scuffle between Knights began once again with the two men finally being pulled apart by their men.
At dawn Lord Alexius! May death find your sorry arse at the tip of my sword. The Black Knight spit on the ground and made to leave.
Yes, well if it's as sharp as your cock, I fear I will disappoint death yet again! Alexius yelled back.
As dawn arrived, Sir Alexius was being dressed in his suit of armor while being fed breakfast. His head was aching as he recalled the many glasses of wine he drank ending with several young men in his bed. He gave his new squire a nice kiss on the lips and thanked him for the pleasure of his company.
I have yet to recall your name little one, but if I return from this duel, I shall rain gold over your head, and take you most eagerly.
Alexius kissed the young man once again before he was escorted to his horse. He rode to the northern plain of King Richard's lands to find the Black Knight waiting in the early morning fog.
That bastard should have picked another color, He laughed, Black definitely does not go with everything. In the East he would have been picked off before he even knew what hit him. Not only that, black does not do so well in the scorching desert heat, or England's gloomy weather. Alexius spoke to himself.
Good Morning Lord Alexius, I do hope you have set your matters in order, since you shall not see the sun set today.
Well spoken Lord Fairmont, I do hope you are ready to meet Death. Alexius smiled, He's been looking for you all night. Pity you didn't have the roast pheasant, as I've heard Lord Reginald was taken to his sick bed.
The two men faced off in the quiet countryside, the sounds of metal striking metal could be heard echoing across the meadow.
The Tale of Three
Chapter 2: Appointment with Death
It was a normal day as far as day's go, with the sun rising and the birds singing. Rubbing his eyes, Death rolled over and declared that the sun would rue the day for disturbing his dreams. He was pleasantly chasing Methuselah from one reality onto another, when fate would have it and the alarm clock would ring, that alarm clock being his pet Cerberus' pulling the sheets off his bony body.
Oh, his wasn't the Methuselah, heavens no! The real one would be a career making catch. No, this wanna-be immortal was not as graceful, though he was quite fetching in his last manifestation as a Spanish Knight that met his maker at the ripe old age of twenty five years young.
Just a moment in time to this professional, but as he cleared the cobwebs from his eyes, he realized the furry wake up call had not been adjusted for the fall sunrise. He was in fact an hour early. He would now mourn loss of those precious moments in dreamland. That is what happens every time he sleeps away from his castle. Cerberus rarely failed, but when they traveled with their Master, they often became confused, proving that three heads were not always better than one.
Death was now searching through his wardrobe for today's attire, only to find his last clean cloak was the one with the missing toggle, and the hem that needed fixing on the right side. But at the moment he did not care, he had things to do.
After looking in the mirror, the Angel of Death found his was an unchanging glare, and even if he bothered to comb his hair, it would only be a matter of time before some idiot ruined his good mood and his well combed black locks would catch on fire.
Yes Death was his title, however he preferred Grim Reaper, over Angel of Death. One could not really blame him. Death was as popular as sex, though not as much fun. After all, his task was rather grim, and there was nothing angelic about taking the soul of the dearly departed. And in that time, death was a daily thing; like day old bread.
Especially when his assignment was the notoriously clumsy Sir Alexius De Trois. A Knight, of one very noble King Richard the Lionheart. A man who often made Death weak in the knees, and often cursed the fact that he could not touch the dashing King.
He was a special case, and only Saint Peter had the privilege of greeting him into the afterlife. Not even Death could stand in the shadows and await for this man to expire. No, King Richard had earned many favors in heaven, as his righteous efforts to pass the word about you know who, during the Crusades earned him credit with upper management.
So Death took great pride in the many souls he's witness pass on into the afterlife. There were plenty who deserved a rather eager kick in the arse, as they rolled down the stairs to the gates of hell. But today was not the day for idiots and fools, self-indulgent princes, or even the cook who was warned not to leave the eggs sitting too long, less his Lord be found ill. Yes it happened, and he had no one to blame but himself.
After all, when you have Death staring at you poking your brain pan, you do well to scratch the itch, and not the one below the waist. And for all his good points, his current assignment was indeed a fool.
This Noble had all the qualities of a true Knight. He was rich, handsome, and quite tall which was important if you inherited a suit of armor from your father; and the helmet fit just right over your head.
But as Death pulled up his black knee-high boots, he felt a chill in the air. He quickly finished his toast and coffee, and with scythe in hand, made his way to work.
Each step he took was killing the flowers, but he did love to give Saturn, the god of the harvest a hard time every day. Most of the time he'd find a pile of manure, and would ghost over the pile just to watch him step into it and curse out loud.
That's what he gets for turning his nose up on black knee high boots, and going all natural with hoofs and fur. Death smirked.
But today he would have to forgo all his normal teasing and scurry to work as fast as possible. His current case was notoriously punctual, and if today was his day, he wanted to be there to finally put an end to his current, and final charmed life.
Good morning Lord Grim, and how are we on this most excellent morning? The voice of a familiar co-worker was dripping with sarcasm. Or who will you be today? Lord Odin, or Hades? I can't keep up with your many titles, last week you were Anubis, though I could swear you went by Osiris.
Why do you care to ask Dionysus? Weren't you the one who kept whispering into his ear that the wine was superb this season? Death countered back. And YOU can call me Lord Grim Reaper, or Death if it's too difficult for you to say so many words in one breath.
Oh don't be such a sour puss so early in the morning. Dion spoke, Oh wait, it is rather early for you to be in this morning is it not? Though I must say, you are rarely tardy for such a big day, did you forget to set your sundial? Dion laughed quietly, as the rest of the underworld joined in.
Yes, well you don't rule over me Dion, so mind your own business. I heard you were rather drunk yourself at that banquet, and nearly exposed your true form to the nobility. I would have loved to have seen your face as your hairy arse was seen by the ladies. Death rolled his eyes and kept walking to his office while calling back. Loser...
He was tired of the jokes at his expense, and was feeling rather angry that Dionysus would dare mock him.
I mean, I am DEATH! He thought to himself, I rule this realm and he should watch his step before I assigned him to some rather unpleasant part of the world so I can enjoy a few months in peace and quiet from his idiocy!
Death tossed a few files about as he continued his private rant.
Perhaps a few months under the care of Mars the god of war would fix his haughty attitude. The black plague was in full swing over Europe, following the warmongering, and the paperwork was murder. He should know.
I hear Lord Alexius was rather chatty last night. Dion continued as he followed Grim to his office.
Death made a face, and hung his head to hear his high pitch voice echo behind him.
He was enjoying far too much wine, and I should know, it was the good stuff. But then he had to brag about his many conquests while on the Crusades.. Dion raised his hands and to put quotation marks over the word Crusades.
And had he kept his mouth shut, Lord Fairmont would not have discovered his wife's infidelity and slapped Lord Alexius nearly unconscious with his gauntlet! Dion couldn't help but laugh. This HAS to be a record. I mean, he is what- the fifth reincarnation as a warrior? I hear his last life was no picnic either.
Yes, well he is a rather special case, and after today he will be gone forever. Death sat down with a slight grin, tidying up his desk of several parchments and ink wells.
It is rare to see him smile from within his black cloak with those empty eyes. They just don't go well together, Dion thought to himself as he took a sip from a glass of wine that materialized in his hand.
There are only so many punches a mortal has with a 'Get out of Hell free' card, and I am going to dance on this man's grave if it's the last thing I do! Death made a bony fist with his hand, and waved it towards Dion who rolled his eyes.
Good luck with that. Came the sultry voice of Eros, the god of love.
I happen to have it on good authority, -mine of course- that Lord Fairmont's wife is quite the adulteress, so my money is on Lord Alexius.
Eros winked at Death, as he placed a parchment in front of him. Here, the odds are in his favor in the underworld lottery, you should take advantage of it and perhaps win the pot!
A lottery? Death scoffed, This is a man's life we're talking about! A man who's had the worst luck in four previous lives, which I could easily point a finger at a number of you for helping him meet his demise -cough- me -cough- and sweetening up the pot.
Well if you won't I will! Came the voice of Greed, also known as Aris.
I've made a nice fortune off your boy, and I would like to retire and let the young greedy son's of bitches take over. We've been around forever Big D, and you of all people know that this is a thankless job! Greed slammed his fist on Death's desk making the ink wells jump.
How many times have you heard 'I welcome death!' or, 'Today is a good day to die!' Only to find they are whisked up to Saint Peter at the eleventh hour upon confessing their sins, and you get none of the credit due to you?
Aris, why are you here? I could have sworn you were off in Europe raising dust behind your boss Mars? Death pondered on this for a few moments until he looked at his hour glass on his desk and found he was behind schedule.
The duel was about to begin and he wanted front row seat for the last, and final good-bye he would have the honor of escorting Lord Alexius to his resting place in Hell.
No one could live so many lives, and have killed so many people -godly or not- and be granted the privilege of passing through the pearly gates of Heaven. Nobody. At least that was his opinion on the matter. Not to mention he had plans of severing the ties of rebirth to the soul of this man.
Death tied his hourglass to his waist, picked up his faithful scythe and bolted out the door. He had a large menacing grin from bony ear to bony ear.
Have fun out there! A collective cheer came from behind. Aris and Dion were making eyes at each other, and Dion no doubt would be drunk before noon. Same old thing.
Death found his feet could not stop from skipping, as he landed in the early fog, and made a note that the sun seemed rather shy in the weather. He was sure the weather was suppose to be clear and sunny according to that idiot Dion's half-brother Apollo. Death could swear there was a rain cloud following him today.
I will get back at Apollo if this cloak gets ruined! Death grumbled, as he picked up the pace to the northern plain outside King Richard's summer castle. It was quite a lovely place, and there was always a death or two to collect in the many gatherings of the day. He blamed the cook.
As he reached the northern plain and the meadow reserved for the event, he found a sight he never thought could ever happen. He looked at his hour glass tied around his wrist, and raising a bony hand to protect his hollow eyes, he looked at the sun realizing his time piece was also behind schedule. He tapped it once or twice to find that a few grains of sand were clumped together, and that Dion must have spilled wine over it at the last office party, and never bothered to clean it up.
Death stared at the body of Lord Fairmont and shook his head. He wondered what happened, and if Lord Alexius was the victor, why was there a pool of blood on the field where it was obvious another had fallen? Lord Alexius was nowhere to be collected. This made Death scratch his skull knowing this man was responsible for his hair loss.
Stranger still, it appears I had two bodies to collect.. Death searched his leather bag filled with the scrolls of life. He unrolled the scroll with the Lord Fairmont's name on the leather strap. One Lord Fairmont felled by the expert lunge of Lord Alexius De Trois, after having struck the death blow through the heart of his opponent with his sword.
Death pondered on that a bit. Lord Alexius was quite the swordsman after all, having survived the Crusades was no small feat; and he would know. He shadowed Lord Alexius for years, as he did in all his previous lives. He had many skills that carried on from one life to his next life, so the thought of him dying by the sword would have been a sad epilogue to his life.
But just to make sure he pulled out the scroll with Alexius' name and read the same.
Lord Alexius De Trois, First Knight of King Richard, felled by a dagger to the chest after giving the death blow to one Lord Fairmont, the Black Knight.
That last thought bothered Death, as he had gotten used to the tall knight's rather funny life. But here he was, standing with one body and two puddles of blood. Death scratched his chin, and looked at the second trail of blood.
It appears he was able to walk a few steps, and land here. Death looked at a larger pool of blood, but there was no sign of Alexius. Death scratched his head again, and kicked one of the gauntlets he knew belonged to Lord Alexius. Maybe he rolled down the hill and into the pond.
This was stretching the realm of possibility a bit. But after looking at the bottom of the pond and getting his last clean robe all wet, he sat near the late Lord Fairmont, pulled out his pipe and smoked it. There would be paperwork to fill out, and he recalled this as being his least favorite thing in ruling the underworld. Parchments were up to the ceiling as it was, and he hated to waste that kind of time.