My lord, Sir Shagor the Shadow, was pleased to be relieved of service. I just wish that Fate hadn’t turned against him. He was so happy, these last few weeks being such an arduous journey from the battlefield, that as he reached the steps of his Manor, he was singing to himself. The words of the song I’ve long forgotten – curse my memory! – but the tune of his humming still plays in my head.
My lord was gifted with a sweet voice.
It’s a shame that my Lady Nancy was not present to have heard it – knowing that the occasion on which my lord sung was so rare.
As Sir Shagor opened the door to his house, the door – so poorly, it was – fell off its hinges and splintered against the cold marble floor.
I remember the way in which my lord’s eyes widened suddenly, the way his pupils frantically searched the debris of his ruined home. There was an expression on his face that I knew all too well, and I back away a little on seeing it.
He howled the names of his attendants and his servants, his cooks and his guards. But no responses. I followed after him as he entered his house, his stomping feet crunching through the fallen wood and the broken ceramics. Behind every door sat propped the rotting carcasses of those names he had called, the buzzards feasting enthusiastically on them. He heard a slight cough sound from within a cupboard. Bewildered, Sir Shagor raced to it and ripped open the doors. The person within, though awfully crippled, recoiled with a look of terror in his eyes.
“What happened here?” Sir Shagor demanded.
“Attack, s-sir,” the servant stuttered quickly, “There were s-so many of th-them. So big and s-strong,” he cowered a little, “They came here th-three days ago.”
My lord made a gesture, and I knelt down to give the man some water from my flask. He drank like a worn mule, pulling and gulping so fast that it spilled over his blood-stained tunic.
“And what of the Lady?” asked Sir Shagor, trying not to panic, “And my son?”
“I c-can’t say, my lord,” said the servant, “All I know is that they w-were taken. I heard Lady Nancy s-screaming and Master Crion crying. I wouldn’t like to think… about what’s b-become of them.”
Sir Shagor turned to me, his face grim, “We must get this man to a physician,” I nodded, taking the thin servant in my arms, his left leg like a bag of broken bones. I felt my insides curl as he flinched in pain, holding a yelp from passing his lips. Sir Shagor called for a hansom cab, and gave the driver directions to an apothecary not far from here. He handed the driver some money – to aid the servant and to pay him his driving fee – and we stood by, watching, as the cab pulled away.
“What now, sir?” I asked. Sir Shagor looked drained of his regular vigour.
“We must call a team, to bury our dead. The house must be repaired…” his words trailed off, “But then… then I must wring the neck of the man who stole my family.”