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Episode: Perchance To Dream

Posted by Story on 10/30/16
King Alaric Grayson IV had not announced his departure from the city, slipping out of Arx with minimal fanfare on a private hunting retreat with his retinue. Accompanied by a sizable detachment of the King's Own and its Lord Commander Dayne Valardin, Prince Sherrod of House Redrain, Archduchess Carlotta Velenosa and their respective guards, it was impossible for them not to be noticed, but it was telling at court that the unannounced departure coincided with the arrival of Prince Donrai Thrax to Arx. Gossip at the slight festered while the king remained away from Arx, growing to a gradual disquiet as the hunting trip stretched far longer than it should.

Then on one misty morning, shock spread through the city as crowds gathered outside the eastern Seawatch Gate. His majesty, King Alaric Grayson IV had returned to Arx. Witnesses described the king still dressed in his immaculate armor sitting atop his white destrier, facing the city of Arx with a blank expression and unseeing eyes, indifferent to the scene around him. Three wagon carts without drivers rested motionless outside the city in a neat row behind the king, his majesty seeming blind to what lay behind him. Stacked in two carts were the heads of his retinue, their weapons arrayed around each head in perversely fanciful arrangements. In the third wagon directly behind the king laid the untouched armored corpse of the Lord Commander Dayne Valardin, his hands folded over his sword. No scream, no cry, no shout nor movement drew a glance from King Alaric as thousands thronged around him- his eyes sometimes drifting closed to sleep, sometimes open but unseeing.

House Redrain and the Lyceum mourned its lost leaders as the rest of the Compact searched for answers, but little could be found and none at all from the king. Alaric ate and drank when food or drink was presented to him, but nothing else- no flashes of recognition, and nothing like a word. The King's Rest had begun.