It has come to my attention that you have found yourself ill. As your dearest friend and compatriot for the success of Rynmere, this news rattles my bones as the wind rattles leaves. I am despondent, lost in my own mind - remembering again the days where we would frolick across the field as children. Things are not as they were in the days of yore, so many lifetimes ago, and yet still my mind wanders to you all the time - always. I look to you when I seek strength, and always do I imagine you wielding that dreadfully cumbersome sword of yours in that gallant plate armor.
You are the only friend I have ever had, Grayson. William. Even as you wandered from your noble house - and from Fort Venora - to engage in the dangers of the world of war, I continued to seek your company, always and certainly in moments of great triumph and great peril. You are - and always have been - an inspiration to me.
And yet that is not entirely what I write to you about, this day. You see, even as the sun sets on your story, there are things between us that have not yet been resolved. Like your betrayal of my secrets - telling your slackjawed sister of my infatuation with the Dark Arts, a catastrophe that was only resolved due to an unfortunate accident in which she fell hard on her skull. An accident that rendered you the heir to the Grayson name, a fortuitous outcome. Surely you forgave the Gods for rendering your sister a stagnant slab of meat, and yet I had never forgiven you. Regardless of your intentions, or the thought that this was just another of our childish squabbles, you unwittingly betrayed me, your greatest friend and ally. That day, you lost an ally, but not a friend.
I think I have found it within my heart to forgive you for your sins of days past. I am willing to look to your future now - the future that lays in your morgue, in the dark halls beneath the mounds of Venora. The future that follows your soul, lost to this world, and unable to find peaceful resolution - a soul that will find a traitor's punishment for it in the afterlife, for damning brotherhood and companionship in constant weak-minded prattling.
There is still a future between us, however, my charming Lord Grayson. It is a future in which I command and you obey, silently, forever seeking penance for your hollow hearted deeds.
And yet, sadly, the period of partnership between Venora and Grayson had come to an end. A loss of a dear family, closely tied to the House. But Alistair didn't mind. They had about a hundred seventy six more.
On the day of the proceedings, where his mother and father spoke and grieved and the sycophants squabbled over the structures of power, the heir to Venora did not shed a single tear - rather he stared empty into the setting sun as he watched the men carry the coffin into the deep halls. He already began to look around at the infrastructure of the building, looking for an entry and escape route. When all fell asleep, he would remove the cadaver from its resting place and add the man to his ranks. Until then, he would play pleasantries and try to learn the future of the Grayson estate.
". . . you can't be serious, can you?" He overheard. The man turned his head to a small group of individuals, middle aged men and women with a connection to the family.
"Of course I can be," one man said. "The heir to Grayson is gone, the other child a braindead mute. The future of the family is over. They need for a fresh and more fertile line to take their place as the caretakers of the Grayson Breweries." The man spoke confidently, with his wife nodding beside him. The other adults in the situation seemed at a loss of words, though one man with a short temper spoke boldly.
The man was very tall, and spoke with a scarred and marred face. He wore an insignia on his tabard which marked him as a soldier - formerly a high ranking military member in the Duchy's personal retinue. "William's body is not even yet cold and you speak of usurping the holdings of our patron house? Lord Grayson may be without son and his wife without fertility, but there are more out there. Emilia Grayson, married to a fine nobleman in Warrick. Richard Mayburry, whose mother was to be Lady--"
"You seek to give the wealth of our proud house to fucking Warrick, Malcolm? Or to some Mayburry chap who doesn't even show an interest in the Kingdom of Rynmere? They aren't even direct inheritors to the Grayson seed. One of them might even be a bastard if the rumors about his mother are true."
"Mathew, enough. The future of their wealth is to their discretion. I will not --"
The man stormed off. Curious. It seemed the caste of silk-wearing vultures had already begun to scour the fields for the riches of their betters. Alistair could only scoff at their short-sightedness. Lord Grayson was sure to hand his wealth to the Venora family, for it was through their family that their fortunes had risen from the days of old where they ruled only a homestead of paupers and chicken shit.