|Series||Fable: The Return by Scorponix|
|← Chapter 25||Chapter Chronology||Chapter 27 →|
The king continues on his journey to save Albion from The Court.
Henry leads his father into his quaint hut at the outskirts of Knothole Glade. The home is dimly lit by candles and doesn't have very many decorations. It is furnished with three finely carved wooden chairs and a large table with an obsidian-tipped spear pointed down the length of the table. Henry goes to a doorway covered by a heavy black pelt and moves it to the side, welcoming him into the room.
Inside it is brightly lit by many candles, the light of which bounces off of several carved wooden toys. In the middle of the room, surrounded by a tall wooden cage, is a small bed. The bed is full of blankets and furs which warmly bundle around an object in the very center. Henry scoops the bundle of blankets out of the bed and moves it towards his father. "Father…I'd like you to meet your grandson."
"He is beautiful…what is his name?"
"We have not decided. We wanted to wait for the perfect name to come to either of us, no matter how long it takes. He was born four months ago, during my last visit here. The medicine women say he is a very healthy child and that he will grow to be strong in both mind and body."
"That is very good. And Savannah cares for him all by herself?"
"I make port here every few months and stay for a month each time. I bring plenty of supplies and funds to keep both her and the baby healthy and happy."
"Good, my son. Always make sure she is happy, her happiness is your happiness."
"I know, father. That's not the best fatherly advice. Almost everyone knows that you should make your wife happy." The both laugh and stare lovingly at the sleeping child. Before anything else can be said, they hear the firing of a pistol from far away, Henry immediately prepares to depart. "That was Reaver, it is time to leave."
"I only just got to meet my grandson," The king complains.
"You will have plenty more time to see him when those things you let loose are dead…now come on." Henry takes the baby from his father and places him back into the crib. They leave quickly and Henry says his goodbyes to Savannah. The two men proceed out of the home and up the road towards Reaver.
They find Reaver among the rest of his crew. He is resting on his solid black cane with his top hat tilted just slightly. Reaver is too preoccupied to notice them as he is staring into a golden pocket watch, waiting impatiently. Finally, he sees them approaching his position.
"Well it's about time you two arrived, I was beginning to grow tired of waiting. I can only stand in absolute boredom for some time before my body starts to ache for some kind of change. But, you have arrived, tallyho!" Reaver swings his cane in the air and the crew, The King, and Henry set out for the bay to meet up with their ship once more. Henry and his father make their way to the front of the company to walk with Reaver. Henry is the first to speak.
"So, will my good friend the Chieftain not be escorting us for our departure?"
"No, there was some talk of him being terribly disappointed in you. But I didn't listen much, he does go on about such details. Worst thing is, the backup fighters didn't even go to the death, they had some kind of "warrior's respect" moment where they shook hands and left with peace. That had been two fights in a row with no heads rolling on the ground and obviously the people were disappointed, I know I would be. So no, he'll not be seeing us away from his bayside estate." Reaver chuckles at his joke, he is the only one to find it funny. Reaver now turns his attention to the king. "Ah, your majesty, I didn't see you there. I trust there are no hard feelings between you and I? After all it is…just business."
"Of course, Reaver." The king replies with a hint of sarcasm and spite. "Just business."
"Good, very good. I didn't want there to be any awkwardness between the two of us while in the cramped quarters of the Drakemouth. While I pride myself on its spacious qualities, she is still a ship. And ships, your majesty, will always be small. Unless," Reaver gets excited and has a slight glimmer in his eye. "Unless, when I have my kingdom of Samarkand and start my slave industries…Obviously I can't do this in Bowerstone because it appears my lordship has fired me," he pouts. "But, in Samarkand I shall start a new project to make larger ships, expand on those already made of metal. They'll be bigger, with plenty of space and made with luxury in mind. They won't be for war, no no. They shall be for travel, for the tourists of the world. Don't worry, your majesty, I'll share my creations with you…for a small price that is. Business is bushiness after all."
Reaver goes on and rants about his new idea for large luxury ships all the way to the bay in the middle of Witchwood. The Drakemouth floats proudly in the bay, small torches giving light to the hull. During their march to the bay, nighttime snuck up on them and now hangs over the tall trees of Witchwood. Without any sort of goodbye, the crew silently boarded the Drakemouth and released the ropes. The ship began to float away from the dock as the sails dropped.
The king stood behind the helm and looked back at the bayside village slowly drifting away. Reaver came up and stood next to him, without a word he tapped his cane on the deck twice. A canon shot rang from the back of the ship and went sailing through the large home of the Chieftain. The king looked to Reaver with distress, villagers ran out of their homes to find out what happened. The shot went through the house's main support beam and toppled the home.
"What was that?!" The king desperately asks Reaver.
"Business is business, my friend." Reaver smiles.
"How is this business?"
"Out of petty squabble over people's feelings, he decided not to see his guests away. He chose not to see the departure of a business partner who gives him payment. That, your majesty, is what I call rude." Reaver looks at his pocket watch. "Look at the time, I suppose I should prepare for bed. See you in the morning, ta ta!" With that Reaver strolls down into his quarters for bed.
The king is joined by his son once the ship is far away from the bay and almost out of the island entirely. They do not speak, only stand next to each other and watch the two sides of the forest go past them. Suddenly, they see a group of balverines running on the sides of the forest, following the ship. "Father…what is going on?"
"I don't know…but it looks like there's more." And there are, more balverines join the groups running on either side of the river. The ship eventually gets to the end of the river where it meets the sea. As they leave the grips of witchwood, the king sees hundreds of balverines lined up along the coast of the island, staying on their hind legs, watching them. The king can feel their eyes on him, what is this? Several White Balverines emerge from the darkness of the forest, each of them carrying torches. "I've never seen anything like this…they're actually holding torches in their claws. This is wrong…something is terribly wrong here."
Henry gets a foreboding feeling that his wife is in terrible danger, but soon is overcome with peace from some unknown source. The White balverines raise their torches together and howl, their packs join the call and create a terrifying chorus of the night. The king looks up to see a full moon hovering over them, and looks back to see the edge of witchwood slowly fade from view. The cold grips of the ice pack now lies ahead, and the Northern Wastes beyond them.