“Greetings.”, I said opening the door, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Carefully choosing my words to not offend anyone I shut the door behind me before examining the guests. Seeing a woman dressed in extremely fine clothing which stood out from the others. I assumed she was the Duchess while the others must have been lower ranked nobles.
“Hello, I am sorry for dropping in like this.”, the woman I assumed, “I am Duchess Celebon.”
“A pleasure to meet you.”, I stated, “How are you doing today?”
Shaking her hand I took my seat near a window overlooking Alexis flower garden. Handing me a cup of tea I looked at the maid who was thoroughly terrified. Dismissing her so she could return to duties I knew I was going to have to play hard ball.
“Your reception for us was meager at best.”, one of the women stated.
“Well, custom dictates a high-ranking guest must send notice at least three weeks in advance. No message reached me so please pardon the reception.”, I said glaring at her, “I am already hosting two of my mother-in-laws right now. Her Majesty the Queen is here so I have my guards protecting her.”
Sitting back in her seat the woman tried hiding from my gaze.
“I understand, I thought the view on the way here was spectacular.”, the Duchess said, “Last time I was here the scenery was much different. From what I hear your territory is thriving.”
“That is correct, I have put a lot of work into reaching this point.”, I said with a smile, “By the way, to my knowledge this territory hasn’t had a high-ranking guest in nearly fifty years.”.
“Ah, I was a commoner before meeting my husband.”, she said removing her ring.
Sitting on my sofa a fair-skinned human changed into a chocolate skinned Dark Elf. Having been with Babel before I wasn’t to shocked which seemed to surprised her.
“You don’t seem surprised?”, she said with a smile.
“Maybe he doesn’t show anything because he hates elves.”, two women laughed.
“I find that comment quite offensive!”, I said in a cold tone, “My wife Alexis is a Wood Elf, and I was engaged to a Dark Elf named Babel.”
“Was?”, they laughed.
“She died defending the Royal Family several years ago.”, I said slamming my hand on my chair, “I will not tolerate any mockery of her sacrifice. Any further insults will result in you being removed from my territory.”
Turning pale the stopped laughing, and hid their faces. At that moment my wives and mistresses all entered the room. Filing into seats arranged by the maids next me my women stuck to me like glue. Evidently this was there best attempt to show we were close. Holding Eleanora’s hand tightly she relaxed.
“So, I have yet to hear the reason for a surprise visit. May I hear it?”, I asked.
“I had heard you were expecting several children, and wanted to come congratulate you on it. Having so many children at once is a blessing for any noble.”, she stated, “Your wives appear to be in good health.”
“Of course, unlike most nobleman I put my family first.”, I said smiling at Eleanora, “My wives mean the world to me. I plan on being there with them when are children are born.”
Smiling my family nodded so it was evident that they wanted me there too. Some of the women looked at us with angry eyes while a few gave me the impression they wanted that from their husband.
“That is a wonderful goal.”, the Duchess said, “I am sure your wives feel cherished by you. If you wouldn’t mind I would like to stay a few days to let my horses rest.”
“I would ask you stay a week at the very least.”, I stated, “This time of year is rutting season among larger animals. For your safety I would recommend waiting a week.”
“I will follow your suggestion.”, she said with a smile.
Having Rovar show them to their rooms I waited for them to leave before I let off a sigh. Checking the room for listening devices with magic I got rid of one I found on the Duchess seat.
“These people are going to test my patience.”, I stated, “Purposefully trying to provoke me is a poor decision.”
“In their beds?”, Rulia asked nervously.
“No, trying to spark my anger by insulting all of you.”, I said.
Giving me kisses my wives were happy I was angry on their behalf.
“I was thinking when our guests leave we can go to the hot spring again.”, I said, “Having your bodies massaged would relax-”
“Yes!!”, everyone said with approval.
With a chuckle I asked Zentia to make preparation for the trip. Nodding she went off to send a letter in advance for us. Cracking my neck I went up to my study while my wives started their discussions of baby clothing. Closing the door behind me I was about to relax when I sensed another’s presence in my study.
“Invading your hosts study is quite an insult.”, I said looking to my bookshelves.
Emerging from the shadows the Duchess appeared in skimpy clothing.
“Are you really going to throw me out?”, she asked sitting down on my desk.
“Yes, I don’t find women that sleep around attractive.”, I stated.
“Oh come now, I know you find my body attractive.”, she said.
“Get out of my study now, or I will have my knights drag you to your room.”, I stated.
“Just give in, and-“, she started.
Opening my door I called for the Captain of my Knights. Rushing to me I pointed to the Duchess.
“Please escort her back to her room, and ensure she doesn’t do this again.”, I stated.
“With pleasure…”, she said cracking her knuckles, “This way…milady.”
Dragging the Duchess off I locked the study door, and looked for how she got in here. Finding a window open I looked outside to find she had repelled down from the roof.
“This woman is seriously sex driven…I would never repel down a wall to get laid.”, I thought with a sigh.
Sitting down at my desk I started looking at my various reports regarding trade deals, future expansions, enemy troop movements, and various marriage proposals. All of these papers were starting to stack higher than me. Spending a few hours going through paperwork I gave several piles to Rovar to deliver tomorrow morning. Stretching out I went to my room to wash up. Dropping my clothing in the laundry basket I washed off, and soaked in the bath. Once I was relaxed I got out, dried off, got into my pajamas, and passed out in my bed with Rulia who had gone to bed early due to not feeling well. Cuddling up with her I gently rubbed her belly trying to calm her stomach. Eventually she was sleeping soundly in my arms purring like a kitten. Falling asleep myself I woke up early to do my regular workout. An hour in to lifting weighs outside the Duchess appeared in her robe.
“May I sit, and watch?”, she asked.
“You may if you choose too.”, I stated, “Better than having you watch me from your window.”
In truth, she had been up since I started training. Having used her illusion magic to watch me it was painfully obvious where she was thanks to the curtains. Practicing my grandfathers drills the woman sat on the patio watching me.
“You have a refined style like your grandfather.”, she said.
“No need to change what works.”, I said, “War is coming, and I have to be ready.”
“To here?”, she asked.
“As you are a Duchess I can let you know. Our neighboring nation to the west was overthrown in a coupe about seven months ago. In that time they pledged themselves to Rogarth’s cause remaining their country, the Rovarth Kingdom.”, I said, “The King has tried his best to keep it a rumor, but we have already lost two Earldoms to them. Currently they are badgering my territory, but refuse to invade.”
“Why?”, she asked.
“First of all they would face me.”, I said with a chuckle, “It is well-known I beat a dragon unarmed. Second, I have a standing militia of around five thousand troops with the ability to call upon another fifteen thousand. In exchange for lower tax rates I made it mandatory that all men have basic military training. That has helped keep them out as well. The villagers know how to fight, and defend so they are less likely to be targeted.”
“I see, and that hasn’t effected public morales?”, she asked.
“The complete opposite actually.”, I said, “Villagers flocked for training when it became available. Nowhere else in the kingdom are commoners allowed to bear arms. You may think it is weird, but I wanted them to protect themselves in case I couldn’t make it right away.”
“I understand completely as my village could have benefitted from training.”, she said, “Bandits made regular runs at my village. With training I assume your death toll is almost zero.”
“It is the best in the kingdom, but far from zero.”, I chuckled, “Where there are beautiful women men will do crazy things.”
Laughing she nodded her head.
“So why aren’t you interested in me?”, she asked, “Most men would have assaulted me when I offer.”
“I have strong magic resistance.”, I chuckled, “A succubus hybrid isn’t going to work on me.”
“You figured that out?”, she said with a sigh.
“I had my spies look into your origins last night.”, I stated, “Your father with a Dark Elf, and your mother was a Succubus.”
“It is true.”, she said, “I won my husband over using my charm, and then managed to secure favors with a little teasing.”
“As I said it won’t work on me. Before getting the information about you I thought you were a witch doctor.”, I chuckled.
“Nope, not a witch doctor though it would be fun.”, she stated.
“So who are your comrades then?”, I asked.
“Women I charmed to help gain favors. They will easily follow my instructions, and do anything I demand.”, she said.
“So what’s the real reason you are here?”, I said sheathing my blade.
“I wanted to see whether or not you were really human.”, she said, “Also, I wanted a favor from you.”
“Which is?”, I asked looking at her.
“I haven’t informed the King yet…but I kind of have a problem in my territory.”, she said with a dry laugh, “Part of my territory has been involved in a rebellion. I want help quelling it.”
“Haha, you are more than capable of stopping it.”, I said, “A strategist like you should be fine.”
“If it were about that I would do it myself…”, she said, “It appears another succubus is controlling them hence I can’t do anything.”
“Now that makes sense.”, I stated, “What are you offering?”
“Come again?”, she asked.
“You aren’t related to me so I have no obligation to help you.”, I stated, “How do you intend to pay me?”
“Maybe one of my slaves?”, she asked.
“I am sure you get proposals all the time…do you think I am any different.”, I said.
“Then what do you want?”, she asked.
“You the one asking so you have to be the one to tell me.”, I stated.
Unable to think of anything she walked back into the mansion to think. Wiping the sweat off my brow I went in to eat breakfast. Returning to my office after eating I promptly started going over paperwork when one of my territory guards burst in.
“Sire!!!”, he said catching his breath, “They have finally attacked us.”
“Damn my luck…”, I muttered, “Alright, summon the men immediately!!”
Bowing his head he ran off to raise the men. Summoning Rovar I told him to prepare my armor, and horse. Nodding he went to fetch my equipment. Running to the living room where everyone was I gave them the news.
“The Rovarth Kingdom has made their play.”, I stated, “I insist for your safety that our guests stay till I handle the situation.”
“Please be careful.”, my wives said.
Even though they knew I was powerful they were stressing about me getting killed. I wasn’t invincible after all so it was a real concern. With a happy sigh I kissed my family, and swore to make back home. Evidentially the whole scene was too much for some of our guests as they started sobbing. Entering the room Rovar said my equipment was ready. Leaving them I put my gear on, and met the gathered men outside on the main road.
“Listen up!!!”, I said, “We ride out to defend our homes, our families, and our livelihoods!!! I offer you a reward for the commanders head!! Whomever brings me his head shall be exempt from territory taxes for five years, and shall receive one hundred gold coins!!”
Cheers broke out as the men eagerly wanted the reward. Turning to my personal knights I ordered them to guard the mansion while I was away. Swearing on their lives I promptly mounted my horse, and lead the men west. Gathering my army as we went we arrived at the border three days later with a force of twelve thousand men. Seeing the carnage the enemy had left in their wake sickened me. Women, children, and the elderly lay dying strapped to pikes.
“Cut them down. Any who are dead need buried, and those living need treatment.”, I ordered.
Immediately springing into action the men started their work while I lead the majority of my force to the nearest enemy fortress.
“Alright men, I will take the gate down while archers lay down cover fire. Once the gate is down proceed in using the turtle formation. Once you enter the keep cut down any resistance, and spare those who surrender. Anyone caught pillaging will be punished by death.”, I said, “Most of these men are no different from you so treat them equally.”
The commanders acknowledged my orders as they got their archers in position. When they were ready I dashed out in foot as the first volley flew. Rushing to the walls the first responders were pelted by arrows. Closing the gap to the gate I leapt into the air grinning ear to ear.
“<Ancient God Earth God: Demolition Fist>”, I said casting the spell.
Smashing my fist into the gate the whole wall buckled before collapsing. I had only intended to knock the gate in, but I had accidentally knocked the whole eastern wall down. Charging out from the forest my men stayed in close formation as the angled their shield to prevent arrows from hitting them. Once they entered the keep it was over in minutes. Seizing the majority of the men with their pants down we easily captured most with little to no resistance. Sitting down with the enemy commander while my men raided a nearby storehouse I questioned hin about the recent attacks.
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”, he said.
“Very well…”, I said standing up.
Smashing his hand into the table he screamed in pain. Proceeding to lift him off his feet I stared at him with cold eyes.
“Tell me who made the call. Those were my citizens, and I will ensure their lives are avenged.”, I said, “What is your answer?”
When the man refused to reply I took him to the window, and threw him out. Falling fifty feet to the ground he died hitting the ground head first. Jumping out, and landing on my feet I strolled over to his stunned troops.
“Who ordered the assault?”, I ordered.
“His Majesty!!!”, the troops quickly said.
“Why now?”, I asked.
“His Majesty believed you wouldn’t act.”, they said.
Looking at the women, and children I knew I couldn’t kill the troops. These men had no food in there storehouses not even a crumb. The men were all underfed making some look like walking corpses. The women and children were better off so I felt these were honorable men.
“Get these people some food.”, I ordered our cooks, “Women and children first.”
Immediately the cooks broke out their cooking equipment, and started cooking. Ordering them to make soup so people didn’t over eat they settled on making chicken soup. Helping pass out food I watched the children and women thank our cooks. Feeding the soldiers next my troops returned with wagons of weapons, but once again no food supplies.
“Those bastards.”, I thought.
Tying up the horses the men joined the enemy troops in line for dinner. Receiving my bowl last I sat down with the children. Eating my soup silently one of the kids soon started talking to me.
“Thank you sir.”, the three-year old girl said.
“You are very welcome.”, I said with a smile, “Are your parents here?”
“Mother died when I was born, and my father is among the wounded.”, she said.
“I see, well I am sure he will be in action soon again.”, I said with a smile.
“I don’t know, the noble you work for is a monster.”, she said.
“Oh, why is he a monster?”, I asked.
“He eats children, beats girls, and roasts boys on fire.”, she said exaggerating with her hands.
“I don’t know about that.”, I said, “I bet he doesn’t do any of that.”
“Why?”, she asked.
“You are still alive.”, I chuckled.
Thinking about she nodded. Hobbling over on crutches a man sat next to the girl. Stroking her hair he asked how she was feeling.
“I am okay, Papa.”, she said with a smile, “What’s gonna happen to us?”
“I don’t know.”, he said, “We are the Duke’s prisoners. Our country won’t buy us back so he may sell us all as slaves.”
“I doubt that.”, I chuckled.
“How can you be so sure?”, he asked.
“Enough about that, let me heal your injuries.”, I said.
Using healing magic I mended his wounds as well as the nearby soldiers. Thanking me he offered to pay me, but I politely turned him down.
“Surely a soldier could use the extra coin though.”, he said.
“You are a single dad. You need it more than I do.”, I said, “I just want to get this over with as I have several wives back home expecting children. It’s my job to make it back before then.”
“Several wives?”, he asked.
Running over to me one of my commanders flagged me down to give his report.
“Milord, we just finished taking stock of the supplies. Can I get you to review the supply list?”, he said.
“You are a noble?”, the man and his daughter asked.
“This man is Duke Jameson!!”, my commander said.
“Enough, no need to shout at them.”, I chuckled, “They don’t know me, or even what I look like. Cut them some slack, and let them be.”
“Understood, I will be waiting for you in your tent.”, he said.
Leaving with the man started to bow his head.
“No need for such formalities.”, I said patting his daughters head, “I am not like most noblemen so please be at ease. I guarantee you will not be taken from your daughter, you will not sold as slaves, and you won’t be beaten for your actions thus far. Please eat your meals, and get some rest.”
“Thank you mister.”, the young girl said.
“You are welcome.”, I said with a smile, “You keep your father in line.”
Walking away to my tent I sat down to go over my mountain of paperwork.