There was a meeting with Mannfred and the Wight Kings. The others boasted of their accomplishments and the Count pressed for more details on the matters that interested him. He seemed focused on Oliver’s former master and his mental state. The necrarch was supremely confident he would not fall to the same fate. That didn’t mean he was right however.
The Templar commander landed hard in the mud as Rollo again demonstrated how quickly he could adapt to any battlefield. He was fortunate they did not battle in earnest. Rollo’s strength continued to increase and though the commander rode well in his saddle and moved with grace, he would quickly find himself a smear on Rollo’s mailed boots if things truly came to blows.
Mannfred made to stand to say something but was forestalled by the enraged Templar wiping the mud from his face and screaming for satisfaction. “This contest shall be to the death!”
Heinrich and the crowd expected Rollo to run the whining disgrace down on the spot but instead he offered clemency. However, when the Templar spat upon his mercy Rollo beat him into the ground with decisive alacrity.
Ziegfried proffered the envelope with elaborate pomp. Heinrich did what he could to open it gently with his ruined hands and read the first few flowery lines of prose in what seemed to be some formal invitation.
“What?” Heinrich rasped dryly, “Did I do something to piss you off?” Heinrich pushed the invitation back towards Ziegfried and strode off into the night. A moment later he heard Ziegfried’s laughter booming after him.
It was hard to keep searching among the captured lake town folk. As dawn approached all Heinrich could see were exposed wrists and throats all pulsing with Life and calling to him. But though he searched all night for any sign of Gertrude or Hans, they were not there.