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Rousing the Beast


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The bedroom was so utterly dark it might be the middle of the night, but it was not. A servant quietly entered the room, put another two logs on the fire, and hesitantly crept toward the draped bed. 


He crossed himself and silently said a prayer.


"Your Grace?"


The was not a bit of a stirring.


"Your Grace?" he said, a bit louder.


Still, no stirring. He had not thought that there would be, but it had been worth a try. It was far safer than having to touch his master when sleeping. Alas, there was no choice. It was the one summons his master would not ignore and it was his responsibility to rouse him. 


He pushed the drapes aside and leaned in, exhaling. 


His master was sleeping peacefully, which was something of a rarity, so there was an immense guilt before he reached forward and shook his master's shoulder.


"Your Grace?"




The shoulder pulled away. An arm might have flown far too near to his face for comfort.


"Your Grace, the King requires your attendance."


"The King can piss off too, until a normal time of day,," came the grumbled voice before a low groan of crankiness. "I cannot have been asleep two hours!"


If that...his master oft did not fall asleep until sunrise and oft did not sleep well.


"Your Grace, it is Captain Herbert. He says there's been a dead body at the palace."


Dead body seemed to have done it, which His Majesty had apparently known, or Captain Herbert had, for the instruction had specifically been, 'When he doesn't wake immediately, tell him there's a dead body.'


"Bring me Kingston," came the gruff reply as the duke pushed onto a shoulder and then sat up.


More bad news... "Lord Kingston left for the palace some time ago."




"Not for this, Your Grace. He had an appointment, a summons, that arrived yesterday for this morning. Though Captain Herbert said he shan't be back today and to have his other appointments canceled. We've informed his valet to send his things to the palace."


A long grumble was the response. Something along the lines of steals everyone from me was heard.


"Well send me up Herbert then and---."


"The coffee is already here, Your Grace."


"Yes, that."

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