Centuries ago, after the founding of Arthafas, the illustrious House Wolfsbane are the defenders of the Western border. The strength and pride which stems from their unique way of dominating their enemies and allies whether in the battlefield or in politics made them influential amongst noble families.
An infamous family of vipers is what people call them as they had honed and perfected the lethality of poisons through culminating their bloodlines. Thus, the family’s ability represents how well their offspring can master the family’s craft.
People who were born into this family faced overwhelming pressure and expectations. Only the person who is able to overcome the trials will be able to sit and enjoy the peerage it brings.
My gaze wandered to the child of this family standing beside me. Her short black hair was combed neatly and was dressed in a white babydoll dress that matches her eye color. The elegance of the dress was perfectly tailored to a noble child.
Her calm and quiet demeanor fairly made her an easy child to take care of. Her temperament was rare among children her age. She did not raise a fuss nor did she acted spoiled.
However, she was often sickly and was usually seen near a bucket of her own puke. The people of the household are concerned if she’s up to the task or if she would end up the same as the others.
Imagine my surprise when the usually timid and frail young lady ordered me to take her to her father’s study.
One can only anticipate how the next viper would grow.
“You may enter when I give you the signal, my Lady,” I instructed her, as she responded with a short nod.
We passed through the arched entryway leading to the Marques’ private study.
Suppressing my unease that is unbefitting of a head maid, I tensely knocked on the heavy wooden doors. I swiftly prepared to look presentable. Putting vigorous effort into my appearance by cinching the apron around my waist and fixing my tightly bunned brown hair.
I waited for the Marquess’ approval before entering the frigid and solitary yet posh space filled with rare antiques and polished furniture. My eyes landed on a portly man with gray hair behind a wooden desk, someone whom I have served as a head maid for 15 years.
“Greetings, Lord Wolfsbane,” I respectfully bowed, stiffly maintaining decorum.
The Marquess did not respond to the greeting nor spared me a glance and continued to run his pen over the expensive parchment.
As his servant, the rules do not allow me to speak directly to the Lord unless permitted to. Thus, I painfully waited for his permission to speak.
“State your business,” he ordered curtly.
“My Lord, the young lady, Elisha Wolfsbane wishes to speak with you,” I replied whilst looking on the marbled floor, avoiding his oppressive look.
“Let her in.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
I turned to open the door revealing a little girl, their daughter.
The young lady walked towards the middle of the Marquess’ study and curtsied her Father who did not spare a moment to acknowledge her presence.
“Fathew, I wan-tu see muh-gic.”
The Marquess continued writing and reading the reports on his table.
“I can alweady wead and wite and I’ve wead all the teowetical books abot mana. I want to pwotect the bowder with you as soon as possible, Fathew!” the young lady said determinedly, unintentionally lisping her demand.
I doubt that she was able to read such hard books that even scholars have a hard time deciphering.
Finally, the marquess stopped what he was doing and looked at the young lady. His stern aura and blue eyes glinted sharply.
“Elisha, I see that you’re looking forward to being a Wolfsbane heir.”
Marquess Hemlock Wolfsbane, who has not bothered to visit the young lady for the last 3 years, suddenly changed his expression and acted like that of a dutiful parent. His creases wrinkled upwards as if he was overjoyed by her suggestion and passion.
“I wan-tu see muh-gic,” she repeated.
“You see Elisha,” he stood up and walked towards the young lady. “We are a proud line of Earth and Water Elemental users, ” his big palm stroked her short black hair gently.
The young lady was neither fearful nor enamored by the gesture.
Such a strange child.
“We, especially, have a very unique ability that is vastly different from the others,” the Marchioness Bella Wolfsbane added as she gracefully entered the study.
Startled by her sudden presence, I frantically bowed.
“Before we could teach you, we need you to be blessed with the elements first,” the marquess added.
I waited for my cue to leave but it seems that they have no intentions of letting me go in case the young lady’s constitution fails.
“This is the Oath of the Wolfsbane that has been passed down for generations,” Marquess explained as he began to prepare a complicated magic circle using special chalk.
Moving to the recessed corner of the room, I watched the Lord lead the young lady inside the magic circle. I was fortunate enough to witness this historic custom multiple times. The Wolfsbane couple were sure that they were safely guarded and made sure nobody can replicate it even under the right conditions.
If any part of the ritual gets out, my neck would be first on the line.
“Repeat after me, my child,” the Marques started as I took a hard breath. He stood in the middle and with a straight back, his voice echoed sinisterly as he spoke in a language I didn’t understand.
“Det myal fleshum bek am vessum,”
“Deth mya fweshum be a vesshum,” the young lady followed the undecipherable language, albeit with some speech troubles.
Regardless of her clumsy speech, I was taken aback at the sight of blue and yellow rivulets of energy emanating from the surroundings.
I had repeatedly witnessed such a thing from past heirs. It was impressive that she already presented good results on the first try even with her bad pronunciation.
No normal person, much less a child can even succeed. But perhaps it was just beginner’s luck.The Marquess continued cooly trying to hide a slight proud smile forming on his lips. She continually repeated looking extremely annoyed, but determinedly tried to replicate the oath.
“Manifest my will,”
“Manifewst my wiw,”
We are nearing the end of the ritual, the unfamiliar words soon spoken in the common tongue.
“Mirror my elements.”
“Miwwow my ewements.”
Still, this young lady, despite her best efforts, her ineptitude still shines by her stumbling over her rites.
Streams of mana began to flow and glow brightly as it danced around her small frame. It was as if she was blessed by the elements themselves.
How was she still able to gather mana when the previous children of the Marques failed?
The young lady’s black hair fluttered, yellow and blue lights danced around her. It was a beautiful spectacle to witness. She did not look like a frail child, perhaps she may have a chance to succeed in this family.
“With the land and the seas!”
I know that this was the finale. It was unheard of that a young lady who has not reached the age of ten was able to obtain such power. Anticipation reached to a fevered pitch, as the couple awaited for their daughter to awaken her powers.
“Wit da wand and da se-ACK!”
The room fell into a panic.
“Elisha!” The Marchioness called out as she rushed toward her fallen daughter.
“Wit da wand and the-ack! AGH…!” Elisha tried again, but she was beginning to turn pale as she clutched her chest, breathing heavily.
“Marge! Call the physician!” the Lord frantically called out as I quickly nodded and rushed out of the room to call the doctor.
“Yes, my Lord!”
“W-Wit da-ugh…” the pallid young lady desperately tried to finish the oath but her worsening state had prevented her.
As expected, her condition was a problem.