In these three years, the Cainhorn Castle had some upgrades but not very much. After the cursed verdict, all of the Gold was taken by the hungry hyenas of Crest faction, leaving the coffers of Cainhorn empty. The division was such that, 250, 000 Gold was paid to Earl Roderick and Viscount Clovers respectively as ransom, 500, 000 Gold was given to Prince Crest, the leader of Crest Faction and also the Crown Prince of Xerith Empire. As for the last 1, 000, 000 Gold was given to Sir Hendrickson as fees for manufacturing the ships. And even though, the ransom was paid for Julian and his soldiers, they were never returned back. Sources say they had been deported to Roderick's Bastille.
The usual price of the Man'O'Wars range from 300, 000 Gold to 500, 000 Gold and even for the most upgraded and improved Man'O'War, it can at most reach the mark of 800, 000 Gold, so, Hendrickson's claim of making it for 1, 000, 000 Gold was purely absurd. It was daylight robbery.
But it is also true that the Cainhorn people never really checked the quality and the number of guns on the ships in the first place. The ship only docked in the Cainhorn docks for a mere 15 minutes, each time, before being deployed. So, they also couldn't accurately argue back on the amount of money actually used.
Along with that, Cainhorn also had to handover the control of Cainshire to Sir Hendrickson for two years. The reason for this was that Lady Faye apparently tried to assassinate him after 'seducing' Sir Hendrickson. There weren't any evidence for such act other than a small cut on his face, which he claims to be the 'sign of aggregation.' In short, all of these were nothing lies meant to bully the weak, just that it was in the scale of an empire.
And the result.
Destruction of Cainshire.
After the Hendrickson took control of Cainshire, he sent his spokesman, colonel Reggie to govern Cainshire and he did so, ruthlessly. The taxes of Cainshire, which was only half a Gold yearly increased to 5 Gold. Not only that, they conscripted young boys, even at the age of 9 or 10 to serve in Hendrickson's army and those who didn't were deported to somewhere far away. Colonel Reggie's soldiers regularly plundered any house they felt like it and would weekly force and abuse the girls of several households to satisfy their 'curiosity.' After two years, there are hardly any maidens left in Cainshire.
Colonel Reggie also conscripted men to cut trees and farm timber from the vast forests of Cainhorn Wilds, but unfortunately, they didn't have much of a progress there. According to reports, the forests had a hell lot of monsters and they would regularly ambush the workers, dealing quite a lot of damage to Colonel Reggie's troops. But this wasn't enough to make Colonel Reggie stop. He replaced weak soldiers with more and more of his own experienced soldiers and even brought the famed monster hunters. With their help, they not only hunted a vast number of monsters, but also farmed high quality of timber.
Excited, Colonel Reggie gathered 10, 000 people, which was 2/3rd of the entire population, both old and weak and started a mass timber farming, but then, suddenly one day, a heavy mist descended down from the hills of the wilds and consumed the entire army of woodcutters. Frightened, Colonel Reggie withdrew his soldiers while sacrificing the innocent woodcutters and common soldiers of Cainshire, even the monster hunters, who were basically mercenaries.
Later, when a statistic was done on the losses, it was found that the none of the 10, 000 people returned alive. The potential profit of Colonel Reggie's in this campaign was almost 15, 000 Gold of high-quality timber, but still not satisfied, he increased the tax to 10 Golds per year, the double of what he set earlier.
After the 1st year, almost all of the households of Cainshire had empty pockets, every woman abused and most men dead. All the traders and merchants had moved out and many were still abandoning Cainshire. Cainshire was dying and the Cainhorn Castle people could do nothing.
Their only hope was to protect the few men they could still afford to feed. Most servants, maids and other people who once looked upto the heads of the Dean family, now look at them with harsh reality and injustice. They were only staying in the Castle because it was their only hope of surviving.
The only person of the Dean family who left Cainshire was Master Torgeir. He was kinda special because unlike all other followers of Sir Aston, Master Torgeir was only staying in the Castle, infact in Cainshire because there was a certain Lady who worked in the Cainshire Tavern, whom he liked. After Colonel Reggie started his weekly ****, Master Torgeir became extremely worried about his lover, but even then, he couldn't leave Cainshire because he still had to finish making his two of the best armors for Aslak and Felix, praying to his Norse Gods to protect his lover.
Unfortunately, Gods are cruel. After one such weekend, it was found that the Tavern Lady was found dead in the gutters outside the town of Cainshire. When diagnosed by the local doctor, it was found that she had committed suicide after an extended period of abuse. When the news reached Master Torgeir's ears, he flew into a rage, picked up the nearest Greatsword and was about to slaughter Colonel Reggie's soldiers, but was stopped by Sir Loann. Master Torgeir's condition detoriated and he secluded himself into the basement of the Castle to forge the armors. Even after such disasters, his sense of duty as an armorsmith compelled him to finish the armor.
He finished the armors in 1 year hand 3 months. He gifted them personally to Aslak and Felix and immediately left the Castle, leaving only a single word, "I curse you, Milady Faye."
The other incident that devastated the Dean family was the birth of Erika. Lady Faye returned to the Cainhorn Castle with a baby in her stomach. She had already gone half-insane when she returned and it was a miracle that the child inside of her still survived. According to Sir Doncan, she was pregnant for almost 2months and that Lady Faye had been poisoned by one of the most powerful psychic poison of Audenia, Blood Rose.
It was a certain kind of aphrodisiac which increases the pheromones levels of both the men and the women by almost 1000x time. In layman's terms, make them animals in drugs and if any of the partners doesn't have enough pheromones capacity to support such intense activities, the poison would forcefully convert the vitality into energy.
Called the Lover's Poison, it is the end of any man or woman, no matter how heartless or toxin-resistance they have.
But that isn't the end of it. After the intense s*x drive runs out, the body would experience an extreme amount of weakness with a chance of instant death. But if by chance, any one of the partners lives out, their body and mind will be completely wrecked and the Qi flow will become haphazard. That means, even after the person lives, he or she will become completely insane and their bodies would grow weaker and weaker as their vitality keeps on being drained to sustain the meagre life of their cells.
This is exactly what had happened with Lady Faye. Her death was imminent, but to make matters worse, she had a baby in her stomach. The already draining vitality, drained faster and she became weaker and weaker. And so, the Dean family, or particularly, Felix had a choice to make, his mother or her unborn child. Who should die and who should live?
And the choice was ... the child.
He didn't know why he wanted the child of someone else to live and be born in this world, but he simply couldn't bring himself to let the child die. He simply couldn't let a life, a soul, an innocent to die without even having it take a glimpse of this beautiful and cruel world.
And most importantly, wasn't Arvind, Asha and Jasmine the same. They were never his OWN brother or sister, so why should he let them live if he can't let this unborn child live? The answer was simple, it wasn't the fault of the baby and therefore, he or she shouldn't and wouldn't suffer. It was the mother's fault and it will be she, who will suffer.
The child shall live.
During these 7months, either Lady Aarti had to always look after her, or else there was a possibility of her killing the child. There were times when they had wished that they killed the child, because the pain and sufferings that both the child and the mother was suffering was unimaginable. The shouts and curses of insanity that rung throughout the hallways would render anyone sleep. But Felix was adamantine. There were times when she had to be drugged to keep her in control and other times, Felix would sit for days in order to not let his mother act harshly. It was only he or rather, his face which could calm her.
During the childbirth, Sir Doncan had to adopt a strange technique of cutting open Lady Faye's stomach. The technique had never been done before and there was a high chance of failure, but they had no choice. An insane mother can't push a child. But fortunately, it was a success. Both the mother and child survived, but the condition of Lady Faye had detoriated further.
Previously, she could still walk with a crutch or talk sanely, but now she was permanently bed-ridden. Not many people of the household were happy with her birth, except for Felix. He was happy that the suffering the child and his mother was experiencing were finally over, but it was not.
Even after giving birth, Lady Faye treated Erika harshly. The 'harsh treatment' extended from simple denial of milking to an act of strangling her to death. This further shocked the household and Felix took Erika away from her and handed to Lady Aarti, who was more caring and sympathetic. He rarely allowed her to see Erika and even when he did, he never left them alone. There were times when Felix had to personally go to Cainshire in bitter coldness to find one such mother, who could milk Erika and sometimes, he had to kneel and beg peasants to keep the baby alive and fit.
All these accounts, made Felix colder and colder to his own mother and to the world. His pride, self-esteem and status, all had crumbled into dust, but even then, he couldn't let Erika die. But this also had it own benefits. The wrath and indignation he felt every moment, fueled his training and he already became a level 9Seeker, only a level away from the Lord stage. It was a stage which was very close to his father's at his heyday. A mammoth existence.
But along with all these gloomy accounts, there were some wonderful moments too. The scenes of all of his siblings growing magnificently made Felix's gloomy mood brighter and little Erika, whom he treasured the most, was his jewel of life. Even though, her hairs were all white like a Sage's, her skin much paler, her eyes light-pinkish and many of her features not having a single resemblance with Felix's toned body, he couldn't bring himself to love her less. It was her bright smile which kept him moving on, even when he should've hit his mark. His goal wasn't just to seek vengeance for the death of his father and abuse of his mother, his goal was to forge a better life for her and all of his siblings.
He became the second-in command of the Cainhorn troop which, even though is only 500, he trained them efficiently and they too, instead of staging a rebellion, followed his commands and trained harder in hopes that one day they could outset these devilish people and free their families. Felix obviously knew of their intentions, but he neither acknowledged or denied it. A rebellion ... that wasn't far away.