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 Sir Hendrickson, Gwydion Hendrickson, the Lord of Seas, the Duke of Presley and the admiral of the Xerith fleet. The Hendrickson family has been a neutral family from the beginning of Xerith empire and has never sided with any of the factions of nobles.

The reasons are quite various, one of them being that Hendrickson family is a side-branch of the Imperial family and that there have been inter-marriages between them, therefore a Hendrickson has a fair chance of ascending the Throne.

Another reason is the supremacy of ocean and sea-trade. With most powerful nobles' lands siding along the banks of the great Grey River, inland water trade and foreign water trade is the most profitable business without very little risks and there is also the possibility of engaging into foreign trades. But along the Grey Delta, the place where the Grey River meets the Holy Sea, is the territory of Hendrickson family, the family with one of the most powerful navies. Therefore, with trade and commerce being the main aim of all nobles, no faction dares to scuffle with the Hendrickson family, who can anytime come and destroy their fleet and due to the long years of tribute and dominance of sea-trade, has made the treasury of the family fat and the soldiers battle-hardy, making the family's rule unbreakable.

For years, ever since the rise of Sir Cain, the Hendrickson family has supported the Dean family. Initially, it was due to the influence of the Wardens, of whom Sir Cain and his descendants were part of, that the Hendrickson family took care of the Dean family. But after the fall of the Wardens, it became increasingly mysterious as to why the Hendrickson family still supported the Dean family. The previous Dean family heads, aware of the cunning nature of the nobles, increasingly tried to distance themselves from the noble's supremacy wars and from the Hendrickson family's grip, but it was all broken during Sir Aston's times. During his time, he unlike all of his brothers,' was an outgoing and adventurous person and quickly became friends with the now head of the Hendrickson family, Sir Gwydion Hendrickson.

He helped Sir Gwydion in many of his overseas conquests and in return, was helped in ascending ranks. That is the only publicly known deal about Sir Gwydion Hendrickson and Sir Aston. Everything else is unknown and mysterious and it was suspected by some nobles that Hendrickson is using Sir Aston for some unknown reasons. They also predicted that it was Sir Hendrickson who was behind the death of Sir Aston and that he wasn't killed in battle, but murdered. This seems very plausible but the Lady Faye believes it otherwise.

...

Felix first impression of Sir Hendrickson was that, he was a wily cunning fox. Sir Gwydion Hendrickson was an elderly man of about fifties with a lot of white hair flowing down his shoulders and a great white beard. With a square-face and a broad jawline, a height more than 7feets, Sir Gwydion looked massive than even the most massive person Felix had seen. He wore a full-suit of armor and a long-sailor hat, which hid a small amount of his white-hairs. He had emerald-like eyes and a broad mouth, giving a strange combination for a central man. He scratched his long white hairs as he looked at the shabby settlement of Cainshire in pure disgust and it seemed that he was not a single bit inclined to step on these dirty lands.

He wasn't a single bit similar to what his father had described him about.

Felix looked doubtfully at Aslak and asked, "Are you sure that's Sir Hendrickson?"

Aslak, just like Felix had a big frown on his face and he said with clear disgust for this man, "Who else would it be other than him. I've once heard about what Sir Hendrickson looked like from my father and that description matches him perfectly."

"What description?" asked Felix.

"As poisonous as a snake."

Aslak's answer was right on mark. Sir Hendrickson might look humongous compared to normal people, but his eyes, those emerald-green eyes seems more like that of a snake's than human's. His answer has put Felix's own knowledge to doubt. His father's image of Sir Hendrickson was something like this: Just, kind and massive, as in size.

The casket of his father was open, or rather it simply had no lid to cover. It was a tradition to not cover the lid until the burial and therefore, Felix was easily able to see the face of his now deceased father. The face of his father, calm and serene, looked peaceful, even though, there was a huge scar running diagonally across the face, which didn't exist before. Looking at the face, Felix's heart tore into pieces and tears started conglomerating.

The casket was carried not only by the surviving veterans of the Cainhorn troops, but by another group of knights. These knights were characterized by their heavy full-plate armor with dents all over the place, a great cape with a picture of a great tree with its branches branching out and a great helm with a flat top. The only man who wore a circular armet helm was the Knight who was standing across Julian. These were the fabled Knights of the Order of Warden and the man at the front was the current Grandmaster, Celyn Prothero.

Felix stared at the Grandmaster and was wondering what his feelings were, when a light pat startled him. He turned around and saw Sir Loann standing behind him.

"Go take the casket." He said. It was a tradition in Xerith and many other Catholic empires that if a Knight dies overseas, his body must be handed to the son or daughter who must take him back to his Castle. Felix looked sad a bit sad but didn't refuse.

He stood out of the crowd and went towards the procession. Many people, who were initially staring at either the casket or at the treasures and women, turned their gazes to the young Knight who was still fidgeting in his new suit of armor.

The silent crowd was filled with a bit of murmurs and even the Persian women, who had already landed, turned to stare at him. But Felix ignored all of them. He felt very awkward and nervous to step out of the crowd like that, but thankfully, he had a brother with him. Aslak intentionally bumped on him, waking him up from his nervous self. He winked at Felix and pulled him by the hand to the casket and the war-beaten soldiers. They stood straight, infront of the procession, banged their feets on the ground and then their hands on their chest.

"Hail the Cross!!"

"Hail the Cross!!"

Both Aslak and Felix shouted it aloud, marched forward and took the casket from the second pair at the vanguard, who were Julian and Sir Celyn, respectively. Felix took the casket from Sir Celyn's hand and hauled it on his shoulders with his great strength. Sir Celyn patted Felix's pauldrons slightly and whispered with a gruffy and hoarse tone, "You've got a great brother, lad, just like your father had."

Felix stared at the great helm of the Grandmaster and said with a smile, "Thank you, Sir ... for everything you did for my father. Thank you."

The great helm turned around and stared at Felix for a moment before muttering, "My honor."

Felix stared at the man, but then a silent whistle again startled him.

"Fweet!!"

He looked and saw Aslak gesturing him to move forward. He nodded back and with great vigor started moving towards the Castle. The casket felt very much like the logs he used to pull with Aslak a year ago during his muscle-training with Aslak, but then it was quite fun, but now, there was nothing but sorrow.

The procession carrying the casket moved a bit faster due to the addition of young blood. On their way, he saw the Grandmaster and Julian kneeling down to his mother, Lady Faye.

...

The muddy streets of Cainshire was, for the first time in Felix's life was cleaned thoroughly and a red mat, as wide as a meter was laid, stretching all the way from the docks to the Castle. The path was still a bit rocky and uneven even with the carpet, but it wasn't a problem for the ones carrying the casket. Felix and Aslak carried the casket without a single peep or show of weakness, and this was even more so for the war-beaten veterans. Felix was seriously shocked by the reverence and honor, these soldiers showed to his father. If he was the new Lord of Cainhorn, he would've rewarded the men heavily for their honor, but alas, he isn't, but then again, it doesn't change the fact that they would be rewarded considering the kindness of his mother. So, instead of giving them something, he swore to learn all their names.

They entered the Castle through the drawbridge, the great Castle door and Felix glanced at all the stationed soldiers. He noticed that they were far many soldiers than he has ever seen before and these new 'recruits' were mostly those lazy soldiers who never ever came out of their dens to either patrol or train. Felix never had a single ounce of respect for these lazy bums, but for now he didn't sneer. He simply ignored them and headed inside.

The procession, was followed by the Persian women alongside his mother, Lady Faye, Grandmaster Celyn and Sir Hendrickson, after whom were the long procession of treasure-carrying Persian slaves. The procession entered the Great Hall of the Cainhorn keep, which was, even though small compared to other noble's hall, but was still massive. Inlaid with red, green and blue tinted glass and with depictions of the Catholic Gods, a great tree and a wolf, which is actually the symbol of Cainhorn Castle, it looked more like a cathedral than a Great Hall. There was only a single chair, or more correctly, a throne in the room, unadorned and simple and people called it the Lonely Throne. The hall was populated by only a few old men, whom Felix had seen seldomly. These old men were, Illec, the Keep librarian, Kadec, the treasurer, Chester, the butler and Levi, the accountant. The Dean family didn't have many such assistants or advisers because they never were quite interested in governing the area around them.

The procession went near the throne, where the men carrying the casket kneeled down in unison and placed the casket silently on the floor. It was then that Felix noticed that on his father's chest, there were two things, his sword and a crown. The sword was the same sword his father used all these years, Yhorm, named after his late grandfather who taught him the sword Arts of the Wardens and later gave him this sword. It was a sleek and long sword, with its height almost being 2 times of his current size and 1.5 times the height of his father on his heydays.

The other object was a crown, which was actually very small to be considered a crown. It was a magnificent crown, nonetheless, made of white jewels, which looked like diamonds but didn't shine at all. Instead, all the lights which fell on it seemed as if it was trapped within it, never able to come out, giving it a silent godly radiance. Other than the jewels, the crown was made from ivory and carved with various illegible letters. The Fabled Crown.

Felix was shocked by the appearance of this crown and for the first time, a primitive desire arouses in his heart. A desire to steal. But it was quickly suppressed and when he did, he was astonished with himself. He, at once, turned his gaze away from the White Jewel Crown and didn't dare to look back. His heart was telling him to not look.

Soon, his mother came infront and her gaze fell on the crown and just like Felix, she was too transfixed by the beauty. She stared at the crown for quite sometimes and only woke up when Sir Loann shook her by her shoulders. Ashamed and astonished, she hurried along her duty.

She took the sword and the crown from the chest of her husband and walked slowly towards the Lonely Throne, as it's called, not daring to look at the crown even once. She muttered a small prayer to the Gods of Pantheon and placed the crown and sword gently on the seat.

It was followed by an ascension ceremony of Lady Faye to the throne of Cainhorn, witnessed by Sir Hendrickson and Arch-Bishop of Xerith, who blessed her for a long rule. It was followed by the actual burial of Sir Aston in the family cremation ground at the back of the Castle, which was also the topmost part of it, since the Castle was backed by a mountain.

The pit was already dug and all that was needed to do was place the casket, completely covered with a lid. It was followed by a Holy prayer by the Arch-Bishop.

...

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