Shinatos Rose walked down the hallway, feeling accomplished as he did. So much strife in this Succession War... Would House Rose be able to stay out of it much longer? Like his grandfather before him, Shinatos had to keep his House and it's people safe. They did not have the military might for fighting in the War, let alone trying to make a Rose sit on the throne.
Would Kemon proceed in it's attack, or would they withdraw? It had been roughly a week after the death of General Rauk and Shinatos' spies had reported nothing pointing to the other House making a move at all. It seemed they were delegating as to what they should do. Well, that would buy Rose time.
In front of the door to his wife's room, Shinatos saw the doctor and his assistant. Could her condition be worsening..? No, the doctor was talking about something not concerning Claudia, after all. Plus, his face was that of a man going about daily activities, not one that had seen death.
"Ah, High Lord Shinatos!"
Shinatos waved for the man to be at ease. "Right now I am simply a man asking a doctor about his wife, Gregory."
The man nodded, his face becoming softer. He dismissed his assistant - a young woman Shinatos did not recognize - and began to give his update. "Her condition is not changing, despite my treatments," he said, sounding devoid of emotion. "But, her fever has calmed today and I do see signs of recovery in her body's Residue."
"My thanks, Gregory. She has always been sickly, so truthfully I have no doubt she will survive this like she did so many other diseases."
The doctor smiled. "I'm sure she will. I've worked on her Residue extensively with the Arts, so I doubt her condition warrants any concern."
Shinatos smiled and nodded. "I'm sure little Evangeline will be glad to see her mother once more, too."
The doctor bowed and excused himself, allowing Shinatos to enter his wife's room.
Claudia, High Lady of the House Rose, lay in her bed reading probably her fifth book that day. Her golden hair and soft smile made Shinatos ignore it, however, as he walked across the room at took a seat at her side.
She met his dark green eyes with her brown ones and smiled. "Back so soon, Shin?"
"Of course." Shinatos grabbed her hand and felt her Residue with his own. It was healthy, though the disease still fought for victory. She truly was doing better. "It was an easy job."
"It always is, with you."
"So..." He picked up the book she had been reading. "House Economics, by Arthus Windrum. Still trying to further yourself?"
Claudia nodded. "Ever since Theston died and we took our place as High Lord and Lady, I've felt I needed to know more and more..."
Shinatos placed a hand on his wife's shoulder. "Just don't overdo it, OK?"
"Of course. Now get some rest. I have to go see to our child."
Her eyes narrowed. "How is he coming."
"He learns fast, but he still has a ways to go." Shinatos said, "But he has a few more years until he gets to the age where I can send him in my place."
"Tell him to come see me sometime, please."
Shinatos agreed to do so and excused himself. It was good to see her acting like her usual self, though. Now, if everything else was in order, he could finally get some sleep. His... other duties had him physically drained while his duties as High Lord had him mentally engaged.
'Theston, why did you have to die?' Shinatos thought to himself. 'I grow weary of working in the light. Dark suites me better.'
It took only a few minutes to find the garden and...
Shinatos dodged and grabbed the wrist of his son, knocking the knife out of his hand in the process. Spinning took the boy from his perch in the tree to the ground and a kick knocked him further away from the High Lord.
"You grow better, if only a little." Shinatos took in the sight of his son. Jareth was getting older - sixteen years since he had been birthed - and it showed. Muscles started to become defined and his long dark hair had barely managed to hid the stubble he was already starting to have. Shinatos rubbed his own face, which mirrored his son's in looks and stubble as he thought of how thankful to the Highest he was to have a worthy son.
Jareth sighed and picked himself up, brushing off his camouflage leathers. "Still not good enough to replace you, it seems."
"There's no rush. Besides, you have another three years until you take my place."
Jareth nodded. "Was there a reason you came to see me?" he asked, curiosity and excitement shining in the recesses of his eyes. "You don't want people to start suspecting, do you?"
Shinatos laughed. "No one is near this garden. They will never uncover your relation to me so long as it is not needed." He hoped it would not be needed. Shinatos had to live as High Lord for another eighteen years at least. Then, his daughter, Cassandra, could assume her role as High Lady. He had to survive until then, as both the High Lord and the Thorn of Rose.
"So, what do you need?"
"There is going to be a meeting in House Leon soon," Shinatos told his son, "I want you to go and find out if they plan anything toward House Rose. Do not engage in any combat however. I am confident in your skills, but Leon has powerful men under their command."
Jareth bowed. "I will obey and return by the end of the month."
"I look forward to your success," Shinatos told the boy, before starting to head out of the garden. "Oh, and your mother wishes to see you. I do not know the details, but be sure to visit discreetly before you leave."
"Yes, High Lord."
Now, one last thing to do before sleep could come...