Battlemage Nonetheless: Book 3 - Envoy
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2010 by Risq

Wolfgang was sitting at his simple, yet tastefully designed, oak desk in his office looking at the ten very excited men who were seated in various chairs all around him.

He was trying to not get angry, upset, or let his mind drift as he sat there. Wolfgang also fought hard the urge to lean back.

During the time that he had been away, his house still had that lived in feeling without having had someone be there everyday.

Before this meeting, as he walked around his house getting reacquainted with it, Wolfgang could tell that someone had done a very good job on the upkeep of his home and he really appreciated it. Even the kitchen had a warm lived in feeling to it.

Even now as he tried hard not to look away from the assembled men in front of him Wolfgang couldn't see a speck of dust anywhere in this room with-in his vision.

But the current problem that Wolfgang was now having was with some the various issues that were coming up to be discussed with him.

It took time for them to gather the various local men to meet, but now that they had, it seems that without some form of real leadership caused by his having been gone for far too long that now there were far too many splinter groups that sprang up while he was gone and each claiming to be in his name.

But that wasn't the worst of it!

Some of these groups had been terrorizing societies, communities, and using their power to push political and social changes in his name! They had moved so far off from what he had been trying to do, and that really angered Wolfgang.

Wolfgang always viewed himself as a protector of those who couldn't protect themselves. The best way was to protect them without them knowing he was ever there.

But this! This went far beyond what he had ever wanted. They were supposed to be his protectors from the shadows. They had now made the name of Wolfgang the thing of shadows and threats.

Without his wife's influence and direction after he was gone, everything fell into disarray.

Thankfully the ones before him were of a different splinter faction of those who tried to keep the most to what was found in his notes and files, as apposed to various others who chose to "interpret" what they felt he was trying to do or say.

So far on of the most disturbing things that he's found out was that one of the other splinter factions had been killing anyone they believe to be or might become a Battlemage.

That was directly the opposite of what he inferred when he promised Aric, who by now was long gone, but Wolfgang still planned to live by his word. He promised to no longer prejudge anyone without giving them a fair chance to prove they were evil first.

Aric and his family was a real force for good. He would miss them and wished they were still here. They taught him that to judge someone just by power alone was not enough, they must be judged by their actions.

If only those fools on the mages council hadn't upset Brianna as they did, he could have seen how all of their lives turned out. Instead Wolfgang realized that because of their short sightedness and stupidity he had missed it all.

Wolfgang knew that it was risky to add Brianna to his network, but at the time there was a great need and he had no idea what happened given her rage. The last thing Wolfgang remembers was feeling all the nodes closing down one after the next, right before he was also blown off his network, and then nothing.

He would have to eventually find the reports from those who survived. Those would likely be more accurate than what he was getting lately.

Wolfgang was at a loss on how the various other groups, who were also pushing rulers of kingdoms to do what they wanted, ever thought that was a goal of his. That had never ever been a goal either. Wolfgang tried hard to barely get involved with any other kingdoms unless the rulers were either Battlemages, tried to employ them, or in the rare cases attacked him first.

If a kingdom was just really corrupt and oppressed the citizens Wolfgang would often hint or drop information into the laps of someone who might be able to help the citizens, but that was a far as he went. He preferred the route of non-interference and hands off.

Those various splinter groups had also been tinkering in some of the more dangerous magic's and inventions that he had outlawed while he was around. That bothered him the most. He outlawed those things for a reason, but to have them to callously using those to push their various agenda's also infuriated him.

But Wolfgang realized that he couldn't take it out on the smiling faces of those in front of him. They had nothing to do with these problems. These would need to be solved during another day.

They were looking to him to be the leader they had waited centuries for to come back. As he realized this, Wolfgang really wished they hadn't made this harder than it needed to be to rebuild, but like it or not he needed to know what they all were up too before he could make any long term plans.

With a sigh he returned his wandering mind back to the conversation in front of him.

" ... and the brown haired woman known as the "Angel of Mercy" has been sighted helping the people of the town of Polstaff. It's been noted that she again was using some form of shape changing magic that no one understands.

"Also of note was that two of the towns more vicious criminals were left in the custody of the local magistrate by her and remained unconscious for days after she left. No one understands how she does that, but it is nothing that is really new that has not already been reported over a number of different times over the seasons as something she does.

"There was a report to try to study her and see the secret to her long life and her unique magic, but so far she has either eluded us or the agents were found unconscious in their beds with no idea of how they got there or what happened. We are starting to wonder if it is something that is being passed on between master and apprentice that only women can master. Thankfully there is only one practitioner of this type of magic at a time.

"She is truly a mystery. If she wasn't working so hard to help people I'd label her a threat, but all the people left behind have all been improved by her help," finished the one who was said to be called Marcus, as he looked up from his report smiling.

Marcus was the senior members of the Order of the Wolfgang as they had come to be known.

He was an older man of 62 seasons, who used what weak magic he had to amplify his weakening eyesight. He walked and exercised everyday, but still had a very slight paunch to his frame. His slightly balding look seemed out of place with his remaining salt and pepper hair.

But he was a happy man and always tried to look on the brighter side of life.

Wolfgang tried not to look startled when they mentioned the browned haired woman and her various actions, but there was only one person who might live as long as he could and be doing the same things this woman was now doing.

The more he thought on it, Wolfgang realized that it had to be her as he had only heard of one woman who matched her description and abilities called that before. It had to be her. No one else could remotely fit that bill. But was it even possible that she was still around?

"Excuse me. The name "Angel of Mercy" where did you get it?" asked Wolfgang suddenly.

"It a reference to that name was found while researching some of the older archives. The name seemed to fit her seeing how she was similar to the description and abilities of the woman who was called that from that time period several centuries ago. No one knows her name, but we are even now still wondering how she is doing what she is doing," answered the one known as Gerald.

Gerald was a younger man who looked far older than his twenty six seasons. He had a full head of brown hair that had a slight part on the right side. He looked to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.

"Ahh I see. So no one who has made contact with her remembers the encounter? That is indeed strange," said Wolfgang thoughtfully.

While the men in front of him nodded Wolfgang realized that it was just another one of the facets of her abilities.

"It just has to be her. Because of her power she is the only one who would be able to do something like that," thought Wolfgang to himself.

As Wolfgang sat in thought, one of the men cleared his throat. Wolfgang looked up at him questioningly.

This one was said to be named Canis. He was a little rotund, but appeared jolly earlier during the introductions.

"Uhhmm, Master Wolfgang. I was wondering, I mean, well, we were all really. The records indicated that your return would bring various things with it. The records also said that now that you are back with us, you would be able to help us in learning how to live easier in day to day life. Help with more modern medicine and such. Even increase our magic potentials. All before you today has some skills in the magical arts.

"It also spoke of being able to have a communications, uhm net... work... , which also went along with our increase in power. What is that and was that all true? And if it was, then when would we be able to experience some of this? Those of us here have been faithfully awaiting your return and now hope and wonder if we were worthy of being granted some of these boons," finished Canis in a rush.

If possible everyone gave the appearance of leaning forward to hear his response without actually moving.

"Yes those were things that were provided in the past to those who worked along side me. But right now I need to assess and absorb all of the strengths and weakness of the current situation before I start making any changes. I'm sure you can understand that," said Wolfgang smiling at them.

While the men barely showed disappointment, if possible they also showed some form of excitement that their long hard work would pay off.

"Other than those of you in this room does anyone else know I've awakened?" asked Wolfgang.

"Other than the guards, no," said Staven.

He was one of the two to find Wolfgang when he awoke. The other being the man called Chase.

"Good, have the guards kept here for a bit and I need this explained to them. I don't want this to get out just yet. I want to see first hand what is happening both in the world and with the many other groups and what they are actually up to. I want to know what is going on around me and see the changes of the world since I left. I need to go out and experience the changes," smiled Wolfgang.

While the other smiled back they were a little nervous. What if he didn't' want to come back? What if he liked one of the other groups better and turned them out?

"Don't worry it has nothing to do with anyone here. I appreciate you watching and keeping me safe and I always reward those who help me. You have my word on it," smiled Wolfgang.

He could feel the collective sigh of relief from his statement.

Soon the meeting came to a close, and the men all filed out of his office after reaching out to shake his hand like they did when they were introduced to him before they left.

After they left Wolfgang waited for a moment before he reached for a plain folder.

He didn't want to show too much interest in anything once he was made aware of what was going on, but something about one of the subjects in the files pulled at his attention.

Normally strange dressed people wouldn't get his attention, but it was the fact that he was a magic user that was using an unknown hand to hand fighting style that had at first peaked his interest as Wolfgang sat listening.

But when the report talked about this man wearing clothes that the observer couldn't determine the origin of, which seemed strange given all the clothing styles on record, this set off another Geiger for his interest.

Now he was really intrigued.

As Wolfgang gave it some serious thought he could remember seeing item as described in this report before when he was younger in different ones of his dreams.

Then he leaned back, while reading the report, and he focused on various things that were contained with in it that had caught his eye.

Closing the folder he made a mental note that he would need to meet this "Dusty" person eventually. Something said he wasn't from around here. And if he was from where he thought he was he could both answer questions he had and possibly help to push this world into a direction where it really needed to be.

But before he could do that he first would need to see how sullied his name was growing.

As he turned to rise he was already making a mental note of what he needed to pack and take with him. While heading down his hallway Wolfgang was thinking that, even though he had been away a long time, he was willing to bet that even the basics for travel had never really changed.

Suddenly he realized having a little magical power might be a good thing and traveling without some form of magic might not be smart given that he didn't know how dangerous the world might have grown, and so he decided that at least the ten men whom he met and whom he had been talking with might be a good idea to link up with.

If for nothing else so he would have some form of defense while he traveled, but they seemed to be honest and trustworthy.

Returning to the office he sent for them.

All the other Knights had filed out of the room long ago. But the last Knight was just now making his way out of the room after the Queen had finished speaking with him.

"Lord Daniel. Lord Daniel," said a very attractive woman, who seemed to break away from the wall as he exited the room he was just in and approached him.

The woman, who was easily in her late twenties to early thirties, quickly caught up to the somewhat tall man as he exited the audience chamber after being in attendance to the Queen. She had waited and was happy to see him, even though he was the last to leave after exiting the room.

It was a preliminary war council of sorts for a growing problem facing the kingdom. Someone or some group had been attacking the various citizens around the Kingdom and the Queen said that she wasn't going to stand for her subjects to be attacked like this.

The woman who called appeared to be about 5'8 and had a nice figure, even though in the form fitting dress and corset that laced up the back which she had chosen for today made it apparent that time was only just now barely beginning to pull at that lush figure.

But even that still didn't detract from her looks as the plunging neckline also enhanced her somewhat impressive bust line.

As she slowly approached the man her long blonde hair fell in waves down her back and was held in place by an extremely thin hair net with pearls and gems in it. It made the top of her head sparkle and shine

Her brown eyes also seemed to sparkle as she approached and the brown eye shadow over those eyes seemed to help highlight them even more.

When she first called out the man slowly turned and seemed to offer her a warm smile as he looked over at her.

"Ahh yes, Lady Constance. How may I help you?" asked the man in a deep baritone voice.

The lady's smile seemed to grow wider when he acknowledged her.

As she approached she couldn't help but find his 6'2 thickly muscled frame attractive. It didn't hurt that his bright emerald green eyes were only offset by his almost unruly thick curly brown hair. But it could also be argued that his boyish charm was greatly enhanced by the matching dimples on his face that became deeper when he smiled at her.

Unlike all of the others Knights of the Queen, Lord Daniel only wore a half steel breastplate and greaves tucked into high riding boots, that were folded down to mid calf.

Lord Daniel always wore this no matter what he did, instead of the standard plate that was the custom for battles, or livery with his houses coat of arms on it in day to day functions. He also wore underneath the breastplate a short sleeved open tunic.

Also unlike the other knights Lord Daniel normally carried a plain yet very heavy Bastard sword across his back instead of a finely crafted one handed sword at his side like many of his peers.

If he hadn't been the Queen's favorite, and rumored one time bedtime companion, the other Knights may have made an issue of those things.

Even if the rumors weren't true about his involvement with the Queen, he was such a furious fighter that none could match his strength or skill on the field. He proved time after time how no one could match him.

He was second to none as a Knight or in intelligence, writing, riding, and war craft. He was the model of chivalry and grace.

It also didn't hurt that everywhere he went the ladies always licked their lips as he passed. His short sleeved shirts allowed for the muscles in his arms to always be visible and that also caused a stir among them.

He was the only son of his father Lord Collis and as such had inherited all of his lands on his fathers passing at a young age of sixteen. He lost his mother a few before that, and everyone said that his father loved his mother so much if she died that his father would soon follow her into death. Lord Collis lasted barely a season more before he passed.

His mother was from the outer lying area and no one really knew what his father saw in her because of her uncivilized ways, but they all admitted he loved her without reservation. But regardless of his lineage the only thing that all the ladies of the court knew was that they all wanted to be picked as the next Lady of his manor.

All of this flowed through the lady's mind as she quickly closed the distance.

"I was wondering if you could, that is if you didn't have someone already to escort to Count Devi's ball tomorrow night, if you wouldn't mind accompanying me," said Lady Constance in a breathless rush as she tried to get her question out.

While she enjoyed being in his company, something about his presence always made her feel like lighting was flowing through her. She couldn't explain it, but it did. He had an excitement about him and vibrancy that was hard to explain.

"My lady, I wish that I could, but I already accepted Lady Michelle's offer not but a few scant hours ago before my meeting. I'm truly sorry, but I will be unable to accept such a generous offer from someone as fair as you," said Lord Daniel.

"Lady Michelle? But she knew that I ... I said ... I told her ... that I ... curse her!" said Lady Constance suddenly as she looked down at the floor in disappointment.

Without lifting her head she looked up at Lord Daniel through her long lashes.

"Is there any way I could persuade you to go with me instead?" asked Lady Constance again almost breathlessly.

If it were even possible, it seemed as her corset suddenly became even tighter and from that angle her breasts seemed to be trying to jump out of her dress at him.

"My lady, now that would hardly be fair to her. Nor would the giving of my word to anyone else after this, I mean after telling her I would escort her and then breaking our date. That wouldn't make anyone else want to trust my word again," said Lord Daniel.

As he spoke Lady Constance's head and eyes seemed to drop even further. He could see her bottom lip sticking out and quivering as she pouted.

Reaching out, he took her face gently in his hand. He lifted it so he could see her warm eyes as she looked back deep into his.

"But I wouldn't mind spending this evening with you. I mean if that is an agreeable alternative to you," smiled Lord Daniel.

Now smiling, she softly said "Why Lord Daniel, I'm not quite sure what we would do for the whole evening if there aren't any other people around to distract us."

"I'm sure we could find something that we might both enjoy, but if you worry about your virtue don't, it would be safe with me. I wouldn't ever do anything you didn't want of me," said Lord Daniel softly while still smiling.

Looking around to make sure they were unobserved, Lady Constance then stepped into Lord Daniel and gave him a large open mouthed kiss for a few moments.

"My virtue was never in question nor was it ever a concern of your taking advantage of me. Dress light for you won't need much to wear for long," said Lady Constance softly and seductively as she ran her fingers down his arm.

Kissing her once again and smiling Lord Daniel bowed and turned and left going down the hallway further into the castle.

"Lord Daniel Griffith, you will be mine. There is no one else around who captivates you more than I, and I know you prefer my company over all the other ladies in court. While I may only be a touch older that you, why is it that you seem to be the one who has all the experience in the bedroom, " thought Lady Constance with a sly smile as she turned to hurry home to prepare for tonight's upcoming events.

As Daniel walked away he resisted the urge to shake his head in case she was still watching him.

Here was yet one more lady interested in him for all the wrong reasons and to be honest he was so tired of this. There was more to him than his looks and position or just another notch in someone's bedpost. But no one really saw that. All they saw was a bedtime companion or someone to make their lives easier using his lands.

While he couldn't refuse many without hurting their feelings he did try to make it as enjoyable for everyone as he could. As long as he promised nothing, and resisted their mechanisms to make him theirs, everyone always enjoyed themselves.

His only refusal was the Ladies who were married. He would never be the instrument of destruction of someone else's break up, no matter how hard those ladies tried.

But now he needed to hurry to the Knight's Hall and meet with the other Knights to get their opinion on the meeting with the Queen they had all just left.

The Knights were currently all in disagreement about what to do, and with the kingdom's annual Queen's Champion's tourney soon be up on them in a few months, they need to make the Kingdom as safe as they could during the tourney.

"My god! Could that stupid King just make up his mind just once, without being required to always hear from those sycophants first? I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I know he's really a good man and he only wants what's best for the Kingdom, but why won't he see that they are ruining our Kingdom?! How can he not see that they are giving him bad advice?!

"They have no field experience, no experience with the men, and no experience with the people. Those fools of his are too removed from day to day life. I mean for them to even think to lecture us on warfare? They have absolutely no experience with fighting. They have no idea what the people want or need, yet he always listens to them!" said a young man as he paced back and forth with-in the room.

The man was in the soldier's quarters of the castle with the other men at arms. They were soldiers kept during times of Peace to ensure the safety of the Kingdom.

As he paced around, a rather large man at 6'4 was currently seated in a chair that he had leaned back against the window sill behind him. He sat at his desk watching the other man pace back and forth without a word.

The man seated was a stocky man but without an ounce of body fat to be seen anywhere. With his short soldier's cropped black hair and bright blue eyes that didn't miss anything, he only watched as the other man ranted. He looked far older than his 28 seasons.

The younger man was upset because their latest meeting with the King didn't go so well.

They had been trying to get the King to organize patrols of the countryside because the citizens were reporting various unexplained attacks. So far only the surrounding country side had been attacked on a routine basis, but the reports were still coming in on the different outlying towns and cities with in the kingdom.

All signs kept pointing to the neighboring kingdom of Patella, but that didn't make any sense. With their Queen's reputation for directness and hard but fair ruling, the method of sneaking and attacking in the night, only to disappear before dawn left them baffled.

Who ever was doing it was well organized and had killed many of the kingdoms surf's and other town citizens to make a point.

But no one in the kingdom of Trestenall knew what was going on.

The method and what was used to attack also had them at a loss. Sometimes people reported hearing a strange whistling noise right before a building or structure seemed to just explode on itself. Other times nothing was reported or given as a warning.

Various forms of magic detection were used but it never went off.

Countless wards were often checked and re-checked, but nothing was ever detected to explain what was happening. But it always happened sometime in the middle of the night, a village or city in the Kingdom would be attacked with no warning.

They still had no idea who was doing it or how.

It would only make sense that Patella might be the ones attacking them. Their Kingdom being primarily one of agriculture, passing through this kingdom to get to the shipping lanes was always a bother.

It would also only make sense that they wanted to reduce anything that stood in the way of reducing their Kingdom's profits.

But the midsized Kingdom of Trestenall was wealthy and powerful because of where it was situated.

Being smack dab on the coast near a shipping lane allowed for various kingdom ships to harbor in their ports or to trade with the mainland throughout the many different other kingdoms. It was a very lucrative place to be.

But someone or something was terrorizing their Kingdom. No demands had been raised or offers given, only random attacks for no rhyme or reason.

The men were getting tired of sitting around doing nothing as they heard the various reports of the damage and devastation. It was their friends and family getting hurt and the nobles who reported to the crown only watched in relative safety.

"Getting upset about it doesn't do anyone any good," said the large man slowly as he sat the chair squarely down on the floor.

The whole time the other man had been pacing he had been deep in thought.

"But Captain Seth what do we do? It could be my wife and young daughter that gets killed next time if they come here! Tommy still hasn't recovered and we have to stop him from getting into fights nightly as he tries to medicate away the pain of his loss of his parents and sisters. Why are we even listening to those worthless Knights and court clowns?! Why aren't we looking for answers?" asked the young man exasperated.

"The King, on the advice of those worthless Knights and court clowns, who are our superiors if I might remind you, has decided to let them stay in charge, and listen to their advice and wait to see if demands are made.

"The King has also said that he would also wait until we know who or what we're dealing with, so as to not squander the Kingdom's resources, so we are not to mobilize the soldiers," said Captain Seth quietly as he looked past the young man at the closed door behind him.

"CAPTAIN!" said the young man.

"That is enough Lieutenant Glaser. I am still in charge here," said the Captain quietly, but with enough steel in his voice to make the other man blanch, as Seth looked hard at Lt. Glaser.

As the Lt. Glaser stood staring at him in desperation, the Captain started speaking again.

"My biggest problem today is all the men we have on hand here at the castle. And as it stands, with everyone now on duty and agitated by the current state of events, we're a bit overcrowded.

"The men are picking fights and getting into routine trouble for no real good reason. Andre as my second in command you know it's your job to see to this and to the exercise of the men until they are too tired to cause problems for the cities citizens, and I believe you've been very lax with that.

"And since you've been so lax in your job, I'm so ordering you to take a company of men out for field exercises to increase their skills if we need to mobilize for any reason and once you have taken them for a bit, rotate them back in to the castle and take out a fresh second company.

"I want you to keep doing that until you have rotated all the men at least once and exercised them all. It should cut down on how many are lying around getting soft and get them some much needed exercise. Some of them are starting to look a little flabby. Plan on leaving in the morning," said Seth as he looked back down while searching into a desk drawer.

As Andre stood with his mouth open in shock Seth found the forms he was looking for and put them on the desk as he took out a writing utensil and started writing on them.

Seth quickly filled out the form, signed it, and then handed it to a frozen Andre.

Andre was still stunned for a moment before Seth said, "Start your exercises over in the town of Merisel and move south. Come back around and if you happen to pass through a town or two as you make your loop around the Kingdom during your training it's not an issue. Just make sure you're back with in a week's time so you can rotate the men with a fresh batch before you head out again for further exercises."

Andre fought the urge to leap the desk and hug his Captain before he smartly saluted and turned and left.

The route proposed would take him right pass his hometown and he could make sure his extended family was alright. While his wife and children lived in the city, his and his wife's family's home was in Merisel and he knew the Captain knew this as well.

Smiling at Andre's retreating back the Captain leaned back in his chair.

He'd be screwed and tied to a post before he let the people of this Kingdom come to harm because of political games.

As a King went their king wasn't a bad King, he really did actually care for the people.

But the Kingdom was really run by very shady and very greedy accountants and anything that would dip into the Kingdom's coffers was spun in such a way that made it look as if it would bankrupt the Kingdom if they went that route. Yet these same men always had the finest dress, ate the best food, and had the best homes.

How they got away with that he would never know.

At some point the King would have to see that this latest plan was a bad idea. A bad idea to run a Kingdom this way, but it wasn't up to him to show him. The King wasn't a fool, but he was prone to listening to bad advice when no bad consequences were there to present themselves.

Unfortunately something bad would have to happen and by then the people who it happened to would have to pay the price for it.

Rising slowly he stood and turned to look out window, and he just caught sight of Andre as he rounded up a contingent of men to start doing a patrol in the morning. Andre was a good man and not normally easily excitable.

He had a level head and normally thought things through. It had taken him months to finally explode at the injustice of this situation. Most other men would have exploded long before now.

One thing that made this job easier is that as the Captain of the soldiers at the castle, the castle having enough men to qualify as two full garrisons, so many men made it much easier to do things like this. While those stupid money grubbers in the castle were trying to tie up every coin, they had no problem insisting on the best protection while they stayed in the city. That meant they kept all the soldiers in the capital city all the time.

The King at one time tried hard to have him Knighted when he was far younger, but court officials didn't want to part with any land or money that would be sent his way instead of theirs. They eventually convinced the King to leave him in this position, saying he was too valuable to be replaced.

At the time Seth was upset, but over the seasons he could see that without the freedom to do what he needed to do from this job that the Kingdom would have soon been in ruins. He also realized his growing popularity with the citizens was always a concern of theirs.

But he couldn't care less what they worried about. Long as the King was healthy and the people were taken care of he was happy.

He just wished the King would also exercise some, which would go a longer way to keeping him healthy. While the King wasn't gaunt, he was a little too lean. Working on his frame could only help him in the long run.

A few of the court ladies even said he would be very attractive if he would only take better care of himself.

Lost in thought he missed watching Andre as he faded from view. But when he next looked the yard was empty of personnel.

Now that he was gone, Seth scratched his light growth of beard trying to come in as a new thought process started. He had a date and would soon need to go. For his size he though women would be afraid of him. He wasn't one born with the looks given to those who were gifted with them.

He knew his looks were average at best and with other concerns to worry about, he never thought much on his looks.

His nose had been broken once during training, and while it had healed properly, it had healed with a slight bulge at the bridge that gave away what happened. He had no money when he was younger to seek a White mage to have it healed magically so he just ignored it. He was always told it gave him a look of character.

With his kind and gentle nature, one that caused him to look watch over and worry about everyone no matter who they were, and the fact that he was so physically strong, the women would approach him. Something about him made them seek him out as if he was the perfect husband to raise their children.

One thing he thought would turn them off was that it was strange to see him using a two handed war axe to fight with instead of a sword or pike, but there were weirder things that had happened in the Kingdom. He figured most, including the women, would find it a barbaric weapon to use, but none seemed to be concerned or care.

Even so, quite a few of the local ladies were bound and determined to turn him in to an "honest man" because he had been single too long at twenty eight in their opinion.

But Seth was enjoying his bachelorhood.

He realized as he thought about it he was never hurting for company or something good to eat. Why the women wanted him to settle down was beyond him. That would mean that only one of them would have him forever and the rest would be out in the cold.

Eventually he might settle down, but that wouldn't be for a long time. He had yet to meet anyone that just made him feel like it was something he just had to do. Right now it was something that was for a future that hadn't come yet.

As he started for the door he realized that if he didn't move quicker he would be late for his date with Mary-Ellen tonight, and he didn't want to be late. She was another single attractive woman with light brown hair and deep dark brown eyes.

While she didn't have the smallest of figures she still had a very nice one and it was one that showed she worked hard for a living at the local mill in the city. She was also very cute with bubbling personality.

She also certainly knew her way around a kitchen, among other places.

As he closed the door he went down a checklist. He knew he would need to stop off and get a bottle of wine, so as to greet and thank her for her hospitality and not to take advantage of her for the meal.

While many of the different dates he had eventually led to the bedroom that was never what he expected every time he had a date with anyone. Sometimes just the joy of having some female companionship was enough to make him happy.

So he really had no idea where the evening might eventually take them tonight he thought with a smile. But long as Mary-Ellen was happy when he left he would be happy as well.

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