He dithered by the doorway, before pushing his way across into a passageway dimly lit by a hanging chandelier, the fluorescent bulbs throbbed slowly like a beating heart, this was most likely Noble's house.
Electricity was a relative innovation by the temple of the Iron God, and only royalty and the luxuriously rich could afford it.
Edging himself close to the wall, he walked down the passage, he soon came across other doors but when he slowly tried them, they were shut.
A chill breeze blew towards him, and feeling the bite in his nether region, pushed his awareness to the fact that he was buck naked.
Oddly enough, he didn't care that much. Funny how waking up from a drinking binge in the body of a child, inside a slaughterhouse, changes your priorities, "escape first, clothes later", Rowan whispered, walking on tiptoes to the end of the passage, by now he could see railings ahead, he assumed that meant he was on an upper floor.
By now the voices were less intelligible, and he could barely make out the words, he crept forward, ears straining as he picked certain lengthy sentences from the din of the party that should be below him.
He could identify three voices, and a spark of familiarity made him focus on a particular voice, and he intensely listened.
"The production cost of manufacturing ammunition has tripled over the last quarter, calling in question the viability of equipping the army with these so-called firearms". The first regal voice spoke, and his heart ached at the familiarity of that voice.
He heard a nervous chuckle, "Surely, the gains should outweigh the cost, that Barbarians from the north, do not lack bodies, and we cannot match them in martial prowess, we must produce more elite units to counter their numbers."
A voice like the last gasp of a dying man replied, making Rowan's toes curl, and he felt a deep-seated disgust, and an urge to pierce his ears, this voice made him feel as if a thousand insects were crawling over him.
A different deeper voice harrumph "It is always you calling into question, the bravery of my men, and the strength of the army, we have not fallen yet"
That disgusting voice chuckled and Rowan almost hurled, "General, you jest... surviving does not mean victory, it is foolish to assume that we are not losing, even if it is taking years to come"
"No..... it is you who plays the fool, so many resources and wealth funneled into the red temple and your experiments with so little returns"
"Knowledge is priceless... General, and what we gained from the experiments would push the Order to the forefront in our specialized military fields"
"Humph..... where have I heard those excuses before?... right, countless times, does that progress also include that damned debacle above!"
Rowan's ears perked up, were they talking about what happened in that room? And why do the voices seem so familiar to him?
He frowned deeply, for the past few moments, memories had been clashing inside his head, and they finally seemed to have sublimated. A wave of unprompted sadness came over him. And he felt a numbing pain, and at that moment a will that existed alongside him that he was vaguely aware of, seemed to give up and fade away, and a message like the last wisp of a dying flame whispered "I am sorry, father, I failed you"
There were many gaps in his memories, and many details that were hidden behind layers of fog, but he could piece together some bits and pieces, but he was missing years of memories.
He was Rowan Carter, and his body name was Rowan Kuranes, he was the illegitimate son of the third prince, who was seventh in line to the throne, it would also appear that what linked them was not only their similar names but also their fate. From the few details his jumbled mind could recall, their fate, was one of loss and sorrow.
Rowan Kuranes was born sickly, he was conceived by a concubine of the third prince, she was doted on by her lord prince because of her beauty, even though Rowan fell short of the prince's favor â€“ for the prince demanded offsprings of robust health and spirit, he usually ignored him but did not treat him badly. Rowan was given all the comfort of a prince. Nevertheless, Rowan wanted to find favor with his father and let him acknowledge his presence.
He dedicated himself to learning and perfecting sorcery. His memories skipped and with a force of will he summoned up more of his life.
Disaster struck when his mother rapidly fell into disfavor when it was discovered she worshiped a demon, she was imprisoned in the golden tower where she was to be tortured for the rest of her mortal life.
"This voice..... the first regal voice he heard should be the father of this body I found myself" Rowan mused, but he wondered why he was now in the body of a child, Rowan Kuranes, by this year should be twenty-five.
A macabre will seemed to take control over his motor functions, and he moved toward the railing, heart thumping he looked down at an expansive room, three men who radiated an aura of power stood facing each other, their combined presence drew his eyes and everything else below him faded from view, and he was enraptured by their presence.
He recognized two of them at a glance, the third was hidden under a hooded robe, and the first was General Augustus, a brawny man who should have been in his late seventies but had the body of a physically buff man at his prime, his graying hair were like silvery spikes and his eyes appeared to be made of solid gold.