..And Then There Were Four.
[!] An Image depicting Nikolai Mikhail Kortrevich leaving Jerovitz the night of the 22nd of Snow's Maiden, The statue of Ser Nikolaus Kortrevich standing watch.
The Young Kortrevich boy, Newly fourteen, paced around the crypt where his father lay. Tears spilled from his only viable eye as he gripped hand fulls of his hair in his mental fall. There, the very same day, he had been told about his mistakes.. Albeit he made them as a child, but continuously he was reminded of his failures to the Mondblumes and he did not see himself ever living those mistakes down. Truthfully, the boy was in pain, though the distress Nikolai Mikhail Kortrevich went through was not new. It had been a constant in his life from the forming of his first scar at the age of five, to the death of his father, to the betrothal. He felt alone in it every step of the way. He was not close to his brother and fought with him regularly, hardly knew his sisters except for Emelya who has been gone.. And Vasilia was.. Trying, though the efforts came a bit late in his suffering. There he sat though, present day, standing in the rain at the Barony of Richtenburg as two friends of Lady Isabel Fenika Mondblume scolded him for his selfishness. They let him have it for his mistakes and called out the gifts he brought for her for the debutante he unfortunately missed. To Nikolai, the giving of gifts and the attention he still gave his friend was indeed due to guilt, he felt he had hurt her for his denial of a betrothal, but that was not the only reason. The troubled boy still cared for her, dearly, as his first friend and the closest one at that. He liked to give her gifts and watch her light up, though it, until now, had not occurred to him that what he thought was an act of kindness perhaps was the reason the girl's feelings continued to wash up, why she could not heal from the betrothal incident; Why people still gave him dirty looks, though all he wanted to do was make her happy. Now he sat there, sobbing over his father's grave as the only thing he wished in that moment was some guidance. Everyone else got it, from their uncles or their friends. Father figures, Mothers mentors… So why didn’t Nikolai have someone to help him through the pain he suffered all these years? Why was it that Godani had to take HIS father, the only man who he thought - Nie - Knew loved him. It felt cold and alone in this crypt despite the body that lay just beyond the stone slabs... “Ea just vish.. Vy could tell eam what yam doing wrong. Ea know vy would.. Scold eam and call eam foolish for some of the decisions ea have made, but that’s vhat papejs are supposed to do.. Right?” He asked through his calming sobs..
“Ea know this vill..- vould upset vy.. But ea do niet want mea presence to disrupt the goals set out by Vladrik for our family. Et vould just be easier.. Right? For the other houses, for Vladrik, en Isabel..”
He sounded unsure, but he pressed on anyways as he rubbed his eye, his hand brushing against the scar on his face.. He hated that thing, everything that has happened started with these damned scars, but what can you do now? That was it... He had made his decision. He composed himself and made his way upstairs from the church, through the gardens and back inside the Keep... He looked around at the vandalized paintings and family relics... Covered in rotten egg. No doubt a personal attack, but what more is expected... He made his way upstairs to his room then, picking and choosing items to take with him, putting others away neatly for storage until he felt his return was... Deserved. Once packed, he beckoned his dog downstairs with him and began a letter at the dining hall table which was smothered in drying egg. The letter would be addressed to none other than Vladrik... But it would be open to any of the siblings who would find it first. It would be written in common except for a few words of choice and read:
𝐼 𝒶𝓂 𝓈𝑜𝓇𝓇𝓎 𝓉𝑜 𝒾𝓃𝒻𝑜𝓇𝓂 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝒹𝒶𝓎, 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝟤𝟤𝓃𝒹 𝑜𝒻 𝒮𝓃𝑜𝓌’𝓈 𝑀𝒶𝒾𝒹𝑒𝓃.. 𝐼 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝒷𝑒 𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓋𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒞𝑜𝓊𝓃𝓉𝓎 𝑜𝒻 𝒥𝑒𝓇𝑜𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓏, 𝓈𝓊𝓇𝓇𝑒𝓃𝒹𝑒𝓇𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓂𝓎 𝓈𝓅𝑜𝓉 𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 𝓌𝒾𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓀𝑒𝑒𝓅 𝒾𝓃 𝓈𝑒𝒶𝓇𝒸𝒽 𝑜𝒻 𝓈𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑒 𝒻𝓊𝓁𝒻𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝓃𝑔. 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝓂𝒶𝒹𝑒 𝒶𝓌𝒻𝓊𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝓂𝓎 𝒹𝑜𝒾𝓃𝑔𝓈. 𝐹𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓉𝒾𝓂𝑒 𝐼 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓃𝑔, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓇𝑒, 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓈𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓌𝑜𝓇𝓈𝓉 𝒷𝓊𝓉 𝓉𝑜 𝓂𝓎 𝓊𝓃𝒹𝑒𝓇𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓃𝒹𝒾𝓃𝑔, 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓂𝑜𝓈𝓉 𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓇𝒾𝒻𝓎𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓌𝒾𝓉𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝒾𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒶𝓌𝒻𝓊𝓁 𝓅𝑒𝑜𝓅𝓁𝑒 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒. 𝒫𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓈𝑒 𝒹𝑜 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝒶𝓇𝑔𝓊𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓅𝑜𝒾𝓃𝓉, 𝒶𝓈 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓈𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓅𝑜𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑒𝒹 𝑜𝓊𝓉 𝓂𝓎 𝒶𝓉𝓉𝒾𝓉𝓊𝒹𝑒, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝒽𝒶𝓅𝓈 𝓈𝑒𝓁𝒻𝒾𝓈𝒽𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝒾𝓃 𝓂𝓎 𝑔𝓇𝑜𝓌𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓎𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓈. 𝒯𝑜𝒹𝒶𝓎 𝓂𝒶𝓇𝓀𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒹𝒶𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝑜𝓊𝑔𝒽 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝑒𝓃 𝓅𝑜𝒾𝓃𝓉𝑒𝒹 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒹𝒾𝓇𝑒𝒸𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒾𝓃𝑒𝓍𝑜𝓇𝒶𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝓂𝒾𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓀𝑒𝓈, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓂𝒶𝒹𝑒 𝓅𝒶𝒾𝓃𝒻𝓊𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝒿𝓊𝓈𝓉 𝒽𝑜𝓌 𝓉𝓇𝓊𝓁𝓎 𝒷𝓁𝒾𝓃𝒹 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒸𝑜𝓃𝓈𝑒𝓆𝓊𝑒𝓃𝒸𝑒𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝓂𝓎 𝒶𝒸𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈. 𝐸𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝒾𝒻 𝓈𝓊𝒸𝒽 𝒹𝑒𝒸𝒾𝓈𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈 𝒹𝑜 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝓈𝑒𝑒𝓂 𝓁𝒶𝓇𝑔𝑒 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓁𝑜𝓃𝑔 𝓇𝓊𝓃 𝓉𝑜 𝓈𝑜𝓂𝑒 𝓅𝑒𝑜𝓅𝓁𝑒, 𝒾𝓉 𝒾𝓈 𝒸𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓇 𝓉𝑜 𝑜𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓌𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒹𝑒𝒸𝒾𝒹𝑒𝒹 𝑜𝓃 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓂𝓎 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝑒.. 𝐼𝓈 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝒹 𝑒𝓃𝑜𝓊𝑔𝒽 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝑒𝒾𝓇𝓈. 𝐼, 𝒩𝒾𝓀𝑜𝓁𝒶𝒾 𝑀𝒾𝓀𝒽𝒶𝒾𝓁 𝒦𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓋𝒾𝒸𝒽, 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓉𝓇𝒾𝑒𝒹 𝓋𝑒𝓇𝓎 𝒽𝒶𝓇𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝑜𝒻𝒻𝑒𝓇 𝓈𝑜𝓁𝓊𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈 𝓉𝑜 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇𝓎𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝒶𝓈 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒶𝓁𝓌𝒶𝓎𝓈 𝓌𝒾𝓈𝒽𝑒𝒹 𝒽𝒶𝓅𝓅𝒾𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝓊𝓅𝑜𝓃 𝑜𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝒶𝓈 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓁𝒶𝒸𝓀𝑒𝒹 𝒾𝓉 𝓂𝓎𝓈𝑒𝓁𝒻 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓂𝒶𝓃𝓎 𝓎𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓈, 𝒷𝓊𝓉 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝒶𝓉𝓉𝑒𝓂𝓅𝓉 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝑜𝓃𝓁𝓎 𝒷𝓇𝑜𝓀𝑒𝓃 𝒷𝑜𝓃𝒹𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓂𝒶𝒹𝑒 𝓂𝒶𝓉𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝓌𝑜𝓇𝓈𝑒.
𝐼 𝓌𝒾𝓈𝒽 𝓉𝑜 𝓈𝑒𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝐻𝑜𝓊𝓈𝑒 𝒦𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓋𝒾𝒸𝒽 𝓅𝓇𝑜𝓈𝓅𝑒𝓇, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑜𝓊𝑔𝒽 𝐼 𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓂𝓎 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝓈𝑜𝓃𝒶𝓁 𝑔𝑜𝒶𝓁𝓈 𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓉𝒶𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝓌𝒶𝒾𝓉 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝓂𝓎 𝓇𝑒𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃.. 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝓅𝓁𝑒𝓉𝑒 𝒻𝒶𝒾𝓉𝒽 𝒾𝓃 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓈 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒞𝑜𝓊𝓃𝓉 𝑜𝒻 𝒥𝑒𝓇𝑜𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓏, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓀𝓃𝑜𝓌 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓁𝒾𝓋𝑒 𝓊𝓅 𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝑒𝓍𝓅𝑒𝒸𝓉𝒶𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝓈 𝓂𝒶𝓃𝓎 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝓈𝑒𝓉. 𝐼 𝒶𝓂 𝓈𝑜𝓇𝓇𝓎 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒶𝓃𝓎 𝓉𝓇𝑜𝓊𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒸𝒶𝓊𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝓎𝑜𝓊, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓈𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝐼 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒶𝒹𝒹𝑒𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝓅𝓁𝒶𝓉𝑒 𝓈𝒾𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝒻𝒶𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝓅𝒶𝓈𝓈𝒾𝓃𝑔.
𝐼 𝓌𝒾𝓈𝒽 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝓈𝒾𝓈𝓉𝑒𝓇𝓈 𝓁𝓊𝒸𝓀 𝒸𝒶𝓇𝓇𝓎𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒷𝓊𝓇𝒹𝑒𝓃 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓃𝑜𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝒽𝑜𝓊𝓈𝑒 𝒦𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓋𝒾𝒸𝒽, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝒽𝑜𝓅𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓊𝓅𝑜𝓃 𝓂𝓎 𝓇𝑒𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃, 𝒾𝒻 𝒾𝓉 𝒽𝒶𝓅𝓅𝑒𝓃𝓈, 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓁𝓁 𝒽𝒶𝓋𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒 𝑔𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓉𝑒𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓃 𝒶𝓃𝓎 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑜𝓈𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝒸𝒶𝓂𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒻𝑜𝓇𝑒 𝓊𝓈.
𝑅𝑒𝑔𝓇𝑒𝓉𝓉𝒶𝒷𝓁𝓎 𝓈𝒾𝑔𝓃𝑒𝒹 , 𝒩𝒾𝓀𝑜𝓁𝒶𝒾 𝑀𝒾𝓀𝒽𝒶𝒾𝓁 𝒦𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓇𝑒𝓋𝒾𝒸𝒽"
With that, the letter stayed settled on a clean plate for his brother to find within the next few mornings or so. Nikolai regathered his things and headed out to the courtyard where he prepared his horse and his bull, Shortcake. He reopened the gates of Jerovitz to allow for his solemn departure at last, with a steady breath.. He, Shortcake, and the unnamed wolf set off in search of something new.
He hoped to return a better man, brother, and friend- But only time would tell. Godspeed to the four siblings he left behind..