Regal is the countenance that overlooks the bustling Chapel of St. Sigismund. Upon the Grand Prince’s shoulders lay a coat of heavy furs, the boy’s boney shoulders drooping with a heavy weight; born both of his adorned attire and the responsibility that looms. He releases a breath -- hands twitching in anxiety -- as he focuses his view unto the entrance of the Holy Chapel. Outside awaits his duty, he must have understood in a grim maturity, a duty that peeked at him from beneath a thin veil of fragile white. The young prince turns his head away and flits his attention over the trail of expectant gazes from the crowd of Haenseti. He nods, satisfied. He nods to his father, looking on with a smile. He contemplates smiling himself, though he settles for a somber stare in a thin-lipped vacancy, his back to the Chapel doors. Indeed, satisfied. As his Lady-to-be enters the chapel, the admirative gasps and hushed praise of grateful subjects are betrayed by an ominous anxiety. He falters when the gasps turn to shrieks of horror. He turns and grips at an empty sheathe, eyes frenzied and rattled in a moment of utter confusion. There is no respite for him to take, no shuddering breath in preparation as he lay his eyes upon her bloody veil in the maws of an accursed thing. He does not see his people dart in panic. He does not hear their wails. He sees only a carnal beast reflected in his beloved’s glassy eyes; a visage that loomed so pridefully violent over his bride’s ravaged corpse, her life sapped by wretched claws sunk deep into her pale, white skin. The young Prince meets the beast’s face with a silent horror; it is unholy and savage, a mutation of a wolf touched by that of the devil, with bloodstained teeth marked by gibs of flesh. “Your Highness, behind! Behind us,” begs his marshal, shoving the young boy behind a line of armored soldiers. “Shields! Shields, up!” His voice dies in his throat as the beast brutalizes the crowd; there is no ringing of swords against metal, naught but unheeded screams and the tearing of flesh by an animal’s claws. He pushes against the soldiers (“I can fight!”, he screams), and they fall away into dust, swords and spears strewn across the ashes. He falters, again, looking down instead to the pools of blood and drifting flesh. He knows what he will see when he raises his head; he has seen its countenance before. The young prince trembles within the bath of Haenseti blood, and he feels the stench of death permeate his nostrils as he raises his head --- There is the beast, he knows. He closes his eyes. He thought it smiled at him. He was right. A hooded figure draws a sharp breath as he forces himself to awaken, his throat tight and heart thundering in adrenaline. His hair is grey and damp with sweat, but clean; he presses a finger to his teeth. There is no blood. Nonetheless, he laughs; it is sharp and cruel, and it comes from his crooked neck, but he laughs. He craved then what he could only have in memory, a blood-lust fueled by dreams. The wretch swings his legs from the bed, dragging a weathered robe from a protruding root, and he smiles. He smiled the Sun’s Smile.