Mandrean addressed Acreas in a firm tone. “You called out where Grithinshield was heading.”
“Yes, My Lord,” Acreas responded in hopes of praise.
“So you saw him?” asked Mandrean.
“I did indeed My Lord. He was carrying Princess Mirianna over his shoulder and climbing the stairs.”
“Were you armed?” Mandrean asked harshly.
Acreas began to realize the direction the conversation was heading. He chose his words carefully. “I was armed, and we clashed. Amidst the fighting, I fell and he escaped.”
“Everyone else around here is incompetent,” Mandrean barked. “I should not be surprised you have joined their ranks. Did you at least put up a good fight?”
“While my effort was there, my execution was lacking,” Acreas answered in a humble voice.
“In other words he beat you with ease,” Mandrean scoffed.
“No more ease than he dispatched anyone else in this palace, My Lord. Next time will be different.”
“How so?” demanded Mandrean. “Do you intend to let him kill you next time? He was clearly in too much of a rush to finish you today.”
“I underestimated him,” Acreas answered in an ever-firming voice. “That will not happen again.”
Mandrean was angry with the boy he knew to be his son. Even so, he could not bring himself to be overly critical of Acreas when he, himself, was nearly killed by Linvin. “You tried, Boy. Have my physician tend to your wounds.” Mandrean then turned and left the tower.
Acreas slumped against a wall to relieve pressure on his injury. He hung his head in shame as he reflected on Linvin’s effortless victory. One of Lord Mandrean’s physicians came over and addressed the brooding young man. “Master Acreas, your ankle is swelling. I must examine you at once.” Then he called to another in the room. “Attendant. Master Acreas has a large cut above the eye. Come stitch him closed while I look at his ankle.”
As the attendant came near, Acreas shoved him aside. “No stitches,” he commanded. “Just bandage the wound.”
The physician was shocked. “Young Master Acreas, if the wound is not sewn there will be a large scar when it heals.”
“I am aware of the repercussions, Doctor. This was a day I was humiliated. Every day I look in the mirror I want to remember this feeling and the one I must repay in kind. In the future, you will call me Acreas only. No longer will ‘Master’ or ‘Young’ be used before my name. I will be addressed as an equal or not at all. Do you understand, Doctor?”
“You can call yourself Lord Mandrean for all I care,” the doctor flippantly replied. “I am just here to see to your ankle. It looks severe. This injury will heal but it will take time.”
Acreas slid to the floor in order to allow the doctor better access to his injury. He looked at the ceiling in wonder and said. “I understand. If I must wait for your prediction to come to fruition, then that is what I shall do.”