Aeron is still in the midst of the thawing of his soul. Was it love that did this to him? Time away from his Company? Whatever it was, his focus these days is almost entirely on trying to break the blood thirsty thought cycle that his mind keeps bringhing him back to.
He thought before he might become weaker, for not hunting as much as his brothers and sister are, but that’s just flat out not true. Could it be that his need for human blood is just an addiction, inflicted on him by the shadowpack that attacked him? Like a rabies victim’s terror of water or the way taxoplamosis makes mice seek out their own predator.
Realising the addiction wasn’t even the first step to kicking it though. It’s been decades of this now and his neural pathways are all messed up. The addicition lives within him and sometimes he fails.
He’s surrounded by others, who he loves for one reason or another. They wouldn’t understand. They still revel in it. How can he make them see?
Aeron is thinking on this in a part of the Barracks he’s rarely visited of late. Once again away from those he lives with. There he finds a bunch of his old possessions, including an icon that used to mean so much to him. He’d entirely forgetten it existed.
The Sword of the Order of Knights is given to those the King appointed. Since there has been no King, there have been no new appointments. The Realm has been without knights for some time now. Aeron struggles to remember any that came after him. Could this sword have been the last made for the Order? If so then all the other Knights by now would have died, of old age if nothing else. That certainly would make him The Last Knight.
Whilst lost in this thought, the door smashes open, bouncing off the stone wall. Three Company men barrel in almost falling over each other. To Aeron, the image looked exactly as one he remembered fifty or sixty years ago. Then they had more colour in their cheeks and their eyes didn’t have the darkness behind them that they do now. Still, their boyish grins of youth were the same.
“There you are – you’ll want to see this. We found Krishna Youssef. You remember her? From Taleb’s lot.”
He gives an order to them to wait nearby – that he’ll deal with her himself. His captive, Amandla, had given no information up at all. But Krishna had been a thorn in his side for her entire life. She must be an old lady now. He’d feel no issues about pulling information from her.
To his relief, the men follow his orders. The first he’d made in some time.
This was a mistake.
The girl knew somehow. She was waiting. His men wouldn’t have known. He’d begin to doubt their morals, but not their trustworthiness. Maybe her and Taleb’s rebellion had more eyes and ears than he realised. Either way, Aeron was shot as soon as he entered.
The bullet pierced his chest, hitting his heart. He pulled it out, misidentified it as lead, and then dispatched them all. There, he assumed Krishna has failed.
At some point Aeron will figure out that the bullet was godbless opal; a practice that was only known to be used by the Church and impossible for Krishna to have come up with it on her own. (Meddling by Lain, maybe?) They had spent decades trying to weaponise these opals and it seems they’ve finally succeeded.
Between that and the arrogance of the Fourth Company, the element of surprise was enough to subdue them. Most refused to die though. Instead they fell into a coma and everyone hoped they’d never wake from it.
Holy binding was placed around the Barrack’s dungeon levels, sealing the Fourth within.
It took two hundred and fifty years before Aeron broke out. It seems that some of the pack did die inside their tomb: some from their wounds where the opal bullet was shattered or lodged, but some from no clear cause at all. Could it be they take that long to starve to death?
The world has entirely changed. Of note from the above though is Assim. It seems Taleb left behind an heir.