The small council chambers were abuzz with chatter. Many nobles sat around the large table that sat in the center of the room, surrounded by windows and bookshelves. Those invited chatted amongst themselves, some giving casual greetings, some caught up on recent events while others sat in silence.
A hush befell the room as the king entered, escorted by two royal guards. The guards took their post in the doorway as the king took his seat at the head of the table. There was a moment of silence as Gustavo surveyed the room.
"Brother, you're looking fat as ever." The man to his right spoke up first, a grin planted on his face.
Gustavo shot a look of anger towards the man briefly before a smile broke through. He let out a hearty laugh before slamming his palm against the table, causing some nearby glasses to rattle. "Hugo, you ass." He chortled. "Just because you're my brother, doesn't mean that I can't still have you hanged."
The members of the small council laughed quietly to themselves before the king cleared his throat and silence fell once more. "My small council members...I wanted to discus our newly formed hunters guild." His eyes shifted to a man sitting at the far end of the table. "Captain Haalard, how fares this newest attempt at ridding my kingdom of monstrosities?"
Drystan sat straight in his seat, a stoic expression on his face. He paused a moment before answering the king. "We have made substantial progress, my liege. In the few moons since it's establishment, we have been able to take out a vampire coven, a large fish creature, as well as a number of forest creatures that roam nearby. I have a number of leads that I will be posting today for the members to begin hunting."
Gustavo nodded silently, his elbows rested against the table and his hands folded in front of his face. As Drystan finished speaking, he looked up again. "You have my gratitude for the work you have done thus far but I must remind you that monster attacks are still on the rise. If you need more men, I will devote as much coin as necessary to motivate them. I want my subjects to feel safe in their own homes." His eyes were stern as he stared down the table.
Drystan nodded in recognition. "Of course, sir."
There was another pause in conversation as the king shuffled a few papers around in front of him. "Weyenburg!" He bellowed, suddenly, causing the young lady a few seats down from him to jump in her seat. Gustavo's eyes locked onto her's, his brows furrowed. "Has your father forgotten that I made him Lord, not you?"
Shifting in her seat, Rosaline clutched her hands together on the table. "Fath...Lord Nikias sends his apologies. He is quite ill and has been unable to leave the house for some time." Her voice started out unsure before she regained her composure. "I'm afraid I will be standing in for him until he gets back on his feet."
Gustavo scoffed and leaned back in his seat, causing an audible creak as the chair compensated for his great mass. "What's wrong with him this time and when will he be back?"
Rosaline faltered for only a fraction of a moment before answering her king. "I'm afraid I do not know. My mother is doing her best to care for him though no one seems to know what plagues him. She has not left his side in weeks...But he has not shown any signs of recovery."
Gustavo wrinkled his nose before shaking his head. "Fine fine. At least he had the forethought to send his daughter in his stead. You are doing fine, my lady. Please send your father my regards."
Rosaline smiled and nodded, quietly sighing in relief.
After the council meeting was over, Drystan made his way out of the castle gates, choosing not to socialize with the nobles as many of them had stayed behind to chat. His footsteps were relatively quiet considering his stature. He flexed his hand at his side in thought, making a tight fist then letting go. If there was one thing he hated more than the creatures he hunted, it was bureaucracy. He often wondered why he had gotten himself into this line of work, where paperwork was required and he had to frequently report back to the king. He could have been a mercenary, traveling alone, taking jobs as he pleased and not reporting to anyone. But no. Working for the king proved much more lucrative and with far more resources.
It didn't take him long before he had made his way to the guild's headquarters. It was a fair sized building, nestled between the guard's barracks and the city walls. Since the guild's founding, the king had ordered a building be re-purposed specifically for the hunters to meet in and to serve as their living quarters, if they so chose.
Letting himself in, Drystan didn't stop to give greetings to the few members that were awake in the early hour. He walked straight to the stairs and made his way to the very top floor that served as his own private quarters. He let the door shut loudly behind him and fell into the chair that sat at his desk. He let out a loud sigh as he sank forward, letting his head hit the wood with a thud. He sat there for a long while before begrudgingly regaining his composure and sitting back up. He reached for a quill with one hand and a parchment with the other. He dipped the quill in the deep black ink before bringing it's tip to the paper. It seemed like the work never stopped as, even with the new members of the guild hunting and slaying the creatures that lurked in the shadows, the attacks continued to pile up. He'd need to start giving some of his work to his second in command...