My father had a talent for war.
Most of what I know of my father has come from two places. The first is from his own lips. I was denied this source far too early in my long life. The second from the books he hid away.
It is only this past year that I have discovered them, hidden away in a part of his study I had not known existed. I was surprised to find this place as I have lived here for almost four centuries, and I was confident that I knew all there was to know about the structure.
Once more, my father has taught me a lesson.
I was in his study, reminiscing when I noticed an irregularity with the far wall. It was closer than it should have been. When I examined it with greater care, I found it folded in upon itself, revealing several hundred journals.
They were dated as far back as 1403, and the last one bore the year he went missing.
I brought a cup of coffee and my pipe into the room, took down the earliest journal, sat down in my father’s rocker, and began to read.
He was, I learned, bred for war.
The journal, written entirely in Latin, described a series of battles. My father hired out as a mercenary, loyal to neither king nor crown.
In one section of the journal, I found a drawing, the description above it telling of how my father took part in the destruction of a city in Italy.
He was one of two men in a large tower, wheeled forward to the walls. When they were close enough, the other man lowered a bridge, and my father leaped onto the battlements. Armored and armed with an ax, he set about his business.
He fought with abandon, delighting in the butchery, the fear and desperation of his opponents. He cast them down, both the living and the dead, into the streets below and battled his way to the gates. As my father broke into the gatehouse, he scalded the men with their own boiling oil, garroted the archers with their strings, and opened the gates.
What had the citizens of the city done to warrant an attack?
My father neither knew nor did he care.
He was paid to kill, and killing’s a chore.