Servants watched the general fearfully as he stormed past them. Narshen's fist was clenched so tightly around the hilt of his sword that his knuckles were an alarming shade of white. Anyone still alive in the castle was clear on Narshen's thoughts about the uselessness of a human life. Combined with his unpredictableness, Narshen was something to fear in his normal state of mind. He was a monster when his mind dabbled into otherworldly existences.
The walls of the castle became invisible to Narshen as his rigid breaths filled the lifeless silence of a former battlefield. A twisted smile found itself on Narshen's face as he scanned the area, seeing the amount of Bern corpses significantly outnumber that of the Lycians. Seeing them dead and listening to his own breathing was comforting, almost tranquil. The scene served as a disturbing reminder of Narshen's own fragile mortality; one that tore at his innards and threatened to burst out of him in the form of raw, animalistic panic. Narshen rarely saw the unfavorable outcome of battle and was shaken when he could not find an opportunity to flee long before the fighting was over. He used the first of his men's dying screams as an alarm to escape.
Blindly heading towards his wyvern, Narshen mused that Flaer would stand as a feasible sacrifice to extend his gnarled life a little longer. Gritting his teeth so hard that his jaw trembled, Narshen knew that a similar fate would soon confront him. Fear powered itself into maniacal desperation, and Narshen lived his days squirming within death's stranglehold.
With a deep scowl, Narshen slammed his chamber door shut and snapped out of his revery. He was infuriated with his recent string of misfortunes. Narshen's breaths were still ragged and heavy, and his sword was still secure in his quivering grasp. The resistance the Lycian Alliance was putting up was phenomenal, and Narshen's wyvern fleet was less than exceptional. The Lycian Alliance was no longer a mere thorn in Bern's side. They were quickly becoming a serious threat; one that grew stronger and more determined with each passing day.
Although Narshen wanted nothing to do with these particular affairs, he would obey his superiors in a heartbeat if the orders were given. A shaky sigh escaped his pale lips and he stopped pacing.
Oh, Flaer... useless Flaer, Narshen thought. He wondered how long his lieutenant would be able to hold off the front of the Lycian Alliance army. Skeptical that even a dragon could put an end to the problem, Narshen tried his best to avoid fighting the Lycian Alliance personally. However, as one of the Dragon Generals of Bern, his direct involvement was necessary. Narshen was becoming increasingly more anxious each time he managed to slip his way out of combat. Flaer dead only meant that the resistance forces would be at his throat with no one to kill in his stead.
Swallowing hard, Narshen caught a glimpse of his reflection in a grandiose mirror and was ripped from his thoughts. His own appearance had startled him. Mesmerized, Narshen took a rough breath in and carelessly let his sword drop to the ground with a loud clank. He approached the mirror, focusing on the wide, blood-thirsty, dead eyes of his reflection. He brought a hand to his face, tracing his fingers over the faintly creased lines of his forehead and inspected his sickly pale complexion.
He was thinner than he remembered, and there was a spot of blood on his face. Narshen remembered seizing the opportunity to plunge his sword into the back of a fleeing enemy soldier, and concluded that the blood was from the coward, as he had not been touched. He gingerly rubbed the blood off of his face and ran his hand through his untidy hair.
The unsightly state of his hair was surprising, as he was certain that it had been perfect when he left. Now, it was stained with blood.
In a flash of fury, Narshen roared and pounded his fist in the mirror. A crater of shattering glass immediately formed around his fist. Narshen stared at his broken reflection and watched his own blood seep down the disorienting cracks, listening to the ringing in his ears that pulsed naturally with the quickened rhythm of his heartbeat.
The image put him at ease, and he slowly removed his hand.
Narshen held no concern for the broken mirror, as there were many mirrors in his quarters. Hushed rumors circulated around Bern as to why Narshen housed so many mirrors: perhaps he was paranoid about a possible assassination attempt and trusted no eyes to watch himself but his own. Perhaps Narshen needed to see himself constantly to satisfy his immense vanity.
Around the room, several other mirrors were broken from previous outbursts. Glass shards remained untouched on his floor and Narshen refused to let any servant enter his personal quarters to clean them up.
Jumping at the sudden sound of his chamber door creaking open, Narshen looked through the broken glass to see who was daring to test his patience by waltzing into his quarters unannounced. He spun around and felt his heart drop when he noticed that the intruder was King Zephiel.
Zephiel glanced at the cracked mirror with an unreadable expression on his face as Narshen scurried towards him, cradling his bleeding hand.
"S-sire," he greeted, feeling his toes curl in unease as he halted a respectful and safe distance away from his king. King Zephiel did not look pleased as Narshen bowed and shuddered, dreaming up the consequences of his his most recent failure. "I... was not expecting you..."
"Your unfinished business with Cecilia will have to wait," Zephiel ordered sharply. The look on Zephiel's face made Narshen want nothing more than to struggle out of his own flesh and hide, but he took no action to insult his king and forced himself to remain calm. "I have reason to suspect that my sister is here. Find her and bring her to me."
"O-of course!" Narshen exclaimed.
Narrowing his eyes, Zephiel added, "Unscathed."
Narshen's lips curled into a smirk, and his sovereign did not let a flicker of emotion shine beneath his cold surface. The dragon lord was confident that he could complete such an easy task to please his king. Narshen did not keep King Zephiel waiting and scrambled to retrieve his sword and wyvern.
Not satisfied, Zephiel let his gaze linger at the peculiar amount of mirrors in Narshen's quarters before exiting the room. Narshen's best quality seemed to be his forceful amount of luck. Zephiel wondered if the general would evade death long enough to find Guinevere. Pursing his lips, Zephiel hoped he would not, as it would give him an excuse to personally look for his sister.
He did not trust Narshen, but continued to work him raw. Although he was a pest, he was far too loyal of a distraction for the Lycian Alliance to abandon. Slowing his pace, Zephiel pondered the results of Narshen's elimination - he wondered if things would be easier and more efficient if he did them himself. However, Zephiel was not a foolish man and knew the importance of his soldiers.
Continuing down the corridor, Zephiel smirked. He was pleased to have such disposable officers within his grasp.