The head of the estate - Count Walter J. Blazkowicz - had noticed a gradual change in his wife since childbirth.

It was; naturally; to be expected, said every physician that was summoned to the Blazkowicz manor over the past three months since. He thought it was odd that Sylvia had called so many of them to see either her or their son. The baby - according to what little of him the Count saw between his work - seemed fine.

But then he began to notice a change. A change in his wife, Sylvia Rosa Blazkowicz.

Her green, beautiful, mettle-laden eyes were now dull with worry. Her hair; otherwise a bright, fiery, scarlet satin; was now streaked with silver here and there, enough to catch the light of their dining hall chandelier every night when the couple did meet in between their trying schedules.

'Another physician.'

The Count's jaw dropped. 'Dear, that will be the fourth in four months! What is it? What's the matter?'

Sylvia shook her head, pallid as she placed the tips of her fingers against her forehead, an elbow propped tiredly on the dining table. 'It... it isn't for me.'

'Then what is it?'

With an uneasy bite of the lip, she looked her husband dead in the eyes and said, 'I think there's something wrong with our son.'

Sylvia wasn't the type to make jokes, no less such tasteless ones. After all, she was a woman of exceptional standing, from a house far better than the Blazkowicz's that produced the best and most skilled fighters in the Imperial Army.

So when she mentioned to the Count that the physicians were brought here not for herself, but the only known heir to the Blackowicz name, Walter understood immediately that this was no matter to be left untouched.

Holding his trembling wife to console her, the Count decided the following day to see the problem for himself. Not that he knew what to expect. When he had asked Sylvia for the details she went worryingly quiet, prompting the worst possibilities to Walter's mind.

Was he sick? Was it a skin disease? Asthma? Measles? Tuberculosis?

The last few notions dropped a cold weight in the Count's belly as he made for the child's room, stalking the large estate the following morning like the man on a mission he was. And when he arrived, the first thing he noticed was the lack of laughter or crying. All he heard was the cooing of maids and nannies, and when he entered, how they huddled around a corner of the room.

The sight was ominous. Even more so when they pulled away slowly at the Count's arrival, all staring at him solemnly despite their earlier merriment with the baby.

'What's going on here?' he asked, approaching the cot near them. 'Where is my son?'

'My lord,' they greeted in unison, assuming a similar pallid as his wife. 'The young master is awake.'

'Then? What seems to be the cause of all the long faces?'

Before any of the maids could answer, the Count stood over the crib. And when his eyes met the infant's, he somehow knew what the answer to his question would be; his own complexion blanching and body tensing in a strange and unfamiliar way. A way looking at a baby - and his own son, of all things - shouldn't have. Definitely shouldn't have.

The child was stock-still in between the patterned variety of blankets around him; his small, chubby hands forming tight fists at his sides. And where an array of delightful expressions ought to be were instead firm, pursed lips; the otherwise curious and innocent eyes that a baby should have had were dreadfully aware. They were green like his mother's, and burned into the Count the longer he looked, staring in considerable horror when he realised that the child didn't... feel like a child. That this baby felt like... something else. Someone else.

The notion was so frightful and ludicrous that the Count turned quickly from the cradle and to the maids, sweating and tense.

'What... why is...?'

The Count's reaction was almost identical to the nannies and even the Countess herself when they realised something about the baby was... different. So much so, that it was almost relieving that the head of the house himself was shaken by the sight of it.

'We've tried everything to get him to smile, but nothing has worked on the young master, my lord.'

'The only time he cried was the day he was born,' one of them explained sombrely. 'But after that, he... became like this.'

'Toys?' the Count asked, stunned. 'Does he play with toys? Perhaps none of these are to his liking... throw them out! Every last one! And buy him a hundred more at once!'

'My lord, he doesn't play.'

'The young master barely shows any interest in them.'

The Count could scarcely believe his ears. And so stunned, so shaken by this revelation, he collapsed to the shriek of maids who rushed to bring him a chair, steadying him as he sat, gripped by terror and concern. It was no wonder his wife reacted so. And where he only properly saw the baby once, she spent weeks and months with him, most likely nursing a child that hardly reacted to his own mother.

'Please do not fret so, my lord,' one of the nanny's murmured. 'I'm sure this is just a passing phase. Perhaps give the young master a little more time to adjust.'

'Adjust? To infanthood?' he echoed in disbelief, silencing the maids again. 'No... no, this will not do. Prepare me a carriage!'

'My lord?'

'What this child needs isn't time, but divine intervention,' he said, standing up with newfound vigour. Or perhaps it was desperation. 'To the church!'

A/N: Hey everyone. I'm posting here after so long that I'm struggling to figure out how to add a double space, like is it even possible? LOL. Anyway, apologies for that technical difficulty!