“My name is Wassa,” she said. “Please come back inside with me.”
Sensing no danger from the guard, Dally complied. They had to push their way back inside through the hysterical masses clawing to get out. Lorenzo, Baumbang, Portia and the Duke and Duchess were standing in the middle of the floor.
“Why is this happening?” the Duchess screamed at Lorenzo. “Those damn beasts are ruining my party!!” She screamed and stamped her feet and flung her arms around like a spoiled child. The Duke just stood there, watching her but not really seeing her.
“Your party?” Lorenzo asked with a laugh. “This is MY party. None of this is about you. You are nothing but a selfish brat who wants everything.”
“HOW DARE YOU TALK TO ME THAT WAY!!” she shouted in his face.
“Shut up, dear,” the Duke said in a quiet voice. He stared at the doorway and his eyes widened. Dally followed his gaze with her own.
Prospero had come through the front door and was walking straight towards the Duke. Dally stepped in front of Prospero. “No, don’t do this. Whoever wants you to do this is wrong. Please…” Prospero looked at her, then gently nudged her out of the way with his muzzle. He looked directly at Lorenzo, then back at the Duke and continued towards him. The horrified man began to back away, but Prospero pounced, pinning the Duke with his large paw. The Duke screamed, then instantly burst into flames so hot that he was ash in less than a minute. Prospero then turned his attention to the Duchess, who was already fleeing. Prospero followed, but stopped right outside the door. Dally and the others ran behind to see what had stopped him.
The Headless Rider sat atop Somnus, his hand up telling Prospero to hold. He watched the Duchess run into the woods beside the house, and when he was satisfied she had a good enough head start, he put his hand down and let Prospero take off after her. He looked at Lorenzo, nodded, and spurred Somnus in the direction Prospero had taken. Lorenzo sighed.
“What was that?” Portia demanded.
Lorenzo let out a small crazy laugh. “It’s kind of a long story.”
“We have time,” Baumbang growled.
Lorenzo held up his hands. “Ok, I’ll try for the condensed version. The Horseman controls Prospero and Somnus. He’s been guiding them to follow the trail of corruption that Pathox has uncovered. That path leads right up to the so-called rulers of Suddene. They were over taxing the townspeople into poverty, along with most of the council. The council hired spies to infiltrate the gangs to try and figure out who was controlling the dragons.”
“And who is?” Portia asked.
Lorenzo sighed. “I am. Well, the Horseman controls them, I control the Horseman. The ruling family of Suddene has, for generations, had control over the Horseman for one week each year. Twenty years ago, the Horseman was turned on my family. My older brother killed the Horseman, but in turn was killed by Somnus. He then, somehow, became the Horseman. So, now I control him. We took the crusade to other kingdoms, but not in time to kill Gustav.”
“But if you want to bring them to justice, you have to stop this,” Dally said. “Call them off. Now.”
“I can’t,” Lorenzo said.
Before she could ask why, they heard the Duchess screaming from the roof of the mansion. Pathox was closing in, but before he could reach her she jumped, falling to her death on the stones below.
“Now it’s over,” Lorenzo said.
The Horseman and Prospero landed in front of them. The Horseman nodded to Lorenzo, then to Dallyah. He patted Prospero on the head, then flew off into the night with Somnus.
Lorenzo looked at Dallyah. “Pros is a gift for you. He won’t kill unless you tell him to. But don’t do it lightly – he will not stop until the deed is done.”
Dally sighed. She went over to Pros, patted his neck, and grabbed his reigns. “Let’s go, boy,” she said softly. “I think it’s time to get out of this place.”