Finding information on Denton’s master wasn’t easy. Nobody knew much. They discovered his name- Artur Nicolescu. Beyond that, details were less clear. He was not from Ashia, but beyond that his physical origins were unknown. There weren’t many details from which to gauge his strength, but Barrett and Reina estimated him to be no more than third tier. It was hard to know for sure without seeing him or having reliable accounts of him in battles. If they had any inklings that he was fourth tier they would have chosen to retreat. While they could likely defeat an average fourth tier cultivator together, anyone above average could be risky. If they were towards the top of fourth tier and skilled enough, the risk of death for Barrett and Reina would be too high. However, they thought that unlikely, else they would have left immediately. Necromancers were particularly nasty opponents to face.
Eventually the night of the banquet came. The two cultivators watched from a distance.
“You can really see from here?” Reina said. “I can barely make anything out.”
“Sure,” Barrett shrugged, “Fashion sure has changed a lot… I wonder if the designers are making fun of those nobles.”
“It can’t be that bad,” Reina rolled her eyes. “I’ve trained my eyes for dynamic vision, but they also are pretty good at distance. I can’t even make out any detail with this light and distance. Think I could learn that?”
“I’m serious. That hair looks like someone put a dead bird on that poor woman’s head. I think one of the men has just a single padded shoulder.” Barrett shook his head, “How do you feel about the idea of having one of your fingers twisted around 180 degrees and getting stuck like that?”
“Horrified,” Reina shuddered, “What does that have to do with it?”
“It just means you probably wouldn’t be suited for Pure Body Tempering. It’s difficult to move directly on to more… abstract uses.” Barrett raised an eyebrow, “That man has gigantic heels to compensate for his lack of height. There’s no way that will catch on, right?”
About an hour later, the guests had finished arriving- as far as the two of them could tell. “Did you spot Artur?” Reina asked.
Barrett shook his head, “No, but he has been staying there. We’ll have to watch out for him.”
The two of them approached towards the gates. As they approached, a guard called out, “You two, stop!”
Barrett was dressed in his full armor, and though Reina’s equipment looked significantly less intimidating, she did wear a sword at her side. “It’s okay,” Barrett said, “I’m a Ravenhall.”
“There are no more Ravenhalls,” the guard lowered his spear. So did the other guards at the gate.
Barrett shook his head, “They tried to make that happen, sure, but here I am. Now, are you going to open the gate, or am I going to have to? I’m sure you heard of my trip to Triridge.”
The guard moved to shout, but no sound came out. They stared in shock for a moment, which was long enough for them to lose their only chance. Barrett grabbed one pair and slammed their heads together. There was another pair behind the steel gates, but Barrett reached through and did the same, bending the gates as he did so. He checked the guards to make sure they really were unconscious- and while they might have fractured skulls, they would likely live. Barrett didn’t have any grudges against these particular guards… and people had to work. Since he was strong enough to be able to show mercy without risk to himself, he decided it was worthwhile.
There was a creaking sound as he pulled the gate to the side. He might have been able to destroy the lock, but then he would have had to bother looking for it. Instead, he just made sure it was out of the way. “Ladies first,” Barrett bowed. Reina rolled her eyes.
As they approached the manor, they dealt with a few more guards. Reina dampened their shouts by manipulating the air. They weren’t planning to be subtle, but they didn’t want anyone to run. Not some particular people anyway. While most of those attending might deserve a thrashing, Barrett wasn’t planning to just slaughter everyone without discernment.
Barrett had a pretty good idea of where things would be. Though this wasn’t his parent’s manor at all, he’d been in several and they liked similar layouts. He obviously had no floorplan, but had spotted the kitchen from a distance outside- which meant the banquet hall would be nearby. As the approached, a butler looked over the two of them. “Ah… hmm… do the two of you have… invitations?” He was cautious with what he said, because while they were not dressed appropriately, they were both dangerous looking… and they had made it inside. Therefore, he supposed they should be guests of some sort.
“You may announce us as Barrett Ravenhall and Reina of the Order of Four Winds.”
The butler’s eyes widened, and one of the two final guards stepped to the side. “I swear I’m just here to get paid!” Barrett vaguely recognized him as a guard who had worked at the manor in Triridge. He had been… there. That was it. The guard looked at his companion, “Let the man through. I told you, remember?”
“That’s really him?” the second guard swallowed and stepped to the side. “M-me too. It’s a job. Please don’t break my knees.”
Barrett smiled, “You know, sometimes it’s good to be remembered.” He turned towards the butler, “Now then…”
“Ah!” the man nodded vigorously. “Of course. Right… Barrett Ravenhall and Reina of… the Order of Four Winds?”
“That’s right. Actually, announce her first,” Barrett nodded toward the door.
The man hurried over, opening the door and proceeding with the announcement. As his voice faded, Barrett and Reina stepped through the large double doors into the banquet hall, where everyone was just getting settled into their chairs. Barrett projected his voice throughout the hall, “I’m impressed with how quickly you grew into your stolen position, Aunt Melody. All those years of scheming have really done a lot for you.” Guards around the room were rushing towards him, but Barrett watched calmly, his eyes flicking towards the man sitting next to Melody. “Uncle… Raymond, was it? You’re just as responsible for the murder of my family. Denton… I see you went crying to mommy, as expected. How’s life as a vile necromancer?” Barrett ignored the crossbow bolts that were bouncing off of his armor as he casually swung his axe to cut the head off the first guard approaching, stepping into his spear and breaking it. “I’m here to make sure the title of lord of Durham stays out of the grubby hands of scum like you.”