Music: Dreaming by La Cella Bella
Dusk falls upon the estate of an arrogantly proud aristocrat. All of the fortunes both inherited through his bloodline and built up over the years through various investments are his to boast. Evidence of his lavish wealth decorate every hall and room. The Count looks out the window of his study and sups his wine as the crimson light of the setting sun bathes the grounds. Indeed, this small kingdom and staff of tireless servants were all his to rule and no man could take it from him.
Yet he would not be alone this evening, for a very unwelcome visitor creeps out of the shadow beneath his desk, a hollow veil of smoke. The black mist swirls as it takes on a robed skeletal form and takes a seat in The Count’s favorite chair. As he turns to refill his glass, the nobleman finds Death itself at his desk, staring expectantly at him through empty eyes.
The man demands to know how this dark figure entered the room, but Death merely informs him that his time has come and he must repent for his sins. With a scoff, the man declares himself free of sin and sees no reason for his life to end so soon. But Death always knows better. It always knows.
With a dismissive gesture of its bony hand, Death engulfed the room in darkness, leaving only it, the desk, and the man with his wine. One by one, Death reveals to The Count the foul misdeeds he had committed through a carousel of apparitions.
Even as a young man, this pompous aristocrat was harsh and cruel to his family’s servants, often resulting to beatings for even the most minor of offenses. His many business partners through the ages were all extorted from and swindled one by one. A few even met their deaths thanks to the nobleman’s greed and hunger for control.
The Count merely dismissed these visions, claiming they deserved every bit of punishment he dished out to them. After all, was he not entitled to lash out at those he deemed unworthy of his employ?
At last, Death showed him visions of the aristocrat’s ex-lover. A charming young woman whom the nobleman only truly was interested in for her family’s business ties and inheritance. Yet behind closed doors, the man often unleashed his wrath upon his beloved, his blows often dealt both harsh words and harsher beatings.
Upon learning of her plans to leave the country with a friend of hers and abandon The Count, he would not hear of it. He strangled her with his bare hands and left her for dead in the snow, alone in the night.
The nobleman lashed out at Death, throwing his empty glass at the specter, but the drinking vessel merely bounced off the back of the chair and smashed upon the floor. He shouted and ranted, lying about her desires for his wealth and how she, too, ‘deserved’ what she got. The Count declared the woman unworthy of his love.
Death merely chuckled and informed the foul-tempered man that the woman did not die that night, but had survived. He pointed a bony finger to the half-empty bottle of wine and informed the Aristocrat that she had sent the bottle as a gift. A gift delicately laced with arsenic.
As the sun disappeared over the horizon, a housemaid found her master sprawled upon the floor of his study, poisoned to death.
At long last, the tyrant was gone.