Book cover of “The Duke's Curse“ by Elliot

The Duke's Curse

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Language: English
  • Author: Elliot
In London, a noble family is massacred, and there is not a single being, whether commoner or noble, who does not whisper in the corners that the blame lies with the curse that Cale Lestrad carries in his blood. The young archduke, cursed since birth, wanders alone until he is surprised by the Blanchard twins. The question that remained unanswered w... 

Act I. Scene I

CALE

Blood.

There was blood everywhere.

In his dark hair, in his pale face. There was blood even on his hands...; there was mostly on his hands.

They were trembling.

His eyes hurt and burned.

Did he do that?

All were dead, and Cale's empty gaze passed from body to body, corpse to corpse.

One at a time.

"Why don’t they talk anymore?", He questioned, his lips moving so slowly that it seemed almost unreal, almost like a painting moving in the dark.

"They had so much to say..." he grumbled, the tip of the sword he held with his hand cut, squeezing against his mother’s corpse, "are you not disappointed anymore, Mom? Um? Don’t you think I’m a failure? Look..., I’m crazy."

He smiled.

A lifeless smile without any will. The smile of someone who had given up.

Cale was just tired.

His body seemed about to give in, but the stench of blood still bothered him. It bothered him too much to allow himself to fall there, to allow himself to die next to that useless bank.

Yes.

Useless.

That bunch of maggots that have been bothering you for so many fucking years.

Cale remembered every laugh, every word of mockery, and especially how those women who claimed to be his cousins - insisted on touching him. In making, it clear that he was an "adult".

Disgust.

All I felt for those bugs were discussed.

He’d gone crazy, right? He had killed them, had torn them to pieces, and for a moment at the glance, he saw himself in the mirror he could swear that his own eyes were crimson like the blood flowing through his hands.

Carmine. As it was said in the curse.

Yeah. At least it made some sense. He was cursed.

All of them were.

He smiled a faint, almost real smile before fainting in that corridor leading to his room.

It was enough.

To be mad, cursed, and certainly a murderer was enough for the queen to finally take his poor and wretched life.

At least that was what comforted him, comforted him until the next morning, until he woke up in luxurious rooms, in noble robes.

"Archduke Lestrad, how have you been?" The queen’s voice made his bones freeze.

"Majesty...", his voice sounded too hoarse, as in the days when they locked him in the dungeon with the mice he feared so much.

"A real tragedy", the queen simply continued, "poor of her family, being the last to remain of her lineage... how does it feel? What a silly question, no need to answer me", a huge smile appeared, "Just rest, my child. The name Lestrad will continue with you, and I will do everything in my power to find out who caused such misfortune to your prestigious and beloved family."

"I", I meant to say.

"I killed them, pierced my blade into each one. They cried, begged, and smiled..., I continued!"

"Majesty...", he opened his mouth to speak, confess, but the queen’s gaze was stern as she smiled.

"Better shut up, young Lestrad. If you’re still shaken, just rest and think long and hard about your future. You are one of the pillars of our kingdom, and, I would hate to have to deal with something inconvenient like... losing you."

Ah!

He stared at the ceiling.

There was no such option again.

I could not die.

That’s what the queen said, that’s what she stamped on her forehead.

'Long live, Cale Lestrad. Live and be obedient, an obedient dog to your majesty.'

He bit his lip hard.

"Yes, ma'am...", he muttered. "I’ll take that time to recover."

***

For 19 days, the Archduke was left in the imperial palace, in the care of the doctor of the queen he found himself very well cared for and after his rest - returned to his home.

A version of the Lestrad mansion where not even a drop of blood could be seen.

The tapestry had been changed, the beds, the furniture. There was not even a small sign of the deaths, bodies, or pain inflicted by all those beings.

Cale smiled.

Was it that easy to erase the beginning of his madness? So why was it never easy when it came to save him?

His chest hurt with the idea, but a man who was bordering on 70 years has cleared his throat.

"Lord Lestrad."

"Say, Veiner", he sighed, not surprised that the queen had sent him to spy.

"I just wanted to remind you that your family’s funeral is today at 4:00. You must attend."

All right, he thought.

It wasn’t a request or a warning. It was an order.

I had to keep up appearances. I had to keep up that absurd view of reality.

The view that his family’s curse was hearsay. The vision that the Lestrad - like any other noble family -, were united, loved, and cared for, even if that simple idea made his chest hurt and his stomach wrap.

When Cale had felt love coming from his family?

When someone there takes him in?

The answer was so simple and simple that it was painful.

Never. 

Sighed.

"I’m going to change, and I’ll be ready 20 minutes in advance", he found himself responding with a certain clamor.

It was his last time serving those people.

It was his last time obeying like that.

His reflection in the mirror was like a cloud of what once was, but who would care? There was no one else.

Smiled.

A clear afternoon, which became cloudy as soon as his feet touched the ground of the cemetery.

It was a Sunday, wasn’t it?

Sighed.

Half a dozen words were thrown away, he pretended to cry, and they were all gone.

"The carriage awaits you", Veiner said, his hand behind his back as a gesture of courtesy.

Cale sighed, his memory was bad, but he still remembered the neighborhood, and the lake.

A small lake, almost dying, in front of a ridiculous church that had a beautiful stained-glass window.

"I’m walking, I want to walk."

The lord’s eyes widened.

"Lord Lestrad... your mansion is 2 hours by carriage..."

"I will walk", insisted, "when I wish to return home, I rent a carriage. Let me think alone, Veiner. It’s my new butler, not my father’s", the last part came out in a nearly growling and without waiting for an answer from the queen’s man. Cale is gone.

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