Chapter One

In which we skip gaily into the near future and discover a few properties of Magnifera tryptamine

Lord Peregrine Lamont had lived on The Estate for a summer and an autumn. He had a staff of over a hundred, and his acreage was maintained by local landed gentry, providing him with important social ties to the more influential traders and farmers of the area. Within two seasons of his arrival, Lord Lamont had become the most powerful man in Dundalkshire.

Preparations for the celebration of his eleventh birthday were going smoothly.

Every Sunday evening, when the overwhelming dread of an early rise for school the next day reached its peak, Peregrine would take himself into the bathroom and take two bites of Magnifera tryptamine. He was now used to the slow tumble into sweet aroma, and the groggy awakening in the silk sheets of his Estate bed. In The Estate, he was strong and fit and grown up. He had a beard and wore loose white shirts and satin trousers. His staff would speculate as to whether he had once been a pirate; he seemed more a seafarer than the son of a farmer, as he claimed to be. An inspiring rise from a life of labour on some distant property, some servants would say. His heritage was a matter of great debate, but his lordship was never disputed.

Dundalkshire

He would spend a week on The Estate every Sunday evening. He would tour his castle after a hearty breakfast, scrutinizing the cleanliness of the countless hundreds of rooms and corridors. Then he would call for his thoroughbred to be brushed and saddled, and would ride from the white brick stable, along the orange path, and out across his land, surveying crops and engaging locals in discussion about the weather and Dundalkshire politics. He was the perfect gentleman, and wealthy neighbours would frequently and insistently offer him daughters to wed. He was entirely uninterested. The locals thought he was aloof, or had had his heart broken, but really, he was just terrified of girl germs.

On this particular afternoon, four days into his week-long stay on his property, Lord Lamont called into existence a thick forest to explore, and a heavy sword to swing at thieves and brigands, also summoned by his now well-trained imagination.

He also imagined a tall tree with a maze of branches, perfect for climbing, boughs laden with boiled lollies the size of his fist. Occasionally the child in Lord Lamont shone through brightly.

Deep in the forest

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