A/N: Yes, I am indeed back with another one. For those of you who have read "Just a Fan", let me tell you that this one's going to be quite different! Here's the prologue as an introduction - I'll try and keep updates regular, though I can't make any promises with all my spare time being devoured by the International Baccalaureate course and the CAS hours I have to somehow fit in...x-x

- oh yes, and this story is one I might possibly get published, so it's fiercely (C) GNW! Plagiarism ain't appreciated! Thank you :)

To anyone listening, it would have sounded odd - that solitary male voice, strained and barely coherent, yet managing an insurpassable eloquence as it recited endless, meaningless lists...meaningless lists that nonetheless served as a desperate anchor to secure him to consciousness:

'Name...Edward Theodore Constance Harlock.'

A sharp gasp -

'Age...Thirty-six. Domicile...Rookfield Manor...agh...'

Another hiss of pain, followed by a shallow groan.

'Date of birth...'

A pause, in which he attempted to catch his breath -

'Fourth of...August - ah!'

'Stay with us, sir, I have almost finished,' a calmer, slightly more detached voice murmured.

Silence, broken only by feeble, panting breath. Then, the first male voice remarked bitterly in a quiet, mutinous undertone: 'Blast this. Oh, my...'

'Do carry on, sir, if it is of any help to you.'

A shuddering sigh exhaled into the solemn stillness of the bedchamber. And then, in strangled tones: 'Season...Autumn. Colour...burgundy. Dish...oh, confound it, Swinford, are the bandages all tied yet?'

'Have patience, Mr Harlock; I have almost finished with the last one.'

In this house - this house filled with quiet solemnity - such worrying exchanges were almost daily. Before, it was never like this; before, the master of this fine house who now lay wounded and in agony upon his deathbed gave a certain liveliness to the rich rooms and halls...but now, of course, everything was changing.

And it was with change, that everything began...