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A Knight’s Future Hangs in the Past

“I have plans for the old man, Firiel. Him dying is inconvenient to those plans.”

Firiel gave me a look then that made me pause. Even to my own ears, my words sounded… cold. Like the only value in Ser Carrigan is what he will do for me in the future.

It’s not that, and I couldn’t explain it to her then, even if I’d wanted to. Ser Carrigan was the first person outside the Rebellion who I trusted with our secrets. He’s the model for living a life that doesn’t play directly into Vecna’s hands. He already has enough on us to have us killed if he chose to– and more than that, he’s had opportunity, reason, and little motive to keep our identities safe. And yet, he hasn’t betrayed us.

That counts for something, to be sure. But it’s more than that.

When Kyala told me Ser Carrigan would be executed, with only time being a factor, my heart stilled for a moment. I have envisioned many futures for myself in the past few months. I have imagined how it will be to fall in battle. How it will be to stand on a gallows before the executioner’s axe. How it would feel to walk away from it all, slip into obscurity and exile away from home. How it will be to thrust my sword through the Regent’s chest, sliding between ribs into his heart…..

I have rehearsed in my mind standing in the Assembly, trying to make my case, and in every scenario I imagine, I fail to convince anyone that I’m worth anything, least of all worthy of leading them.

Worse than that, I have pictured myself, through some miracle, with the Regent’s scepter in hand…. and I do not like what I see there.

I am not a strong woman. I am prone to anger and jealousy and revenge. Oh, revenge…. I have wanted the church of Erathis eradicated for what they did… and yet, I know in my head that not everyone is evil within them.

But when I picture the people around me, the advisors who help make decisions that will help this country…. I know I will need to choose very wisely such men and women.

I need Ser Carrigan, later. I need him alive and unburdened by the kind of anger and need for vengeance I will have in my other counselors. I need him to be a solid counselor who can see many sides to a conflict and help me see a clear path. These allies of mine, when all the dust has settled, are the people I will rely on to steer this country. Ser Carrigan will counterbalance Ordune. I need him to be that antidote.

So I was relieved that we were able to help him after the fight with those demonic birds. And moreso that we found the documents he sought…. and that we were able to retrieve them without damage. And that he had not lost the will to live, to fight, to try and save his own skin during these trying political times.

The things we found in the basement… well, those are something to talk about with Firiel. No doubt, Ordune has already dismissed them as “sick men,” rather than accept what we all saw and smelled.

 

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