Conflict

A reflection on guilt

Haft stands in the North Gate Tower, on the late watch tonight.  He’s gotten little enough sleep since his confrontations with Lanisen and Darius two days ago…he’ll have to make a point to get some rest when next he’s off duty.

As usual, time on duty, especially at night, gives him plenty of time to think.

You gave Aaron exactly what he wanted.  Division within Anvard.  Well done.

He’d been a reckless fool in his behavior toward Lanisen.  A bully.  Let his anger at Aaron and his fear for Cor direct his behavior.

Shamed his uniform.  What he’d told Peridan he wouldn’t do.

“Don’t you think for one second that you have a corner market on the king’s mercy!”

The implications of that statement still take his breath away.

Remind me never to get into a knife fight with you Lanisen.  Right now you look like an injured boy with a crutch, but I reckon you know where to strike to do the most damage.

And now you have every weapon against me, and every reason to use them.  A word to Garian, to the king, about my behavior toward you.  A word to Cor about the past.  Will you use them, I wonder?  Have you already?  And what will I think of you if you don’t, if you turn out to be the better man in this?

His conscience rises up to accuse him.

You could have said something yesterday, could have apologized.

He wanted me gone.

Coward.

He wasn’t going to listen.

That’s on him.  Saying it was on you.

He’s still a murderer.

So why do you feel guilty?

True to his word, he’d made discreet inquiries to another member of the guard, a quiet man unlikely to resurrect the topic once Haft was done asking about it.  Got the information he needed.

Did you?  Wasn’t it enough for you that Lord Dar had the situation in hand?

His father’s voice:  “A soldier who doesn’t understand the state of affairs will soon find himself out of his reckoning.”

But that didn’t make him feel any better for having asked.

You put Cor in the room with him.  Why did you do that?.

I didn’t know all he’d done, then.

You knew enough.  Why’d you do it?  Why not just escort the boy back through the Inner Gatehouse when you saw Aaron was at hand?

I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Weren’t you?

It was just my gut–first thing that occurred to me.  Said he was better off with Lanisen than outside.

And your gut served you so well where Lord Bar was concerned…

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