Dusk (11)

04/23/2015 § Leave a comment

“Fuck the Lady.”

So curses Garrick Bann, sergeant of the Watch and the officer-in-command of Havertham’s westernmost land gate, as he steps down into the cellar of the guardhouse where the prisoner is kept. He guides the door shut behind him, gently, contrary to his mood, and then, bearing no light, stops and waits for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. It occurs to him, ever so briefly in that waiting, that he is standing at one of life’s so-called junctures—a fork in the path, a threshold about to be crossed.

The thought does not linger long, for Garrick Bann, for all the qualities that define him as a leader of men (one well-married cousin and many, many bribes), is not a man given to self-reflection. He is a man who gets things done, as he likes repeating when his spirits are high on ale and dice: leave the thinking to philosophers and poets, and leave it to the real men (he’d be thumbing himself in the chest) to get things done.

That is what he’s doing, here and now, descending the steps into a dark corridor. Doing what needs to be done, to clean up a mess that some ill-gotten luck has brought quite literally to his gate. Just how in the Lady’s light was he supposed to know that an exile would show up at the gate, with an assassin in tow, just after he’d left the post for some well-deserved relaxation? Or that a justiciar would be dragged into the mess, who’d laugh scornfully at his suggestion of… a gift of friendship? Or, worst of all, that his old-blooded patron would take such an interest in the matter?

So, in truth, Garrick can tell himself without deceit or cowardice that there really wasn’t a choice to begin with. Certainly not one where he had any say in. His being here, his carrying what he carries… It’s almost predetermined, seen in that light. Any further thought is just useless pussyfooting.

“Fuck Her in the arse,” he mutters again, finding as before no satisfaction in swearing.

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