The Talk

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, just after the assassination attempt

Lenar had insisted on driving the car after their shift. He didn’t mention why, but Sunar knew. They had started to give their report to the next security shift and been waved off with a comment about how they needed to hurry back. Everyone looks at me with such concern, even these fellow monks. I’m a half-dragon for the light’s sake, not a porcelain doll!

Lenar seemed to sense that he didn’t want to talk, and they made the short drive back to the temple in companionable silence. He could have flown back, of course, and even would have liked to do so this time, but courtesy had its demands. Lenar parked the car in the small garage to the side of the Temple and they walked to the front gate, again as courtesy demanded. He could have flown to his room, or a private meditation area, but protocol existed for a reason. He entered to find his parents, Sierra, Meesha, and Master Ikthan standing there. His family practically rushed at him, hugged him, and made as much of a fuss over him as they could without embarrassing him. Much.

After a few moments they moved aside and let Meesha through. She showed more restraint, but he saw far more in the way of fear in her eyes. She restricted herself to a touch on his shoulder, as if to assure herself that he remained uninjured, and then a kiss on the cheek. The kiss held the promise of more to come as soon as she could get him alone. After the kiss he saw a flash of fury in her eyes, then a look on her face that promised that she’d be having some strong words with him as soon as they were alone. He blinked in confusion, but then Master Ikthan stepped up. Gensher is right. Women are confusing.

He could tell she’d seen his confusion by the look of amusement that flashed across her features as the master nodded a dismissal to everyone else, began to walk away, and motioned for him to follow. “One of the witnesses called us to describe the event, as a courtesy. His description was somewhat excited, but he said the attacker identified himself.”

“An assassin, Master Ikthan, sent by that dark elf I embarrassed after the coronation. He opened with a crossbow, intending to shoot me in the back. I got a warning from someone in town which made it easy to avoid that shot. After that he tried to revert to a blaster, but the good people of the town came to my defense and ran the man off.”

“Mr. Jamison did a fair telling, then, if with more volume and extraneous detail. He should not have been allowed to leave alive, however.”

Sunar stopped in his tracks a moment. The statement had been made casually, with no more emphasis than a chat about the weather. Master Ikthan did not wait for him, and he had to take a few quick steps to catch up. When he did the master raised an eyebrow at him in rebuke and then continued, “Don’t be so surprised, Sunar. We strive to value life, yes, and do not take it without cause, but we also learn to fight, do damage, and kill when needed; when it is in the defense of life. That man was a hired murderer, who kills for no reason other than his own greed, for people who wish for killing for greed, hate, or other terrible reasons.

“Also note that I did not say he should have been killed, just not allowed to leave alive. Apprehension would still have been better than killing; then we could have turned him over to Imperial security and had proof to go after those nobles. As it is, we now must await their next attack.”

Sunar nodded his head, “I’m sorry, Master Ikthan, but a deal was made. Bill Calvor spoke to the man and told him he could go if he harmed no one else.”

Master Ikthan nodded, looked at him, lowered his chin slightly, then cocked his head to one side for a moment. Sunar sighed inwardly, but studiously kept the emotion from his features as he relayed the incident in detail.

By the time he finished they had reached the Master’s office. Ikthan turned to him before he opened his door, “Very good Sunar, you reacted well, and it was right of you to honor the deal, even if you did not make it. It might have been better for you to have spoken up and made the demands rather than allowing Mr. Calvor to take the lead, but I can understand your reasoning. Sadly, I doubt we have heard the last of this. I will make the appropriate inquiries, though I expect Mr. Calvor has already done so, and I don’t expect anything to come of it.

“While I hope that this ends today, we must prepare. I need to consider what to tell our people to do if they try to get at you again, and you need to think about how you are going to respond as well.

“Of course, this also means you will need to restrict yourself to the Temple for the time being, at least until this is resolved or it seems that Vorgar has given up. We are lucky that no one from the town got hurt this time, we may not be so lucky again. You will also need to restrict you flights to the minimum you need to keep your strength up.”

Sunar had expected the first part, but had to keep the wince from his features at the second. “I understand, Master Ikthan. I also understand now why you had me study Imperial law. I know it can be hard to get convictions against a noble for something like this, but also that it is very illegal. Entire Great Houses have been brought down by such things.”

Ikthan nodded, “Yes. What is important is that we make this stop. Think on the matter, Sunar. You are a young man now, and have shown the intelligence to understand. I will consider it as well. We will meet in the gazebo after the Dusk Bell tomorrow to discuss options. Feel free to speak with others in the temple and get their opinions.”

With that Master Ikthan gave a slight bow, as teacher to student, and went into his office. Sunar went straight to the gazebo and launched himself into the air: no assassin would be nearby this soon, and he knew he may not get a chance to fly for a while.

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