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datatime: 2022-09-25 16:21:06 Author:hniybXqY

Ten days later, Chade came up the path. The old assassin walked slowly, with a staff, and he carried his pack up high on his shoulders. The day was warm, and he had thrown back the hood of his cloak. His long gray hair blew in the wind and he had let his beard grow to cover more of his face. At first glance, he looked to be an itinerant tinker. A scarred old man, perhaps, but no longer the Pocked Man. Wind and sun had weathered his face. Burrich had gone fishing; a thing he preferred to do alone. Nighteyes had come to sun himself on our doorstep in Burrich's absence, but had melted back into the woods behind the hut at the first waft of Chade's scent on the air. I stood alone.

Also in residence at Buckkeep at this time were a handful of minor Buck nobility. Most landholders of Buck were at their own lesser keeps, doing what little they could to protect their local folk. The most notable to remain at Buckkeep was Lady Patience, she who had been Queen-in-Waiting until her husband Prince Chivalry abdicated the throne to his younger brother Verity. Manning Buckkeep were the Buck soldiers, as well as Queen Kettricken's personal guard, and the few men who remained of King Shrewd's guard. Morale was poor among the soldiers, for wages were intermittent and the rations poor. Lord Bright had brought his own personal guard with him to Buckkeep, and obviously preferred them to the Buck men. The situation was further complicated by a muddled chain of command. Ostensibly the Buck troops were to report to Captain Keffel of the Farrow men, the commander of Lord Bright's guard. In reality, Foxglove of the Queen's Guard, Kerf of the Buckkeep Guard, and old Red of King Shrewd's guard banded together and kept their own counsel. If they reported regularly to anyone, it was Lady Patience. In time the Buck soldiers came to speak of her as the Lady of Buckkeep.

"Me, too," I said quietly.

I reached to finger the bridge of my nose where it had been broken. "They did not seem to fear me much at all, that I could tell."

"Hate you? No. They liked you well enough, those that knew you. But if you came back, a man who had died and been buried, again walking among them, they'd fear you. It's not a thing you could explain away as a trick.. The Wit is not a magic that is well thought of. When a man is accused of it and then dies and is buried, well, in order for them to remember you fondly, you'd have to stay dead. If they saw you walking about, they'd take it as proof that Regal was right; that you were practicing Beast magic, and used it to kill the King. They'd have to kill you again. More thoroughly the second time." Burrich stood suddenly, and paced the room twice. "Damn me, but I could use a drink," he said.

Burrich looked away from me. "Probably she heard you died." After a time, he added, uncomfortably, "Someone had burned a candle on your grave., The snow had been pushed away, and the wax stump was there still when I came to dig you up."

Chade and I sat on the bench in front of the hut and talked. We did not speak of portentous things, nor the significant events of the past. We did not discuss my return from the grave or the current political situation. Instead, he spoke of our small shared things as if I had been gone on a long journey. Slink the weasel was getting old; the past winter had stiffened him, and even the coming of spring had not enlivened him. Chade feared he would not last another year. Chade had finally managed to dry pennant plant leaves without them mildewing, but had found the dried herb to have little potency. We both missed Cook Sara's pastries. Chade asked if there was anything from my room that I wanted. Regal had had it searched, and had left it in disarray, but he did not think much had been taken, nor would be missed if I chose to have it now. I asked him if he recalled the tapestry of King Wisdom treating with the Elderlings. He replied that he did, but that it was far too bulky for him to drag up here. I gave him such a stricken look that he immediately relented and said he supposed he could find a way.

Chade looked at me, almost sadly. "You leave behind a life, with what, the clothes on your back and an earring? And you say there's nothing there you'd wish brought to you. Does that not strike you as strange?"

"Like a dog after a bone."

Burrich looked away from me. "Probably she heard you died." After a time, he added, uncomfortably, "Someone had burned a candle on your grave., The snow had been pushed away, and the wax stump was there still when I came to dig you up."

Also in residence at Buckkeep at this time were a handful of minor Buck nobility. Most landholders of Buck were at their own lesser keeps, doing what little they could to protect their local folk. The most notable to remain at Buckkeep was Lady Patience, she who had been Queen-in-Waiting until her husband Prince Chivalry abdicated the throne to his younger brother Verity. Manning Buckkeep were the Buck soldiers, as well as Queen Kettricken's personal guard, and the few men who remained of King Shrewd's guard. Morale was poor among the soldiers, for wages were intermittent and the rations poor. Lord Bright had brought his own personal guard with him to Buckkeep, and obviously preferred them to the Buck men. The situation was further complicated by a muddled chain of command. Ostensibly the Buck troops were to report to Captain Keffel of the Farrow men, the commander of Lord Bright's guard. In reality, Foxglove of the Queen's Guard, Kerf of the Buckkeep Guard, and old Red of King Shrewd's guard banded together and kept their own counsel. If they reported regularly to anyone, it was Lady Patience. In time the Buck soldiers came to speak of her as the Lady of Buckkeep.

Chade and I sat on the bench in front of the hut and talked. We did not speak of portentous things, nor the significant events of the past. We did not discuss my return from the grave or the current political situation. Instead, he spoke of our small shared things as if I had been gone on a long journey. Slink the weasel was getting old; the past winter had stiffened him, and even the coming of spring had not enlivened him. Chade feared he would not last another year. Chade had finally managed to dry pennant plant leaves without them mildewing, but had found the dried herb to have little potency. We both missed Cook Sara's pastries. Chade asked if there was anything from my room that I wanted. Regal had had it searched, and had left it in disarray, but he did not think much had been taken, nor would be missed if I chose to have it now. I asked him if he recalled the tapestry of King Wisdom treating with the Elderlings. He replied that he did, but that it was far too bulky for him to drag up here. I gave him such a stricken look that he immediately relented and said he supposed he could find a way.

Chade and I sat on the bench in front of the hut and talked. We did not speak of portentous things, nor the significant events of the past. We did not discuss my return from the grave or the current political situation. Instead, he spoke of our small shared things as if I had been gone on a long journey. Slink the weasel was getting old; the past winter had stiffened him, and even the coming of spring had not enlivened him. Chade feared he would not last another year. Chade had finally managed to dry pennant plant leaves without them mildewing, but had found the dried herb to have little potency. We both missed Cook Sara's pastries. Chade asked if there was anything from my room that I wanted. Regal had had it searched, and had left it in disarray, but he did not think much had been taken, nor would be missed if I chose to have it now. I asked him if he recalled the tapestry of King Wisdom treating with the Elderlings. He replied that he did, but that it was far too bulky for him to drag up here. I gave him such a stricken look that he immediately relented and said he supposed he could find a way.

Chade smiled crookedly at me. "The nose bothers you, does it? I think it gives your face more character."

It was as much as I could handle, just then. I tried to let the conversation die. But Burrich was relentless. "If you went back to Buckkeep, or Buckkeep Town, they would kill you. They'd hang you over water and burn your body. Or dismember it. But folk would be sure you stayed dead this time."

Chade smiled crookedly at me. "The nose bothers you, does it? I think it gives your face more character."

"Me, too," I said quietly.

When Kettricken vanished, King Regal was left in a position for which there was no historical precedent. The child Kettricken carried had obviously been next in line for the crown. But both Queen and unborn child had vanished, under very suspicious circumstances. Not all were certain that Regal himself had not engineered it. Even if the Queen had remained at Buckkeep, the child could not assume even the title of King-in-Waiting for at least seventeen years. Regal became very anxious to assume the title of King as swiftly as possible, but by law he needed the recognition of all Six Duchies to claim it. He bought the crown with a number of concessions to his Coastal Dukes. The major one was Regal's promise that Buckkeep would remain manned and ready to defend the coast.

"Hate you? No. They liked you well enough, those that knew you. But if you came back, a man who had died and been buried, again walking among them, they'd fear you. It's not a thing you could explain away as a trick.. The Wit is not a magic that is well thought of. When a man is accused of it and then dies and is buried, well, in order for them to remember you fondly, you'd have to stay dead. If they saw you walking about, they'd take it as proof that Regal was right; that you were practicing Beast magic, and used it to kill the King. They'd have to kill you again. More thoroughly the second time." Burrich stood suddenly, and paced the room twice. "Damn me, but I could use a drink," he said.

Ten days later, Chade came up the path. The old assassin walked slowly, with a staff, and he carried his pack up high on his shoulders. The day was warm, and he had thrown back the hood of his cloak. His long gray hair blew in the wind and he had let his beard grow to cover more of his face. At first glance, he looked to be an itinerant tinker. A scarred old man, perhaps, but no longer the Pocked Man. Wind and sun had weathered his face. Burrich had gone fishing; a thing he preferred to do alone. Nighteyes had come to sun himself on our doorstep in Burrich's absence, but had melted back into the woods behind the hut at the first waft of Chade's scent on the air. I stood alone.

Also in residence at Buckkeep at this time were a handful of minor Buck nobility. Most landholders of Buck were at their own lesser keeps, doing what little they could to protect their local folk. The most notable to remain at Buckkeep was Lady Patience, she who had been Queen-in-Waiting until her husband Prince Chivalry abdicated the throne to his younger brother Verity. Manning Buckkeep were the Buck soldiers, as well as Queen Kettricken's personal guard, and the few men who remained of King Shrewd's guard. Morale was poor among the soldiers, for wages were intermittent and the rations poor. Lord Bright had brought his own personal guard with him to Buckkeep, and obviously preferred them to the Buck men. The situation was further complicated by a muddled chain of command. Ostensibly the Buck troops were to report to Captain Keffel of the Farrow men, the commander of Lord Bright's guard. In reality, Foxglove of the Queen's Guard, Kerf of the Buckkeep Guard, and old Red of King Shrewd's guard banded together and kept their own counsel. If they reported regularly to anyone, it was Lady Patience. In time the Buck soldiers came to speak of her as the Lady of Buckkeep.

Ten days later, Chade came up the path. The old assassin walked slowly, with a staff, and he carried his pack up high on his shoulders. The day was warm, and he had thrown back the hood of his cloak. His long gray hair blew in the wind and he had let his beard grow to cover more of his face. At first glance, he looked to be an itinerant tinker. A scarred old man, perhaps, but no longer the Pocked Man. Wind and sun had weathered his face. Burrich had gone fishing; a thing he preferred to do alone. Nighteyes had come to sun himself on our doorstep in Burrich's absence, but had melted back into the woods behind the hut at the first waft of Chade's scent on the air. I stood alone.

Chade smiled crookedly at me. "The nose bothers you, does it? I think it gives your face more character."

I was kind to the old man. I did not tell him that they had.

"I'm still surprised that Regal's guard didn't rob your body. I suppose the Wit has such an evil reputation they feared you dead as well as alive."

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