"I could not help but begin to plot."

[the Inquisitor clears his throat]

"What, you said you wanted all of it!  Don't you dare get impatient with me now."

[the defendant is silent sometime, then continues, waving a hand to clear the smoke]

"Sebastian and I became something like friends.  The game of one-upmanship never did cease, and despite our friendship, or perhaps because of it, it grew into our personal lives as well.  We were constant saboteurs, and we were never happy, but we always had each other, in a way.

[the humble transcriptionist admits raising an eyebrow]

"Not in that way."

[the defendant smokes]

"I can tell you're growing weary of me.  Let it never be said that Sebastian Burr told a boring tale— for dear, poor Sebastian's sake as well as mine.  I shall cut to the chase.

"After the Horror, when the draft began, there was a call not only for ordinary conscripts but for combat surgeons and field medics as well.  Sebastian received his summons to appear before the draft board some weeks after the initial call, and while he was reluctant to serve, he saw his successful enlistment— surely as an officer, which his credentials— as his final chance to catch me in checkmate, as it was quite obvious that the board would never allow me to serve.  He would leave Amthor's and ride onward to glory as a Savior of men in the loyal service of Her Majesty.

"And I— worthless though my marks were better, unworthy though my hands were more steady with a scalpel, unfit though my eyes were as keen and my arms as strong and my legs as fast!  I would be left to rot at Amthor's, which was now totally cut off from most of kingdom and largely deserted, to earn my approbation alone.  In the days leading up to his review hearing, he mocked me mercilessly.  His words then cut to ribbons our years of shared sorrow and struggle, and I felt nothing for him them except a burning desire to show him that he would not get the best of me.  I could not help but begin to plot.

"I'll not lie.  I do regret what I did.  If you do find dear Sebastian, kindly pass on my regards."

The End

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