‘Ah, Keiran, isn’t it?’
Aaron sat at Annesdale’s desk, his feet crossed comfortably in front of him, a few rogue papers out of place along with a quill and royal seal, the fire burning merrily in the grate behind him and a glass of sherry placed before him, from which he took occasional sips.
When Keiran refused to answer, Aaron shrugged. ‘Pity. I was very much looking forward to meeting you. Although, you’re not their leader, are you? Of the rebels, I mean? Any fool can tell that. You’re an outlaw, just from looking at you. An outlaw leader? Aha, I’m getting warmer, aren’t I?’ He giggled like a small child playing a game.
‘Ah. So, an outlaw leader. Proud, by the looks of things. Loyal and chivalrous too, I shouldn’t wonder.’ He laughed. ‘What a waste! You could’ve made a fine man, if you’d only tried. Have you ever noticed, my friend, how it’s the chivalrous ones who die first? Just a little observation of mine.
‘So you know what? I said to myself, ‘Aaron, old man,’ I said, ‘what’s the point in being chivalrous? What does it gain you?’ And you know what the answer was? No, I really doubt that you do. The answer is: ‘nothing’. You gain absolutely nothing from risking your neck every single day for some snotty-nosed farmer who doesn’t even know how to say thanks once you’ve done it!
‘No, much better to serve your own interests! Then you get where I am - see? Here’s you, the chivalrous and loyal, an outlaw; and here’s me, the despicable and selfish, a king. It doesn’t take much thought, does it?
‘Ah, well. I can see this is a very one-way conversation. You’re not the rebel leader, but I’ve got to execute someone, and I don’t have anyone else to stand in for the role. So you’ll have to do.’ With a sigh, he leaned forwards, draining the last of his sherry and pulling a sheet of paper covered with writing towards him. ‘Blah blah blah blah- oh, there’s where I’ve got to sign. They always write infernally small! Just another observation. But I doubt you know much about that, either.’ With a flourish of a quill, he signed his name on the document before sealing it with his wax seal.
‘There we go, got that blasted paperwork out of the way. I’ll see you tomorrow, then! At about 12 o’clock - is that alright with you?’ He laughed at his own joke. ‘Goodbye, then!’