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After leaving Syndra, Rhys wandered about looking for his great-uncle. He asked people he came across if they'd seen him.

Several directed him in the direction of the godswood - but as Rhys was preparing to leave the inner court of the castle, he saw Sewell coming towards him from the forest. He looked unusually tired ... and very old.

Rhys jogged out to meet him with the tireless energy of a young man in the prime of life, the two of them a study in contrasts. "Are you all right?" he asked when he reached Sewell, concern evident on his face.

"Yes," said Sewell, with a sigh that suggested otherwise. "Yes ... I believe so. I was just reminded of one of my failures, that is all."

Rhys fell in beside him as he walked. "Care to elaborate?"

"Lady Morna," said Sewell. "Her death ... in some ways, it was too easy to forsee. She knew there were dangers in her carrying a fourth child to term. But I still feel there was more I could have done." He sighed. "You will find, Rhys - if you haven't already - that there are time when you will feel your own skill is not enough."

He looked at him keenly. "But you will have your successes too, I think. Indeed ... if it hadn't been for you, Kenrith Hardy might well have died along with his cousins."

"And if not for you," Rhys countered, "I wouldn't have been here that summer and I wouldn't have later decided to become a maester. You have taught me so much. I can never begin to repay you for all you've done for me."

"There's no need to repay me, Rhys," said Sewell. "Your love of learning ... your skills ... that is my reward." He pauised for a moment before he said slowly, "I would be lying if I denied that I am not, in my way, ambitious for you too. That you might one day become all that I should have been - and more besides."

Rhys lglanced at Sewell out of the corner of his eye. "I think I would enjoy a teaching position at the Citadel. I think I would enjoy such a position even more as an archmaester. I don't, however, think I would enjoy the politics."

"Perhaps not now," said Sewell. "You are young yet ... and politics is a game that grows more fascinating as the years pass. But ... yes. I am hardly a shining example of the rewards of the political world ... " He smiled at Rhys.

Rhys gave him a sympathetic look back.

"I should be getting back to Lord Hardy. Will you come with me?"

"I'm suppose to have a...conversation...with Ser Anders, but I suppose it can wait a little while. He's doubtless busy attending to other things right now anyway. I wanted to ask your advice on a certain matter--well, matters--so perhaps we can talk after seeing to milord?"

"We could indeed," said Sewell, "but I would attend Ser Anders if I were ... ah - there is Ser Kenrith. He's waiting to speak to us, I think. Or perhaps to you."

Page last modified on August 17, 2006, at 03:01 PM