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[Flashback occurs during UnpleasantInvestigationSubthread2 ]

Niko remembered a time long ago when the Wall gave him hell for a decision he had made; his mentor backed him at the time of the decision, then when they were behind closed doors, almost flayed him alive with his words.

"What the hell do you think you were doing, boy?!? You had no cause to take her part in it- leave it to the Guard! And against one of your own?"

"Not one of my own," Niko muttered.

"What was that, boy?" Niko never knew how he did it, but the Wall could hear a whisper even over his loudest bellows.

Standing up straighter at attention, Niko repeated himself. "Not one of my own," he said defiantly.

"Listen to me, boy. I know that some we have are scum. Hell, given half a chance, I'd thrown 'em out on their ear. I'd rather a tight unit than half of these cutthroats at my back. But I need bodies. And these bodies fight with you."

"That does not mean that I have to stand by while they steal and rape the people we are supposed to be protecting," he said, his tone still defiant.

The Wall stood in silence for a moment, looking at Niko. "Sit down boy."

"That's an order," he added, when Niko stubbornly stood at attention. As Niko sat down, the Wall sat on the edge of his desk, leaning close to the younger man. "I know what you're thinking- No," he held up a hand to forestall an argument. "No talking until I'm done. That's an order, too."

"Your intent is good. Your timing is bad. This," he said motioning to encompass the area in which they were, "is a powderkeg. We have a volatile mixture of people here, holding garrison duty, which of course makes them more tetchy than normal. That's why we have our own Guard... To watch over our people and keep them from these excesses."

"Our own Guard," The Wall said, fixing Niko with an icy stare. "Of which you are not a member."

"I know it's hard at time, but you have to remember this, 'It all pays the same'." He looked hard at Niko. "Gods, you remind me of myself so much. So much to learn, and unaware that you need to learn it. Remember that statement, boy! 'It all pays the same.'"

"No matter what you think of yourself, you're a sellsword. You're not wanted here, except for as they need you, and the only thing you can expect is coin for services. No more for risking your life in that fool duel. No more for exposing yourself to possible vengeance. Do what you're paid for boy. You remember that!"

Page last modified on March 29, 2006, at 08:30 PM