Chapter 1, Part 6

posted Dec 21, 2009, 7:35 PM by Jeremy Poehnert   [ updated Dec 21, 2009, 8:19 PM ]
Truman was waiting, again.  But this time he had no idea what he was waiting for.  The Bard and the Lawgiver had escorted him to a waiting room then left him, entering the adjoining conference room.  They had taken the extra copies of his manuscript, thanking him for his patience and saying they would call him in as soon as the committee was ready.

What committee?  Ready for what?  They were gone before he could start forming the questions.  He kept telling himself he didn't need to be scared.  He knew from his research that Barron Trent was not known for being vindicitive or cruel.  Certainly, he had ordered people killed, and had, by all reports, even killed others himself, when necessary.  But he wasn't known for having a temper, per se.  Surely he wouldn't care what one apprentice historian had written in a student project.

How had he even known about the manuscript?  Truman couldn't believe that the committee would tell him.  It would be much more likely that they would, after failing him, destroy all the copies, rather than risk them being discovered.  Truman had learned that from his grandfather, and had secreted two copies for himself in that expectation.  

Truman was completely out of his depth, and his thoughts were running in circles.  He was interrupted when a steward opened the door and called him into the conference room.

Whatever else, Truman was well trained in the social graces.  Instantly upon entering the room he went to one knee.

"Please, that's not necessary."  A confident, husky female voice commented.  At the head of the table sat...yes, it was her.  General Hannah (I need a last name for her!).  He was so shocked he didn't react once.

She said, again "Please, take a seat, and gestured to a seat.  As he sat down, all he could think was that this is really it, the Baron's Council.  The excitement at being there was tempered by the fear of what was to come.  A fear that was only increased he noticed, with horror, that they each had a copy of his manuscript in front of them, some clearly had bookmarks.  This is it then...I'm really going to die in the pursuit of truth.  It's so unfair.  This is all your fault, grandfather.

It took him a moment to realize she was speaking to him again.  "Thank you for meeting with us under such short notice.  Would you like something to drink or eat?"  The steward wheeled over a cart of simple food; bread and cheese, and a choice of water, meade or wine.  He took a goblet of water, and drank it gratefully.

"Let's begin with introductions, although based on this" she gestured to the manuscript in front of her, "I suspect you know most of us by name, if not appearance."  "You have already met Bard Phinn and Lawgiver Darlon.  This is Mage William, Master Asa, Healer Falc, Warrior Shard, Master Mage Lisham and I am General Hannah (I need last names and titles for all of them).

It was true.  He was in the same room the fabled heroes of the great war, the inner council of the Barron.

"Or, as you describe us in your work" interjected Master Asa, "The Baron's Inner Council.", gesturing to the manuscript in front of him.

"I prefer the part where he describes us as the greatest heroes of our generation." This was Mage William, leaning back in his chair with a wry smile.

"Of course, that was right after he describes us as the most impressive collection of social outcasts ever gathered."  This was Master Asa, although he also appeared to be smiling.

If Truman hadn't been sitting down he would have fallen over.  As it was, his head was swimming.  

Healer Falc tut tuted at the group.  "Can't you tell the youngster is scared out of his wits?  Show some courtesy to him."

General Hannah agreed.  "In fact, we haven't even completed the introductions.  Although it's a formality, Chief steward, please introduce our guest."

The Steward cleared his throat to announce "I introduce to the noble gathering Apprentice Truman, Third in the esteemed family of historians, author of the Manuscript (name here), and candidate for the position as the Baron's Official Historian."

Truman fell out of his chair.