Knighthood, 107

“The security for the king’s funeral and the queen’s coronation will be similar to that for the wedding, and I shall oversee it personally,” said Sir Richard, voice grave, hands clasped behind his back.

“With respect, sir,” said Sir Pascal, an older, barrel-chested knight who was shorter than Edwin. “The king was my charge. I would like to have the final honour of overseeing security for his funeral.”

Edwin glanced at Devin to see if he was going to ask the same for Gabrielle’s coronation, but he didn’t say anything. The knight commander had paused, watching Sir Pascal carefully. “Very well,” he said. “The funeral procession will, of course, be the part fraught with the most difficulties. We expect a large crowd and most of the guests from the wedding are still in the city and will require protection as well.”

Others, 49

Devin always cried at weddings.

It was unsightly for him to do so today, because he was supposed to be running security at Gabrielle’s wedding and he could hardly keep an eye out for assassins with water obscuring his vision. But he had anyway, because Princess Gabrielle was important to him, and not just because she was going to be the queen someday.

Though he was her bodyguard, Devin also thought Gabrielle was his friend, and she’d said as much to him several times. It was not a privilege he took lightly, though at the same time, he fully understood that were she to realize he thought their friendship was a privilege, she would disapprove.

Knighthood, 100

“I will be personally overseeing the wedding’s security,” said the knight commander, hands folded on his desk. “With Sir Devin working out the specifics. Given that the whole royal family will be present for the duration of the event, you will all be put under his command. The castle guard will comprise most of the security, and the city guard will be stationed outside the First Church to ensure order. Sir Elaine, you will liaise with the captains of those two forces to ensure continuity of protection.”

Elaine nodded, and Edwin was profoundly grateful he hadn’t been stuck with that job. “Yes, sir.”

“Given the security issues at the last several royal events, we’ll be searching all guests—no matter who they are—for weapons before they’re allowed into the cathedral and again before they can be allowed into the palace afterwards. Sir Edwin will be in command of that operation, and Sir Elaine can negotiate with the captains of both guards to have them spare some people to help speed the searching along.”

Oh. Edwin nodded. “Yes, sir.” He didn’t need to look around the room to know that was the crappiest job on the security detail. The royal wedding was a huge deal and over a thousand people were attending. The city guard didn’t play well with the order and wouldn’t like being under a knight’s command. If there were delays getting people inside—which there would be—they’d be Edwin’s fault.

If there was any kind of security breach like there always was, it would be Edwin’s fault. There were easily four hundred people doing security for the wedding, but anything that went wrong would be Edwin’s fault.

Knighthood, 96

“And then he said that I was only allowed in the school because I was a good cocksucker,” Robby said, flinching as Edwin put the ice pack to his eye. “So I asked if that was true what was he good at, and he hit me in the face!”

“Hm,” Edwin said. “Sounds like a piece of shit.” This kid Jasper had apparently been picking on Robby for a few days now, which Edwin suspected was because he was jealous.

“No, it’s okay.” Robby smiled, taking the ice and holding it there himself now. “I kicked him in the balls and then we got in trouble for fighting, so we’re friends now! Also I have to go in early to polish all the practice weapons, so I’ll probably leave before sunrise, and then I have to stay late because I’m going to give Jasper cocksucking lessons, so I might just sleep there tomorrow.”

Knighthood, 83

“Listen, I get that you’re excited,” said Sir Stan, not far off from Edwin. “But this is the palace. You can’t go making an ass of yourself.”

“Right,” said Twig, nodding in a way that reminded Edwin of someone. “I promise not to make an ass of myself, sir.”

“Right. Which means that you will…”

Hearing Stan’s pause, Twig appeared to cast around for an answer. “Hunt for murderers discreetly, and with dignity.”

“No,” Stan said with a sigh. “You will hunt for murderers not at all, Twig.”

“But if I do that…” Twig said, looking at his fingers, “then the murderers will stay hidden and they’ll be able to murder someone.”

“There are no murderers.” Stan was clearly trying to sound patient. It was working about as well as Edwin’s attempts not to laugh. “Repeat after me. There are no murderers.”

“There are no murderers,” Twig repeated.

Knighthood, 76

“Why do we need a second debriefing?” Edwin complained as they headed down the hall. They’d been summoned by Sir Devin to talk to them again.

Erik shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe because of, you know. All the crazy shit that happened?”

Elaine had already told Devin about all the crazy shit that had happened, but Edwin sighed. “Is everyone else getting this treatment too?”

“I know Elaine had another meeting this morning.”

“But not Holly?” Why was Edwin going, then? He’d accomplished a lot of cool shit out there, and as far as he was concerned, never being made to talk about any of it or himself again was a reward that he was owed.

Knighthood, 33

“So it is this mage’s opinion that the sword is not dangerous, then?”

“No, sir,” Erik said, shaking his head at the knight commander. “It’s her opinion that the sword isn’t dangerous to Edwin, sir.”

The knight commander nodded slowly, as if hearing some hidden implication in Erik’s words that Edwin had missed. In the end, Elena hadn’t been able to tell Edwin much about the magic sword other than that it was magic. Knowing it had come from an angel made Edwin nervous, but at the same time it was, in its way, reassuring. Angels at least were supposed to be good, so Edwin was probably safe if he had one looking out for him.

But then, angels were also always making people go on stupid quests and shit in stories, and Edwin didn’t want that.

Knighthood, 29

“You’re tired lately,” Ty commented, as Edwin put his and Erik’s dishes in the basin for washing later.

Edwin nodded. “Not even for a good reason. Erik’s got me waking up before the sun every morning for sword practice.”

Ty pulled a face. “Not the fun kind, I take it?”

Dragon, 40

Owen stood by himself, dressed in white, looking at the closed doors to the throne room, trying to breathe normally.

He fiddled with something in his pocket as he waited. Waited for the doors to open, waiting to be escorted in. Waiting to be knighted, and everything that went with that. Waiting to be with Gavin.

Owen had never been a really patient guy.

Knighthood, 25

“Seems to be an ordinary sword,” the knight commander mused, giving it a wave.

“It cut through those shadows like they weren’t there, sir,” Erik assured him. “And not the way our swords did—it killed them.”

“Hm, so says the report. Well, in that case congratulations are in order, Edwin, you may well have saved us all.”

Edwin looked down at the floor a little. “I didn’t do anything, sir.” So many people were dead, all he could think of was the ones who’d died, not the ones who’d survived. “Anyone could have killed the demon controlling them all. It was just luck that I saw it.”