Sir Kay motioned Sir Philip into his antechamber impatiently.
"Took you long enough, sirrah! Where were you?"
Sir Philip shrugged, his grey and black tabard creasing as he flexed.
"Had a hanging. One of the boys who avoided the last Levy. Bad business."
Sir Kay waved his hand with impatience.
"King's Law is King's Law. It applies equally to all. As per their rank of course."
Sir Kay looked closely at Sir Philip's blank face for any sign of insolence. There was none.
"This murder, of the young Princess. A bad business."
"It is. And the murder weapon is damned odd, Sir. This strange brace on the end of a small crossbow. It would be incredibly awkward to use. Even for someone skilled with crossbows."
"It is what it is."
Sir Philip nodded, looking at the odd weapon on the bench in front of them.
"The serious thing is how the young Jack fled."
"Proof of guilt, is it not?"
Sir Philip nodded, slowly. "It is. As per the King's Law. If you are craven and flee, you are guilty perforce. Else why not stand and face your accuser, confident of no prejudgement?"
Sir Kay shifted slightly. His discomfort was obvious.
"I fear, Sir Philip, in the heat of the moment and due to the horror of seeing a noble maiden of a Bloodline struck dead, I-"
"I am aware of what was said." Sir Philip took out a small leatherbound journal. Reading it, he said to Sir Kay, "Words to the effect that the Jack would hang on the morrow. Indication of prejudgement."
Sir Kay spluttered. "Yes, but-"
"All we have is the law, Sir Knight, you know that." Sir Philip faced the old Knight squarely for the first time. "With the King so busy on his Quests, and the disorder spreading across the Edge of the Map, now more than ever we need to keep the peace fairly. Otherwise we're no better than the thugs the Merchants hire, or the Slavers."
Sir Kay grunted. "Well what now then? If he fled through righteous fear and not guilt?"
"I do not accept that the boy is innocent. Far from it. But when I catch him, he must stand trial, and no doubt, be convicted."
Sir Kay nodded, satisfied. "Then go to't, Sirrah! Go to it!"
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