"The Final Confession" is an early Season 4 thread.

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Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "You need to rest," The healer said to Stonegit as the boy pulled on fresh clothing and grabbed up his ax. 

"Bull…" He grumbled. 

"Not bull!" the healer snapped. "You’re bruised everywhere, you’re soar to the point of limping, and physiologically in need of rest. Please, Stoengit, soak in a bath, take the week off, by rights you should get the whole month."

"My job end when my heart stops beating…permanently at least," Stonegit retorted. "Thank you for patching me up, but I have a job. If you want me resting convince the King to go on vacation."

With that the boy marched out of the room. He entered the throne room. It was early in the afternoon. He bowed to Haddock as he entered. “I apologize for both getting drunk and sleeping in till this ungodly hour. I hope you will excuse my lack of professionalism.” Taking the stairs quickly to avoid any suspicious movements, Stonegit stood by the throne, heaving a contented sigh, even though he was more than a little frustrated at himself.  

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "It is more than fine," the king said. "By all technicalities, I ‘breached professionalism’ first by offering you a drink in the first place. It has also allowed me…" Haddock thought back to the conversation he just had with Blunt "…a little time to think, I suppose."  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit glanced at him, nodding once. “I am glad you got that time my King, the days have been taxing for you.”   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Not just me. Have they been so taxing on you you’ve lost your tongue?” the king asked, sounding slightly irked at Stonegit’s near-obsequious reply. “You have been acting rather unusually of late, too quiet, and far before any events overtook us.”  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "My King I assure you my tongue is right as it should be," Stonegit said cordially. "I suppose my apparently odd behavior comes from some thinking I’v been doing myself. Upon reflecting on the past I realized I had spoken to you with unprecedented amounts of disrespect. And, of course, that one evening I told you I would do anything for you. I am simply honoring your request." his eyes widened slightly. "Of course I don’t act like this out of spite! I am simply explaining myself."   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Well stop it," Haddock answered curtly. There was no sense of ire in his voice; only adamancy the man quit his current actions.  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: In that very moment Stonegit looked like a trapped animal. His eyes flickered as he tried to figure out how to answer that. Should he say ‘of course?’ Would that be to formal? What else could he possibly say to that?   

"Very well," he said quietly. 

Stonegit could have kicked himself. That was even worse! His heart rate increased, a tiny bead of sweat trailing from his temple.   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The king scrunched up his face, clearly displeased with Stonegit’s persistently formal responses. “Look here,” Haddock claimed. “I thought I loathed your brazen tongue. It was informal, it was often rude and insulting, it jibed straight at me and I am your monarch. All I could see was disrespect out of you and a complete disregard for everything it has taken me to reach this position as King of the Wilderwest. Someone in my position deserves a bit of reverence.  

"But…" Haddock said, and it was a large ‘but’. "But I cannot abide a Stonegit Elmiss who lacks his voice. That… is what makes you who you are. That is what makes you an attract- an engaging human being to be around. For me to try to shut that voice… that is not a king calling out a subject’s insolence."

It was difficult for him to continue, but Haddock forced himself onward. “That was a prideful man wronging one of his closest friends.”  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: The look of shock and hope that came to Stonegit’s eyes was nearly heart breaking. The boy could hardly believe what he was hearing. “You…did you really…?” he took a step back, and then stumbled, walking forward a pace. “Oh…but Haddock,” he said, for the first time in a long time addressing the King the way he normally did. “I said terrible things to you, I know that, I can’t tell you how sorry I am for them either. You had every reason to think I was an insolent child.”   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Well, you changed to try to accommodate, apparently," the king remarked, gesturing at the guard before him. "I did not." In a very straightforward layout, the king emphasized, "I continued insulting you beyond reason instead. I think we both know what words I should not have said to you, know what rude and dismissive actions I am accountable for. I am sorry. Give no excuses to defend me. Do not keep apologizing to me either. I will not have it; it is completely unneeded." Perhaps that last comment was not strictly true, but the king would be completely fine without the apology. "Let us instead both work on some means of interaction that neither harms nor compromises either of us."   

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit’s breath left him and his formerly rigid body deflated. His mouth moved, trying and failing to formulate words. He covered his mouth with both hands. “Oh…” he breathed, shaking his head. “Haddock…thank you.” he said. His voice was nothing short of in awe and it was almost like Haddock could see a weight rolling off the boy’s shoulders. “And absolutely you’re forgiven, don’t ever doubt it.” he said.  

And for the first time after that terrible day. A real, wide, smile broke across the boy’s face. It was laced with the sadness of the troubled past, but it was still there, and it was real.   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The very corners of Haddock’s cheeks twitched, the teasings of a smile there, too. “It is just as relieving for me to hear from you,” he said. “Well then.”   

He was silent for a moment, trying to recall what else Blunt had told him in that brief but incredibly informative conversation. Am I actually taking advice… and from a man like him? Odin’s left sock… I am, aren’t I?

"We move forward now, don’t we?"   

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "I see no reason not to," Stonegit said with a grin, heaving a sigh of contentment and turning back to face the throne room. Stonegit bit his lip, turning his head back. "Haddock…about given the Warden to you. I can’t say I am sorry for doing it…it saved your life. But I am sorry I decived you. It’s stupid of me to want you to trust me after pulling stunts like that but…" he trailed, off, not sure how to finish this.   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I know what you meant to do," Haddock said. He closed his eyes, trying not to think of the Warden. "It is not your fault she acted as she… did. She harmed me, and I did not want her near me afterwards.  

"Stonegit. It is rational for you to want trust. It’s rational to… well… what do you want? In all honesty. Out of… this.” The king gestured to the two of them.  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Well…of course," Stonegit said cautiously. "I seek forgiveness for tricking you…and would like to know anything and everything I can do to fully earn your trust back."  

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "You are forgiven, and have been long ago. As for trust… you want to know anything and everything to fully earn my trust? Be honest now and onward with me…" Haddock paused "…and know that you have my respected confidance and trust in return. Speaking as you truly think - for any issue - will assuage me greatly, and optimally be beneficial for the both of us. I have no desire to ‘order’ you to speak your mind on your discomforts, but if I have to - well. I would rather we be able to be perhaps a bit more open and respectful to one another as we have been. I will endeavor it on my end, at least."  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit had turned around when Haddock confirmed his forgiveness, his smiling brightening, but then it slowly dropped as Haddock continued. Normally Stonegit could keep up with Haddock’s eloquent speech, but this time Stonegit could barely understand him. The King was using words Stonegit didn’t even knew existed. He took a small breath. “So…you’re saying is…I am to tell you everything I am feeling…or wanting, or what’s bothering me…here and now…no bares held.” he circled his finger. “And you are asking in the form of a friendly order? Despite that pose the risk of containing criticism.  

Stonegit could have kicked himself for all of that. He didn’t really know what Haddock was saying but he was interpreting it none the less, and deciphering it in an extremely optimistic way. He had no clue if that’s what Haddock was saying, but a large part of him was both terrified and hopeful that it was.       

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock grimaced. It was like when he had first met Mera; she had always asked him to simplify his language and “talk like a real person”. He could tell Stonegit was fumbling a bit for the meaning of his words. “Okay, let me start over,” the king said. “But basically, yes. Though not as a friendly order - though I will make it an order if I have to. I would much prefer if we could both be completely frank and honest with each other. In everything, anything. No matter how big or small. And that I will not abuse any of the information you tell me… but try to work well with it, if I can. Is that clear enough now?”  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Well…ok then…I can do that." Stonegit swallowed once. He looked nervous, but trusting at the same time. His mouth moved in a silent stammer for a second, and then he seemed to give up, figuring if he was going to go out on a limb he may as well make the best of it.  

"You…" he cleared his throat. "Hugged me, the one time. Kissed me, told me I was important to you, told me you cared, said I was your friend, invited me to have a drink with you. But…but Haddock every time something like that happened it was right after I had died…or was about to quit, or panicking, or soulless, or ra…" he gulped, cutting the sentence off. "I believe that you care about I really do, its just that, mostly…I’ve never felt that way."

"I want so, so badly to be your friend, someone who can be professional asset by day…but also someone you can speak honestly to, and with kindness and friendship while in private." he shook his head, his eyes never leaving Haddock’s. "I know you’re a formal man, and I don’t wish you different, just as you don’t wish me to be someone who I am not."

"But as far as just wanting something goes. I just want to have these conversations, and those drinks, and those dinner table talks that are just as good and pleasant as anybody else’s. And that I can have them with you without breaking my body beforehand…" Stonegit drew a huge breath, now looking utterly terrified. "That’s all I want…that’s all I’ve ever wanted."  

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock exhaled. “Thank you for saying that,” he answered. And was quiet. Quite quiet. He tapped his left pointer finger on the throne multiple times as he sat there, head ducked, mulling a response. For a while it appeared that this single sentence was the totality of his response.  

"I have not been open enough with you," Haddock said at last. It sounded more like a grumble, as though he were irritated, yet clearly his disgust was not toward Stonegit. It was toward the words he was preparing himself to speak. "What you said… I do not enjoy hearing. Because." He visibly gritted his teeth. "You are right."

He heaved as though that had been a great physical effort, and he sat very, very rigidly, fingers digging into the throne as much as they could. 

"My admittance is not,” the king growled, “at all going to be mentioned anywhere in public or in front of anyone else. However, I can admit to you I have been wrong as you say.

"I desire formality from you in public situations because it is as I find proper and fitting for my position at the throne. There is much to a leader being effective because he receives the respect of his people, and thus it… irritates… me to hear someone challenge my authority in front of me. It challenges who I am as a leader, and that is dangerous politically. And to my own…" Haddock winced "…pride." He hurried on from that. "It is another reason why perhaps I withheld some information to you regarding any physical contact or displays of fondness I have give to you. It makes me, to speak colloquially, ‘look bad’ if I display that side of me."

He sighed. Haddock might have requested Stonegit to speak to him, yet now he was yanking out a hugely reluctant response through his teeth. Something tasted bad in his mouth the way he twisted it; the words were probably that unpleasant taste.

"I need to speak honestly that you mean an enormous amount to me, Stonegit. I haven’t shown it. Maybe in time that will come easier to me… drinks, as you say, or nights off. Being able to admit to you… who I guess… I am."    

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: As Haddock talked the fear slowly left Stonegit’s eyes, his back relaxing. He slowly walked up to his King as he talked, reaching out a hand. “It’s more than any other man in my place could ask for.” he said, touching the hair just above Haddock’s brand. He frowned. “You’re not wearing your crown…”    

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I suppose I’m not," Haddock responded. He had stiffened slightly when Stonegit reached toward the brand, but relaxed now that he realized the young man was not going to touch the still-sore injury. Sort of relaxed, anyway. Something flickered through his eyes… discomfort… shame?  

"I am wearing all I need to," he finally answered vaguely. "It’s perhaps a more accurate representation of myself as I am."  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "Don’t say that," Stonegit said with a shake of his head, his hand lowering. "You are a King, you are our King. Orskaf he…" Stonegit pressed his lips together. "He wants you to think that, he think that brand will make a difference. Well he’s wrong, this rebellion is still with you Haddock, just as I am." he gave a small smile and reached out, lightly punching Haddock’s arm. "So lets make him eat his words huh? And put another shovel in his brain."   

Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The king didn’t react to the arm punch. He did, however, respond. “No, Orskaf didn’t change anything. He just brought certain things to li…” Haddock stopped himself. “No. You’re right. Though I would like to harm Orskaf with more than a shovel, if I could.”  

Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "I’ll think of something creative for you," Stonegit said with a smirk, and then let the conversation drop comfortably. What had needed to be said, had been said. For the first time since he had sunk into that lake, Haddock saw that Stonegit was finally back to his same old self. He was a little more tired and broken now…but it was him. He had his soul, he was no longer pretending to be someone he wasn’t, and he had his smile back…no…  

That smile was new.   

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