Asuryan smiled. He understood. The boy was defending The Queen as best his age and station allowed. Descending to a knee, Asuryan peered Wald in the eyes. Beneath the Chancellor's burning, amaranthine gaze, within which men had purportedly seen burning felfire, Wald Digger did not wince; he did not look away. The boy nodded again, and Asuryan lifted a hand and patted his shoulder, softly. "You did very well, Wald," he whispered. The boy smiled, for a moment. The Queen, Asuryan suspected, did not lavish much praise upon little Wald. It would make him hard, that could not be doubted. It would steel him; and Wald Digger would grow to become something more than Her Majesty's Chancellor, Asuryan Caernough; he would eclipse the glories of The Lance of Lordaeron and the Shining Mountain; of the Conqueror of Naxxramas himself and even, in all her radiance, Queen Madelynne I.
"I'd like you to stay, Wald," Asuryan said as he rose to his feet. "And observe this." The Chancellor's attentions turned to Eventaria, and to the soldier standing sentry behind the prisoner's chair. "Miss Forisi. Mister Bloodjoy. Pray, leave me with this man, that I might hear his grievances."
The two soldiers exchanged glances, and then made to exit. Asuryan stepped in front of the prisoner, waiting until he heard the door close to remove the man's gag. As he'd expected, the first thing to emerge from the man's mouth was a succession of broken teeth. The second was a litany of profanity that Asuryan silenced by grabbing his hair in one hand, and pressing the other down firmly over his mouth.
"When I remove my hand," Asuryan said in a level, even voice, "You are not going to scream. You're not going to shout, or curse me." The man was squirming under his hand; struggling. Asuryan gamely pinched his nose shut between his thumb and index finger. The struggling intensified. "We are," Asuryan continued, mindful of the rocking chair, "Going to converse as two gentlemen, mindful of the world's realities, and consigned to our lot in life." He paused, for a moment and stared the man in the eyes. "Do I make myself clear?"
Slowly, not without obvious reluctance, the struggling ceased and Asuryan drew his hand away. He glanced at the soiled glove and wiped away a mixture of spittle and blood with some distaste, smearing the foul miasma on the back of a nearby piece of paper plucked from an adjacent desk. "T'ank you, m'lord," the man rasped. Asuryan frowned. "It's 'my lord'. Two words." The frown deepened and Asuryan leaned forwards, staring the man in the eye again. "Why do you transgress against Her Majesty, sir? What has she done to earn your ire?"
"She ain't nothin' bot a !@#$%," the man snapped, the chair rocking from his sheer excitement. "Two-faced slattern 'at says 'un thing an' does another! I was there! Years back, in the north! She left us, sir! She left us all to die!"
"You were a soldier, then?" Asuryan asked, ever the face of calm. He chanced a look at Wald; the boy was standing a foot behind him, likewise wearing a blank expression. Wald was studying the man intently, his jaw set to a studious clench and his eyes holding the half-focused stare of a man carefully digesting each word.
"Aye, m'lor--my lord. We was called Crimson, then. An she just up and left us, when the goin' got tough! Nary a 'by yer leave' or even a 'thank ya fer fightin, my soldiers!' She left us!"
Asuryan frowned and calmly tugged the man's gag back into place. Immediately, the struggling began again. But Soult Bloodjoy had served the Alliance Navy during the great campaigns of the Second War; he was an old hand with knots. Those bonds held fast, though the chair did threaten to tip. Asuryan's hand fell upon the bridge of the high back, steadying the seat. His attentions dipped down, lingering upon the simpering wretch. He knew the realities of which the man spoke; the accusations were true, of course. No matter how much The Queen had changed since those days, how sincere her present desire for justice, there would always be shadows of the past ready to drag the gleaming future back into the darkness of yesteryear.
Men that heard the tale would not be inclined to contrast such actions with the Queen's newly-given grace. Her Majesty had enough detractors that what a reasonable man would take as a moment of folly since atoned for, raving lunatics would seize hold of such a secret and shout it up and down the high street, nostrils flailing with barely-focused mania as they sought to utilize even tragic circumstances to unseat Her Majesty. Asuryan had seen it before; all too often. Stormwind was full of such foul men.
Azgevin Hopesfire was suddenly standing behind the chair. His hands were steepled beneath his chin and he stared at Asuryan with a half-smile. 'None so foul as you, eh?'