Here is my re-rendering of the death of Hayley (was Hasnove). I’m not entirely sure if I’ve done any good here, but considering matters, I’m not sure I could have made it any worse. At any rate, the rip-off line from Chronicles of Riddick is probably the one sentance I have written that I have regretted the most, so at any cost I am pleased to be rid of it. After all, it wasn’t as if it even made sense or did anything for the plot…
As a forward to the snippet I should note that I’ve reordered events so that Hayley and Alken leave the company directly before the rest arrive at Kanedon, so that as they fight in Craharn Gail has become engrossed in the Geldrin school of warfare as a means to pass time. Hayley on his return would therefore logically be heading to Kanedon.
When the sun set Gail was exhausted. She was more sore and bruised than she remembered ever being before, even on her first days with Anne. She stayed at the school that night. She could have gone back to her room at the keep, but it Lecia Geldrin offered her a bed, and it seemed better to her to stay here among her classmates. She was put in a room with the only three other girls in attendance there.The next day passed in much the same way, and the next after that. From sunup to sundown the princess of NaRasch was kept busy with various fighting scenarios, always pushed to expand her understanding and improve her reflexes. Her muscles hardened, and she found herself performing motions she had not been able to accomplish before.
The morning of the fourth day came as the two had before it, with a simple breakfast and then the resuming of practice. Gail had hardly faced off, however, when Arlen Bresh came riding into the grounds. He rode right up to here before dropping from the saddle.
“Hayley has returned!” said the Pirate breathlessly. “I came as soon as I heard! Come with me!”
Lecia Geldrin was with the queen that morning, and Taylor was teaching nearby. Gail looked automatically to the master of defense, and he nodded, giving her his leave – not that she would have needed it. Arlen Bresh remounted his horse, and held out an arm to pull Gail up behind him. When she had mounted he turned the steed about, galloping back to the keep.
They passed beneath the queen’s house and rode down through the city. The traffic of the morning scattered before them and in minutes they came to the front gate. There, a little beyond the gate, stood a horse, wounded and covered in blood and dirt. Beside the horse lay Hayley, himself every bit as battered as his steed. He was cut in many places, and an arrow protruded from his arm. Freyn was there, kneeling over her grandfather. The old man was shaking his head determinedly.
“Father, we must get you to the physicians!” Freyn was saying. “There is very little time!”
“There is no time at all,” replied Hayley, even as Arlen and Gail were dismounting. “My daughter, I am wounded far beyond what the eye betrays. There are few bones in my body which are not broken, for I was astride Bruno when a dart struck him down. I fell far. I am wasted – let me be.”
“You underestimate the skill of my doctors,” pleaded Freyn. “Come, and find comfort.”
“There is none left for me,” said Hayley, choking on his word. “I am thinking now for your safety. Know this now – that Craharn has fallen, and the royal house is dead. Your loyal warrior Alken died in defense of the king, and he did not throw his life away lightly as you commanded him. I escaped only when all those I had gone to protect were slain, but I was struck as I ran, and I have been pursued by the Watch. I must not pass your gate, or let it be known that you have been friends with the empire. Say, rather, that I came and you refused me sanctuary. Shut your gates!”
“I cannot do that!” insisted Freyn.
“You must!” replied Hayley, “for you and for your people! They will raise this place and burn your children alive! I am nearly spent. In any case they will not find me alive. Freyn, promise me you will leave me here.”
At last the queen nodded her head, accepting what she knew to be true. “I promise,” she said.
“I have loved you, dear one,” said Hayley.
“And I you,” replied the queen.
Then the old man turned his attention to Gail and Arlen. “Pirate,” he said, his voice rasping. He choked, and spat out blood. “The sword…”
Arlen brought the Sword of Anne Gretnert from his back in a fluid motion, and presented it to the old man. “Keep it,” said Hayley. “And bring it when you may to lord Gretnert, or return it to Vestrodge.”
Arlen nodded his acceptance of the charge. “Thank you,” he said, “for everything.”
At last Hayley addressed Gail. With a feeble movement of his good arm he beckoned her closer. She came, kneeling beside Freyn.
“I am sorry,” said her grandfather. “I have made many promises to you, and now I leave them all unfulfilled.”
Gail had nothing to say in response, so she took Hayley’s hand and held it. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked into the battered face, and saw pain there.
“Don’t stop,” Hayley went on. “…not ever. You will find a way… they will need you now. They will all need you…” He broke into a series of coughs, each one more shallow than the last. When at last he caught his breath his eyes were unfocused, and his body relaxed. “Spektare,” he said with his last breath. Then he died.