Henry was miserable.

The dinner was overwrought, expensive, and never-ending. The hall was crowded with what seemed like absolutely every person at the Order, close together and talking loudly. He was at the head of the table and no one he spoke closely with was near him.

It seemed like the only people who weren't there were Aislin & Ornstein.

The worst part was that he'd have to give a speech about what the Knighthood meant to him; he'd already done that once before. He had been... not excited then, but graciously respectful of accepting his duty.

Back then, for him, it had been an accomplishment in a long list of accomplishments as he battled his way through the world, intent on defeating that grandest of enemies. Now, it seemed like only an empty formality.

The Order graciously respecting the wishes of a dying old man.

" Quiet down, everyone! Quiet down- Sir Henry Merrow of Mulbright has some words to say about his knighting!"

Henry set down his cutlery, and stood. He recited the speech he'd given the first time he'd become a knight, omitting details that had yet to come to pass.

... He couldn't recognize the smiling faces of the people.