Chapter no 25: Interlude—Eager for Reasons

The Name of the Wind

KVOTHE GESTURED FOR CHRONICLER to set down his pen and stretched, lacing his fingers together above his head. “It’s been a long time since I remembered that,” he said. “If you are eager to find the reason I became the Kvothe they tell stories about, you could look there, I suppose.”

Chronicler’s forehead wrinkled. “What do you mean, exactly?”

Kvothe paused for a long moment, looking down at his hands. “Do you know how many times I’ve been beaten over the course of my life?”

Chronicler shook his head.

Looking up, Kvothe grinned and tossed his shoulders in a nonchalant shrug. “Neither do I. You’d think that sort of thing would stick in a person’s mind. You’d think I would remember how many bones I’ve had broken. You’d think I’d remember the stitches and bandages.” He shook his head. “I don’t. I remember that young boy sobbing in the dark. Clear as a bell after all these years.”

Chronicler frowned. “You said yourself that there was nothing you could have done.”

“I could have,” Kvothe said seriously, “and I didn’t. I made my choice and I regret it to this day. Bones mend. Regret stays with you forever.”

Kvothe pushed himself away from the table. “That’s enough of Tarbean’s darker side, I imagine.” He came to his feet and gave a great stretch, arms over his head.

“Why, Reshi?” The words poured out of Bast in a sudden gush. “Why did you stay there when it was so awful?”

Kvothe nodded to himself, as if he had been expecting the question. “Where else was there for me to go, Bast? Everyone I knew was dead.”

“Not everyone,” Bast insisted. “There was Abenthy. You could have gone to him.”

“Hallowfell was hundreds of miles away, Bast,” Kvothe said wearily as he wandered to the other side of the room and moved behind the bar. “Hundreds of miles without my father’s maps to guide me. Hundreds of miles without wagons to ride or sleep in. Without help of any sort, or money, or shoes. Not an impossible journey, I suppose. But for a young child, still numb with the

shock of losing his parents….”

Kvothe shook his head. “No. In Tarbean at least I could beg or steal. I’d managed to survive in the forest for a summer, barely. But over the winter?” He shook his head. “I would have starved or frozen to death.”

Standing at the bar, Kvothe filled his mug and began to add pinches of spice from several small containers, then walked toward the great stone fireplace, a thoughtful expression on his face. “You’re right, of course. Anywhere would have been better than Tarbean.”

He shrugged, facing the fire. “But we are all creatures of habit. It is far too easy to stay in the familiar ruts we dig for ourselves. Perhaps I even viewed it as fair. My punishment for not being there to help when the Chandrian came. My punishment for not dying when I should have, with the rest of my family.”

Bast opened his mouth, then closed it and looked down at the tabletop, frowning.

Kvothe looked over his shoulder and gave a gentle smile. “I’m not saying it’s rational, Bast. Emotions by their very nature are not reasonable things. I don’t feel that way now, but back then I did. I remember.” He turned back to the fire. “Ben’s training has given me a memory so clean and sharp I have to be careful not to cut myself sometimes.”

Kvothe took a mulling stone from the fire and dropped it into his wooden mug. It sank with a sharp hiss. The smell of searing clove and nutmeg filled the room.

Kvothe stirred his cider with a long-handled spoon as he made his way back to the table. “You must also remember that I was not in my right mind. Much of me was still in shock, sleeping if you will. I needed something, or someone, to wake me up.”

He nodded to Chronicler, who casually shook his writing hand to loosen it, then unstoppered his inkwell.

Kvothe leaned back in his seat. “I needed to be reminded of things I had forgotten. I needed a reason to leave. It was years before I met someone who could do those things.” He smiled at Chronicler. “Before I met Skarpi.”

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