The Search for Seryth

Chapter 9: Ezran surged to his feet immediately on hearing Daelin's words. "That, you cannot do," he said sternly. The others around the table looked at him in silence, as did Daelin. There was a twist in the Farstrider's mouth, like disgust or dismay.

No one spoke. Ezran swallowed, placing his palms on the table. “The commonfolk told me you were uninterested in killing Lord Kobold,” he started. “Why the change of heart now?”

“What do you know of Seryth’s actions?” Daelin asked raspily.

“Not a lot,” replied Ezran. “I know how he has treated the farmers. I know there is the stench of fel all around Westfall now.”

“That is why,” Daelin said flatly, then he trembled. “I’m sorry, old friend. I failed him. In doing so, I failed you.”

“We’ve both done a lot of failing and are no stranger to it,” said Ezran curtly. “Nevermind that right now. Help me to understand the situation. As in the past, my blade is yours…”

Daelin and Ezran sat back down, food was served, and the gathering turned to discussing Seryth. Daelin explained to Ezran about the Nathsyssn’s explosion, Seryth’s childhood wound, and his suspicion the child had begotten a taint, which only grew over time.

“I asked your daughter if it might have something to do with his bloodline,” said Daelin. “You know the fascination Ormmoth had for the family.”

Ezran picked at the food served, only answering with a nod.

“I don’t see any way of redeeming the boy now,” Daelin went on, “and I cannot tell if the demons now assaulting Val’sharah are his or merely attracted to his presence. We can’t go through another demonic invasion though, not so soon after the Fourth War. His death, and the final destruction of that artifact, is the only way I see out of this.”

“I agree that we can’t repeat mistakes of the past,” said Ezran carefully.

“I know this is hard to accept,” said Daelin, “but know that I raised that boy like my own son, and I loved him as dearly as such. I don’t suggest this lightly.”

“I have contact with his mistress,” said Ezran. “Do you know her take in all of this? Would she be useful?”

Daelin shook his head impatiently. “Bespelled or blinded by infatuation,” he said bitterly.

“I’m not so sure about that,” said Ezran. He hadn’t spoken with Jalinde much if at all, but he had seen the look in her eyes whenever her lover had been mentioned.

“He brings up a good point,” said one of the others. “She might be a way to get to him.”

“Fordrellon says he has had good luck in harrying Seryth’s southern flanks,” said another, a night elf with leaves embroidered into her cloak. “If we press the attack, we may be able to overwhelm his forces.”

“I do not want to force him to use the tainted humans against us,” said Daelin.

“Tainted humans?” Ezran asked.

“Your little Seryth has been very busy studying fel,” returned Daelin. “He has created monstrosities with it, using the unwilling farmers of Westfall.”

Ezran thought of the Molsens, swallowing hard against the sudden pit in his stomach. “We can’t focus on only Seryth then, I think,” he said. “If there is any chance we can rescue these tainted ones from themselves, I think we should take it.”

“I’m willing to let you try that,” said Daelin. “In fact, I would order it, if it’s true your blade is now mine. I know how you can get distracted, and I agree a multi-pronged attack is best here.”

“My blade IS yours. Just promise me you will not slay Seryth before I can meet him, should I accept these orders,” said Ezran.

“Are you really going to jeopardize the mission for that?” demanded the night elf.

Daelin met Ezran’s eyes. “I will grant you that promise,” he said softly, to the uproar of the others. “Now, go. Report to Fordrellon in the south. He can direct you to these tainted ones.”

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