The Search for Seryth

Chapter 20: "Jalinde trained with the druids, as you saw, before leaving with Seryth into the east," said Fordrellon. He sat next to Ezran's bed, as the ren'dorei, his illusion stolen by his bout of unconsciousness, grudgingly sucked down a bowl of gruel. "From what they told me, he has information on the leader of this demonic invasion. He plans to strike at them there." "And become the leader himself, I warrant," said Ezran tiredly.

“Is it true? You were the assassin of the troll who bore the Nathsyssn into the Second War?” asked Fordrellon.

“Why would you think that?” said Ezran warily.

“You spoke in your sleep. I wasn’t aware, however, that you were a ren’dorei.” Fordrellon’s eyes narrowed.

“I wasn’t then,” Ezran said cryptically. He lay back. “I do not know if it was my faith or the Nathsyssn’s magic itself that kept me from dying. I journeyed through the Twisting Nether for some time: too long. I kick myself for a fool every day since I’ve returned, seeing what my botched attempt to destroy that thing has wrought.”

“It would have gone worse if it had not been for you,” said Fordrellon, seeming put at ease with the insinuation Ezran’s transformation into a ren’dorei had been unintentional.

Ezran chose not to elaborate. “Is the life of an innocent child worth that of many soldiers?” he instead wondered aloud to the ceiling.

“Stop it,” said Fordrellon. “It’s in the past. What matters now is the next actions we take. My men are busy getting into position to pursue Seryth. Perhaps we can catch him before he fully realizes his plans with the nath’rezim leader. …I would be honored , of course, if you would join us.”

“If I am well enough,” said Ezran.

“I only have one other question,” said Fordrellon. “The she-demon that gave us information on Seryth’s movements — she called you ‘Grandfather’. Why is that?”

Ezran stared at the ceiling for a long time before speaking. “The one who bore the blade before the troll was my kin,” he finally said.

“An elf?”

Ezran rubbed his face. “It doesn’t matter. He is consumed now. If we cannot act swiftly, then I foresee that fate for Seryth, and I swear, I will not let my people down so again.”

Fordrellon nodded. He gripped Ezran’s hand tightly, pale fingers between inky-blue, before he stepped outside of the room.

The next few days went by in a blur, and Ezran cursed his aging body for not healing as quickly as he liked. As it was, he held back from the frontlines, serving as Fordrellon’s bodyguard, or more truthfully, Fordrellon serving as his.

The army cut through Val’sharah, following Seryth’s trail to an old temple. The infantry took care of most of the demons lurking outside, and Ezran rested until Fordrellon called him down. They descended into the tunnels under the ruin, and for the first time, Ezran took point, his keen eyes leading the way in the dark halls.

They heard the rumbles of the battle before they saw it. Ezran caught just a glimpse of the nath’rezim speaking to Seryth, and he saw the Nathsyssn’s shards clustered around the young warlock like black, crystalline armor.

Memories overwhelmed him, and for a pivotal moment, Ezran hesitated. Seryth turned and saw them, his face twisting into hatred.

It seemed like it was happening all over again to Ezran. He reached out for Seryth, himself clinging to the Light, praying that the vicious cycle could finally end.

Fire from the nath’rezim filled the chamber, cutting all of them off from Seryth. Jalinde cried out, and Ezran remembered his dream. He stuck one hand into the fire, hissing in pain even as his spell dampened them, enough Jalinde could leap over them and get through to Seryth. Fordrellon and Daelin followed swiftly behind.

Ezran prayed. Even as Seryth accepted the Nathsyssn’s pact and the last shard ripped from his chest, the ren’dorei turned the wicked blade on the temple’s foundations instead of on his allies. The ceiling cracked and fell inward. The nath’rezim and the last of its forces were buried under tons of rock. The demon invasion had come to an end, but was it at the cost of the Zilv’natha’s life?

Ezran couldn’t stay to find out. Dust clogged the air and his throat, and he shouted and cast around with the Light, trying to draw others to him, lead them all to the surface. His heart was still back in the chamber with Seryth, but the others needed him NOW.

He took Jalinde’s hand and pulled her, blinking, out into the sunlight. They turned and looked at the ruin. Jalinde began to sob, and Ezran held her, bowing his head. Daelin and Fordrellon found them also, Daelin suffering from a head wound and cut eye from the falling rubble. They stood together in silence.

“I’m sorry, Ezran,” Daelin finally said. “I failed him.”

“He redeemed himself in the end,” said Jalinde stubbornly.

Ezran said nothing.

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