The Setting of Sirith

“We’ll keep a paladin stationed at the crossroads by the Saul place. Captain Fordrellon intends to press on south, into the forest.”

“Into Bataklik,” muttered Ezran. “Such a strange coincidence, that.”

“M’lord?” asked the aide in some confusion. With Ezran’s wave, he went back to his report. “I’ve also taken the liberty to put sentries here, here, and here. Do you want to inform King Aureus?”

“No,” said Ezran. “I reckon he has enough to take care over, given that pack of demonspawn Daelin spotted on the west border.”

“We still see no reason why they would come to bother us,” said the aide quickly. “They’re after plunder, which this place has seen scant of, even before the Second Shadow.”

“Well, if they do turn east, we’ll cross that chasm when we come to it,” said Ezran. When the wuyon’mar gave him an odd look, Ezran grunted, “Bridge, I meant bridge…” He was slipping up on that too often for comfort lately, slipping back into the idioms of his home city in the Reaches. Seeing Sirith in the flesh had unnerved him more than he expected.

Why would seeing one’s blood reflected in another be so shaking? It had not been that way with Jassa…

“Well. I trust Fordrellon has the matter at hand, but I wonder if the Zilv’natha might slip past him, yet. Sirith was able to evade our scouts at least twice on the road already, and I wouldn’t put it past him to do so again. Have you had any reports that he is using magic again?”

“No,” said the aide. “We thought it… odd, actually, that he has not turned his firepower on us so far.”

“Perhaps he thinks it would give him away too quickly,” said Ezran, though privately he thought the real reason might be the Nathssysn’s destruction, and Sirith was like a sudden sitting duck, bereft of his magical powers. Ezran considered the implications of that quietly.

“That’s all that’s in the report,” the aide said after a moment, trying to vain to read Ezran’s mind through his expression. Ezran smiled at him wryly.

“Thank you. That will be all.”

The wuyon’mar bowed and saw himself out. Ezran sighed, letting his shoulders drop, and he leaned down to carefully massage the ache out of his bad leg. His holy symbol fell out of his vest, the spikey metal bruising his fingers.

“Yes, Carro, I know,” Ezran muttered. “It has to be me to do it, I think, though I would pray it didn’t have to be, if I thought you’d let me get away with it. This mess is all my fault, after all.”

He tucked the amulet back under his shirt, then with a pained grunt, struggled to his feet and crossed over to the mantle. He took down his old sword, pulling it slightly from the scabbard, and the blade gleamed, just as shiny as the day it had been forged. “Fitting, I suppose,” Ezran said to it, “though I had wished we had both remained in retirement.”

The black sword glittered, as if in answer, as Ezran slid it away again.

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