By the time Ezran got there, Fordrellon was… crying. He had pulled his helmet off, his gleaming alabaster hair matted with sweat and blood, and his face was wet with the impossible tears.
Just beyond him, the bones of some monstrous, shadowy creature lay smoking on the rocks, and just under it, held protectively in its giant, dead talons, was the huddle of an unconscious man.
Fordrellon gripped his big two-hander, but despite the couple of jerks he made the man’s way, Ezran knew he wasn’t going to use it to kill.
“Put down the sword, Fordrellon,” Ezran said, and the mar obeyed, almost as if in relief. Ezran then dismounted from Geist and limped up to the wuyon’mar, touching his shoulder. They both stared at the downed man: the tyrant of Hillet, the Lord Kobold: Sirith the Zilv’natha.
Only he wasn’t the Zilv’natha. Not anymore. Only a man, and a young one. Ezran looked down on the face of his son.
“I couldn’t do it,” said Fordrellon. He threw his sword down, and it bounced off the rocks and slid into a crevice between boulders. “Coward!” Fordrellon shouted at the unconscious man, but Ezran knew he didn’t mean Sirith.
Ezran thought back to what Saul had told him, about that vague sense that something hadn’t been quite right in Sirith: or rather, had been right. How this man had been Chard, not Sirith. A lost boy, traumatized by what he had witnessed in the war, and unable to commit to violence ever again.
Suddenly Ezran understood the heat of his holy symbol, and the appearance of Fordrellon’s second spell.
“It’s not cowardice to doubt,” he said quietly. “In some ways, I think Carro would rather we doubt, because we are only foolish mortals. Our worst atrocities occur when we are so certain.”
Fordrellon said nothing. The holy symbol gave a pulse, then its heat began to die away. Ezran suddenly felt drained, and even the blackiron sword couldn’t sustain him. He leaned on Fordrellon for more than just companionship.
“He will have a trial, as I’ve said.”
“I cannot help but feel that trial should be my own,” said Fordrellon.
“Why is that, old friend?”
“I could have stopped him at any time during the Second Rising. I could have stopped him now. I knew what evil was in his breast. That I failed means all that death is on my shoulders, just as much as on his.”
Ezran looked towards the battlefield, the Templars chasing the demonspawn through the ribbons of smoke. “And if he had been dead, he wouldn’t have been alive to cast those gouts of flame. Who knows what would have happened to all of us then, trapped in this valley, without him.”
Fordrellon bowed his head.
“Carro isn’t omnipotent in this world, Fordrellon,” Ezran reminded him, as he suddenly felt a little lighter himself. “There are other powerful gods at work, with dark aims. But it’s Carro’s domain to make the best of it. Sometimes, that’s all we, as his followers, can do as well.” Ezran raised his chin. “Sirith chose to put a little good back into the world, even if there is no possible way it can outweigh his crimes. There would be no such good if he had died. And so, I plan to give the counsel to allow him to live, so he can continue to make up for all the evil we have seen.”
“You are a better man than me,” muttered Fordrellon.
“No. Only older, and tired of seeing so much death.” Ezran squeezed the man’s shoulder. They stayed there until the blood-splattered aide came to retrieve them, asking after the Templars’ next move.