The Road to Sotavento

Thenysil turns around from where he had taken lead, having wanted a moment of quiet to himself in the hopefully abandoned structure only to find himself surrounded by his new-found acquaintances, "I don't recall making fire or drying clothes with a thought and gesture," With that said he turns his gaze to the bundle in his arms, his hands mimicking the gesture of a gentle touch to whatever was hiding within before he seemed to forget his hand was there altogether while he walked.

The halfling moved a few hundred steps away from the camp when the Lodisian boat arrived to take away the prisoners. Once they left he came back, his mouth serrated and clear lines of displeasure on his face.

Making a big effort to speak, he said coldly I would not repeat loudly that you are agents of the Empire to anyone. Also, we should offer the dead to the Sea. A pyre would attract too much attention and take too long. I know the proper rytes for such a cerimony.

Looking at Xcas, he noticed that he was observing nervously the distant building. We should honor the dead and move. Fast

Robyn pauses, looking carefully at the halfling. "Now that the empire agents, save for us here, are gone - do you wish to tell us something? Are you in fact, a member of this expedition, or have you merely hitched a free ride? It is important to know if you plan to follow the group's mission, or if you are here entirely for your own reasons. In the latter case, we may need to secure some kind of trust with you. You have fought with us as a comrade, and that goes a long way with me; however, your general attitude doesn't give me the impression that you are part of our group."

I have been guided here. I have been led to fight together with you all and I do not believe in chance. I am with you until Nature leads me away or you perform an Evil act.

I am not an agent of the Empire, though, nor I want to be one. My people have been oppressed and killed by the Empire's armies for centuries. He looked down Still, I do recognize the advantages of being part of a supra-national state and I do not support the rebellions that my countymen regularly engage on. I think it would be good for the Tribes to be part of a just, inclusive, Good, decentralized Empire...

He turned around and looked up, as he could see something that the other could not in the cloudy sky. I believe that it is my path to help the Empire become what it could be. A Good nation that does not need to kill and burn to conquer new lands, but an Empire that the other nations will petition to join. An organization whose purpose is to protect and grow, not to oppress and rule.

He turned back and looked at the rest of the group. Until that day I will always support the right of people to self-determination. If you don't want to be part of the Empire, you should not be forced to. Instead of fighting we should be working together to make the Empire a better, more tolerant place. A place that other nations will beg to join

He stood there. Merely 3 feet tall but his words carried the weight of a deeply held conviction

Soelen listens to the conversation for a while, before replying to the group as a whole, "I suppose a burial at sea is possible... but isn't that usually done well far from the shore, or if it is close to the shore, with a small boat which is set on fire? The point of it is generally to do something so as to not have them wash up on shore again. I suppose we can tie some rocks to them, I have heard of that being done."

When Robyn and the halfling talk further, Soelen listens to the halfling and frowns. When the small man is done, he speaks up to the man, "Surely an individual performing a single evil act will not require you to leave their company? Are your oaths so stringent, that they leave no room for you to maintain company of those who are not on such a disciplined path, for purposes of setting an example or encouraging redemption or atonement of sins? And which definition of 'Good' or 'Evil' do you follow? Your own understanding of the concepts? That of a particular faith? Which? One of the philosophers which valiantly attempted, through extended interviews of people and communing with celestial entities, as well as extended use of the Detect Evil and Detect Good spells, to figure out what rules the universe itself follows for what is Good or Evil?' You speak of matters of state and the actions of nations as if they are simple to understand what is good or evil in their actions, when reality is often far from so simple."

"Can we just get on with it?" Cairrad asks, anxious to put the day to rest along with the bodies of the fallen. "We've done enough harm to those here already. Their souls shouldn't suffer any longer because our opinions differ over some... some academic discussion on the merits of our actions or who serves who!"

Once again taking deep breaths to try and center himself, the young elf looks apologetically from person to person as the remnants of his outburst fade into a distant echo. "I... I'm sorry. I just... I've never killed anyone before. Mercenaries or not... self-defense or not... it still just feels wrong."

At the Elven man’s outburst Thenysil seems to come back to himself, jumping slightly and looking to the slight man whom he rubs his beard at before chuckling, “You, are amusing—Cairrad was it?” The man says with a genuine smirk, nodding his head in the direction of the building in the distance before speaking flippantly over his shoulder. “The dead lie and the souls fly, they have no concern over our world any further. Throw them into the sea, let nature do as it desires and be done with it.

Blunt as it was it seemed that would be one of the few things to end any potential conversation involving the matter. How it had escalated into a talk of ethics and loyalties he would never know, nor did he care. He merely wanted to see this little venture to his finish and deal with his own problems.

Soelen... is it? I do recognize that nobody is perfect. If an Evil act is committed but swiftly atoned and the person that committed it really strives not to do it again, I will lend all my help to this hypothetical person in his redemption. I do not hold anybody else to the high standard I imposed on myself, that would be unfair.

As per your other question, the halfling caressed his beardless chin, I do not understand. Good and Evil are not subjective forces, as you very well know they are alive and clear cut, that is why magic can unequivocably detect them. An Evil act is always an Evil act, no matter who the judge is or what the intentions are.

He started walking toward the beach. You read my mind about sinking the bodies in the sea. Let's load them with stones and put them in the boat. Nature willing we can perform the rites and leave quickly

Soelen can't resist correcting the halfling. "Yes, my name is Soelen, I don't think I caught yours? You were always quiet on the ship. And yes, the universe has objective standards for what constitutes a good, an evil, a lawful or a chaotic act. I agree. However, the spells Detect Good, Detect Evil, Detect Chaos, and Detect Law are far more limited. What they can do is detect auras and the powers of auras. Yes, if a man does a sufficient number of evil acts, his aura will eventually detect as Evil under magic. However, back-tracing exactly which acts qualified is something that we, as men, have only limited competence at. That was what I meant by the valiant efforts of some scholars to correlate the stories of people who detected as Good, Evil, Lawful, or Chaotic with particular acts that caused them to detect as such. Further, these books don't provide exact guidelines for the more exotic sorts of situations that nations and groups of people often find themselves in. To do that, you would need a powerful sort of divination, or to Call --in the summoning sense-- and talk to a Celestial creature or other entity who has an innate understanding of the concepts, or be a person who can commune with the universe or powerful and powerfully Good entities in such a way to get meaningful guidance -- which is something that an astonishingly small amount of people can do."

Robyn shrugs as she starts dragging bodies toward the shore. "I don't claim to be a particularly good or particularly evil person. I will act as I see fit to my own conscience, and although I am willing to discuss my choices in a philosophical sense and listen to reasonable arguments; I am not about to let anyone chide me because I'm not living up to their standards or faith. So as far as attempted redemption goes, handle me with kid gloves, or you won't have to worry about whether or not to stay with us... you'll have to worry about whether I will let you." She drops the current body and looks at the halfling, "I don't mean to be argumentative here, as we're just starting to work together and I would like it to go well, but I am an agent of the Empire." She pulls out the envelope which she has up to this point kept, and shakes it vigorously before putting it away. "I am on a mission, with specific goals. I'm sure you will be able to contribute to those goals, but if your ethics start getting in the way of what we need to do to follow our orders, there will be... trouble."


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