Tears for a Traitor

Yazelern materialized before the gates of Garashent, where Olemnashial lay weeping. Arellesria had said he would find her here, mourning for everything Liralian had stood for.

Yazelern stared up at the gates, sick at heart, imagining his old friend trapped beyond. Was she still raging against Ruzenathra’s injustices, or had she been struck by remorse over her own crime? Either way, the Sovereign would show her no mercy.

Yazelern’s shoulders sagged. He wondered if there was more he could have done to keep Liralian from this course. Everyone knew she was afraid, bewildered and damaged. Her Citadel lay in ruins; she had done nothing to rebuild it. She had not been herself for years.

The person she had been before might be gone forever, now.

Liralian would utterly lose her mind in Garashent. When she returned to the outside world, she would not even have a home to remind her of who she once was. Many of her writings were preserved in Yazelern’s library, but perhaps she would not recognize the thoughts she had once expressed – and perhaps it would be better if she forgot her struggle against Ruzenathra.

“Come, Olemnashial,” said Yazelern gently. “There is no use in lingering here.”

Olemnashial raised her head. “Is there really nothing you can do?”

“You know I have no influence with the Sovereign. And – and perhaps it is not even right that Liralian should be freed. She tried to murder Mendaran. How can we forgive her for that?”

Olemnashial looked away sharply, tears glinting on her cheeks. “If Lady Liralian is to be punished, why is Lady Ruzenathra not also punished? She broke the Truce of Elanthar, stormed your Citadel, tormented you in her dungeons –”

Yazelern flinched. “Olemnashial, enough!”

“There is no justice in Shekruvaris!”

“You will be punished if you are heard to speak so!” Yazelern’s gaze darted to the shadows. “The Sovereign will not be pleased to know that you have come here to weep over a traitor.”

Olemnashial arose. “I’m not the only one who speaks against the Sovereign. If not for the Scepter of Xathun, we would all have risen against her.”

“She claims that her regime will endure forever.”

“No regime endures forever.” Olemnashial folded her arms, turning away from the gates. “Barezeth will rise again.”

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