Showing Your Colors

Tormenoth Interlude July 2022

Shifting Shadows

As Tormenoth paced briskly between classes and shops, trying valiantly to keep up with his studies despite long absences in the field, he could not stop seeing dark shapes in the corners of his vision. He was finding lately that every obscured face reminded him momentarily of the black mask, and every new passerby seemed to pause a little longer than usual and be about to say something to him. It was surely his imagination, but the layers of complexity and intrigue were getting to him.

How could it be right for the Black Tally Society to take the law into their own hands, and circumvent the justice system? That cut against everything he had stood for over many decades, where laws and policies were the only thing carving sense into a world of shades of gray. Without a legal structure, each local leader would easily be able to see themselves as virtuous and their opponents as immoral, without even realizing the bias they fell naturally into. Uniting the judge, jury, and executioner into a single person had been a recipe for corruption throughout history. The codification of laws and rules in the empires and their houses were the underpinning of society and some semblance of fairness.

And yet… hadn't that same justice system failed so many, and disappointed him at so many turns? He had seen so many times that those in power could use their wealth and station to pervert and twist the law with sickening ease, to the detriment of the vulnerable. The difference between direct and backdoor exploitation was wearing thin on him as he saw it play out time and again. It was that very lack of faith that caused him to strike out on a new career after his tour of guard service ended.

Zap's explanation of a certain kind of morality in the Society was a system that seemed, if not clearly good, at least a new possibility for societal advancement. Maybe there was space for judgments by peers, to be reviewed on the strength of appeals to history and logic. This would require Tormenoth to take on more personal responsibility for his actions, something which both frightened and excited him.

Thus, he was constantly turning over in his head how he would respond the next time he ran into one of those dark shadows and needed to make a quick decision to mete out or deny 'justice'. He jumped anxiously and played out the conversations in his head over and over throughout the day. The upcoming contest his team faced in the Colors was not the only thing Black looming in his worries…

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