|Chapter 21: Mother's Child|
"Hear me." His words were directed at the First now--words as hard as chips of flint. "Among our people, the old tellers speak often of the Bloodguard who served the former Lords of the Land--and of Kevin Landwaster, who wrought the Ritual of Desecration. In that mad act, the old Lords met their end, for they were undone by the desecration. And so also should the Bloodguard have ended. Had they not taken their Vow to preserve the Lords or die? Yet they endured, for Kevin Landwaster had sent them from him ere he undertook the Ritual. They had obeyed, not knowing what lay in his heart.
"From that obedience came doubt among the Bloodguard, and with doubt the door to Corruption was opened. The failure of the Bloodguard was that they did not judge Kevin Landwaster--or did not judge him rightly. Therefore Corruption had its way with the old Lords and with the Bloodguard. And the new Lords would have likewise fallen, had not the ur-Lord accepted upon himself the burden of the Land.
"Now I say to you, we will not err in that way again. The purity of any service lies in those who serve, not in that which they serve, and we will not corrupt ourselves by trust of that which is false.
"Hear you, Giant?" he concluded flatly. "We will not again fail of judgment where judgment is needed. And we have judged this Linden Avery. She is false--false to the ur-Lord, false to us, false to the Land. She sought to slay Ceer in his last need. She is the hand of Corruption among us. There must be retribution."