|Chapter 17: The Spoiled Plains|
"It was not the vision of the Giant-Raver which horriefied me. It was my--my own people.
"Ah! Stone and Sea! They appalled me. I stormed at them--I ran through The Grieve like a dark sea of madness, howling at their abandonment, raging to strike one spark of resistance in the drenched tinder of their hearts. But they--they put away their tools, and banked their fires, and made ready their homes as if in preparation for departure--" Abruptly, his suppressed passion broke into a cry. "My people! I could not bear it! I fled them with abjection crowding at my heart--fled them lest I, too, should fall into their dismay. Therefore they were slain. I who might have fought the Raver deserted them in the deepest blackness of their need." Unable to contain himself any longer, he heaved to his feet. His raw, scourged voice rasped thickly in his throat. "I am unclean. I must--wash."
Holding himself stiffly upright, he turned and lumbered away toward the river.
The helplessness of Covenant's pain came out as anger. His own voice shook as he muttered to Bannor, "If you say one word to blame him, I swear--"
Then he stopped himself. He had accused Bannor unjustly too often in the past; the Bloodguard had long ago earned better treatment than this from him. But Bannor only shrugged. "I am a Haruchai," he said. "We also are not immune. Corruption wears many faces. Blame is a more enticing face than others, but it is none the less a mask for the Despiser."