174. Crime and punishment

174. Crime and punishment

The Redguard envoy is demanding the execution of Sir Hughes for the murder of King Fahara’jhad’s daughter, whilst Sir Edmund pleads for leniency, claiming Sir Hughes mind and actions were not his own.

Once more it would appear that the greatest threat to this Covenant comes not from forces without, but from friends within.  Yet that is not the whole truth.  There is always to be found an outside influence, whispering, persuading, guiding, and corrupting.  It is in the minds of every individual that this battle for Tamriel will be fought and eventually won or lost.  I wonder that we are still able to trust at all, but we do, because in spite of everything we believe we still share the same ideals and principles of those about us.

I find it difficult to believe however that you can make somebody do something they really don’t want to do, even under the influence of witchcraft and sorcery.  To manipulate someone into such an immoral action, you would surely have to work on something that already exists inside of them.  A buried sentiment perhaps, a bigotry born of ignorance, or a misogamy born of naiveté.

Or perhaps it was just that the weight of duty was too much for him, and he desperately needed somebody to lift that burden of responsibility.  That he is guilty of nothing more than an inability to cope with expectation.

Sir Hughes is not a bad man, he is a weak man.

Is being weaker than required a crime worthy of execution?  Is total culpability the price of responsibility?  Is the guilt of Sir Hughes not that he committed such a repugnant act, but that he shed his responsibility for his own actions?

As a soldier the answer I give is this… 

A man is nothing but what he makes of himself.

S.K

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