Merror leaned against the veranda rail, looking out across Lake Kanae as his companions spoke their minds. The serenity of the afternoon sun on the water was at odds with the talk of hunting demons and curing giants, but in the end that was no bad thing. It was always good to be reminded of what you fought for...and that even the most beautiful things were not safe from the shadows. After all, it was into that very lake that very lake that he had once plummeted, trying in vain to save Tamaru's life from the fate Makuta had decreed...
He stayed there, his back to the gathering but very much a presence, as he listened to Cael's words, then Tuara's. Only when Valria spoke did he turn, as she voiced what he had half-expected to hear.
"I'll join you to hunt Echelon," he said when she'd finished, "but there's something we need to agree on."
Just as all eyes had turned to Valria, Merror felt everyone's gaze upon him.
"Maybe Echelon does need to die. Not everyone can be redeemed. But if we do kill him, then we can't do it out of anger, or fear, or hatred - we do it because it's the only thing we can do."
Merror's voice was strong and stern but not accusatory. He knew that anger well.
"If we let those things into our hearts, allow them to dictate our actions, we'll become the very thing we fight against."
He gave Dorian a very meaningful look.
"That's how evil works," he continued. "There are Echelons and Utus in each one of us, and nothing gives them greater strength than killing out of want. I have lived a long life, and I have seen people fall because they gave in to that rage. There is a reason the Code forbids killing."
He looked sadly at Valria.
"Believe me, Valria, I know the pain you feel. I've fought that rage for a very long time. Before this...before the Astha...I had a Toa Team. It's a long and painful story, but suffice it to say, I watched them die at the hands of Echelon and his kind because I failed to see the trap that was set for us. I've spent my life trying to atone for that, but I never let it destroy me. You say that when you killed Telric it didn't make things better - remember that - and don't let yourself make the same mistake again, the mistake of giving in to your anger. It's good that you can see it, and I believe you have the strength to do the right thing."
Merror walked over to her, placed a hand on her shoulder, and looked earnestly into her eyes. He hoped she would not feel he was preaching to the choir because in many ways his words echoed hers, but the line had to be drawn; everyone present had to understand this.
"Be strong," he said gently. "As I said, there's a reason the Code forbids killing - but there's also a reason it permits it as a last resort. There's no shame in killing Echelon, if we do it for the right reasons. Just make sure we do do it for the right reasons."