I suspect this latest page is going to get a bit of discussion going, so let me add a little fuel to this little bonfire.
There were four distinct resolutions I considered as I plotted out exactly where this went.
1) The path they eventually decided to take, with the shaman taking the infamy of what happened to “protect” what was being built of barbarian society. It’s inherent problem should be obvious… the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It only works as long as the public remains ignorant of what really happened. But how would said public ever learn the truth? The evidence is being disposed of pretty well, and anything that is found can be pretty easy be pinned on Sturm. It’s not like there’s anyone with the power to see through the veil of time, who has even better natural talent with the vision magic Sturm poss… oh.
2) Exiling Sturm for his “crimes.” It follows the same problem as the first… with the additional problem that exiling such an elderly man would potentially be seen as cruel (a quick execution being seen as more merciful than a slow death at the hands of the Wild North) and perhaps even showing a hint of weakness to be unable to simply end the problem face to face.
3) Facing the truth head on. While the “honorable” solution, it’s one of the most potentially disastrous. Tensions among the tribes are very high. Wyll’s been running a tightrope just to keep them all on the same page. To learn that the Matron had not only tried to kill Wyll-Line, but also sought to preserve the Ash Tribe’s old way would very likely result in a civil war… a civil war that would likewise end any hope of a peace treaty with the Rus. The threat of the entire Wild North erupting into a bloody conflict is a very real possibility. Could it be much ado about nothing? Could the better parts of barbarian society stifle the dissent before it got to that point? Maybe… but my experience with human history tells me that would be fairly unprecedented. Would that be a risk you would be willing to take with so much at stake?
4) (This one was one that I actually entertained up until I actually scripted this page… and you can tell from the previous one) Peonie intervenes, and offers the support of the Grand Luminary Alliance to help Wyll-Line squash any potential uprising that would occur by declaring the truth of the matter. But… Lord oh Lord, would that be a powder keg when you think about it. The problem here is one of perception… no matter how noble your intentions, when you impose yourself on matters that do not directly involve you, the response from the parties involved tend to be resentment. Try it sometime when you see an argument… go ahead, butt in with a solution. Watch as both sides don’t take kindly to your interference. A similar problem would face Alliance interests… they would not be seen as keeping the peace; they would be seen by a great many as an invader, a foreign entity occupying their native land. While not as bloody as a civil war, it would have a prolonged effect on any attempts to a long-term stable region.
When I write these sort of “moral” conundrums, one thing I don’t ask myself is, “Which one is the best option in the long run?” I don’t particularly like that question, because it assumes that the characters involved both know the circumstances, and have the foresight to see the consequences of their actions.
Instead, I ask, “What would this character do?” And sometimes, that isn’t the best choice. Sometimes we, as people, make the wrong or less ideal choice either because we lack all the information needed or have to hastily make a decision in the available amount of time. Sometimes there isn’t a “best” choice that can be made to begin with. And when all come into play at once… well, good luck.
Wyll-Line doesn’t have the time to weigh all his options. He has to make a fairly hasty decision. Did he make the right one? Was there a right choice? I honestly don’t know… and that’s kinda the “fun” in it.