In their more lucid moments, the paladins would sometimes consider the past.
The word ‘paladin’ had died ages ago, of course. The advent of the Idols and the Edge ensured that. They did not agree, among their imperfect memories, which had come first. Kelling was adamant that the Idols had come first, but Percival simply did not remember a world that only contained one or the other. They were old souls, whose careers had been consumed by suspicion, turned too frequently to their own kin for trust to come easy. There was a silence that fell over a spirit, once the twin chains of ethics and evidence led them inexorably to those they had once called ‘friend’. Perhaps in an ancient forest or city these men had been hopeful, kind, servants of their societies whose humility and tenacity were inspirational. Maybe once they did not watch people the same way they did now, with flickering gaze that sought out wrongdoing, interpreted cruel actions as nature and not circumstance, and judged every step of the way, looking for that final piece of truth that would demand action. It was exhausting, but a soul could learn to endure anything, even the impossible dream that it demanded of itself.
That was what had drawn them together. Try as hard as they could to judge, minds locked in endless inquisition, they saw nothing in each other that was worth punishing, and in that found something unique, and worth preserving.
Kelling had come through the chaos of the Exodus, those camps and wagons that spread out across the plains outside of The City, before the walls were sealed entirely. It was suspicion, of course, that had drawn them to watch each other. The human was tall, but lanky, his expression carefully neutral rather than the desperate greed of the rest of his kind that moved among the Exodus’ camps. Where they sold trinkets, asked the elves to deliver letters to the world outside, offered aid or gouged prices for food, Kelling merely wandered among the camp, avoiding blocking anyone’s path, his chin set behind the strap of hair that circled it. When they noticed each other, the armor was most apparent. When was a paladin without their plate? It wasn’t long before they spoke, and it was not long before conversation turned to commiseration. Surprise was the first response. “I had not expected to find another.” they said. “Are we the last?”
Whatever disagreements they had, concerning Revenance, appropriate force or culture were set aside. It was good to have someone to not be suspicious of.