This portal is anything but a deus ex machina. If you forge an alliance with the one culture capable of creating portals and don’t set up those portals as an emergency exit during a big battle where retreat could be crucial, then what are you even doing.

At least one reader speculated we might be setting Ardaic up to die (what if the portal needs to be closed on the far end to keep the explosion from coming through?) because of the way he lingers behind Byron. Honestly, we just wanted a good look at the poor guy’s face. Yes, he has saved Syr’Nj’s life, but only because Fr’Nj succeeded where he failed, and he has not saved the outpost that he and the others were there to protect, which suplexes him right in the patriotism.

…I’m… sure the rest of the patients we saw in that hospital will… be fine.