A lesser version of Syr’Nj…like the version we saw in Chapter 37, still reeling from the death of Byron and break with Bandit Keynes…would not have reached out to E-Merl so much even while leaving him on the bench. This talk will have zero direct impact on the plot (the winter elves won’t know a way), but I think it matters to Syr’Nj and E-Merl a lot as characters. These two haven’t often clicked, but their bereavement unites them…and that allows Syr’Nj to talk E-Merl back from his feelings that no one is truly on his side here, which otherwise might’ve blossomed into a worse moment than this.

It’s no small promise Syr’s making! There could’ve been some occult technique to bring back Rachel that required weeks of study. It could’ve come at some unspecified price. But if she’d ask Gravedust to do such things for Byron, then according to her principles, Rachel and E-Merl would deserve no less.

Would E-Merl have actually freaked out and attacked in rage if it had been a winter elf shutting him down here? I don’t know. Probably not if it was Weo: I don’t think E-Merl was ever so far gone that he’d hurt an innocent child. But the fact that I have to think about it means I can totally see why he’s not coming.