Flo left this page to me and said, “Honestly torn on whether Penk should bench Rana. Your call.” At the time, I didn’t think twice about my answer, but now I’d probably say, “Fair question.” As leader, Penk is responsible for everyone under his command. If he always chooses compassion for the few or the one, he’ll end up a Ned Stark: too honor-bound to be effective. It’d be better for almost anyone’s mental health not to have to fight in a war, but he can’t afford to reduce his forces to volunteers only. So is this a job for Compassionate Penk, who can tell Hammerhead “I respect you” and mean it even as Hammerhead withdraws his forces from the Rebellion? Or is it a job for Pragmatic Penk, who can kill even his father figure for the good of trollkind?

Trick question! It’s a job for both. Rana isn’t just anyone: he’s a Champion, and therefore, how Penk treats him will be talked about. Rana is skilled enough that he might have taken down ten to forty enemies, maybe another whole airship, before his exhaustion and carelessness did him in. But letting him commit suicide by war would do much greater harm to Penk’s side in terms of morale. I’m not sure if that calculus enters Penk’s thinking here: he may just be following his compassionate instincts. But his choice is still the right one, by every metric.

(Love Flo’s use of “caught a madness for it,” too. Trolls are brave and tough, but they know to fear madness in all its forms.)

FB: The World’s Rebellion doesn’t have a trauma center per se: they handle it in more of an open-mic format.