"Judgment in the eyes of the holy has been passed. You may pronounce divine judgment in the eyes of our god upon the next."
Releasing a breath he didn't realize he was holding, Renault felt something wash over him - a stirring of the heart, of the spirit. Stepping back from the bars, Renault's stance seemed uncertain, like he was afraid of falling.
Choosing instead to sit, Renault drew his knees in towards his chest and rested his head upon them, as if trying to imitate a posture of prayer. But no prayer formed, either on his lips or in his thoughts.
Quentin was next to be judged, and met his invitation with confidence born of apparent contempt. Mighty and indomitable as the gods were, the most irreverent of mortals only had to look up to spit in their eye. The priest's response was measured and thoughtful, echoing sermons of the temple. Though the more jaded among them might have found the priest's words to be not more than waxing theology, Renault felt a silent comfort. It was something beyond nostalgia...homesickness. He remembered the years spent in the temple back home, the fresh air perfumed by the censer's incense; priests in their ornate ceremonial robes, and Renault, himself in resplendent plate armor, bearing the sword-and-shield of his faith.
Then he remembered the sound of that same armor stripped and scattered upon the cold marble floor; his cloak torn from his shoulders, and his blade sheathed within the fabric. Grimly, Renault swallowed hard. No...this meant nothing.
Looking up to see the priest walk away from their cell, Renault could only hear his voice calling to Gorosk, offering Erithar's unbiased judgment even to one of 'cursed blood', as it was said. With the same words echoed now a third time, Renault knew only one remained: the pseudo-giantess Vah'Lux.
Puzzled, Renault was unsure on how a Goliath would perceive such a ritual, and how Erithar would reconcile it. The woman was silent, a stoic defense that neither admitted guilt nor professed innocence. She would not submit to justice or try to resist the spell, but simply weather it. Renault had to wonder if such endurance was a hallmark of her people, or a trait acquired through discipline and hardship.
With the words spoken a fourth and final time, both men withdrew from the prison and made way toward the entrance. Unable to discern what was being said, Renault reasonably pieced together that it had something to do with the test they had all been subject to, and what that meant for their final fates.
Rising again to his feet, Renault decided that he would accept his sentence with whatever small grace he could muster from within the cell. From the very first words spoken by the town justice, Renault found himself speechless aside from a choked sound he was unable to restrain. Innocent in the eyes of the divine. Renault struggled to even process the words as they were spoken. For seven years, he had felt his guilt upon his back, against his chest, and wrapped around his ankles. It was a part of him now. But for a moment - and only a moment - it felt as if the weight had been lifted.
"Have the guilty anything to say before the justice?"
Half-afraid and half-uncertain, the dangling glimmer of hope that their sentence held in front of it drew Renault's eyes, and with it, an assuredness he hadn't felt in years.
"We will not fail."