He hears the River Vassa in his sleep, a line that haunts his life into before and after.

Before he committed treason. After they were pardoned.

Kel tells him to stop thinking about it that way. He followed her into Scanra; he should be able to follow her out. Some orders cannot be completed, Merric says, but the stubborn look in her face defies description.

I will save you, it tells him, I will save you from the treacherous river. I will save you from your injuries, and I will save you from this war.

He's always followed her orders.