I've read a recently published story of Xin Zhao, "What Ones Sailed Free" by Michael Luo, and I was full on concerns. Even with all mercy, how could the King forgive the one who had "the blood of hundreds" on his hands? Why didn't Xin try to think of another life - while all known Ionians dream of piece and harmony? How can former enemy, captive, be invited to highest rank possible, after using a threat and what can be easily seen as bluff?
This course of actions seems just unnatural, factitious. I've shared my thoughts with friends and they seem to agree with the point.
So... I decided to transfer the dispute to the literature plane. See for yourself and I hope you enjoy it anyway._
...“My son, my life’s joy,” the king says, “how happy I am that you are here to witness this moment. To see for yourself why we must uphold our virtues, so others may aspire to do the same. Do you understand?”
“Yes, father,” the prince says, his voice small but firm. “But I think our virtues, above all, must be defended from people like this man.”
Jarvan III frowns for a split second, but his voice is soft and sincere. “Explain, my son.”
“I may be too young,” the boy starts speaking slowly, “but, father, you teach me to look into the ways of human nature, to see what truly motivates them. And I see that this Ionian is in the grip of despair, cruelty and false pride. He is not someone people would want to see beside their ruler. He is not someone I would want to see beside me.”
He looks at his father and the king nods - not to show his agreement, but to encourage the prince to go on.
“Xin Zhao speaks of mercy and his desire to fight for our people. But, father, he killed dozens of your subjects and didn’t say a word about redemption. All those Demacians were nothing but a grass under a sickle for him: Xin Zhao didn’t even care to mention them. And so will be forgotten any enemy he is ordered to eliminate, albeit us, father.”
The boy’s voice rings high but firm, a righteous voice of a crown prince.
“Xin Zhao speaks of us fighting for something else, something more important than the life itself, and he is right! But he doesn’t want to be a part of the nation - he wants to be among the best! He is used to his arena fame of "invincible", and after our army stood shoulder to shoulder and defeated the mob of insolent Reckoners Xin Zhao decides to join those who are stronger, because he sees his place amongst the best ones and believes that his killing skill is enough to be honoured with a place in the king’s guard.”
Jarvan Junior catches his breath and gives his father a look, but the king seems to be floating in his thoughts, so the prince goes on with his speech.
“Finally, Xin Zhao speaks of his homeland, how he yearns for its natural beauty, how the slavery made him ruthless. And I cannot imagine how rough his life has been. But instead of returning home, finding his family and starting a new life, however difficult it may be, he is looking for an easy way: he wants to carry on with his war. We are fighting to protect people of Demacia. He, on the other hand, is willing to fight only because he is frightened of doing something else. He couldn’t even think of any other way to prove his intentions other than to show us a threat.”
At last prince shakes his head and his voice becomes quiet and sad.
“Father, this man has been in the grip of Noxians for too long. He is too cold-hearted to become one of us and his faith in sword law is too strong. Winged Protector demands justice upon him for killing our soldiers, but I, like you, believe in mercy. I suggest we set him free to return to his homeland… and hope that Demacia never sees Raikkon Executioner again.”