The old man feels the cold metal in his hand: he clutches it before reluctantly handing the weapon to his protégé. He could have faced the same trials that he now puts his student to: he could have been a hero had he devoted his life to it. Instead he has run from this all his life. Only now, when the darkness is at its peak, when no further choices are left–he is forced to act. He takes some comfort in the fact that he is too old to fight. He can shift the responsibility to another.
Curiously, he doesn’t feel any better at all when his student leaves, the young boy’s shoulders somehow broader than they were before. He feels worse.