The group (some wondering if Aria was okay, some out of curiosity, and some because they had nothing better to do at the moment) followed Ackerak after he gently lifted Aria's limp form off the ground with one hand and carried her back to camp. It was obvious to everybody just how much Aria meant to all of them. She was more than their leader... it was as if to them she was their child.
Ackerak gently lay Aria down on a cot and turned to Venice. "Get the medicine."
Venice nodded, and opened his bag, pulling out a herb and proceeding to mash it up with water. Ackerak turned to the group. "Ya all must be wonderin' why she passed out like that. Now you'll get yur answer if ya watch closely now."
Venice opened Aria's shirt and a long, serpentlike scar ran across her chest. Venice quickly applied the medicine and then instructed Ackerak. "Carefully flip her over."
As he did so, Drace raised his eyebrows wen he saw her back: whip scars. Lots of whip scars. Very old and very painful... just a single moment of this girl's life was pain. So how did she manage to continue to smile?
After Venice applied the last of the medicine, he bandaged her up and ordered everybody to wait outside.
"What... exactly... happened to her?" Drace couldn't keep it to himself any longer.
"She was someone's slave... before she couldn't take it anymore and murdered her master's in cold blood."
"Is that what she meant? The pain she was talking about before she passed out?"
"Trust me... whatever happened to her before was nothing compared to the emotional trauma she had placed upon her a few weeks ago. Something happened to her then, and I'm not certain what. But whatever it was, it turned her from cold blooded bandit into that sweet girl you got to know... but don't let it fool you: it's an act. She can't function properly anymore, not without that personality. If she tried, she'd end up a crying mess."
Everyone remained silent. Suddenly they heard Aria wake up and she stepped out.
"Ugh... what happened?"