~ The Rain ~

Long after he had watched Lady Fiora’s party disappear down the road, he remained seated where he had eaten midday meal with them. He couldn’t get over how she had been healed. One day had accomplished what would normally take weeks. And the way those men had rallied to protect her? Stolen their hearts, she had. Every last one of ‘em. She was lucky to be in such good company, Nivia among them if he’d read the Lady’s worried glances at the other woman correctly.  That was good. She would need them all if she were to survive the coming storm…

He did not move from the fire, stalling the inevitable as long as he could. But eventually the scraping of boot on leaves approached from the west and sent chills down his spine. Commander Garvis limped into the clearing with a mocking sneer plastered on his face. He did not look too terrible for having one bolt in his thigh and another through his sword arm just a day ago. Nothing near as incredible as Fiora’s healed wound but good enough for an old man’s medicine if he did say so himself. He wondered, though, if it would not have been better to leave the man’s wounds to fester. He shrugged to himself. He was still bound by duty to the man and he would see his duty through for The Wisdom.

“Well, old timer,” Garvis snorted at him, “you sure weren’t exaggerating when you said you’d talked your way out of a gutting with your silver tongue. You were the perfect picture of old friends catching up! Why with your jaw a waggling the whole time, they barely had time to get a word in edgewise.” Just as this ‘old timer’ had planned. He thought to himself smugly. Heal his wounds, yes, but help him extract information that could put the Lady in danger? Never. “It was quite a gleaming performance,” the commander went on, still mocking, but turning to an air of disdain. “A little too silver for my tastes. Why’d you tell them about the earth healers, eh? That information is classified.” 

He took his time in responding, not deigning to meet the ‘former’ commander’s glare. “I was making conversation, as I would have if you had not been lurking behind the bushes ready to pounce at any moment, sir. Anything less and it would have been suspicious.” Garvis growled his displeasure but did not argue. It was a pity. Garvis had been a good man not so long ago; loyal with descent morals, but this ambush… this failure… he was a changed man. 

The End

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