Of course it had changed him… he pitied the man all the more. What father could survive with a whole heart after finding their son dead? Murdered, even. Stone cold dead with a bolt through his rib cage. The Commander had wept bitterly for hours rocking Wendon in his arms. He had led his son to his death… Of course he would come out of it with just as big a hole through his soul as his son’s shallowly buried corpse now held in his chest.
Still this wizened soul had lost its respect for Garvis the second he began to thrown foul ‘Wisdom forbidden’ curses at every single deity known to Kavaccet. He’d vowed torturous vengeance on Lady Fiora’s rescuers and as a healer… the old man had cringed. But what could he do? Nothing without going back on the vows he’d made before The Wisdom herself.
Besides, he had not the strength to confront Garvis even in his weakened condition. He had to trust that the Lady Fiora and her escorts could outrun or at least out-fight the shell of the man that stood before him now. “Still, I managed to glean that they are headed for the Pass of Enundale,” the healer stood and finally met the stare of cold eyes. “You know where they are off to now,” he said encouragingly.
“I already knew where they were headed, fool!” Garvis growled.
He ignored the outburst keeping his light tone. “You can easily overtake them if you ride through the night, though…” Still he stalled, for the Lady’s sake. “…you might want to wait and avoid the rain. We could head back to Brittner together. Another day of rest would do you good.”
Garvis looked at him thoughtfully. “That would be the wiser option,” he nodded and the old man smiled. One small victory for the Lady, he thought as he started to gather his things. “Before we leave,” the commander continued, “I must thank you with a gift.” White haired eyebrows lifted in hesitant curiosity. A gift? What could the man possibly be thinking of giving him? “It’s something I think you missed back at camp,” he explained with a too friendly smile. Too late, the healer understood.
The younger man’s movement was fierce and quick, like the good trained warrior he was. The pain that ripped through the once jovial belly was more than an aged body could take and knees immediately buckled collapsing with no struggle. Not-so-surprised eyes stared at the bloodied dagger in Garvis’s hand. “You missed out on your gutting, old man,” he laughed harshly, “I thought it only proper to make sure you received it as well you deserved.”
With fading eyes the healer looked down at his own guts as they spilled from his body. Since the day he’d been promised medical training by the Wisdom he’d always wondered what it would be like to be on the other side of the table, knowing your wounds were too grievous even for the best of the town healers.
Well, now he knew.
The wind tousled his hair one last time as darkness stole the sunlight and blessedly eased the pain. His last thought was of The Lady… and if she would remember his name.