I sat watching Naegel through the night. He had passed out shortly after Koda had ministered a potent herb that put him to sleep before he began the painstaking work to repair the damage from the arrows.
Arrows are such tiny things, but the damage they cause is extensive. I feared for my brother’s life, many a night as he tossed and turned beneath the thin blanket that I was hard pressed to keep on his perspiring and burning form. The fever wracked his body for days before it finally loosed him from its grip. I could breathe easily now that I knew he would pull through.
His eyes opened and though they seemed milky in their focus, the soon cleared as he looked around and jerked to a sitting position.
I placed a hand on his shoulder and pressed him down as he looked at me with shock and swallowed hard.
“Falon, it is you.” His words were raspy as he held a hand to his injured and bandaged shoulder.
“It is indeed.” I held a wooden cup to his lips and he swallowed a few mouthfuls of the water gratefully.
He stared at me the whole time and I tried not to squirm underneath his censuring gaze. “We thought you had long since died.”
“Better that than the truth.”
“Anger flashed in his eyes and he sat up while clenching his fist and his jaw. I had forgotten as he lay ill how large of a man my younger brother had become.
“Why? Why didn’t you let us know that you were alive?”
Anger roiled in me as well. He had no idea what had prompted my decision. “And what? Have mother eating her heart out with worry? Have each of you waiting for a return that would never be possible? To have each of you questioned and perhaps hurt in the hopes that they would get my whereabouts from you? I needed you all to be strong and be able to go on without me. It was easier for you that way.”
A flicker of understanding passed through his face and he clenched and unclenched his fists. ‘But to let us think that you were dead?”
“I did what had to be done.”
He gulped, and though he seemed skeptical, I could still tell that he had accepted my explanation to some degree.
He looked around the crude hutch that he had been housed in.
“I know it’s not much, but it’s home.”
“You live here?” He gaped at me, then at thee crude lodgings, little better than sleeping on the floor in the woods with a few sticks to call walls and a roof.
“Seems that way.”
“What do I do now? I’m obligated to inform my captain that you all are here.”
“You could always stay.”
He stared at me as if that was the most insane suggestions he had ever heard. And it might have been. But it had some merit. I could see that he thought so too by the look of doubt that crept into his face.
I might win this argument yet.
Okay! Whew! Not sure there is going to be more. I mean, that’s a pretty satisfying ending, right? This writing prompt turned serial lasted about a month. . . So. . . What did you think?
By God’s Grace,