It had been two days since last they roused her from her lonely cell. Dazed and bitter, her patient had only just discovered the severity of his injury and what his last fight cost him. Still feverish and groggy from the poppy essence she’d given him to dull the pain, his awareness was sharp. He asked for water and she made the mistake of telling him her name. Then he sent her away from him again and had not called her back to tend to him since.
She wondered if the fever gripped him. At night when she did manage sleep, she dreamed she was leading him once more away from the dark path that would take him to death. From a distance she watched herself cradling his head in her lap, running fingers through his hair and promising him that everything would be all right, but even she didn’t believe that. Not for Taven Grimmbane, and certainly not for herself.
It was a strange thing that she worried for him. She found herself stretching her neck and peering through the branches of her cell whenever someone moved near the tent. More than once she thought to ask after him, but she already knew her inquiries would yield silence.
With nothing but time and her own thoughts to occupy her, she replayed every moment since her capture over and over again in her head. It would have been so easy to kill him and end her suffering prematurely. A part of her hated herself when she thought about it. She was already dead, what did it matter if he killed her once he was strong enough to draw the string on his bow again, or if one of his men slit her throat on the river banks and tossed her in so the fish could feast on her bones?
The Pigslayer would go on to kill hundreds, maybe thousands more just like her, burn villages to the ground and continue sowing contempt for hundreds of years to come.
She could have stopped it.
She had plenty of chances. Before he woke and demanded they bring her to him that last time, they left her alone with him while she worked her healer’s magic, guarding the tent from beyond the flaps that held the wind at bay as she muttered prayers and drew upon Sosennah’s grace and light. She asked the goddess to spare him, and she meant those prayers, every word. But more than once during the tenuous, fevered display of fits and confusion, his body reacting violently to the infection and the poppy, she could have killed him quietly and none would have ever been the wiser.
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