Left under orders by the centurion herself Uiyaejn directed the other soldiers into carefully lifting the body along the dirt pathway. Shamed by their actions the Raskithecal that followed obeyed her command thanks to the influence of the centurions. Estranged by the feeling of several large burly snake men treading in her footsteps, Uiyaejn remained silent as they walked through the villages to find the home of this man.
"Does anyone know this man?" she would sometimes ask, hoping to garner the attention of someone who might recognise his face. Hundreds of eyes peered across to the small party, watching the shamed soldiers walking with their heads down in the wake of a small, foreign healer. "I do," a man dressed in white and brown rags stepped out from behind a merchant stall "him and his wife used to buy apples for their kids, he was a blacksmith. Brave lad. What happened?"
Inhaling a deep breath Uiyaejn could suddenly feel a great weight fall upon her shoulders as she turned to eye the soldiers who stared back at her, filled with guilt. "An accident that shouldn't have happened," she started as she returned her attention to the man "we would like to bring the body to his family for a proper burial. I could not heal him back to life, but on behalf of the legion we would wish to honour his passing with the people he loved in life."
Bowing his head at the mention of the legion, there was a new found air of respect in the man's eyes "I do not know where he lives. Though there might be somebody at his smithy that does. Follow me," the kind stranger offered and Uiyaejn agreed, signalling the Raskithecal to follow.
Quatre of a break passed before the finally reached the smithy 'Fools and Silver,' it was a small little place with pale stone walls stained by soot and aromas of burning metal, somebody was still in there. Uiyaejn gave the door a gentle knock "Imperial Guard and Healer," her soft clear voice called through the window.
"Gimme a mo'!" a man's voice called from the inside, he sounded young. Patiently waiting Uiyaejn could see the soldiers grew restless carrying the stinking dead body through town, garnering attention from almost every corner. A few bits went by and eventually a young man dressed in a thine white shirt and brown leather breeches opened the door. He was a burly boy with dark curled hair, brown eyes and a strongly defined jaw " 'ello, sorry 'ad t' finish sumthin' off. What can I do fo' ya?" he said, his eyes wandering Uiyaejn's features."Do you know this man?" she asked, pointing to the corpse held above the six Raskithecal's shoulders.
"Yea.." life suddenly drained from the young man's eyes and he looked to her "That was my boss, Dorin. 'ow..." Uiyaejn studied the man's reaction to death with curiosity, in the blink of an eye the friendly and charming smith boy had dropped into what she could see what a hurting man.
"The men that stand behind me were foolishly playing with a venomous snake, the creature was thrown in the way of your boss and he was bitten. I tried to save his life, but by the time I would have gotten him back to the infirmary he would be too far gone," she explained, gently pressing her hand against the man's arm to comfort him. Shocked the young smith nodded gravely and smiled, lifting away her hand away "I'll be alright," he lied.
Nervous she had done the wrong thing Uiyaejn nodded, briefly averting her eyes to floor. She was not good with people, in her youth she barely had the chance to talk to people let alone another man around her age. Bowing her head, an awkward silence lingered for a moment before she spoke again "Would you be able to tell me where I can find his family... we need to bury him," she said, her voice gradually getting lower the higher her nerves rose. Without anoher word the man nodded and offered to show her as a guide.
The day seemed endless and the journey to find the family was getting harder. Dorin's flesh was beginning to rot under the heat of the sun and it smelt worse than anything she had ever experienced. In order to prevent the smell Uiyaejn had to stop to buy a sheet to cover the body with, at least it might block the sun for a little while but was in the end a lost cause. Since the start of their journey their attention with the locals was few, which increased with their travels until they were eventually followed by a group of people, including a reporter. They had tried to stop them to ask questions and the Raskithecal's had ignored them, Uiyaejn on the other hand wasn't quite sure how to handle them.
"What happened here?", "Who is that person?", "Was it a murder?"
Question after question came at her and she was confused. Instead of paying them mind though, she took to the Raskithecal's example and ignored them until they finally reached the household. Fortunately the smell eventually drew the crowd to a distance as they watched the young smith knock against the door. "Ida! The legion's here to see you," he called, banging against the wood. In moments the door flung open and a young blonde dressed in a simple blue dress with white lace appeared at the door with a confused green eyes "What is going on Roy?" she asked with a worried tone.
Every muscle in the little healer's body was tense, this was the moment she had to tell the family their beloved was dead. Taking her first to step forward Uiyaejn bowed her head "Your friend lead us here. On behalf of the legion I have come here to apologise for the misgivings of the men who stand behind me, carrying the corpse of your husband."
Wide eyed with shock the woman slowly stepped forward "How?" bitterness filled Ida's voice as she turned to the healer "How did my husband die?"
Frightened by the anger in her voice, Uiyaejn swallowed and looked the woman straight in the eye "The men carrying him were playing with a snake, your husband was caught in the crossfire and got bitten."
A scowl entered the woman's features "What are you? a healer? Why didn't you save him!" she demanded, shouting in Uiyaejn's ear.
"I am an apprentice just traveled here from Desnind, I did what I could. The venom that took him was one of the more volatile. My Master taught me about the basics when I got here," she reflected on one of the many lessons Belgaryn had taught her on the journey over "For the small snakes, the more dangerous the venom. If you can't get the man the right medicine within thirty bits he was done for." Uiyaejn broke the contact of their eyes and looked back at the body "By the time we would have gotten him to infirmary he would have suffered, so I asked him if he would rather I try to lift him across the desert or die."
Perplexed the woman stared at the young girl before her in disbelief "You killed him," Ida muttered, eyes wet with tears "and what's worse you did it out of mercy." A pause settled in and the woman regained herself, glaring at the guards "Do you work for the legion healer?"
Uiyaejn didn't really know who she worked for, but in that very moment she considered herself at least a temporary member until this was resolved. "Yes, and... I... speak one the behalf of the centurion. The soldiers that did this to her will be punished," she muttered quietly, averting her eyes to the ground.
"You don't look convinced," the woman scowled, sizing up the several soldiers that stood in front of her then back to the healer "what will happen to them?"
Frantic to find an answer Uiyaejn searched her head for a logical solution, fortunately she came up with on "You will receive a report on their progress and here..." Uiyaejn took out a pouch of fifty gold nel and handed it to the woman "I don't have a lot and it won't bring your husband back, but please. On behalf of myself, use this to help look after your children. I would like it if he had a warrior's burial."
Ida's face softened at the gift the little healer offered and gracefully to the money "Please... just go, and make sure his body is cleaned." she asked of Uiyaejn.
Thankful not to have to face the animosity of a grieving wife "I will," the young healer bowed and turned to the warriors who looked at her as if expecting some kind of backlash, none came. Uiyaejn had no doubt in their mind that Verika's wrath was punishment enough, she could at least save their fear for a few more bits.
"Please could you lead the way?" she asked sweetly, marveling at their physique as they carried the corpse through the city. Nodding his head in reply, Hud eagerly lead the small platoon toward the infirmary where they left the corpse in the hands of the healers and they carried onward toward the centurion's residence. The moment of truth was upon them all, what did she want?