The Color of Tears

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Dear readers,

welcome back to Badal'Shari! A few words in advance: this story was the very beginning of the whole Legends of Badal'Shari-project. I wrote it back in 2006 in German and now finally came around to translating and editing it to share it with you. You'll probably notice a few themes and dynamics that I used again later in my other stories and took more time there to explore them. But this is where it all started... Please have fun reading!

For those of you who are obsessed with continuity: This story takes place ten rainy-seasons after the main plot of "Song of Souls" and seven rainy-seasons before the epilogue. I made a point in including Kavarim and Jelenar in "Song of Souls" because I knew one day I'd share their story with you. Also please note that I do not share or condone the portrayed view and treatment of disabled people.

The priests at the temple of Adan looked up in surprise as a deep, angry voice sounded from the entrance of their usually quiet halls.

"Adir's flames, I can walk! Who do you think I am? Let go, damn it!"

"It's for your best, Commander. Nobody knows as much about healing as the priests of Adan, and our field medic can't do any more for you," a much more calm and tired voice replied. "Now, please stop struggling."

One of the servants of the temple dared to come forward to greet the newcomers, as it was custom. Two old and scarred veterans of the narif'adir, the elite soldiers of Al'Menara, stood at the entrance, flanking a third man whose blood-covered clothing only hinted at the rank of Commander. He struggled against the firm grip of his subordinates and only seemed to make his injuries worse.

The servant bowed. "Welcome to the halls of Adan. Please follow me to our healers."

As the three men followed her slowly, the servant gestured one of her fellows to fetch the High Priestess.

As they reached the vast infirmary of the temple, the healers wanted to take over the commander, but he slapped their hands away. "Adan's temple is for pregnant women and old men! I'm fine!"

"You do not look fine to me," a woman in gold-embroidered clothing remarked as she entered the room. The servants and priests bowed before her. She wasn't young anymore, but her beauty had been enhanced with the dignity of age. "I am Nuriven, High Priestess of this temple. Welcome, Kavarim Di'Uzra, Commander of the brave narif'adir."

She got a dark look as a reply, but Kavarim stopped fighting against the healers.

"Commander Di'Uzra was wounded during an attack of the sessera at the Wall, noble Lady," one of the veterans reported. "Our field medic could stop the bleeding for the most part, but everything else..."

Nuriven raised her hand in a calming gesture. "Do not worry. The Commander is safe with us. Do enjoy our hospitality today and then return to your troops with new strength."

The soldiers bowed, and when a nod from their superior dismissed them as well, they left the room.

Nuriven stepped closer to Kavarim, whose upper garments had been removed by the servants in the meantime. Underneath the dried blood was a soaked bandage around the right shoulder as well as more bandages around the arm. Nuriven removed the dressings personally and frowned as she inspected the discolored wound edges.

"Poisoned sessera blades, am I right?" she asked.

Kavarim growled. "I survived worse than this. Do your work and let me go home."

Nuriven smiled slightly. "You are a stubborn man, Commander, but it is not that easy." She motioned for a healer to get her some ointments. "The wound is serious, and you must stay here under our supervision. Al'Menara cannot afford to lose her bravest soldier. And if you do not let me help you, you will be lucky if you just lose your arm."

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