Braka, part one

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It was the first meeting after the escape, and as such it had much of a war council over it. Harbend was there, as were both of the escort captains, but neither Escha nor Gring were present. They were in the care of the magehealers, apparently headed by a yellow-eyed woman who had joined the caravan in a way Arthur was still unclear about.

At the moment, though, she was not with her patients, and he wondered what made her important enough to take part of the meeting. He didn't mind. She was pleasant enough to look at as long as you didn't take into consideration eyes that seemed to have seen too much. Arthur would have guessed her age at the late thirties despite her youthful appearance, but something he was unable to put his finger on hinted she was older. If the notion hadn't been so ridiculous he would have said she was older than himself, maybe by several decades.

Captain Laiden spent most of the time before the real meeting started with giving Captain Weinak uncomfortable glances she paid no heed. She in her turn looked at Harbend with eyes so hungry Arthur couldn't help laughing.

Chaijrild, Arthur thought, should have been allowed to take part of whatever was going to be said, but her mother had refused to leave the side of her daughter for as much as a moment, and Arthur could hardly say that he didn't understand.

Thinking of the girl made him uncomfortable. He had no wish to meet her mother anytime soon. How could he answer questions from her? Chaijrild was sure to have told Lianin about what he had done.

Hell, even the mother is younger than I am.

Arthur tried to rise, but his right leg wouldn't carry him and he sat down on his pallet again. The magehealers from Ri Khi had done something to his leg so it didn't hurt any longer, but it was still too weak for him to stand on. At the moment he was happy he'd been unconscious when they pulled the arrow out. It would probably have hurt otherwise, even though he couldn't even remember being hit. There was a lot he didn't remember from his capture, and from the time after the rescue. They'd been badly starved he was told, and he did remember waking dreams of being fed.

Arthur gazed at those present waiting for someone to begin. Captain Laiden did, ah, Trindai, yes that was his name. Trust Trindai to be the first to act, even if only to speak.

"Both escorts are out searching for enemies. We need to know if we're going to be attacked again."

Harbend snorted. "Not likely I say. It has been three full days since we returned."

"That's less than the time I'd need to gather troops if I wanted to return in force, M'lord."

"Why should anyone want to?" Arthur asked.

"Because anyone stupid enough to take a taleweaver prisoner and not releasing him or her immediately must make certain the incident never becomes known," the yellow-eyed Magehealer answered.

"I don't understand."

"Arthur, what have you been told about Keen and magic?" she asked smiling at Trindai as if sharing a secret.

"Enough to know they don't agree very well, apart from Verd in itself that is."

"If I assume a full regiment from Keen would gladly ride out alongside battle mages from Rhuin or Khanati should it ever be known that someone had targeted a taleweaver, how wrong would I be?"

The captain gave her a crooked grin. "I don't know about gladly, but it would be a sad day if we could only muster a single regiment," he agreed.

Arthur looked at them in bewilderment. "That's insane! Why use that kind of resources for the sake of one single individual?"

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