The forest was silent save for the occasional cracking of branch and bramble underfoot. Tymel and Davrun made their way through the forest back towards the road leading to Conyberry. The girl in Tymel’s arms was barely alive, her breaths getting more shallow by the minute. He paused and knelt down, removing his wineskin once more. In her half conscious state she took in the water as it passed against her dry lips. Underneath the dirt and sweat, he could see this was a beautiful young woman.
Why had he kept her alive so long? Tymel thought. He brushed the matted hair out of her face, attempting to comfort her, but he knew she could not tell the difference.
Tymel stared over at the young paladin at his side. Davrun, in his naivety, had agreed to follow him back to the village, leaving Xilus and the young Rabe Branty with the renegade elf in his lair; the same elf responsible for butchering one of Xilus’ friends and tormenting the citizens of his home village.
Tymel hoisted the young woman back into his arms, and the three of them pressed forward. He knew the consequences of leaving Xilus alone with the elf. He knew Xilus’ rage would drive him and his thirst for revenge would result in the elf’s swift death in the cave.
Tymel stared up through the forest canopy into the light piercing through the gray skies above. Lord Tyr, he prayed to himself. Forgive me for not having the strength to exercise your will. Forgive me for allowing my companion to give in to his thirst for revenge instead of serving justice in your name.
He looked back down at the girl, her head bobbing back and forth in his arms like that of a stuffed doll. How can I serve the lord of justice and not carry out his wishes myself? My duty is to ensure justice is served, even if that means killing a member of the friendly races, he thought to himself. Xilus will have the strength to do it. He will have the strength to do what I cannot. But at what cost?
He looked over to his young friend, Davrun. This young man would seek my counsel and I would lead him astray knowing full well Xilus would allow his anger to consume him. I am not fit to wear the cloth.
A tear formed in his eye. He could see it now. The road was near. This would all be over soon, for better or worse. One way or another, he thought.