Argent blinked the memories out of his eyes and half lowered the flute from his mouth.
“Don’t stop … for the love of Ferus don’t stop! I had almost worked up the nerve to end this thing, don’t let it recover.”
Argent drew a breath and picked up the song, fully present this time. Martha clumsily swung a flickering Wolfripper at a brute writhing on the ground in pain. It was only Argentum two out of every three heartbeats now but still made it two thirds of the way through its skull before getting stuck. The brute stopped writhing.
Bringing his eyes back to the base of his tree, two emancipated foreigners in rags were staring at him in amazement on their hands and knees. Between them Simon lay motionless. The man and woman scattered as Argent dropped to Simon’s side. He heard Martha calling out in a calming voice as he felt for a pulse. Bildad rushed up, a bloody Crescent Flame at the ready, and pushing Argent out of the way.
“Over here, quickly bring the horses.”
Two rangers trotted up that must have responded to the horns.
“Ahhr.. Narn’s always been better at treating the freeze. We’ve got to get him to headquarters. Now!”
“Marshal, he’s been bit … several times. The Ranger’s code makes it clear what we have to do.”
Bildad stood and glowered at the Ranger.
“He’s a Warrior, thus immune. The worst that will happen is he’ll lock up and then his lungs will stop working. Believe it or no, you will at least respect my order that we give him every chance to fight the infection off.”
The taller ranger looked unsure. Bildad turned to the other.
“Sven! Off your mount! Help me.”
Sven dismounted and helped Bildad and Argent lift Simon over his horse’s back.
“Come on friend, hold on. If anyone has the faith and purity to pull through this you do.”
Bildad’s hand fell across Simon’s empty scabbard and he creased his brow. Argent pointed uphill.
“He got separated from it but Martha used it to kill a brute up that way.”
As they approached the fir tree they heard coughing and saw Martha and the two from the base of the tree huddled around Wolfripper and mumbling something. Bildad picked up his pace.
“It’s not enough that you deceive Argent, you think I’ll stand for you desecrating Argentum?”
Martha turned as he pulled Wolfripper from her grasp.
“I wasn’t desecrating, I was just making a little dust and teaching these two the prayer Argent had taught me.”
“Is that so. You two, tell me the prayer.”
The man made a gesture that Argent didn’t understand and started talking in a different language. Bildad snorted.
“Babbling beasts. Sounds like weir speak to me.”