Claude rode back into the clearing, things were as he expected them to be. He dismounted and started helping Sven with the pyres. Argent joined them in the task but far enough away that they had a bit of privacy. He build a decent pyre over the Weir the girl had killed. That took some getting used to … weirs killed weirs all the time, but a new type of weir that could take human form and use tools? Really, if the rumours were right she shouldn’t even have been able to stand the pain of touching Argentum, let alone swing it. Keeping an eye on the girl he worked closer to Sven, and found himself talking in the crisp, short sentences brought on by physical exertion.
“The Marshal’s given orders. The girl’s infected. The boy thinks she’s cured. Simon, the other Warrior, invested a decade and a half in him. Believed he’d be the ‘Champion’. The Marshal’s not willing to lose that investment. We’re to escort them back through thieves’ pass. Argent’s to see her turn again before she’s dealt with. Marshal vowed that even if Simon bit it, he’d cure Argent of myths and witchcrafting. No matter how much it hurts him.”
He paused and stretched.
“You didn’t hear me say it but, seems like an odd vow for a man who’s making decisions based on myths. Smuggling two possible infected past the defences and into the city? I just don’t know.”
Sven stopped his own work and locked eyes.
“What if … what if there is a cure?”
“Don’t even … how many of our own have you seen put down? There’s a reason for that. You’ve heard of the squads decimated because of ignoring the Ranger’s code or thinking ‘the amputation happened soon enough’? Because of believing this time was different, this time ‘they can be saved’? I’ll never believe that.” Claude’s hand went to a chain around his neck. “Never again.”
“So what do we do?”
There was a long pause as Claude looked their charges over good and long.
“Follow orders. But follow them with our eyes very, very wide open.”