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   Chapter 55 No.55

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5618

Updated: 2018-01-19 19:02

Myranda reluctantly turned her mind to the task of learning again. She tried to imagine that Myn had just gone off for the day as she had for weeks before. It was no use, though. She could not pull her mind from the worry she felt. Her spells fizzled and failed. Even spells she had mastered in her first days of learning were beyond her ability. Finally, Wolloff grew frustrated.

"Right. That is all for today then, " he said.

"I am sorry. I am just. . . I can't stop thinking about Myn. She could be in trouble, " she said.

"Aye, could be, and probably is. She is probably flayed open on the side of a road, but that is of little consequence. You are to be a white wizard. The tragedies of the world must cease to matter to you, " he said.

"How dare you! My friend could be hurt. That will always matter to me. A healer should have compassion, " she said.

"Caya sent you so that you could learn to heal the injured. To that end, you've shown tremendous potential, but mere potential means nothing. What matters is performance. Life would be wonderful if we were only asked to perform in the most pleasant of conditions, but the truth is that it in those places a healer is useless. If you are to be helpful at all, you will need to be treating men and women torn apart at the seams. Soldiers screaming in pain. Faces you may recognize shrouded in a crimson mask of blood--or, worse, faded white as a ghost with death's claws about them. At times you will not have the opportunity or resources to give help to all who need it. You will have to decide who must die and who can live. What good will you be if the imagined fate of a blasted meaningless creature renders yo

he mark that had brought her such misfortune, as though if she punished it enough it would release her from its accursed grasp.

The shadows lengthened as she trudged onward. Long ago, the prints had been wiped away. She moved now on hope alone. For once, luck did not fail her. Ahead, she found a patch of snow stained red by the blood beneath it. The patch stood out against the stark white that surrounded it. The snow, blown about by the savage wind, had faded but not erased the remains of the battle that Wolloff had described. It must have been a terrible one. Though she could not be certain, the half-hidden footfalls scattered about the clearing seemed to have belonged to a half-dozen or so men.

Four did not live to see the end of the battle. The bodies must have been taken; in their places, helmets had been left, hung atop swords stuck into the earth in the center of the bloody spill that marked their end. The helms were elaborate, iron with dark blue enamel covering the whole surface, save a few areas that bore gold detailing. Rising from the peak was a white plume that looked to be horse hair.

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