He recognized the voice and it sounded concerned.
"Bree? What's the problem?"
"Gilner Panderstash didn't follow protocol and went to…you know. He didn't take a companion. Vaard, the perimeter guard, heard a noise and found him. He's not moving, and Vaard thought he saw blood."
"Have someone bring some water and a rag and take me to him," Keo said, rolling out of his blanket and pulling on his boots. Outside his tent he twisted open the door of his lantern, blew onto the wick, and poured in more oil.
Bree hurried back with one of her link members and stood at the edge of the lantern light.
She led Keo to the fallen boy. They found him on the far edge of their camp with nothing but open countryside beyond. He lay face down in the dewy, spring grass.
"Help me roll him over. Careful of his neck and head."
The boy who had brought the bucket, Bree, and the girl who had waited with Gilner, helped Keo roll their unconscious core member over.
"Is he dead?" The girl asked.
"I don't think so. Here. Hold this lantern close to his face,” Keo said handing her his lantern.
In the weak light, Keo only saw half of the boy's face. That side glimmered, wet and red with blood. Gilner squinted and his cheek twitched when the light shone on his face.
"Give me the wet rag."
The boy dipped it into the bucket and handed it to Keo, water dripping into the ankle-high grass. Keo wiped it across Gilner's face, wetting his hair and pushing it back over the boy's head. He carefully tipped the boy's head from side to side and found a deep cut over his left ear.
"Here. Wet it again," Keo said handing the rag back.
He washed clotted blood and debris from Giner's hair and brought the lantern in close again. The gash in his scalp was jagged and uneven.
"I think someone clobbered him with a rock," Keo said, looking up at the sky. "The cut’s not bleeding, so it must have happened a while ago. It figures they'd hit us when we’re deepest asleep. We need two more pairs of hands to get him to the healer's wagon. Get someone big, Bree."
She stood, looked around and charged through the tents. Read More