The Pariah Podcast, Episode 20: The New Normal

The three day ride back to the training camp in the wagon felt like a mortal punishment for all the sins of every ancestor going back to the time the old gods ruled the earth. If he could have begged those who had carried him to the lake to find the stretcher and take him up again, he would have. But, he was alone with his jostling pain as the wagon bounced and rocked, pitched and shook. His knee and wrist combined their agony, crossed all his bruises and scrapes in between to jump up and down on the tenderest places on his head.

Each night on the road, he asked the healer for more of the mind and body numbing potion, but the healer claimed there was no one to watch him through the night. And patients already on the mend, when using the elixir, were known to wander around in their sleep. He didn't want Keo to fall from the wagon thinking he was merely going for a walk.


No one was happier than Keo to see the camp come into view on their final day of the march. The healer’s wagon was the first of the support wagons behind the training battalion travelling on foot. Propped against the back of the bed in a sitting position, he could lean his head out the side and watch the trainees disperse back to their barracks.