Fardar was attended as well. He was shocked as the squire disrobed him and washed his body of the vile, pungent goblin blood that had stained his clothes black. “These will have to be discarded,” the squire told him. “Goblin blood does not wash out of clothing.”
Fardar observed the others in the room. Linvin’s arm was being stitched and dressed. It was a far more severe blow than he had acknowledged.
Sculla had been stabbed in the thigh and sliced on his arm. He, too, was receiving treatment.
Victolin appeared unharmed and healthy until his armor was removed and he held his ribs. His right side was deeply bruised and bleeding.
Only Githara looked to have escaped without a scratch. She looked at Victolin and asked, “Was it an ax that hit you?”
He winced in pain, while lifting his arm to allow a bandage to be applied. “A heavy mace. I cut down one of their War Chief’s bodyguards and another struck my exposed side, knocking me off my horse. Fortunately, one of my men cut him down immediately thereafter.”
“What happened to you, Sculla?” Linvin asked.
“Stupid, really,” he replied. “When the line was advancing, this pathetic remnant of a swamp dweller reached up and stuck me in the leg with one of those cheap sickle swords. Made me furious! So I stomped his head. Wretched, filthy, disgusting little lizard!”
The squire attending him finished cleaning the wound and prepared to stitch it closed. “If you had not pulled the sword out by yourself, the wound would not be so large.”
“The blade was getting in my way!” yelled
Sculla as he shoved the attendant away. “This stable boy acts like he was the one who was stabbed.”
“Easy, Stump,” Linvin consoled his friend. “I think he is just frustrated with your disregard for your body.”
“Well, it’s my body!” Sculla snorted. “I’m here to fight, not compete in a beauty contest.”
“We’reall glad of that,” Victolin joked. “You’d make an uglier woman than Githara.”
Githara lashed out quickly at the insult and kicked Victolin on his injured side. Victolin howled in pain. “You’re mistaken for a woman far more than I am for a man,” she said.
“Enough, children,” Linvin said, gesturing downward with his hand. “We do not need another fight today.” They were in many ways like the siblings he had never known.
Once their wounds had been tended and they were all adorned in scarlet robes, the meeting broke up. Githara and Victolin left to check their units. Fardar left to prepare his report. Entering the tent as they left was a centurion.
“Pardon the intrusion, My Lords,” he said as he saluted.
“What is it?” Sculla demanded.
“We cannot bury the goblins as the general ordered. The water table is just below the surface, and whenever we start digging a hole, it fills with water.”
Sculla turned to Linvin for direction. Linvin stood and tightened his robe. He clasped his hands behind his back and paced. After a few moments, he stopped, moved his hands to his hips, sighed greatly and dropped his head.
“Pile the bodies and burn them,” he ordered. “There is enough disease in this swamp without leaving the dead to add more.”