In the past three days, Paign had lost count of how many times he’d told the story. But there had been so much else to do. Numerous wounds to heal on so many. Peter had needed special attention to restore his memory and vision. Because his initial healing had been interrupted and incomplete, more damage had taken place during the hours of their retreat up the pathway and the lengthy and fierce battle on the plateau.
Then there were the gargoyles. Prohximus had been terribly wounded, along with Conomorg, in the concussive blast that threw them down onto the ledge. Ita-Mudak, who had already been wounded at the Skulstads’ farm, was nearly killed by it. Each of the warriors had learned from Lohxnahr it was Paign’s touch that had stayed the damage from worsening until care could be applied by gargoyles trained in the healing arts. It was another unexpected but welcome skill imparted to Paign from his horrible encounters with Rance-Dahl and Lement-Nor. He hoped it would linger.
The toughest time had come on the first day when the bodies of Tiny and Uud-Rement, along with the elite soldiers who had perished, were laid to rest. Paign had wept along with Freida and her parents, knowing that Tiny had sacrificed his life saving his. Anders and Danielle had stood alongside him. It had been a lovely memorial for the mastiff, with words of great fondness and respect shared by many. The most moving were those from Ita-Mudak, who had grown to love the dog deeply and, of course, from Freida, whose expression of loss was felt by all. But perhaps the most poignant moment came when Anja had lain down at the head of Tiny’s grave at sunset and stayed there until sunrise. Freida and Danielle had joined her, a comfort to each other, all three wrapped in blankets.
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