a sharp pain in his chest caused Clara to cough greatly, frightening the white robed healer priest at his bedside. The priest ran from the room in a hurry, leaving the wounded man to stare groggily at his surroundings. Light was shining weakly through a shuttered window on the far wall across from him, keeping the room in half darkness. Candles were lit on every available surface, burning with a smell foreign to the knight, and it burned his lungs a little in every breath. The bed was a simple one, low to the ground and covered in light sheets that were stained with his sweat. Clara felt weak and sleepy, but hunger and thirst overrode thoughts of all else. He tried to sit up, but his body was too weak for even such a simple motion. He lay back down to await the return of the priest and whoever would be accompanying him. He didn’t have to wait long.
The door to the room slammed open and three priests of Bisha walked in the room followed by two knights. The priests walked over and stood on either side and at the foot of the bed, their hoods obscuring any view of their face Clara could have had. The two knights stood close to the door, but Clara knew their faces well. One was the head knight of Clara's order, Hammond Freeblade, and the other was Avery Garret. Neither looked happy to see Clara awake.
Freeblade crossed the room to stand by the prone knight. "It is only by Bisha's blessing that you are living right now knight," Freeblade said with disdain. "You took a worse beating than any man has ever survived;" shaking his head he raised his hand and began counting, "six ribs, your nose, an arm, a leg, several bones in your back. Add blood loss and your fortnight slumber," he paused and rubbed at the stubble on his face, "it seems impossible that I am looking at you alive."
"I was lucky m'lord Freeblade," Clara replied, his throat going instantly dry. He had a feeling where might be heading and did not like it.
The head knight turned his back and said, "You should be dead, and no amount of luck could have saved you from death." He motioned to the priests and said, "Leave us, this man is in no condition to oppose us, and I'm sure young Avery here could restrain him if needed." The priests bowed in unison and moved without a sound to the door. Avery shut the door behind them and barred it while Freeblade paced for a moment before stopping by the closed window. He lowered his head and quietly said, "And yet here you are, a knight of high regard and talent coming back from the verge of death. I am going to ask you a question David, my friend, and I need an answer." He rubbed his face with one great grizzled hand as if the question made him weary. "At one point during the time of your sleep you were all but dead and the priests said you would not live through to dawn. I sat here with the young knight here to say the necessary benedictions at your passing when we began to feel…disturbed." The room seemed to close in on Clara and Freeblade's voice seemed muffled as he heard him speak. "All candles in the room seemed dance in an unfelt breeze, and the room grew still as if in anticipation. Then, all at once, a loud wail came forth from your lips and a light escaped your mouth, as the shadows from the room seemed to leap into it. Then we watched as you writhed in pain for the rest of the night as the priests tried to tend to your needs. Not a single priest was able to help." He turned and faced Clara, his face drawn and anguished. Avery still stood still, the color gone from his face. "We watched you die." Avery's voice was quiet, but to Clara it thundered with accusation. "We watched you die in pain and anguish," he yelled, moving toward the prone knight with every word. "And yet during our prayers you mocked our order by yelling the name of foul Supay and coming back, almost a full hour after the priests said you were beyond all help. What black deals did you…"
"ENOUGH!" Freeblade bellowed stopping Avery in his tracks. He looked at his friend, his fellow knight and almost pleading asked, "what deals did you make to come back?"
The silence in the room choked the air, and all of a sudden it seemed much more humid to Clara than just moments before. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak, but as he did so a voice seemed to come to his mind. Say nothing about me my friend, for it will be your downfall, it said, Lie if you must, but I have work for you that these puppets must not interfere with. What work, thought Clara, and how can I lie to a friend of so long? The voice replied, ask naught of your master, but divert your enemy. He's not an enemy, Clara thought to the voice, but no reply came. He closed his mouth and sat in silence for a moment collecting his thoughts, the other two knights staring at him all the while