Hendin the Lepers Story
Hendin could feel the cold drip of nervous perspiration trickle down
They had travelled blindfolded for days through the Sindar lands, and
now stood before the hooded and robed, Elven council of thirteen.
Thirteen anonymous Sindar sat before the party, awaiting Sturmers
reply to the charges of trespassing and theft.
The awkward weight of the crystal bowl weighed uncomfortably on his
thigh. That no one had discovered it so far in the journey, nor had
it been broken in the wash down the Kald, Hendin was equally thankful.
Now, he wondered if taking the bowl from its reliquary was the right
choice. He had thought so at the time, but it had grown steadily
heavier the closer to Evael they had travelled. Upon entering the
Shava forest, its weight was nearly unbearable, as if it knew where
it was being taken and wanted to be elsewhere. Hendin shrugged off
that idea, like a Dranatha robe, impossible.
He wondered what Brother Ael, and Father Oppias would think of him
when they discovered the theft. Surely they would know he was
responsible. Although slow-witted, they would ultimately blame the
outsider. His time there had shown him how naieve, hidebound and
pathetic the followers of the flower really were. They wouldnt know
the truth if it was right before them.
The Thayan, Berke had known the truth. For a sailor, he had been very
perceptive. Hendin actually regretted his death. Strange, he thought,
he had never regretted any death before....Perhaps his time at
Poynter had affected him more than he thought. Where were these
feelings of hope and comradeship coming from?
Hendin unceremoniously itched his side where the heavy bowl was
chafing him. He would need to purge himself soon, lest the servants
of the Walker find him first. He knew, somehow, that other than
Bromeleon, the Shava was the only place that he was truly safe. He
had been reluctant to leave, but saw it as his chance to complete his
mission. That the monks who had shown him mercy and kindness should
suffer from his deception and treachery was unfortunate. In fact,
when he took the bowl from Saint Bromels shrine, he really wasnt sure
if he was taking it to help Berkes comrade Sir Sturmer or if it was
to satisfy the temple Wolren at Bejist. Did he even want to go back
there? Why had he agreed to lead Sturmer there? Even he wasnt sure of
his own motivations...since learning that he was a leper, and being
the recipient of lavish pity and concern, he had lost himself. What
was wrong with him?! Surely the Temple Masters could cure him, maybe
even forgive him for not returning. Surely by bringing the Sindarin
bowl, he would be rewarded.
Suddenly the councils tone changed, and he was being addressed. What
had they said? He hadnt been paying attention. He would have been
severely punished had he let that happen in chapel.
Strong hands grasped his arms, and stripped his satchel from him,
against his fierce struggles he was powerless. Although he could kill
one or two, there were many. He chose not to resist, but for them or
himself, he could not be certain.
The Sindar bowl fell out of the sack and rolled torturously slowly
before the assemblage. He could feel the blood drain from his face,
his hands clenched, knuckles white. He was ready for the accusations,
the spurning of his comrades, his friends. Friends? Even now, his
mind tuned inward, what do dhe feel for these people? They had
welcomed him, and he had deceived them. What did he care, they were
not of the faith. But he knew that he did, he had welcomed the
comradeship, the family.
He had been raised at the temple and like the other orphans, had no
parents that he knew. The priests were his parents.
When he had killed his first sibling, he had felt something icy and
cold, but soon after had been replaced by the warm praise of his
teachers. Three, four, five more deaths had inured him to loss. It
wasnt until Berke died that he had felt that emotion again. "What at
wretch am I!" he thought.
As Sturmer and Blyra and Derin and Erni stared aghast at him, he
tried to explain, but they wouldnt understand, he knew they would
not listen. He knew their task was hopeless, that perhaps he had fed
the fire of their hope.
He felt ashamed. He longed for the cold piercing claws of Gekrish to
end his tortured meaningless life.
But even now, Sturmer regarded him as a comrade and defended his
actions to the council. Why would he do that?
Suddenly Hendin felt very small and helpless.