Abbot and the Djinn chp. 8.5

“What am I going to do, Iamerge?” Conal choked suppressing tears.

Iamerge had never been personable in the normal sense.  He had always had too much to hide, but a few times in his life he had allowed personal relationship to worm its way past his defenses.

Daniel, the Jew, was one such, he had been mentor and father figure to a young Smoke when he was moving from the street life into the life of a caravan trader.  Daniel had taught him about mathematics and reading.  Jaleel, the guard captain, had tested, trained, and been a sort of older brother to him, a protector and advocate.  What he knew of fighting he had learned from Jaleel.  Alphaz, the tall, had reminded him of how to sail the seas and what trading can mean, had given him his first command, and treated him as the son he never had. Gospels, the former abbot of Bellton, had saved his life.  All these men, so influential, how then had a one armed man become his friend?

Iamerge went to his friend.  “I don’t know what we are going to do Conal, but don’t worry.”  Iamerge marvelled that Conal, though horribly wounded, could remain positive and even cheerful despite the adversity. This of Niamh was destroying him. “What do you want to do?”

Conal seemed to rally with something concrete to think about. “I’d like her to have a good life. I want her to be happy.”

“But what do you want to do Conal. You want good for Niamh, but what are you going to do?”

“What can I do? Do you think I don’t know that I’m ruined, as a man, as a husband? I can believe that God could love what’s left of me, the Lord who needs nothing of me, but what woman could?” Conal’s face hardened, “I don’t want her to see me like this. I want to be a brother here where there are no women. No women to see me.”