Iamerge followed Gospels along the shoulder of the roadway as Ui Birlinn’s column slowly passed. As tired as Rhaury and his men were in front, clearly the men in the rear were more so. These were likely the men who had come upon the monsters who were ravaging the other caravan and had driven them off. Most bore worse than the haggard look of exhaustion, many wore bandages and other signs of wounding.
When the column was passed Iamerge caught up to Gospels and began to walk beside him. Gospels was whispering to himself, he seemed unaware of Iamerge or at least preoccupied in his own thoughts. With the column passed Iamerge began to look to their safety. The slope was steep and there wasn’t much undergrowth to hide attackers. Iamerge could see the ruins of the unfortunate caravan a little farther ahead. He breathed a sigh of relief, It looks like we will be among friendlies long before any enemy could come on us, he thought.
“Do you know much of healing Iamerge?” Gospels surprised him, so used had he become to Gospels murmurings as they walked.
“I know a bit, enough to bind my own wounds and a broken bone now and then,” Iamerge glanced over at Gospels, “Do you think we will need the little skill I have?”
“That and God’s help will avail us much,” said Gospels. “I fear that there will be much need of both.”
“Ask your God for strength, I do believe you are right,” as they approached the wreckage they were hailed by Ui Birlinn’s men who had been left as guards and to see, as well as they could, to the wounded that yet lived. Before they reached them, they saw many who were beyond help. The men were badly torn and wretchedly laid out in their death throes.
“Be sure I have been.” said Gospels.
As night fell, Gospels had the guardsmen build up a large bon fire. Others were detailed to move the wounded into the light and warmth of it. Gospels sent men to forage for cloth to be used as bandages and anything else that might be of use.
Iamerge employed his medical knowledge, meager as it was, at Gospel’s direction. The monk seemed to have a good idea of who might be saved and who, among the wounded, were more in need of comfort, this Gospels gave unstinting. They battled in this way as the Wanderer rushed across the sky and set at the head of the valley, but it had not returned when Hebrews and ten more brothers came into the camp bringing all things needful and many helping hands more adept at the healing arts than were Iamerge’s.
When Iamerge would have withdrawn, exhausted, Gospels called him again. “Iamerge, Conal needs an ear, and company. Will you sit with him?”
“Surely Gospels,” said Iamerge and found himself sitting with a body with no legs and many bandages.
“Thanks brother,” said what was left of the man, “that Gospels, he told me about his Lord, and about. . .” the man was weeping and as Iamerge knelt, coming near, a hand came from the mass of bandages and clung to him, “. . . he told me about forgiveness in his Jesus. Can it be true?”
Iamerge gaped, fumbling for what he might say to comfort the man, “I’ve never heard Gospels tell anything but the truth.”
“That’s what I thought,” said the better part of a man. Iamerge patted the mans hand and sat silently. The man sobbed, “I’ve made a mess of things, I prayed with him, that Gospels, but he can’t know what I done– so I was just askin’.”
“If Gospels said it, you can be sure. . .”
“All the wrong I done’s paid for, forgiven because of this Jesus . . . ” The man wept and Iamerge sat silently beside, “. . . that I’ll see him when I die.”
The man relaxed and let out a sigh. Iamerge thought he’d passed and began to draw away his hand. “Thanks brother,” the man said weakly, “I’m okay, ain’t that somethin’?”
“I just thought you’d fallen asleep. . .” Iamerge said, embarassed.
“Nah, soon. What was yer name, friend?”
“That’s right! Gospels called you that. Thanks Iamerge. I’m Conal.” The man pulled his hand back against his body, “Go ‘head, there’s others that can use you.”
Conal closed his eyes. Iamerge rose and fled into the night.