Year : 523
It was near midnight when the guards had knocked and ushered Winn Terafin outside. Nothing stirred as they brought her to the wagon, surrounded by soldiers bearing torches with uncertain looks on their bearded faces. The Captain simply led her to the back of the wagon and motioned to the contents, never so much as whispering a word. Winn reached out and began to pull back the blood-soaked canvass that covered the body. She was hesitant, not because she would be looking at death – she had seen enough of that – but for who might greet her beneath the cover. The Paladins of Gimlora usually brought back her children to offer her last respects, but it was not a Paladin who had knocked on her door this night. She looked again at the Captain, the crest of Fareen catching the wavering light of the torches. The thought troubled her more than she realized, but she collected herself and turned to do her motherly duty.
As the canvass peeled away from the face, she saw dark chestnut hair snaking away in wilted strands and a crooked nose, broken not once, but twice. The man’s eyes, one light grey and the other a faded green, stared up at her ominously. Open, but unfocused, this was the man’s signature through and through. She needed no more to verify.
A tear welled up in the corner of her eye and she made no move to hide it. Her children were her children, no matter what. She addressed the captain, though kept her eyes on the body. “Yes, this is Arren. Arren Firre. Born in the city of Ravenguard in 483. He was one of my first; raised him for 7 years, and never did I see him frown.”
A chill wind rushed through the street, causing the steed attached to the cart to shiver and jerk. The sudden motion shook the body of Arren slightly toward the edge of the structure and his right arm fell out from beneath the canvass. Winn and the Captain rushed to the cart to make sure the body did not fall. As Winn grabbed her young son’s arm, she caught a glimpse of his forearm in the flickering torchlight. What she saw was more devastating than her deceased son.
“Is this…?” she began, unable to collect her thoughts, her eyes never leaving the arm.
“I’m afraid so, Mother Winn,” responded the Captain, though his words were barely an audible whisper.
“Then, the rumors, they are true?” She placed Arren’s arm back beneath the canvass and pushed the body further back into the cart in case the horse spooked again.
The Captain said nothing, but the fidgety sliding of metal on leather spoke for itself. Winn understood the silence completely.