Remembering Kindness - Vyrdin’s Dream by Michelle Franklin (GUEST POST)

Remembering Kindness: Vyrdin’s Dream 

                Their short walk to the infirmary was made in oppressive silence, the brickmaker sensible of Vyrdin’s pained aspect, and Vyrdin aware of Gearrog’s brimming curiosity. He felt his eyes everywhere: on his knotted bramble of curls, his wounded arm, his poor clothes, and the more the brickmaker’s eyes wandered, the more questions Vyrdin felt he was on the point of asking. He did not know why Mr. Callaghan would not allow him to leave, nor did he know why he must work whilst other young boys of similar age were allowed to attend classes at the church, sit at the table and eat with their families, play at various games and hold high revel when he must be tamed and timid. He did not know why his hands trembled or why he was made to endure all the deprivations which he was only now being made aware of, and he wished that the brickmaker’s eyes would stop asking him so many unanswerable questions. It was insufferable to be the subject of so much conjecture and confusion when he was confused himself, but the cleric was in, he was available, he was ready and willing to receive him as a patient, and all other disquieting cogitations may be lain aside.
                The brickmaker told the story of how he found Vyrdin working in such unfavourable conditions without the necessary attire. Vyrdin accepted the plaintive looks on this point, for there was nothing else he could do to refute them, and said nothing when the cleric politely scolded him as to the state of his shoes.
                “Those must give you chilblains,” said the cleric. “You must take care not to get frostbite.”
                Vyrdin listened to the invective without much attending it; he had no manner in which to alter his situation, much less contrive for more suitable clothes. He thanked the cleric for his concern and hoped they might move on to healing now that he had gone through the motions of embarrassment.
                The wound was displayed, the cleric was duly shocked, the brickmaker suffered the same horrified astonishment, and Vyrdin alone remained grave and unaffected.
                “How could you have let that go for so long, looking like that,” was the cleric’s lamenting reproof. “Come,” sighing and shaking his head, “that must be healed immediately.”
                Vyrdin was thus led toward the inner room of the infirmary. He entered the small sanitarium and was instructed to remove his wool shirt, but he was hesitant to do so while the brickmaker was by.
                “I’ll be off for a minute,” said Gearrog, sensing that Vyrdin wished to be alone. “I’ll be back to see you off home.”
                Home: there was a word that fell empty against Vyrdin’s heart. There was no flourish of affection, no anxious solicitation awaiting him at the feller’s farm. He made the requisite nods and turned away, and when the brickmaker had gone, the door was closed, and Vyrdin removed his woolen shirt.
                A moment of anxiety rushed on him as he began to undress: he thought he had forgot to wear his linen tunic for insulation, but when he reached into his torn sweater, he sighed in relief and could be easy. His staid expression might hide many miseries, but the lash would expose what he would otherwise secret away.  He kept his tunic on while the cleric did his work, and only a few minutes under the healer’s care was enough to undo all the damage that a few days’ neglect had done.
                “We are fortunate that the infection was not as severe as it appeared,” said the cleric, passing a glowing hand along Vyrdin’s forearm. “There, that should keep you for a while. You will have to apply a liniment to it to keep the infection from returning, but I think we’ve—” He paused, looked rather confused, and then moving to closer to Vyrdin’s side he said, “What made these marks on your back?”
                Vyrdin flew into a silent panic: he was sitting, and the cleric was standing over him, giving the healer all the advantage of height to see everything that Vyrdin could have hid. He must have leaned forward too far, exposing his upper back, and though it cost him some dignity, Vyrdin pulled on the front of his tunic to hinder the cleric from seeing further down his back. “Harrowing accident,” was his somewhat restrained and mortified excuse.
                “Accident?” the cleric repeated. A look of misgiving succeeded here. “I understand that accidents on farms are common, but a harrow cannot have made marks like that by merely falling on you. It must have been dragged across your back to make scars so long. If you will let me look at them, perhaps—”
                “I’m fine,” Vyrdin asserted, standing and swiping his woolens from the adjacent chair.
                The cleric’s suspicions increased, and Vyrdin’s hastening to dress and eagerness to leave only expatiated his concerns. “You may feel very well,” said he, in a kinder hue, “but there may be some lasting damage which might be causing you indiscernible harm.”              
                Vyrdin did not stay to hear the cleric’s entreaties; he had taken the liniment, had said his hurried thanks, and was gone before any further conjectures could be made. Disobedience by his own design might be rectified, but having his case reported to the authorities and having Mr. Carrighan disturbed with inquiries as to why his charge was marred was certain to bring unconscionable torment. Better to be silent and submissive and safe than difficult, and as Vyrdin hastened back to the farm, he told himself that reporting his sorrows to the king’s men should only bring more despondency than his case was worth. His master should never let him go, and he should never want to leave, for who else would look after a young boy whom nobody else would suffer to welcome into their homes? Forever had he been overlooked until Mr. Carrighan had accepted him, and though he was a man of vicious conduct and character, he had taught him to be useful, had fed him once or twice every other day, and had given him a place to sleep, which was more than anyone else had done. It was selfishness to have expected a family when he had never done anything to deserve it, and to have his case reported and examined was to lose everything he had gained — though he had gained little — by his removal to Farriage.

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Volume 1
Khantara is a Haanta conqueror, meant to wage war and rule over the enemy nation of Thellis, but after vanquishing Thellis and occupying a construction of a Haanta outpost, he meets Anelta, a woman enslaved by her own people bearing a brand of servitude on her neck. Khantara contrives to save her from a cruel home and bring her to the refuge his people can provide, but how can he do so successfully when the eyes of Thellis are upon him?

Release: November 16, 2012 / $2.99 (ebook) / $11.99 (print)
Epic Fantasy, Romance

About the Author

Michelle Franklin is a small woman of moderate consequence who writes many, many books about giants, romance, and chocolate.

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