Chapter Thirteen: The Coming of the Plague
For some time they remained in in Kyte-on-Farrowmill, as Elven knew Talya and Meredith were unfit to travel, and he would not leave without them. He knew in his heart, too, that he had not yet fulfilled his duty to find the source of the rumored illness, and as much as he wanted to return with his newfound family to Courerà, he could not ignore what the queen had asked of him.
Chapter Twelve: Talya’s Fate
Their journey continued onward and into the north, and for several days they passed through Hösland: gently rolling hills sparsely dotted with copses of wood here and there and very few folk between them. They paused for breath when they reached Kyte-on-Farrowmill, stopping a day or two for the horses to rest and the guards to recuperate in one of the many inns (though Elven doubted recuperation was on their minds). Meanwhile, he and Gwendolyn wandered the town, she curious to see so small a town and he with an eye always on the folk around them. The guards seemed oddly unwilling to follow them, and after a couple of half-hearted requests, Elven came to accept that they were not there of their own volition. He supposed he could hardly fault them; guarding a princess on a journey to seek out disease and death was far from the most inviting quest he could imagine.
Chapter Eleven: A New Illness
It was many months before Elven grew truly accustomed to living among the people of Kiriün. He was glad of the sense of purpose that came from his new position as healer to the high court, but he soon came to learn that the high court had often little need for a healer—the nobility lived well, and suffered less illness and disease than the peasants of the Hösland, or the Outlands. As a part of this nobility, he also lived well, and despite his reservations came to appreciate not living in constant hunger, or fear of predation. No savage beasts dwelled within miles of Courerà, and few in the king’s hall had even heard of a fierund, much less ever seen one.