By the time they got the young man into the house, he had gotten up, looked up at the two of them then fallen promptly asleep. They both heaved a sigh of relief and set him on the wet bed.
“He healed him,” Nurilah said a matter-of-factly. Then she gave a short laugh and shook her head with awe and wonder written on her face. Ihloden smiled along with her, but had mixed feelings about the Griffin healing the young man. He still held a bit of a grudge against the young man for insulting him in Overed. But he tried to push it out of his head and be happy that the man had not died. He knew he would have felt terrible if the man had died. They gently removed the bandages to find the skin still bruised and the puncture wounds had not healed over but the ribs were set. They shook their heads again and decided that they could leave him and get some food.
“We have to be careful with him still,” Nurilah said while she set some meat to roast and cut up some bread. Ihloden set the table and poured cold water into the cups.
“I know,” he replied, recognizing the hidden message behind her words. They ate with such an abandon that they would have had Shila and his mother frowning at both of them. They were halfway through the bread and meat when there was the sound of a muffled groan behind them. They spun around in their chairs to see the young man standing in the doorway of the bedroom, one hand holding his side and the other gripped tightly on the door post.
“You don’t suppose that I could get some of that,” he asked, his voice tight. He took a step forward and lurched violently. Nurilah and Ihloden dropped their food and lunged to grab hold of him. Nurilah reached him first and held him up against her large body. She guided him slowly to the table while Ihloden set the table. He sat down gingerly and with a wince. “Thank you,” he whispered. He reached out for the cup of water but his hand was shaking so badly that he toppled the cup. Ihloden grabbed it before it could fall over.
“Here, drink up,” Ihloden said holding the cup for him.
“You are too kind,” he said, his voice barely audible, before he took a drink. Ihloden frowned, because he did not say it as a compliment but as if he really thought that they were being too kind to him.
“You don’t have to thank us,” Nurilah said, “Your wellbeing is thanks enough for us. It was amazing that you did not die.”
“Indeed,” the young man said, licking his lips. But his face said otherwise. He stared at the plate of bread and meat, with such longing that Ihloden took pity on him and broke the bread up into pieces and held up the first piece to his mouth. The man looked at him for a few seconds and then allowed Ihloden to feed him. Nurilah meanwhile pulverized the meat with her grinding stone. He chewed with agonizing slowness. Ihloden and Nurilah patiently fed him and ate during the time he took to chew. It was a silent but not an uncomfortable meal. It seemed to be getting harder and harder for the man to chew. Then suddenly he gave a strangled sob and burst in tears. He hung his head quickly as if his tears embarrassed him. He tried to push away from the table but instead he sort of got caught between the table and chair. Ihloden sprang up and helped him out of the chair and into the bedroom.
“I’m sorry,” he said with a tone of voice of a child that had been caught doing something terrible.
“Hey it’s alright,” Ihloden said feeling awkward, “You just need some rest you know. Once you get enough rest you will start feeling better.” He helped the man to lie down on the bed. The man winced as he settled down. As Ihloden made to move away from the bed, the man grabbed hold of his hand.
“I remember you, you know. The boy that I insulted in Overed. I made you look like a fool. Why are you helping me?” The man said hoarsely. Ihloden looked at him seriously.
“It was only a small argument. I don’t believe that one should let a man die over something as small as an argument.” The man looked at him for a while then let go of his hand. His face looked as if someone had taken off a great burden from his mind.
“You know,” he said groggily, “I always thought so myself. By the way, my name is Voren.” With that he fell promptly asleep.
Once he and Nurilah finished their meal, Ihloden went home to tell his mother and Shila that the young man was alright now, and that his name was Voren and that he was going to be much better. The last part his mother gave a sigh of relief at. Then they both insisted that they come and see the young man and help out in his recovery. Ihloden tried halfheartedly to convince them otherwise but he knew it was fruitless. So with an outward resigned face, but with a mischievous glint in his heart at how Nurilah would react to this new development, he helped them to start preparations with the cooking. The next morning he sent his mother and Shila off to Nurilah’s house and then set off to make peace with Grims; hoping that his boss will be a bit forgiving and let him continue his job.