Trey was relieved that he was making better time than he had expected, daylight having yet to give way to nightfall. He would need light, if for some reason he needed to follow her tracks — he stopped abruptly realizing he had reached the very spot where he had left Bliss.
With cautious and silent steps he approached the cropping of rocks where she had said she would wait for him. Something wasn’t right, and he wasn’t surprised to find that she was not there. He was however surprised to see a bloody piece of cloth that looked to have been torn from her skirt.
He took a deep breath and gave thought. Was the blood hers or had she come upon someone who had been injured and required help? But where would she have gone? And why would she leave the spot where she had said she would wait?
He cast a cautious glance to the ground and saw two separate and distinct footprints. One he knew belonged to his wife and the other was large and deep, and no doubt belonged to a sizeable man. He didn’t want to think she was in danger. And there were no indications in the footprints that there had been a struggle. She could have merely come upon an injured person, but why then would she go off with him?
Knowing his wife the answer came easily… someone needed her help.
His gut twisted with worry regardless of whether she willingly followed the man or not and he started following the footprints. He would find out what happened, though more importantly he’d find his wife.
It took until dusk for him to find the campsite and at first glance he knew he had no worry. He strode into camp taking in the sorrowful scene surrounding him and kept a keen watch for his wife.
There were at least a dozen farmers all with injuries, some more serious than others. It didn’t take long to realize that the soldiers had simply dumped the farmers they had collected as soon as they had sustained a wound.
Many looked with pleading eyes at him, no doubt recognizing him as a MacAlpin warrior and it troubled him that they had suffered for the true king.
Trey came to a halt when he spied his wife bent over a man prone on the ground, holding his hand. She released his hand to rest on his stomach, stood and turned as he approached and his heart tore in two when he saw her eyes glisten with unshed tears. He rushed to her side.
“Trey,” she said on a sigh and threw her arms around him.
He hugged her tight and he saw that the few nearby farmers nodded, as if in some way it gave them hope that they too would soon be reunited with their loved ones.
Bliss looked up at him. “I couldn’t save him. I tried but it was too late.”
He wiped at the single tear that trickled from the corner of her eye. “You not only heal those you don’t know, but you mourn for them as well. His family will be pleased that he did not die alone but that a loving hand held his.”
“They all need healing,” she said with a sigh.
“You cannot mean to heal them all?” he asked with concern.
“Of course I do,” she said and took a step away.
“It’s too much. I forbid it.”
Bliss smiled and shook her head. “A foolish choice of words for sure.”
Trey knew they were before they had left his mouth, but he hadn’t been able to stop himself. He was worried for her and wanted to protect. She didn’t need his protection right now; she needed his support.
He rectified his error. “What do you need from me?”