Check out the start of the series.
Gwen fixed a quick meal that helped Owin feel a little life and energy return to his body. After they had eaten, Tain leaned toward Owin. “You got any money?”
Owin nodded his head slowly. “A little. Why?”
Tain got up and went over to his cold box and dug around to the back of the small chest before he pulled out a small ceramic jar with a wax covered top. He put the jar on the table and pushed it toward Owin. “Not sure you’d trust me, but if you want the jar, I’ll sell it for a crown. You’ve been in the business long enough to know what it is.”
Owin raised his eyebrows. The price Tain demanded, while a lot of money, was actually inexpensive if the jar contained what Tain was implying. Owin bit his lower lip as he considered his options. A priest would cost me a lot more than that, but with a priest I wouldn’t have to trust the ointment he’s hinting is in the jar. “Where’d you get something like this?”
“It’s an old recipe. A woman I know grew up far to the north. They…let’s say, things are different up there. She knows how to make things that the priests don’t like us to have. But the priests won’t heal just anyone.” Tain sat back down, keeping his one good eye on Owin. “The stuff’s a little old and I don’t expect to need it any time soon. So I can either sell it to you cheap or let it go to waste.”
Owin nodded his head. He did not fully trust Tain, but in something like this, most people in their line of work maintained a sense of honor. A sad, sick honor, Owin thought. Cut my throat while I sleep or put poison in my food, but you won’t kill me when offering aid–unless you were hired to do it or really hate me. Good honest honor. “Alright, you’ve got a deal.”
Gwen slid back her chair and dragged the bag sitting on the floor closer. She routed around and then sat up, placing a stack of coins on the table.
Owin smiled at her.
“Done,” Tain said, sliding the coins off the table and into his hand.
Owin felt his head growing lighter again and pushed his chair back before he grew any weaker. Gwen grabbed the ceramic jar and gathered their belongings. “Thank you for breakfast.” It would not do good to thank him for the ointment.
“We should…” Gwen started and trailed off as Owin stopped her with a look.
Owin could tell Gwen wanted to repeat their misdirection of staying in town. It had been said once, saying it twice would tell Tain that it was a lie. “We’ve used enough of your time, Tain, we’ll let you get back to your day,” he said and then turned toward the door.
Tain did not bother to see them out of his home, but Owin still initially headed back toward the walled part of Solva. Only when they were well away from Tain’s home did he turn Gwen back to the east and away from the city. She’ll learn how to drop the right level of hint in time.
It took them a long while and the sun was well into the sky by the time they were out of sight of any buildings or homes. When they had a break in the traffic along the road, Owin took them into an area of taller grasses where they could be obscured from the road. He slid to the ground and leaned his head back against one of their bags of supplies.
“You okay, Owin?” Gwen immediately asked.
He shook his head and spoke, but did not open his eyes. “I’m exhausted. My arm hurts and I need to sleep.”
“Should I put what’s in the jar on your arm?”
Owin forced his eyes open. He looked down at his arm and the bloody bandage wrapped around it. “I’ll have to trust him,” he finally said, knowing the wound needed tending or it would only get worse and eventually kill him. “I’m going to pass out, but if you can put a heavy dose of it on my arm, that would be great.”
He leaned his head back as Gwen removed the bandage. Her slight intake of breath told him how bad it looked. A few moments later he felt an intense burning as she pushed the thick paste into the wound. He bit his lip, drawing blood, but the pain of the wound quickly subsided and faded into nothing as his arm became numb.
His eyes were still closed and he felt himself drifting off as Gwen started to re-wrap his arm. He did not have a chance to give Gwen any instructions.
Owin eventually woke and they continued walking away from Solva, but night had come before they reached the small town of Little Bern. Once in the small town, it did not take long to find the house of Arn’s brother. Exhausted again, Owin knocked on the door despite the late hour.
“What is it?” D’mir asked when the large man finally opened the door. The blacksmith straightened when he met Owin’s eyes. “You never sent word you needed anything made.”
Owin nodded his head in agreement. “It turned out that we didn’t need anything. Instead of the grapple, would it be possible to instead take up shelter in your barn for a few days? We want to get word to your brother and need a place to stay while we wait for him.”
D’mir’s frown grew heavier. “I am not an inn. I don’t rent out rooms.”
“We are not asking for anything in particular and would stay out of your way. We’ll even pay for our food if that would help. I was just hoping to find someplace quite to remain out of sight for a few days.”
“It could be a while before word might get to Arn,” D’mir said. “I don’t know that I want to get involved.”
Owin nodded his head slowly. “Do you know of someplace we could stay in secret?” Owin leaned to the side, allowing the light from inside D’mir’s house to shine on Gwen, who stood just to the side and behind Owin.
D’mir’s lips quirked and he looked up to meet Owin’s eyes. “Fine. The two of you can stay in my barn, but stay out of sight and out of the way.”
“Thank you,” Owin said. “I will give you a message for Arn in the morning. Hopefully, Arn can relay it to Denton.” Owin considered probing further to see if D’mir knew anything of Arn’s rumored special means of communication, but he did not want to risk losing their place to stay. If D’mir knew anything, or had picked up on Owin’s desire to know, the man gave no indication.
“Follow me,” D’mir said, stepping out of his home, “I’ll take you to the barn.”