Benlan Whitehands

The screams of the dying and wounded echoed in the dark, damp corridors. The smell of blood, faeces, and burn flesh assaulted everyone that had survived the slaughter. Those that still could, had emptied their stomachs when everyone else pretended not to notice.

The dead were gathered here and there. Bodies of the enemy mingled with friends you had known for years, sleeping side by side like long lost brothers. Bodies tossed around and broken, like by a child had had a tantrum and broken his toys. Death was everywhere.

But there was Life there too.

There was movement. A white figure gliding from corpse to corpse touching each briefly, then moving off again. But once in a while the white robed man stopped for a bit longer. Applying a bandage here, a touch of a glowing white hand there, giving instructions to his assistants here. And then moving to the next in an endless line of broken bodies.

But after his passing a site of horrendous carnage somehow felt less terrible, as if his passing brought peace to the caverns.

After what seemed like hours of heavy toil, the white-handed man came to a pair of soldiers that had tried to kill one another. A black clad Humakti and a foreigner in red, both still clinging to their weapons. They had crumbled against one another like some caricature of lovers embracing.

Briefly rubbing his aching temples the white-handed man set to separating them. He laid them on the soggy floor, straightened bend limbs and smoothed blood-soaked clothes.

In the Humakti he sensed no spark. He had gone to the Havan Vor to join his Swordkin. "Farewell, Aren. May your arrival be gloried as it should," said the white-handed man as he closed the teenager's open eyes.

As he turned to the foreigner, he sensed that the spark of vitality still resided in the wrecked shell. A shuddering breath flowed in and out. Placing one hand on the man's chest and another on his forehead, the white-handed man called on the White Lady for one last time. His strength had been severely drained already, but he would continue as long as he was able.

The touch of the Healing Goddess flowed through his hands, and the foreigner convulsed. When he settled back to the floor he had stopped bleeding.

"Is that redarsed bastard still alive!?" Said a harsh voice behind the healer, sounding almost out off place in the caverns.

"If his will is strong enough he should live," said the white-handed man with voice heavy with weariness as he got to his feet.

"Stand aside, healer. I will soon rectify that." There was a swish of metal as a sword was drawn.

The white-handed man turned to face the blood-spattered Humakti, paying no heed to the implement of Death dripping with gore. "You will leave this man alone. You will not harm him, allow anyone else harm him, or by negligence allow him to be harmed. He is under my protection." Suddenly there was certainty forged off steel in the voice.

"What!? He's enemy! Killed my comrades! He will die!" The enraged warrior made to step around the white-handed man, but found that his way was blocked again. A white hand was placed on his breastplate with surprising strength.

"He shall live if it is the will of the Goddess." There was no uncertainty in the voice.

"Stand aside!" But the white hand did not waver.

"Stephen, do you remember the day you had your first battle? The javelin you took in your leg? You were not much older than Aren here. But who took out the tip? Who staunched the blood? Who put your leg back together? Who sang when you were delirious with fever?"

It was as if someone had slapped the Humakti across the face. Hard. His body shuddered and then relaxed, taut muscles letting go of the battle readiness. The tip of the sword fell. "What... what...? Benlan?" the warrior mumbled, "Benlan...? What happened?"

"It is over now. The Battle is won. You can relax for a moment." The white hand was withdrawn from the breastplate and offered as support for the weary fighter.

The white-handed man helped the Humakti named Stephen to sit on a boulder. "I will send someone to help you carry Aren and my patient back to the surface. Wait here, Stephen, wait here."

With that the white-handed man, Benlan Whitehands, Senior Combat Medic for the Legion of the Unbreakable Sword, Healer of Chalana Arroy, and Initiate of Hereward Truewind, left the sobbing Humakti, dead Humakti and injured foreigner to wait in the corridors beneath Whitewall.

A battle had been won. A price had been paid.
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