Corvala sat at her father’s bedside, keeping her vigil by candlelight. All that day and into the night, she waited for her father to stir. A blinking eye, a muttered word. But there was nothing, only his faint breathing that let her know he was still alive. She had done all that she could for him—stitched his open wounds, cleaned him up, gave him new clothes. Now in the dead of night she waited, time moving as slowly as molasses. Her mind numb, her eyes focused on nothing. How long had she been sitting there? Hours, days, years? In the lonely dark, it was hard to tell.
The room had kept its relentless silence until Exodus let out a faint groan, the first sound from his mouth in hours. Corvala immediately snapped her mind out of emptiness and intently looked her father over. He made a few labored breathes and then returned to his slow and quiet rhythms as before. Corvala kept alert for several minutes, watching for something else to happen. But nothing did.
“All of this could have been prevented you know?” she said, breaking the long silence. “You could have killed all the Capels before the trial. No one would have protested. Hell, they probably would have thanked you. That’s what the judge of Highwall did a few years back, remember? A big family was acting the bully, taking land that wasn’t theirs. And so he put them all to the sword. Every single one of them.
“You wouldn’t do that though. You had your clean conscience to keep. You decided to be merciful towards them. But what about me. I can’t afford your clean conscience. Who do you think they’ll come after if you…die?”
The last word came out softly and with great difficulty. She then knelt by her father and grasped his hand.