He removed the clear shard of the arrow head from the wound in her thigh. The damage wasn’t deep but he could tell from the spreading red discoloration on the skin around the slit that there was more sinister injury at work here. The crisscross marbled patina hinted at a deadly venom.

He had heard the rumours about the cult using spell casters to taint their weapons with deadly and malicious curses. He had also heard the rumour that they dipped their arrows in the death pits around their temple. These pits contained everything from the corpses of the infected dead to the human waste emptied from the high priests’ bedside buckets.

Either of these situations could prove bad enough with the slightest of wounds. The blood she had lost on the ride to his tent made his attempts at healing her more difficult and his nerves were on edge with the thought of failure.

With the offending shard now lying next to the other pieces by the fire he placed his hands on either side of her wound and pushed the slice gently closed. He let a long slow drip of spit string its way from his mouth directly onto the wound and began to chant his healing incantation.

She began to moan as the yellow spit coating her injury started to bubble and throb. ‘A good sign,’ he thought as he directed his chanting with more focus at the cut.

The blood slowed its gentle seeping from the edges of the opening held softly under his hands as the spit appeared to gel the sides together. A few more renditions of his chant ran around the small smoky tent until he finally sat back on his heels and let the wound go, which, this time, remained sealed.

He let his gaze wander over the girl. Dressed in rags and covered from head to toe in mud he had not had much chance to appreciate her beauty when she had stumbled into his tent begging for help.

Knowing he would get a lower price for a dead slave he’s quickly set about trying to save her life and keep her extremities connected.

She was young and, possibly, quite pretty. He knew she would be unconscious for a few hours and, as his gaze slid up and down her a few more times he thought to himself, ‘What’s the harm? Who’s going to know? And anyway, she does owe me!’

With a lick of his crusty lips which left drops of yellow spit clinging to his dirty grey beard, he lent in to kiss the girl on the mouth as he unbuttoned his robe.