The innkeeper led his guests down a hallway to a back room. When he neared a door that led to the sole quarters situated there, a young guard stationed outside nodded at him, then opened the door for the three men.
The smell of singed hair greeted them as they strode into the room. Ezra ushered his guests in, then closed the door behind.
On a cot to one side, a young man reclined. Burns marred one side of his face, along with peeled blisters. Dried blood spotted his chapped and swollen lips. More cuts and bruises peeked through his dark hair, shorn tight to his head. Fire had singed it, and his beard. Breathing short and labored, the man looked near death. Before him sat another man whose hands rested on the patient’s chest.
“Kegan,” Ezra said in quiet greeting.
The healer looked up, his expression grim. He nodded, then glanced at Marshall and Jerrett.
After quickly introducing his visitors, the innkeeper turned his attention to the wounded man. “Goodness,” he muttered, “he’s barely recognizable.”
“He took quite a beating,” the healer muttered. “I’m concentrating on his internal injuries first.”
“Of course. What are you finding?”
Kegan held his hand up to ward off further interruption. Several long minutes passed in silence.
Suddenly, Joseph took in a deep breath.
Removing his hands from the man’s chest, Kegan turned back to his guests. “Sorry about that. His lungs were . . . heavy, likely from taking in a great deal of smoke . . . But at least he’s breathing better now.”
“Has he spoken at all yet?” Ezra asked.
“No. He rode into the stables nearly unconscious. I think his mount knew better where the two of them were headed than he did.”
The innkeeper grabbed a nearby chair and set it down, bedside. He sat, then leaned in. “Is he likely to regain consciousness any time soon?”
“Now that he’s breathing better, he may. I ran a thorough diagnostic. He has no broken bones or other internal injuries. But I should get started on these burns now.”
“Let me. You look exhausted.”
“Lung injuries do take a lot of energy.”
“Go. Get some rest. I’ll take it from here.”
“If you’re sure.”
“I am. There’s not much left here, and I’d like to be able to speak with him as soon as possible.”
“All right. Let me know if you need anything more.” Kegan made his way to the door.
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