Bothelm woke to serenity. He opened his eyes and saw morning light coming from a window, through which he could see a clear sky. He was in a comfortable bed, in a quiet place. When he looked around, he saw the room was built in the adobe style he'd seen in the desert.

The desert, the ambush, the run to escape, the attack, the traitorous guard, the...rescue?

Looking around again, Bothelm was sure this was Gharu'ndim. And even if it could be a monster's lair, why would he have been put in a comfortable bed?

As he considered this, the door to the room opened and a woman dressed in a yellow robe walked in. She smiled when she saw Bothelm awake and approached him.

She spoke lightly, asking how he felt and such, while she checked his temperature and his body's vitality and his wounds...oh yes, his wounds...but they were recovering.

When she was satisfied, she sat in a chair near the bed and let him ask her questions.

It turned out he was in a Hospice, and yes still in Gharu'ndim lands. Bothelm had been brought here by one who had found him at the site of an attack on a trade convey. Bothelm confirmed the story the stranger had given the staff here about one of the hired guards turning on them and killing at least one of the merchants. There hadn't been word about any other survivors, but it had only been a day since the attack. Word of survivors might take a few days to reach here from wherever they had found shelter.

When asked about the one who had rescued him, Bothelm was told that the staff thought he might be one of the Isparian heroes who tried to keep the people safe from harm. It seemed he had deposited a considerable sum in pyreal and gems to pay for Bothelm's time here. The nurse, as the lady turned out to be, told him there was enough prepaid that he could stay here for however much time as a full recovery might require. It seemed these heroes were quite wealthy. She had been surprised by this one's generosity however, the heroes were not known for charity – though they spent lavishly for armor and equipment and other things which helped them in their adventures.

And yes, this hero had had blue skin. A sure sign that he was of that Isparian race known as Viamontian. Not to be feared, at least no more than any adventurers – not a monster.

Bothelm was told the rescuer's name was Krishna, and that he'd left the area soon after delivering Bothelm to the Hospice.

Over the next few days, as he rested and recovered from his injuries, Bothelm thought on all that had happened. He'd thought magic gave him a place of privilege in society...and it had, for a while. But it did not stop the raiders from attacking him, nor did it avail him during the attack. And there was this Hero, Krishna was his name. A man who had no need to help Bothelm, whom Bothelm would have avoided had he seen him in any town, this man had put himself in danger to save a stranger's life. Not only that, he'd paid to make sure Bothelm could recover safely and comfortably.

It dawned on Bothelm that his own life was worth very little, and it was people like Krishna who deserved praise and glory. And the Hero had not even stayed to accept Bothelm's thanks for saving his life. The man had evidently done what he had done just because it seemed the right thing to do, and even volunteered to pay a considerable sum of money on top of that, all without expectation of any thanks or even acknowledgement. Bothelm and the Hero had never met, had no cause to even know of each other, and yet...

As his body healed, Bothelm felt there was something in his psyche that was healing as well. He no longer wanted to sit back doing as little work as possible while enjoying opulence and deference from others. He realized that real satisfaction could only come from his own worthy work.

Once he accepted this, Bothelm considered and felt that he could help no one if he was dead, which recent events proved could happen easily enough. So his first priority had to be to learn how to fight. He thought of Krishna's sword, but it was massive, he was not sure if he could even lift it, let alone use it with any skill. No, he would ...he would have to find someone who knew about fighting, someone who could train him in some skill to defend himself.

By the time his wounds were healed, Bothelm had made up his mind. He was well enough to work his way back home, but he delayed. He knew that he had to act on his understanding right now. If he waited...aside from what his family might say, oh Gods his uncle!, he worried about his own resolve. No, better to stay in his land a while, where the desert and mountains would be a constant reminder of how harsh life could really be. Where the memories of the ambush would be a constant reminder of what he needed to do and why.

He asked the nurse about local weapons-masters. Immediately upon checking out of the Hospice Bothelm went to see him.

He had fixed his determination. He would be a survivor! And maybe, one day, he could be a Hero too...