I sat there on soft tufted grass in a helpless daze. Cador screamed in agony, unable to dislodge his arm from beneath the wagon. His men sat atop their ponies, struck dumb and inert. In a moment of lucidity, Cador bellowed at his men to lift the cart from his arm, but even I could see that would not be possible.
One by one, they dismounted and ran to assist. The watchman on the gate towers blew the horn, bringing more to the site. I sat and watched, partly amazed that the gods should respond to my plea so soon and partly bemused at his suffering.
While the warriors unloaded the wood, lessening the load in the cart, my mother hurried to her son’s side. It was some time before I was noticed. The smith wandered over to me and cut my ties. My arms were stiff and pained, my clothes bloodied and ripped. Out of us two siblings, I looked more battle ravaged than Cador.
When I was able to stand unaided, I stretched my arms and moved closer to my mother. She peered at my state and said nothing, returning her attention to her beloved boy. I stood over him, indifferent to his pain. If the gods willed this so, who was I to argue? He had taken my lover and my child. He deserved to feel a similar loss.
My mother was used to seeing such devastating injuries, but they were seldom of her own kin. Her eyes glistened with brimming tears as she fussed over him, pouring poppy resin water into his mouth.
Eventually, the men cleared enough of the fallen wood and debris to lever the corner of the cart up, enabling them to pull Cador free. When his blood surged back into his crushed arm, he roared in agony. It hung limp and ragged at his side. A sharp splinter of bone stuck through his skin. He had no control over its movement. My mother looked at me and then forced her knuckle between her teeth to stop herself from crying out.
We both knew what needed to happen. It was obvious to all but my brother. His right arm was useless, beyond repair. There was only one solution to an injury that catastrophic. It had to come off.