"Hey," came an urgent voice. "Hey, wake up!"
I felt an uncomfortable repetitive pressure against my shoulder. Someone was prodding me to jar me back to consciousness. "Hey," the voice said again. "I need you awake, sir!"
My eyes slid open slowly and I found myself lying on the floor of the same little cave in which Gavsot had unexpectedly betrayed me. I was completely alone except for Onslaw, who was jostling me roughly. With stinging clarity, alertness came flooding back.
I sat upright. "What the hell just happened?"
"I'm not sure," Onslaw said. He appeared relieved that I'd awoken. "I came back and found you like this."
"Gavsot stuck me with a knife that had been soaked in human blood," I told him. "But I don't understand why."
"He also killed Yelvin and Dorvial," Onslaw added with fiery anger. "I don't understand that either, but I can promise you he'll regret it."
"Yeah," I nodded. "I didn't see that coming either. And then he formed an alliance with the Leader of that creepy cult. The whole thing just doesn't seem like the Gavsot I know."
"An alliance?" Onslaw said worriedly.
"I heard it right before I passed out," I explained. "The Leader was as surprised by all this as we were."
Onslaw shook his head. "So it was all the general's idea," he muttered. "That bastard."
I could feel physical and psychokinetic strength beginning to return to my frail form. "It looks like we have a common enemy," I said. "Would you be interested in helping me bring Gavsot to justice?"
"If by bring to justice you mean torture, maim and kill, then yes," he replied soberly. "Absolutely yes."
I wasn't particularly interested in killing General Gavsot. He'd been a good friend and a loyal ally for a long time. I didn't know if he'd acted under duress, been somehow possessed by something else, or if he'd done all of it knowingly and heartlessly, but I wanted to find out before I exacted any kind of immutable punishment. Sidestepping Onslaw's redefinition of my phrasing, I said, "Wow, you really take an attempt on your life personally, don't you?"
"That," Onslaw agreed grimly, helping me to my feet, "and Yelvin was my brother."