Rudolph barely stifled a scream. The girl was staring at him with wide eyes, and the boy was sitting near her, wrapped in a blanket, febrile and shivering. There was silence for a long time. Then the girl spoke suddenly.
"Do you know how to cure a fever?"
"Do I-- what?"
"Well, you're obviously not a lost princess like Taliss usually brings in. They're absolutely useless and not very interesting. Taliss usually gets bored of them pretty fast. But you look like someone who's done a bit of taking care of yourself. And I need a doctor for Willem as quick as I can. But obviously I can't go out an find one. I can tell you're not a doctor, but can you help?"
"How many people come through here?"
"We've been here for a couple months now. Taliss keeps us well fed, and sometimes brings us a treat if she's feeling generous. She usually brings someone in every couple of weeks, unless she takes a liking to them, like she did with us. If she hadn't, we'd both we dead."
"We would?" Rudolph was confused. The girl was talking extremely fast, and he had no idea how to respond. And did this mean he only had a couple of weeks to live?
"Willem and I. But I'm don't know how much longer Willem has. He's gotten sick, and if Taliss sees him like this, he's dead for sure. I had to hide him when you came in."
"And who are you, exactly?"
"I'm Alisen. But there's no more time for introductions. If you can help him, you need to do it now."