As Rudolph thought of his love, his hands faltered.
"You okay?" Alisen asked.
"Yeah, I'm... fine. Where can I crush these flowers? It should be away from where you eat."
Alisen led him to a back corner of the cave, away from the rugs and other comforts that Taliss had brought. The cave was bigger than it had first seemed, but Rudolph could still see the entrance, a large opening high in the rock. Willem lay in the middle of the room, wrapped in a blanket. Rudolph could see his body shivering even in the warmth of blanket.
"How many flowers are you gonna crush? Is it going to take long?" Alisen's voice jerked him back to the task at hand.
"Not too much. You can go back to Willem. I'll be there in just a minute."
Alisen caught his hand.
"Thank you. For doing this, I mean. For saving him. Willem means to world to me." She turned and hurried back to Willem's side, leaving Rudolph to crush the Chipka flowers into the paste he needed. Rudolph took out a handful of the purple blossoms and crushed them to a pulp. The juice trickled down the rock, warm and sticky like blood. He sopped up the juice in a piece of cloth and carried it to where Willem lay. His head was on Alisen's lap, eyes closed and face wet with her tears. Rudolph placed the Chipka juice-laden cloth on his forehead, but knew that it would do no good. Willem was gone.