Rudolph was in shock. His mind kept spinning with guilty thoughts; If only I had regained consciousness earlier, if only I had been just a little faster crushing the Chipka flowers, if only I hadn't spent so much time talking with Alisen. He knew it did not good wishing for things to have turned out differently, but he couldn't help but blame himself for Willem's death.
Beside him, Alisen's body shook with sobs. Rudolph wished he could help her as well, but the most he could do was give her the Chipka paste to make sure she didn't get sick as well and keep a comforting arm around her shoulders.
After a few minutes, he asked quietly,
"Do you want to move him?"
"You do it," Alisen managed to choke out.
Rudolph got up slowly and chose a piece of embroidered silk from Taliss's hoard at the back of the cave. He covered Willem's stiff form with the cloth and moved him to the side of the cave.
Alisen's tears eventually slowed, and she leaned against Rudolph as if to steady herself. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and let her head drop.
"At least... at least I got to say goodbye. I loved him."
"He loved you too," Rudolph said softly. "I'm sure he would have rather died in your arms than any other way."
Alisen swallowed heavily and tried to suppress another wave of tears. "I suppose there's nothing left to do but wait for Taliss to return. She'll take him outside and cremate him with dragon fire. She lets us come if we want." She sniffled again and raised her eyes to the opening, as if expecting Taliss to swoop in at that very moment.
"He will have a pyre fit for a king. Willem loved you, and he will not be forgotten. We will make sure of that."