As they came out into the courtyard, they found a young man waiting. Allier bowed to him.
The young man made a deep bow to Hilary. She recognized him as one of the youngsters who had been at Arilinn for half a year while she was there. "Forgive me for disturbing you, Lady Hilary. I have brought Mestra Allier one of my mother's favorite dogs. I think she has a bone in her throat, and it is beyond my skill or that of the beast-leech on our estate. If I might trouble you, mestra...."
"Let me see her," said Allier, getting down from her horse. "Ah, poor creature," she crooned. The little dog, small and silky, whined and whimpered and drooled in distress.
"Do what you can for her, and my mother will be suitably grateful."
"Master Colin, I would do as much for any stray mongrel; but you must hold her head for me." She signaled and Colin climbed off his pony and took the little dog's head. "So. There. There, poor girl--" she patted the dog's head, and bent over her with her long, sharpened forceps. "Hold her, so--good dog, good girl--"
A moment later, having extracted the bone, she patted the little dog's head and set her down; the dog licked her hands and whimpered with relief.
Young Colin smiled "I am very grateful to you, mestra. She is my mother's pet, and Mother would not have lost her for any amount of gold. How can I repay you?"
"Feed her no more bones of birds; dogs can chew many bones, but not those. For myself I need nothing, vai dom; only tell your mother that when anyone speaks ill of the Renunciates in her hearing, to speak no evil of us herself, even if she cannot in conscience come to our defense."
Colin sighed; "I fear that will not be easy to ask of my mother, for she does not know any of you personally; but I will bear her the word. And no one shall speak ill of your Order in my hearing; that I vow to you." He fumbled in a purse. Allier shook her head, but he said, "For anyone in the village who cannot pay for your aid, then," and the woman tucked the gold coin into her purse. "I thank you, dom; some of these old women cannot pay for bandages or linen even for a shroud."
Colin bowed and rode away, and Allier said to Hilary, "Do you then know Dom Colin of Syrtis?"