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“They must be wrong,” Jacen told Father Joy, stunned. “I’m not rotting, not unclean–“

“It’s no curse,” said the priest softly.

Jacen dug his nails into his hands, feeling nothing.

“It’s a sign from God, Jacen,” Joy smiled. “It’s His way of calling you to be a warrior. It’s the gift of freedom from pain!”

And now he’s knitting: those members of the Leprous Irregulars with unbroken fingers make bandages for those without. Jacen always thought of knitting as women’s work, but among the men in these barracks and their short, brutal swords, he shuts up and works on his purl.