When he asked Garovel about it, the reaper was able to explain further. The brand meant that these people had broken the law in some way, and if they ever attempted to conceal their brands, they would probably be beaten or arrested, depending on local law or custom.
It made Hector wonder what this young couple could have done to earn such a harsh punishment. They looked harmless enough to him--both very gaunt with wary eyes, as if they expected Hector to turn on them at any moment. Their baby certainly looked plump and healthy, though.
He never exchanged a single word with them. They probably didn’t speak Mohssian, he figured. He was content to leave at that and be on his way, but as he turned to go, the husband raised his voice and began speaking in Valgan.
‘He’s saying you smell like the inside of an old diaper,’ said Garovel.
Hector had to stop himself from squinting.
The baby-holding husband came closer and grabbed Hector’s hand, shaking it up and down while nodding furiously. He looked like he might start crying.
‘He’s telling you to go eat your own shit forever. Like an ouroboros made of your own feces. Man, this guy sure has a mouth on him.’
The husband let him go, making room for the wife to come in and wrap her arms around him.
‘Yeah, she hates you, too. She’s not really saying, but I can just tell.’
The woman was sobbing into Hector’s shirt now.
Hector just kind of stood there, trying not to move. This was way more physical contact than he’d bargained for, but he was hoping he could just clear his mind and wait it out.
It took a while, but she did eventually release him.
Hector remained frozen there, trying not to look traumatized by a hug.
‘Wait a minute.’ Garovel floated across Hector’s vision. ‘I may’ve been mistaken.’