The Faerie & The Avian-Witch Healer
Ishandra and the Winx Club Faeries fly Flora back to Alfea College where they bring her immediately to the infirmary. Ishandra, Bloom and Nurse Ophelia examine Flora’s burnt hands but because none of them has any experience in dealing with plasma burns the three of them find themselves at a loss. Bloom, goes to a comm and makes a desperate call to Linphia, Flora’s home world, in the hope that someone there might be able to help. She is promised that someone would be on her way immediately. Bloom returns to the infirmary to inform the others that someone from Linphia is on her way and should arrive shortly.
Meanwhile, Ishandra is using the cold fire of the White Ice Dragons to cool the fever that is beginning to ravage Flora’s body.
Flora’s eyes are open but she is obviously in a state of delirium as her eyes are constantly moving as if tracking an unseen someone or something. “Please, Helia, please my beloved,” begs Flora, “let me cross-over to you. Release me from this agony and let me come to you. No, Mother Faragonda, tell him he must let me come to him … he must!”
“Helia and Faragonda are gone, dearest,” says Stella to Flora with tears streaming down her cheeks. “And we don’t want you to cross-over.”
“Maybe Helia and Miss Faragonda have left their corporal bodies,” says Ishandra, “but they may not be gone. I know the critically ill and dying often believe that they are experiencing visitations from those who have already crossed-over. I have experienced the same myself.”
Flora continues to rant and plea to be allowed to cross-over but whomever or whatever she is in communication with is winning the argument for her to stay and Flora slips once more into unconsciousness but her body appears more relaxed.
After a short time, there is the sound of a sleek, interstellar F.T.L. racer making a landing in the courtyard of Alfea College, a confusion of voices followed by the sound of rapidly beating wings and then a young woman turns the corner in a flat-out run towards the infirmary.
“Where is she?” demands the young woman whom Bloom recognises as Miele, Flora’s little sister now not so little.
“She is in here, Miele,” Bloom tells her, “but did you bring a healer with you?”
“I am both a healer and her sister,” states Miele.
Bloom leads Miele into the room where Flora is but when Miele sees who else is in the room with her hands on Flora’s forehead she explodes in anger. “What is she doing here? Get away from her!” she screams, flying at Ishandra and shoving her into a table so she nearly falls on the floor.
Tecna is immediately between the two women keeping them apart and also protecting herself with a large tecno-shield. “Back off, Miele!” shouts Tecna uncharacteristically. “Ishandra is with us now and she has been working with us to help save Flora.”
“I’m sure she has,” retorts Miele, furious, “in just the same way she tried to help the Willow of Life.”
Aïsha takes Miele by her shoulders and, spinning her around and looking straight into her face, tells her, “Miele, enough. We can settle old scores later but right now Flora desperately needs your help.”
“Fine,” says Miele, “but I want that Witch out of here and away from my sister.”
“I’ll go,” says Ishandra, preparing to take her leave of them.
“You’ll go nowhere, Ishandra,” states Bloom with an angry look directed at Miele. “We may yet require your skills.”
“I need to know what happened,” says Miele, still looking peeved about Bloom’s decision to have Ishandra remain, “in as much detail as you can give me.”
Tecna, having been the closest to the action, recounts to Miele what transpired in the battle up to and including the moment Flora was hit by Morgana’s plasma scythe.
“I don’t understand,” says Stella her voice near hysteria and a tearful gaze fixed upon Miele. “I have seen Flora use her ivy vines and seen them burned, frozen or otherwise destroyed but she always comes out of it unscathed. What happened this time?”
“This plasma scythe of Morgana’s hit before Flora could detach,” says Miele and the others look at each other confused.
“What do you mean?” Bloom asks Miele.
“When casting an ivy vine or suchlike,” says Miele, “there is a critical moment when one must detach and for it to take an independent life of its own otherwise the caster suffers the same fate as it does. Flora did not have time to detach before Morgana’s plasma scythe hit so she was burned along with her vines.”
“She must have known!” cries Bloom as the others stand there looking shocked.
“Most likely she did,” says Miele.
“She saw her comrades in danger,” says Aïsha with a break in her voice, “and like a good and well-trained soldier, she sacrificed herself to save them.”
“Flora?” weeps Bloom. “You did this to save us?”
“The reality is,” says Miele, “is I have never seen such severe damage before. I can’t save her hands … I doubt that anyone can.”
“It is then clear enough,” says Nurse Ophelia, “we amputate both of them” and Ishandra and Miele nod in agreement.
“No way!” shouts Bloom angrily. “She took all this risk to save us. Are we going to let her down now?”
“Bloom,” says Nurse Ophelia, “we are doing this to save her life. If we don’t the flesh of her hands will go putrid and cause blood poisoning which is a slow and horrible way to die. Do you want to see her suffer any more than she is?”
“I’m with Bloom on this,” says Musa who, so far, has been keeping silent. “We just can’t give up hope on her this way. There are four healers here. Surely there must be a way at least one of you can come up with to save Flora and her hands. Think hard everyone!”
Everyone is quiet for a long moment their foreheads wrinkled as in deep thought trying to come up with an alternate solution to Flora’s situation. Suddenly, Ishandra breaks the silence. “I think I know someone at Cloud Tower who can help she announces to the Faeries,” and then vanishes. She reappears ten minutes later and behind her stands a slender and graceful winged creature covered with feathers but with a hooked, slashing beak and taloned fingers and a piercing gaze that sets Miele to screaming and trying to escape but Aïsha grabs her and holds her fast.
The winged creature walks up to Miele and pricks her hand with one of her talons and Miele remains conscious but all fear seems to be drained from her. “Much better,” states the creature. “Who is this little one? Is she the one who needs my help?”
“I’m sorry about this,” says Bloom to Alysoun, the Avian-Witch healer. “Had I known that Ishandra was bringing you here, I would have prepared Miele to receive you.”
“It’s alright,” chirps Alysoun. “Ishandra called to say that there was an emergency situation here but didn’t tell me the who and what of it.”
“It’s Flora,” explains Bloom to Alysoun, “her hands have been burned from a plasma attack.”
“How long ago?” trills Alysoun.
“Going on four hours,” replies Bloom.
“You should have called me sooner,” states Alysoun, “plasma continues to do damage even after initial contact. It may already be too late. I will need several hand bowls, water, gauze and bandage,” says Alysoun and Bloom is relieved to see that here is someone who seems to know what she is doing and taking action.
Nurse Ophelia goes quickly to get for Alysoun the materials she requires. Meanwhile, Alysoun is examining Flora’s hands. “It is not as bad as I would have expected,” says Alysoun and Miele looks at her curiously. “She has her Faerie immune system and regenerative powers to thank for this. For a Witch, this would have been game over.”
“Then there is hope?” Bloom asks Alysoun.
“Too early to tell,” replies Alysoun.
Nurse Ophelia is back with a small truck upon which are not only the items Alysoun had requested but several other items as well and Alysoun nods to her approvingly. Alysoun takes two of the larger bowls and fills them half full from the container of sterilized water. She then magics up a healer’s bag from which she takes two packages and dumps the contents of each one per bowl. In one of the bowls, she dumps a whole roll of gauze not bothering to unwind it and then sets the bowl aside.
“I will need your help with this, Bloom,” Alysoun tells the Mistress of the Red Dragon’s Fire. “When I lift up her hands, I want you to slip this towel under them.”
When the towel is in place, Alysoun lets down Flora’s hands then turns to the bowl still on the table and pours a measure of the medicine from it into two hand bowls. “Follow my lead,” she tells Bloom, handing her one of the hand bowls. “Be careful not to touch any of the burned parts of her hands. There is probably residual plasma which can burn you.”
“What does this do?” Miele asks Alysoun as she and Bloom place Flora’s hands into the solution.
“It neutralizes plasma,” explains Alysoun, “and stops any further damage.” Then looking around asks, “Who among you is the Faerie of Music?”
“I am,” says Musa.
“Bloom, I know you are Red Dragon’s Fire and Ishandra you are White,” says Alysoun. “What about you others?”
“Plants but not quite the same as Flora’s,” says Miele.
“Sun and moonlight,” says Stella.
“Morphix,” says Aïsha.
“Technology,” says Tecna.
“Excellent,” says Alysoun. “I may need all of your powers.”
“Musa,” says Alysoun, “I need you to produce a sound envelope from your palm,” then gives her the specifics.
“What in Alfea is the good of that?” asks Musa. “That is so high that not even Faeries can hear it.”
“I am well aware of that,” replies Alysoun emphatically, “but can you do it? I could do it myself but I would end up fracturing Flora’s bones which is not what we want.”
“Yes,” says Musa, and the air beneath her palm begins to shimmer as she generates the pulse.
“Now move your palm above Flora’s hand in a slow circular motion.”
Musa follows Alysoun’s instructions and, to everyone’s astonishment, the blackened flesh of Flora’s hands begins to drop off exposing angry red and raw flesh beneath it. Alysoun turns Flora’s hand so Musa can direct the sonic pulse on her palm exposing raw flesh as well then has Musa repeat the same on Flora’s other hand.
“There is enough here to save her hands,” announces Alysoun and the others look at her and each other in tearful relief. “Don’t get your hopes up too high,” continues Alysoun. “I can’t guarantee that she will be able to use them ever again but at least they won’t need to be amputated.”
“I believe that I can create nanites which I can program to repair that kind of damage,” says Tecna, “but it depends on how well the initial healing goes.”
Alysoun retrieves the second bowl and pulls strips of gauze from it which are covered in a thick, jelly-like substance and wraps a measure of it around each digit and then around the whole of Flora’s hands.
“What is in it?” asks Miele.
“Agar, aloes and wasp royal jelly among other things,” replies Alysoun.
“Agar and aloes I understand,” says Miele, “but wasp royal jelly?”
“It is disinfectant and will speed the regeneration of tissue,” replies Alysoun. “My people have been using it for generations to treat all kinds of burns.”
“Stella, Bloom, I want you to warm the jelly with your fire to body temperature but no more,” says Alysoun and both Faeries comply.
Alysoun then wraps a swath of dry bandage around each hand. “What about her temperature, Miele,” she asks.
“Still somewhat elevated,” replies Miele.
“Ishandra, take care of it,” orders Alysoun but when Miele sees Ishandra about to put her hands to Flora’s forehead she again raises her voice in protest.
“Look, Miele,” says Aïsha, barely suppressing her anger. “In case you missed it, Alysoun is also a Witch a Witch who not only has saved your sister’s hands but maybe also her life. I think you should now show respect and gratitude where it is due,” and red-faced, Miele nods at Ishandra to continue.
“I need some way to keep her from scratching at herself or trying to remove the bandage. Perhaps we need to tie her arms down,” chirps Alysoun.
“I can help,” says Aïsha, casting her magic onto Flora’s hands creating a blue mitten around each. “It breathes but there is no way she can remove them until I remove them myself.”
“That is all I can do for the moment,” says Alysoun. “I shall be in about midday tomorrow to check on her. Someone will have to stay with her all night.”
“Thank you, Alysoun,” say all the Faeries.
“Thank you, Alysoun,” says Miele. “I, I, I’m sorry,” and her voice breaks as she begins to weep.
“It’s understandable, little one,” replies Alysoun and then vanishes.
“I’ll take first watch,” volunteers Tecna, “seeing that I need the least amount of sleep. Bloom, I will come get you in six hours.”
“Okay,” orders Bloom, “everyone to bed. Miele, you may use Flora’s bed,” and they all depart.
Tecna brings up a chair near Flora’s bed and sits down. Then alone and in the silence of the room she places her hand upon Flora’s forehead and allows herself to weep for her friend.