The heart of the eternal

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Chapter 5: It is my choice...

Thokan did frown. “Oh no, that is bad, but we are armed and the escort is large too. She will be safe, and I doubt that this Mjorr will dare to travel all the way to the plains?”

Ulfar took a deep breath. “I cannot say for sure, he is mad and spoiled and like Bagir said, if he cannot have her he may think that nobody should”

Wenja whimpered, she remembered the insane expression on Mjorr’s face, he had wanted to kill her, she was sure of it. Khirhien crossed his arms over his chest. “We will keep our eyes open then, this human sounds like someone who has lost his sanity a long time ago”

Bagir frowned. “He should have been strangled with his own umbilical cord when he was pushed out of his mother, that would have been better for everyone”

Hodan sort of herded them into the temple where it was warm and Wenja was still cold, why she didn’t know. She stared at the two tall eternal, they were more than a foot taller than any other male she had seen and she saw that their bodies were slender and elegant and yet extremely powerful. What would it be like to be bedded by someone like that? Were they like human men in that regard or were they different? She forced herself to breathe, it would not help her if she did panic now.

Before long they heard hooves and the dark skinned one returned with another tall cloaked figure behind him. It was a female and she was gorgeous, but very exotic. There were drawings all over her face and her eyes were violet while her hair had an odd tone of grass green. She did look vigorous, and she smiled and appeared to be very glad to see Wenja. “So this is the one, such exquisite beauty!”

Wenja had to blush, she felt like an eclipse compared with this female but she did notice one thing though. The female wore a sort of tightly fitted tunic made from leather with a soft wool shirt under and she had very little shapes. There was hardly any breasts to speak off and she appeared to be boyish in shape in general. Wenja had very nice breasts and a narrow waist too and she felt much more womanly than this eternal, in spite of Ahnriel’s obvious beauty. “So, your sister is ill?”

Wenja nodded. “Yes, please help her”

Ahnriel smiled and patted Wenja’s back. “I will do my best. We brought extra horses”

They walked outside and Wenja saw two stocky dun horses next to the large long legged ones, they seemed to be calm beasts and Rhawan gestured towards them. “Ulfar, Bagir, you may take these, they are yours to keep”

Bagir was blinking in disbelief and Ulfar took the reins with obvious reverence. He had never believed that he ever would own a horse. Wenja hesitated and Rhawan rode over to her and pulled her up, placed her in front of him in the saddle. “It is my duty to keep you safe precious one, don’t be afraid, I will not let you fall and neither will Silverwing”

Ulfar made his horse move forth. “It is a very steep path, are you sure your horses can do it?”

Rhawan nodded. “Yes, our steeds can handle any terrain. Don’t worry, it will be fine”

Wenja had never sat on a horse before and the ground was terrifyingly far below and it went so fast. The horses were trotting and she saw that Thokan and the two other emissaries were to stay behind. She felt the warmth from Rhawan’s body and he felt safe, like a solid wall built to protect you. She had a strong feeling that Mjorr would have to come up with a very devious plan indeed if he was to get through this eternal. The way he moved did reveal that he was a skilled fighter, and extremely dangerous.

The path was covered with snow now but it didn’t matter that much to these eternal and their huge steeds, the two horses Bagir and Ulfar had been given were just as capable of handling the snow and the trip back to the farm was done in just a couple of hours. The horses had no problems with the steep parts of the path, they did barely slow down at all and Wenja sat there and felt as if she was flying up the ragged terrain. She saw that the riders did lean forth a bit and they let the horses have their heads all the time and neither of the animals did hesitate, not even once. Ulfar was grinning but his face did reveal some confusion. “Honoured ones, pardon me for asking but we are poor and our house is small, we have no beds big enough for your kind”

Rhawan just snickered. “But you have a barn? We can sleep in the hay, and the horses have blankets and can stay outdoors for the night”

Bagir did lift an eyebrow” My lord, that is…”

Rhawan grinned, “Beneath us? Not at all, I am a warrior, I have slept in far worse places, believe me”

They reached the farm and Sina did open the door, alarmed by the sound of hooves and strange voices. She gaped and ran back inside, suddenly terrified of the tall strangers. Ulfar got off the horse and Rhawan and Bagir went to take care of the animals while Ahnriel followed Ulfar and Wenja inside. Sina was hiding in a corner, in obvious shame of the poverty which was very visible. Halda lay in her bed and you could hear her laboured breathing from afar. Ulfar embraced Sina who still looked petrified. “My light, this is Ahnriel, she is of the eternal. She can heal, and she will try to help Halda. Wenja is the chosen one, we will be given such gifts “

Sina just whimpered and stared at Ahnriel who pulled off her cloak and smiled, she didn’t appear to be shocked by the condition of the house at all. Farkur, Idah and Surun sat in the corner, cramped together like mice in a trap, staring with wide eyes at the strange woman. Ahnriel nodded at Sina. “Your family is greatly blessed and our leader will show his gratitude by gifting you with all you need to live a good life”

She went over to the bed and Halda did look stunned, her eyes were huge and Wenja sat down next to her. “Don’t be afraid sister, she will help you breathe better”

Halda swallowed. “She is so pretty, is she real?”

Ahnriel smiled and took the girls hand, sat down next to her too. “I am real yes little one, and I am very glad I am here for I am sure I can help you, at least make it easier for you to breathe.”

Halda smiled, she did look so shy but at the same time she suddenly had hope in her eyes. “That would be nice”

Sina stood there and appeared to be in complete disbelief still, Ulfar held her gently. The door opened and Bagir and Rhawan entered, the room was suddenly overfilled or so it felt for Rhawan had such a presence and his head did touch the roof in a few places. Ahnriel smiled at the dark skinned one and Rhawan bowed his head to Sina and the children. Farkur was staring with huge eyes at the swords the warrior now removed and leaned up against the wall. Ahnriel leaned over Halda and laid a hand on her chest, very gently and then she started to chant something, it sounded very sweet and soft and yet there was power in her voice and her eyes started to glow slightly. Halda gasped and Sina did look very nervous. Rhawan smiled at her. “Do not worry good woman, this will not hurt at all, it just feels warm”

Halda squeaked. “It does mother, it feels…good”

Ahnriel was chanting louder and her entire body was glowing, her hands seemed to hold onto something incredibly bright and strong and she seemed to be pushing herself hard. They heard that Halda was breathing easier already and Ahnriel did let go for a moment. “Can you help her sit up for a moment? I need to check her back, I have a suspicion”

Sina rushed over and she and Ulfar did lift Halda’s upper body up so she was leaning forward. Ahnriel did pull the thin gown up and Wenja stared at her sister’s pale and skinny back, there were no muscles left at all, just bone. Ahnriel swore and then she let a hand glide down the back, they saw how uneven the spine had become. “She didn’t break her back completely, but several of the bones are misaligned. I may be able to fix this but that will hurt”

Ulfar gasped. “Will she be okay again then?”

Ahnriel tilted her head. “She may, but it will take years before she is as strong as she ought to be, it will take a lot to retrain her body”

Sina bit her lower lip. “Do it, please?”

Ahnriel nodded. “It may not work, I warn you, but I will try and do my very best.”

Halda nodded. “I am not afraid, it hurt a lot to begin with, I can handle it”

Ahnriel did stroke the greasy unwashed hair. “I am sure you can, you are such a brave little girl”

The eternal did lean forward with both hands on the spine, she chanted but this time the chant was different, not so gentle, more demanding, like a general shouting orders. Wenja didn’t understand a single syllable but she realized that these were words of power, of immense power. Halda let out a shriek and they all saw how the body suddenly twisted and shook and it did look unnatural and disturbing. Sina was sobbing and the Idah and Farkur looked terrified. Surun did look more curious than scared, he was too young to understand this. Ahnriel did struggle, they saw it. Her body was tense and her expression one of intense concentration and focus. Sweat was flowing off her skin and Halda was writhing, Ulfar and Bagir had to really use strength to hold her still. It seemed as if it lasted forever but finally the green haired woman let go and she sighed and looked fatigued. “It is done, now it is up to the gods”

They could see that the back was straight again and Halda was gasping for air, the feeling had to be extremely strange.

Sina sat down and embraced her daughter and Wenja saw that Halda was smiling and she was breathing normally. It was all worth it now, that moment made it all worth it. She couldn’t have cared less about herself when she knew that her sister would be healthy again. Sina was sobbing with relief and joy and she grasped Ahnriel’s hands and kissed them in reverence. Ahnriel did look a bit embarrassed but Rhawan smiled. “I am very glad it worked, but there is a long path ahead of her now.”

Ulfar smiled and there were tears in his eyes. “We will walk it with her, we cannot thank you enough”

Ahnriel did blush and then she got up. Rhawan went outside and came back inn with a bottle and a small sack. He placed the bottle on the table and opened the sack, there was some cheese and a bread and he smiled. “We would like to share a meal with you, there isn’t much we have but at least there is a small taste for everybody”

Sina got efficient, she cleared the table and found some cups and everybody did get a place even though it got a bit crowded. Farkur was still staring at Rhawan and Idah was fascinated by Ahnriel’s hair. Wenja felt as if she was in some sort of odd dream, this was wonderful and yet…She couldn’t help but being a bit afraid too, she would have to leave it all behind and she had never been outside of the valley. And now she was to travel to the plains? She knew that it was a long way to go, a very long way. They would be travelling for weeks and months. Rhawan cut the cheese and it was sweet and fatty and Farkur did gobble up his piece as if he never had seen food before. Sina scolded him for being a bit too eager but Rhawan laughed and ruffled the lad’s hair. “He is growing, a lad his age needs his food”

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