Kiaran raced after the cat, Stella’s body weighing her down. Somehow, she was able to avoid tripping over roots and logs or hitting low hanging branches.
Her muscles began to burn and she nearly dropped. Stella’s fingers suddenly grasped at Kiaran’s shirt as she coughed. Hot blood splattered out of her lips and down Kiaran’s back.
Her grip tightened on her fallen comrade. “You will make it,” she forced out as she kept moving.
Everything in her body was breaking down, trying to fall, to rest. It was much like physical stress she endured in Kamoni. Her muscles would quiver and tear before she would quit the fight. Otherwise...She'd be dead.
Her insides twisted as she raced against death. Stella was bleeding from the inside, and Cyrin was losing so much blood--he’d be lucky to keep his arm at this rate. Time was against her, and it terrified her. She would not allow anyone to die if she could help it.
Passing a line of trees, Kiaran came to an abrupt stop, Stella nearly falling off of her. The cat leapt into a man’s arms as he appeared to wait for them. He stood tall and powerfully, his dark clothes adding to his mystery. His graying, dark hair was short and neat.
However, something stood out about him.
Kiaran’s heart slammed against her ribs. His eyes. His orange eyes watched her as he said, “You’ve come across the abomination, I take it?”
“The what?” she was hardly able to get the words out. She was stuck on his eyes. They were like Nurra’s, like the wolves’ back at the tribe. Her heart quickened.
He walked to her, taking Stella. He placed her on the forest floor and she grimaced, moaning softly in pain. “A mage created that thing. No man should create another creature. The product of such mages are called abominations.”
She watched him as he knelt beside Stella. He pulled her shirt up, revealing her belly. He pressed his fingers tightly into her belly, feeling around. Placing his other hand firmly against her forehead, he proceeded to heal her. Blue and white light glowed from their skins as she whimpered.
Once he was finished, he looked back to Kiaran, saying, “I have a house not too far this way,” he gestured behind himself. “I will bring her there to rest while you aid your other friends.”
She turned to leave, but faced him once more. “I do not trust you,” she scoffed.
“I know,” he grinned, his teeth gleaming, “I am a stranger.” He lifted Stella in his arms, adding, “But you know that I am a Destine. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have followed Anali.” The cat meowed happily at his feet.
“That is why I can’t trust you,” she grunted. “You don’t care for specific individuals. For people.” Was this man it? “I can’t trust you to keep her alive.” Was he her father? "How can I trust you when all you care about is the fate of the world rather than the fate of a single woman?"
“It is not yet her time,” he said sternly. “She hasn’t completed her fate yet. As of now, she is to live.”
“Fine,” she sighed, “I’ll be back soon.”
By the time she reached Ryker and Cyrin, her legs were shaking and weak. She crashed onto her knees, panting heavily. Her face was reddened, the cold wind feeling magnificent against her burning skin.
Cyrin watched her with tiring eyes, his body hunched over. He was weak, hardly awake. Ryker was beside him, looking over his shoulder. Petre stood guard, his mind and ears open to anything that might pose a threat.
Ryker’s fingers were bloody as he pulled off the lose skin of Cyrin’s shoulder. He tossed it aside, cleaning out the wounds. Holding a hand to Cyrin’s wounded arm, he closed his eyes and the blue light healed him.
His shoulder pulled back together, skin growing back where it was ripped away. It no longer looked caved in and broken. In his weakened state, Ryker was unable to heal him without scars.
As the light continued to illuminate them, Ryker shoved Cyrin’s arm back into socket. He winced in pain, looking away. Finally, it was finished.
Ryker exhaled heavily, slowly falling to the ground. Sweat glistened across his brow. He stared at the sky above him, nearly panting. “Is Stella healed?” Ryker asked weakly.
“Yes,” Kiaran said as she walked to him. He looked to her, taking in the unsettled expression on her face.
Kiaran crouched before Cyrin, relief washed through her, leaving her weak and exhausted. "How are you feeling?" she asked quietly.
"Better, now," he answered. "Tired."
"Hm. Yeah," she hummed. Standing, she moved back to Ryker.
“Let us go,” she said. She pulled him to his feet and then knelt ahead of him, her back to him. “Hop on.” He dropped onto her, wrapping his knees around her sides, his feet dangling. His hands gripped her as he rested his forehead against one of her shoulders.
“You did well, Ryker,” she said lowly.
Cyrin stood as well, pulling his shirt back on. It was stained and ragged. Kiaran grinned at him and he asked, “What?”
“For a noble, you look...homely.”
“Homely?” he questioned.
She laughed softly as she moved forward. “We must get back to the Destine’s house.”
Nurra rushed ahead of them anxiously, every so often he looked back at Kiaran. “What is wrong with Nurra?” Cyrin asked.
She watched the little dragon quizzically. Their connection was wavering, it was fading and spiking between them. “I don’t know,” she replied lowly.
Kiaran’s pace slowed as she breathed heavily, her heart pumping fiercely to keep up with her body. Cyrin slowed his pace, saying, “I can take the boy.”
"No, you're still healing," she retorted.
"I can take him," Petre interjected. "I'm in much better condition than either of you."
After a moment of hesitation, she agreed. Once he was transferred to Petre's back, they continued on.