Lenna stretched out her feet as she sat up in her bed in her new room. It seemed like an eternity since she was able to walk about freely. Having to lie in her bed with nothing to do made her feel stiff in her joints. She wished she could go outside even for just a moment to stretch out. The one time she was allowed to leave her room was for her peoples’ funeral. Even then Emrys and Antalos made sure she did not overexert herself.
She was often visited by Marian, who she found was supposed to marry Antalos. The princess was very nice, and at most times quiet. Sometimes, she would bring a book on her visits to read to Lenna while she rested. She made life inside these stone walls bearable.
“How do you feel today, eh?” Emrys asked from the other side of the room. He had his back turned to her as he arranged a line of seven vials with a dark liquid inside. These were for Lenna to drink from if she ever felt any pain from her wounds, which had healed nicely so far. He was a very good physician.
“Much better, thank you.”
“Well enough to be walking around?” he questioned.
“More than enough.” Lenna was ready to get out of bed weeks ago, but was never allowed. She was grateful for the large window when she had been relocated to the bigger room. It allowed her a perfect view of the trees, the sky, and fields outside, beyond the walls. As pleasant as that was, she still felt as if she were trapped in a small cage. She couldn’t wait to get out again.
She had not seen Antalos since the funeral. Emrys would always tell Lenna that the prince would ask about her between his many duties he needed to attend to. His life came with a lot of responsibilities.
A wave of dizziness came over her as she attempted to stand, but it did little to affect her. She pushed through it.
“I will have the cook send up some food and drink for you,” Emrys said. “Now remember, if you ever feel you need to rest, make sure you do. I’m certain the princess Marian would not mind keeping you company some more.”
“Thank you, Emrys.”
“For what, my dear?”
“For your kindness. It is not usual for any leïfae to be treated so kindly by anyone in Anecia.”
“Kindness is my specialty! Anyway, it is nice to have you around. You remind me of someone I used to know a long, long time ago.”
Lenna thought she could see a slight twinkle in his eye, as if he were remembering a very fond old memory from his youth. “Do you ever have anyone to help you?”
He shook his head. “I had someone here once, but he was more of an apprentice, really.”
“What happened to him?”
“Oh, he left. There was an illness spreading in a neighboring kingdom that lost its own physician. Come to think of it…”
“Yes? What is it?”
“It has been quite some time since he last wrote.” He was quiet for a moment then seemed to realize he was lost in thought and cleared his throat. “Anyway, I could always apply for a new assistant. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to boss around.”
Lenna bit back a smile as she watched the physician leave the room.
The food was good. Much better than the food she had to eat while she was stuck in bed. Emrys insisted on more than one occasion that it would be best for her to eat while she recovered. It always tasted like some kind of strange gruel-like broth, which would have made her feel sick if not for her body needing to gain some much needed strength. Sometimes hunger took precedence over taste.
After eating her fill, Lenna swung her feet to the side of the bed and rested them on the cold stone floor. She shied away from the shocking cold for a moment before lowering her feet once more. Clenching her hands into fists on either side of her, Lenna took a couple of deep breaths to ready herself. Slowly, she rose to her feet, wobbling slightly as she kept a hand on the bedside to steady herself.
“Okay, try one step forward,” she told herself. “It’s just one step.”
She tried lifting her right foot. It shook a little as she brought it forward, moving with it. So far so good. She tried the same thing with the left foot. One step after the other, she made it to the end of the bed, but she had to hold onto the tall bedpost to catch her breath from the burning pain in her side. She leaned her head against the wooden post, wishing she were rid of the pain already. She wanted to be able to run again like she used to.
“What are you doing?” a voice asked.
Lenna jumped somewhat and looked to see a young man—possibly nineteen or twenty years—standing in the open doorway. He was dressed in a red tunic with a tan leather vest on top, and brown pants and boots. He had dark hair, almost black with a few lighter brown hairs. His eyes were a piercing green, looking at her in concerned curiosity. “What does it look like I’m doing?” she replied. “I’m walking.”
“Not very well, by the looks of it,” he retorted with a light chuckle.
“I’m tired of being stuck in bed all day.”
The man nodded. “I understand.”
“What are you doing here anyway?”
“Antalos heard that you were feeling better today, and he sent me to check in on you. He would have come himself, but he has been busy of late.”
Lenna offered him a smile. “That is very thoughtful. I will have to give him my thanks when I see him again.”
“I’m certain he will be happy with that.”
“What is your name, by the way?” Lenna asked.
“Oh, my apologies!” he exclaimed. “I’m Egrin. Knight of Anecia and good friend of Antalos.”
Lenna laughed. “Do you always add the rest of those words to your introduction?”
Egrin grinned. “Only with certain people who I think I could be friends with.”
“Possibly. Antalos likes you, so we might as well be on good terms. Do you…need any help? I know you want to be able to walk around, but you look like you need some help still. At least, until you regain all of your strength.”
Lenna was quiet and took her situation into consideration. Egrin was right. She may have felt well enough to get out of bed, but being able to stand on her own two feet was proving to be more challenging than she had planned. “I suppose I could use a little bit of help.”
With a nod, Egrin approached her and gently held one of her arms to keep her steady. “Any place you would like to go?”
“Oh…I guess I hadn’t thought about that. I was too focused on getting up, I didn’t even think of the rest.”
Egrin chuckled. “How about the royal garden? There are plenty of places for you to rest if you ever feel tired of walking.”
“As long as it’s outside, I’m okay with it,” Lenna replied with a smile.