A soft breeze passed over the land. The leaves in the trees rustled loudly. The chattering of voices and a crackling fire echoed in Renefaire’s ears. She tried to open her eyes, but it seemed almost impossible. Exhaustion wore her down everywhere. It was as if her eyes were too tired to do as she commanded.
“She’s waking up!” a voice shouted. The voice softened, “Excuse me, girl. What is your name?”
“R-Renefaire,” she answered. She opened her eyes. Well, just one eye. She found that there was a small cloth wrapped around her right eye. “What…what happened?”
A young girl—possibly about sixteen years old—smiling down at her. Her light brown hair with lighter streaks was arranged in long locs. Pink and purple ribbons were tied here and there with glass beads. Her blue-grey eyes were just as wild and glimmered with curiosity. “We found you on the side of the road we were traveling just the other day. Your eye was badly hurt, so I helped bandage it. It will take some time before it heals completely.”
“You know, you’re very lucky to have such a faithful companion.”
“Your unicorn. He was the one who brought us to you.”
Renefaire smiled. “Sorrel always been good like that. Where is he?”
“Last I saw, my sister Everly was feeding him at the edge of camp.”
She looked around to find she was in a very small room. It was colorful in shades of red with blue and white flowers. Curtains with beautiful patterns covered the two windows on either side. “Exactly what kind of camp is this anyway? Are you a nomad?”
The girl shrugged. “In a way. We call ourselves the Navine. We’re a group of healers who just travel around the different kingdoms, healing as we go.”
“That sounds like an interesting life.”
“It has its ups and downs. Oh!” she exclaimed, practically bouncing on her feet. “I almost forgot. My name is Amira.”
The sound of a door opening came from behind a large tapestry hanging at the far end of the room. A woman with light orange hair stepped from behind the fabric and up the two stairs. “Is everything all right in here?” she asked. “I thought I heard you calling.”
“She woke up, Mother,” Amira repied.
“I can see that.” The woman turned to Renefaire. “How are you feeling, my dear? Any pain from your eye?”
“Uh, no,” Renefaire answered. “It just feels a little numb right now.”
“Ah, that would be the medicine working. You’re going to need your eye re-bandaged before long.”
“Did it look bad?”
“Nothing that won’t heal. I would keep it covered until it heals completely, though. May I ask you a question?”
“Where are you from?”
“A village outside of Anecia.”
The woman furrowed her brow. “Anecia?” she echoed. “That is quite a ways away.”
Renefaire sat up quickly, ignoring the pounding in her head. “What do you mean?”
“We are far away from there,” Amira said. “At least six days’ time.”
Six days! How could she be so far away from her home? Sorrel must have taken her away from the danger much faster than she first thought. Some things were still a blur to her, but she could remember… The large army. The creatures that came down on her village, the people.
“My people!” she exclaimed. “My home!”
The woman rested her hands on Renefaire’s shoulders. “Now, now, young one. Do not overexert yourself, or you might hurt yourself. Now, then. What about your people?”
Renefaire took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself. “We were returning from our Ride, which is a tradition for my people. They were attacked. All of them. We pushed back the army, but then there…monsters. We tried…to save them… We tried!” She fought back the tears behind her eyes as everything came back to her. She remembered everything except for the end. Only that those creatures chased her deep into the forest and then…nothing.
“Do you know what army? Could you identify where the army came from?”
She shook her head. “I can’t say. My people never got involved with anyone outside of us very often. We never had anything to offer. There was no point to the attack.”
Amira’s mother gently took Renefaire’s hands. “Everything is okay now. You’re safe. There may even be a chance some of your people are still alive. I doubt the king and queen of Anecia would just leave your people vulnerable after what you have told me. I can have a messenger bird sent to Zoron. They can find your people faster than we can pack up and go to your village. But for right now, you must rest. Amira will take good care of you as you rest in here.”
The woman smiled. “Just call me Ida. We might as well know each other’s names during our time together.”
“I wish we could have met in different circumstances, Renefaire, but still, I welcome you to our camp.”