Chapter 15: The healer.
There was a pounding sound in my head, muffling everything else from the outside. I tried to open my eyes but my eyelids felt so impossibly heavy and refused to obey my command. I groaned at my headache and stirred in the soft bed beneath me in an attempt to wake up further when a searing pain erupted from my upper back; my eyes opening abruptly, the pain and the light in the room blinding me, and my breathing coming out in gasps at the shocking feeling.
“Hey, it’s fine. You are safe, everything is good.” A soft voice soothed me; a pair of gentle hands gripped me by the arms holding me firmly against the mattress. “Stop moving, you are going to hurt yourself.”
It took me a few seconds to understand what the person was telling me and a few more to push back the pain to really see my surroundings. I was in a large room with stone walls and big windows, two roads of beds with white sheets filled the place and surprisingly I was the only one laying down. I saw a couple knights in the furthest corner and a young man tending to what looked like training wounds.
“Miss, can you understand me?” I directed my attention to the same voice from before. Surprisingly, it belonged to a slender man with light chocolate skin and warm amber eyes dressed in a beige robe. I figured he was a nurse, too. His hands were still holding me down in the bed, as if afraid I would jump up and start running.
“Yes, I understand you.” I finally answered, clearly surprising the man. And eyeing my arms I added. “You can let go now; I won’t run away.”
“Right. Please don’t move.” He nodded, hesitantly letting go of my arms as if not trusting my words. The man turned back and walked down the aisle. Meanwhile, I closed my eyes trying to remember what’d brought me to what looked like a hospital when a pair of gray eyes popped in my mind. I gasped loudly and tried to stand up, the pain in my back bringing me back to reality.
‘Too much for not moving’ I scolded myself, still wondering why my back hurt so damn much. Before my mind could wander further in my memories, the amber eyed man came back with a silver tray on his hands filled with bandages and other medical stuff I couldn’t identify.
“All right, miss. I’ll help you turn around so I can check up on your wounds and change your bandages.” I nodded and let him help me lay on my stomach. His slender body was much stronger than I first expected; that and his experience made the maneuver swift and painless.
“My name is Enid, by the way.” I said while he unwrapped the bandages covering my back. “Can you tell me why am I here?”
“I’m Sean, nice to put a name to the face, Enid.” He clicked his tongue displeased when he retired the last bandage. I blushed slightly, not used to have a man looking at my bare skin; back home I’d only been treated by female healers. “I was told a wolf attacked you in the forest, you were lucky to arrive on time or the blood loss would’ve killed you. Now, don’t move. Some of the gashes reopened.” I nodded and bit my lower lip, waiting for the sting of a needle to pierce my skin. Surprisingly, a warm heat spread through my upper back, relieving the pain from the inside.
“What did you do?” I was bewildered. The pain was practically gone, a slight sting left as a reminder of my injuries. But the feeling was similar to the one of a scratch.
“I’m a healer; instead of stitching your skin and let the muscles recover naturally, I use my powers to put your muscles together. I did my best with your back but I’m afraid the wolf got you too deep and I’ve been doing this for the past three days. It will scar a little, I’m sorry.” He finished bandaging my back once more and helped me seat in the bed. A tray with warm food was waiting in the table and my stomach growled loudly. I blushed embarrassed by my body voicing its needs and averted my gaze from Sean’s amused eyes, he passed me the tray and seated beside my bed.
“Thank you” I mumbled and began eating with slow and small bites. My stomach grumbled once more, angry at the slow pace I was giving it food, but I didn’t want to get sick by eating too quickly. “And thanks for everything. If it weren’t for you and your ability I’d probably never recover fully. A few scars are a good deal.”
I took a few more bites of the bland soup before he spoke again. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the mattress and face resting on his fingers. “What were you doing alone in the forest? I’d think is common sense not to wander around and alone in the wild.”
“It is.” I agreed, a bit bothered by his proximity. I hadn’t notice before due to my pain and hunger, but Sean was incredibly handsome with a strong and sharp jaw, full lips and slightly bushy eyebrows that framed his curious honey-colored eyes. His tight curls were cut really short and a trimmed beard shaded his face and upper lip. He made me a bit uncomfortable, but not in a bad way. “I saw a creek near the path and stepped in to take a few sips. Unluckily, my horse sensed the wolf and ran away without me… Now that I think about it, it was a miracle I survived long enough for someone to help me.”
“Were you traveling for long? Your accent is a bit odd.” He pointed out, sounding casual. I eyed him warily and let my eyes wander a little, noticing my things were nowhere in sight.
“A few days.” I tried to maintain my answer vague. I asked him to hand me a glass of water and intentionally brushed his fingers, focusing all my attention to read him. A canvas of warm oranges and yellows surround him, a few brushstrokes of brown and blue swirled around. I beamed at him, feeling that I could trust him, and elaborated in my previous answer. “I’m from a neighboring kingdom. I was traveling with a friend, but I have some business elsewhere and we split right before I got attacked by that wolf.”
I shuddered as the memory came back to me. The crazed eyes of the beast, its sharp teeth and menacing growls, the sharp pain of its claws piercing through my skin and muscle shredding my body like butter. Sean frowned, noticing my uneasiness and grabbed my hand, giving it an encouraging squeeze.
“You are safe now.” I felt warmth flowing through his hand and I relaxed. The intensity of his eyes left no room for doubt in his words.
“That’s cheating” I said, referring to his use of powers to calm me down. “But I give you permission to do it any time; it feels really good.”
He blushed lightly and we remained silent until I finished my soup. I wanted to move so badly, knowing I’d been lying in bed for days. After externing my thoughts, Sean offered to help me walk around the room. As he helped me up, I was surprised to feel how strong he really was under all that clothing. His lanky appearance only an optical illusion due to his height; once standing he was almost seven feet tall, needing to bend a little to support me while walking with both hands holding my elbows firmly, his chest grazing my back a little with each step.
We were in our second lap through the main aisle when the doors opened abruptly and with such force they smashed against the walls. The sudden noise startled me and I jumped against Sean’s body, searching for protection; the wolf attack left me overly wary of danger. He held me tightly from my arms and, once he verified I hadn’t hurt myself, he glanced up at the newcomers.
Two men oozing power and authority crossed the entrance and headed with slow but strong strides to our direction. The man in the back stayed a little behind, indicating the other nurse to leave and in a matter of seconds the room was empty except for them.
“We should take you back to the bed.” He mumbled, bowing his head in respect.
“Am I in trouble?” I tried to hurry back, not wanting to anger who obviously were the lords of this place. If I’d learned something over the years was to recognize important people, and they were very important.
“I don’t think so.” Sean shook his head, helping me in the mattress with a delicate move and smiled warmly. “Just answer truthfully and everything will be over soon.”
I nodded, nervous at what he meant by that. Sean bowed once more to the men and left with long and quick strides. Silence filled the room and I felt the air so thick I’d cut it with a knife.
The first man seated in the chair next to my bed where Sean had been before. His dark brown hair reached right below his hears and fell in messy waves over his forehead and around his face as if he’d been constantly passing his fingers through it. Our gaze connected and I recognized the familiar gray eyes I’d been dreaming about ever since my birthday and a shy smile scaped me.
“Thank you,” I spoke first, startling them for more reasons than I’d decipher. “for saving my life. I didn’t recognize you at first, but I remember your eyes my lord.” I wanted to bow deeply but the pain in my back allowed me only a light lean of my head.
“I see you speak our language, miss...” He leaned back in the chair, crossing his arms.
“Enid, my lord.” I answered his unasked question. “I’m afraid the name of your land and yours is still unknown to me.”
“Kieran Ditka at your service, my lady.” He bowed his head slightly and motioning to the other man, he added. “This is my second in command, Terrance Jelani. You are in the Silver Oak dukedom.”
I nodded, appreciating the information and feeling relieved for being in the right place, or so I thought. I opened my mouth to ask some more when duke Ditka interrupted me. “Unfortunately, that’s as much as I can tell you before you answer some questions of our own. I hope you understand.”
I blinked, a little surprised by his statement. It hadn’t occurred to me they would want to question me and withhold information. Seeing things from their perspective it was only natural. I was a foreigner entering his lands without further notice; I didn’t know the details but Krishna did mention the struggle for power was rather tense in some regions. Maybe he thought I was a spy or a threat and, if I wanted to inquire about my past, I needed to clear any misunderstanding.
“Of course, ask whatever you wisht.”
I redid this chapter like three times. I hope you like the final result.
Sorry for taking so long to update this week. Fortunately, college is over until January and I’ll have more spare time to write.
I decided to change the ‘official’ update day to Friday and compensate your waiting with an extra chapter this week.
Let me know what you think.
I hope you like Sean, he’s my favorite male character so far. I know they say we can’t really have favorites but I believe all writers have one or two deep down.