The first thing that I had to do was go to the actual barn that had the wounded soldiers and check on how the healers were doing there. I wanted to make sure that the patients were as comfortable as possible. They were all supposed to be inside of the middle building. The central building was supposed to be the largest of the three buildings that were on the property.
I walked into the middle building and opened up the barn door on the left side of the barn. The smell forced me to take a step back and cover my nose. The smell was so dreadful that it stung my eyes, burned the inside of my nose and the insides of my lungs. It was so awful that I couldn’t think of anything worse that I could compare it to.
“Oh god, what is that smell?” I asked as I managed to finally make my way into the building. I was trying desperately not to gag or throw up, which I was finding to be much more challenging than it should’ve been. It smelled like this place hadn’t been cleaned properly in months.
If this place had been cleaned regularly and thoroughly than it probably wouldn’t have smelled this bad. Well, the place probably would’ve still smelled bad but not to this extent by any means. This was from long-time neglect.
Looking around the inside of the barn I could instantly tell where the smell was coming from. There were bloody clothes and bandages strewn all over the day. Blood and something else was splattered all over the walls and the ground, making the Earth feel squishy under my feet. That was just super gross. The inside of the barn was set up like an actual animal barn with stables on both sides and an isle going straight up the middle.
All of the healers seemed very preoccupied with their work so I didn’t get a reply to my question. But frankly I didn’t need one anymore, and I didn’t really want one because I didn’t want to know what else would be causing this stench.
I walked up to the very first occupied stall to see how things were going so far. Inside the stall was a young male elf fighting to stay alive, his breathing coming in gasps like he was actually able to breathe properly. He had several large gashes on his upper body, and there was way too much blood pooling on the ground around his body. There was also a young female elf that was attempting to use healing incantations on the male elf. Her hands hovered over his body, and her face was all scrunched up in concentration, with sweat dripping slowly down the side of her face.
But I could tell just by looking at the wounded male elf that her healing wasn’t doing much good. In fact, it didn’t really seem to be doing much at all. The young lady either needed to change her tactics relatively soon or I would be forced to step in and show her a better way to heal the young man. I watched her for a couple more minutes, but she still hadn’t changed her tactics. Now we were about to lose a soldier. I watched as he struggled to keep his eyes open and his breathing had become shallow and ragged. I needed to step in now, or we really were going to lose him.
“May I show you a different way of doing that?” I asked the young female healer as I pulled open the door and stepped into the stall. The young girl jumped, startled and stopped her incantation.
As soon as she stopped, the young man’s eyes fluttered shut, and his chest stopped moving. Apparently her incantation was doing something. I stood there and stared at the now dead soldier for a split second. Then I leaped over to the soldiers left side and knelt down beside him. I had originally planned to just teach her a new technique, but it appears that the soldier was further gone than I had anticipated. I immediately began using my own healing techniques to bring him back to us.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” I told the young female healer apologetically. “I was just curious to see if you would like to learn a more efficient way of healing.”
I pressed on to the young man’s chest with my slightly glowing hands and focused. I was relieved to find out that his heart was still beating. Now I just had to work on healing up everything else.
“The thing is, is that I’m not actually a healer,” the young female elf murmured from somewhere to the right of me.
I stuttered in my pace for a second, stunned that they were desperate enough to bring in people who didn’t even know the very basic of healing techniques. This was probably why I was feeling weird about the mounting corpses. This was the reason that so many soldiers were dead. It wasn’t the young lady’s fault or any of the other people here who might not be healers, it was their superiors fault for not even bothering to train them properly.
I refocused on healing up the young man because he was my top priority at the moment. I heard something click and crack in his chest just before he sat straight up, wide eyed and began gasping for air and coughing. One of his ribs had punctured both of his lungs. Now though everything was back in place and the holes in his lungs were healed up, so were the large gashes across his body. I did feel slightly dizzy but not as bad as I thought that I would’ve felt.
I glanced over to the young lady once I was finished. She looked helpless and defeated. She may not have had a choice on what she could do while working here with the previous head healer. I’m sure that the old head healer had purposely picked the people that she could control. But there were probably some people that were already here before she had shown up. Those were probably the strongest healers and, by the looks of things, they were slowly picked off one at a time. That would explain the little amount of people here.
I think that the old head healer was trying to sabotage them, and by them, I mean the soldiers, the healers and pretty much the entire kingdom. She sure didn’t look like she was from around here when she had shown her true self to me. She had looked like the spawn of the devil himself.
I had no idea where she could be from either. I hadn’t been able to find a map in the library and there wasn’t any maps way out here. All I knew was that she really wasn’t from around here.
“It’s not your fault,” I told the young elf girl quietly. “Now tell me, what can you do? What is your specialty?”
I was trying to keep her mind off of whatever sad thing that she was thinking about, but I also wanted to know what she was good at. I wanted to figure out exactly where she could work here.
“I love working with plants,” the young female elf murmured shyly. When I looked over to her, she was blushing like she was embarrassed. I finished stabilizing the male soldier before I replied. It took me a moment to gather my thoughts because the dizziness had worsened. I would’ve used a lot less energy if I had some water with me. Once my thoughts were all straightened around I could finally manage to make a sensible response.
“We could still use you here,” I told her as I slowly started to regain some of my energy back. “We are going to need a garden to get food and herbs from. I’ve got a couple girls working on it right now, but we could use someone with your expertise to make it successful. Do you think that you are up to the challenge miss…?”
Crap, I forgot to ask her what her name was. Well, this is kind of embarrassing.
“Oh sorry, you can call me Blossom,” the young female elf replied proudly. She really does seem like a sweet girl. I can’t believe that she would let someone drag her into a senseless war and into a job that she knows nothing about.
That thought struck me like a hammer hitting brass. The words kept ringing in my head. There was one set of words that just kept repeating over and over in my head, “senseless war.” My head started to hurt, and I saw the girl from my visions standing in front of a group of Elven warriors.
“This war is completely senseless, there is no need for people to die over something that may not have even happened,” the girl from my visions told the group. “I would gladly open my land as a neutral party to have a peace discussion, but not for war.”
One of the warriors stepped forward. He was dressed in more decorative armor than everyone else in the group. I assumed that he must’ve been that leader.
“Princess Lucinda, either you and your people are with us, or you are against us,” the leader retorted. He appeared to be all business like, but there was a certain glint in his eyes that wasn’t the same as the other warriors in the group. In the leader’s eyes, there was such a strong sense of bloodlust, and the eyes themselves were a black soulless abyss. He wasn’t an elf, and he was definitely going to come back. She – I knew it.
Our kind was not so easily manipulated into such silly notions such as war. We may be very strong, but that doesn’t mean that we like fighting. It was actually quite the opposite. We hated violence of any kind and much preferred to put our powers to other, more helpful uses.
Why do I keep thinking as a “we”? Who is “we”? Time seemed to freeze for a moment, and the girl from the visions turned around to face me, her face was completely void of emotion.
“We are the Elemental,” she told me and then turned her head back around as the world slowly resumed.
What the heck was an Elemental? There was nothing about them in the books that I had read in the library. There was nothing even in the books on mythology about them. I hadn’t heard anyone else talk about them in the time that I was in the castle. Were they an undocumented species that live here as well?
“We are neither with you nor against you, Maverick,” the lady from my visions told the leader. The woman from my visions was named Lucinda, and my name was Lucinda, was there some form of connection? Was this person really me?
Although the name Maverick did ring a bell too. He wasn’t from this land at all I was pretty sure. I had the feeling that he was probably from the land of shadows, where ever that was.
Maverick scowled at Lucinda and motioned for his troops to start going on without him. Once they were out of earshot Maverick came in close to Lucinda. Lucinda being a careful person looked like she was about to pop something out of her arm. It took me a second to realize that it was a sword and that you could actually see it pressing against the skin on the inside of her wrist.
When Lucinda caught a whiff of him, so did I. He smelled like rotting flesh and death. He was either using an elf corpse to hide what he really looked like, or that was actually what he smelled like.
“Why not just join us then, Lucinda?” he asked her as he sneered down at her. “Help our boss to take over this land so that there will be no more wars. His marriage offer is still open you know.”
Maverick sounded very convincing, but even snake charmers can’t charm every snake.
“No, we will not take part in this war,” Lucinda replied more firmly. “But we will defend ourselves if we feel like we are being threatened. Oh, and you can tell your boss that I want nothing that he has to offer.”
Maverick glared down at me. It was like he was trying to get her – me to back down. He might be a high ranked double crossing soldier, but he was still only just a soldier. I, on the other hand, was a royal, and being of royal blood and on my own land, I had the highest power here.
Oops, I’m starting to say “I” instead of “she.” It didn’t feel as weird as I thought that it was going to. Huh, well that was weird. As a royal I didn’t have to bow down to anyone that I didn’t want to, and I really didn’t want to bow down to the likes of him
“Leave now!” I told Maverick as I stared directly into his eyes to make sure that he got the message that he wasn’t welcome here.
“You will regret this, Princess Lucinda,” Maverick growled before whipping around and stalking away. He was going to come back, and we would be ready and waiting for him when he does.
I was waiting for the flash that usually comes with the end of the vision, but it never came. I started to feel the panic rise in me. None of my visions have ever lasted this long before. What else could possibly happen?
Suddenly everything started to move so fast it was like someone had hit the fast-forward button on a movie. People blurred by and the sun moved quickly through the sky over and over again. Time passed by me without even touching me. It was scary to watch. But then everything just stopped.
AS I looked around the new scene before me, I realized something. There was literally no other living creature within my visual range. The shadows were bending at an elongated angle which made me question what time it was. I looked around in the sky for the sun. The sun had almost completely set.
On the horizon in the opposite direction from the sun I could see some shadowy figures approaching the city. The only figure that looked remotely humanoid was the guy at the very front who was leading the charge.
As they got closer, I could see exactly who was leading that charge, and it wasn’t Maverick. Although Maverick was standing right beside him, still using that rotting corpse. The only issue was, was that I wasn’t able to see the leaders face clearly enough because it was more or less hidden by the helmet that he wore. Who the heck was this guy?
The man in the shadowed helmet smiled smugly at the village behind me.
“They will never suspect a thing,” the man in the helmet commented to Maverick as his smile widened into a creepy grin. His voice sounded vaguely familiar, but it also sounded slightly gargled like the person was trying to hide their real voice.
“Wait until I give the signal,” the man in the helmet told Maverick and then continued towards the village on his own.
As the man in the helmet walked towards the village, he slowly began to remove the armor from around his head. I watched and waited impatiently and anxiously, trying to see who was underneath that helmet. Just as he took off his helmet, the flash came and the vision ended rather abruptly.
Now a new word was ringing in my ears, “traitor”. Great, I have no idea what that means in relation to me.
Now I was back at the barn with the wounded soldier and the healer that wasn’t really a healer. I smiled at Blossom and tried my best not to act like I had just gone on a “trip.”
“I’m sure that you will be a great asset to our team here, with a garden being built now you could learn a lot more,” I told Blossom just before standing up. I was still a bit dizzy, but it was for a different reason now. “He just needs to be bandaged up, could you do that for me?”
Blossom nodded excitedly, probably thinking about the prospect of being able to work in a garden instead of on a person, and set to work on wrapping what was left of the soldier’s wounds.
As I glanced down at the soldier once more before leaving, I realized that he actually looked much too young to be fighting just yet. He didn’t look to be much older than 15. Were they bringing in the young on this war as well? I sighed heavily as I walked out of the stall. This day was not going to be a good day.
As I walked through the barn and peeked into each of the occupied stalls, I became more and more distraught with what I was seeing. I had to help a couple other people with their patients because, guess what, they weren’t healers either. By the end of going through the barn, I had found out that we actually had a couple female warriors, another nature elf, a couple building elves, and only a handful were actually healers.
I was so stunned by the turn of events that I really couldn’t think of anything to say. There were even fewer healers than I had first thought there was when I had seen everybody in front of the barns. Oh jeez, we were going to have a real issue with these limitations. Without many real healers, we might be stretched to the point of exhaustion…unless…
I rolled the thought around in my head for a moment. Unless I could train the rest of the people here how to heal the more minor things, and help with setting broken bones and creating remedies. The warrior elves could also act as guards, as well as scouts to find the wounded who couldn’t make it this far.
Hmm, it just might work, but it could take us a couple of weeks to find a good rhythm. If we all work together, though, we really could save more lives. We just had to try it because it was the only other option that I could think of at the moment. I could put everyone and their abilities to use.