Chapter 8 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn sat beside Mathias and was grilling him to keep him awake. His skin was pale, and it concerned her. Torin had assured her that the wounds weren’t life threatening, but until he had proper medical attention, she’d worry.
“Why does this dress look like it’s from a medieval time period?” Emmalyn questioned. “And why do you and the others look like you belong in a Robin Hood movie?”
Mathias snickered as his tired eyes looked over at her. “This world differs greatly from ours. It’s more primitive and contains none of the modern conveniences we have. You won’t find anything electronic here. Think of the Wild West. People here ride horses, pass messages through riders like the pony express, cook over a wood-burning stove, wash out of a basin, and use kerosine lamps.”
Emmalyn could only gawk at him. She did not understand how that was even possible. How could one world be so advanced while the other world was lost in the past? She took a minute to glance around. Horses were tethered to trees, a campfire was set up in the clearing’s middle, and someone arranged bedrolls around it.
“Oh my god,” she proclaimed. “I’m living in a John Wayne movie.”
Mathias frowned and shook his head. “Maybe a western wasn’t the best analogy.” She narrowed her eyes at him and waited for him to explain.
“It’s more primitive than that. You were closer when you brought up a medieval time period,” Mathias admitted. “There are no modern weapons here. Warriors fight with swords and bows. This world is divided into four Kingdoms, and each one is ruled by a King and Queen. There’re castles surrounded by villages containing stone houses. There’re markets, but most villagers trade for necessities.” Mathias would have continued, but Emmalyn raised her hand cutting him off.
“You know you’re freaking me out, right?” she groaned. “If you’re trying to convince me, I’ll do fine here, you’re doing a lousy job.”
Mathias smirked at her, and she wanted to give him the finger. “That’s why I took you camping so often Emmy. I was preparing you for when we would need to return.”
“So you knew you’d be bringing me here?” she demanded. “Yet you didn’t tell me anything about this world. I would have been better prepared if I’d grown up knowing about it.”
“They already treated you like an outsider,” Mathias gently pointed out. “If I would have regaled you with tales of our home world, can you imagine how worse it would have been?”
Emmayln could see exactly what he meant. Her eyes had labeled her a freak until she hid them. It also didn’t help she was being raised by a giant, bald man. Rumours spread that he killed her parents and had kidnapped her to raise as his own. She was picked on and called cruel names, and if she wasn’t, they completely ignored her. It had been a lonely childhood, and without Mathias it would have been unbearable.
“Now don’t go getting in your head,” Mathias growled. “I didn’t intend to upset you. I only wanted you to understand why I kept our world a secret.”
Emmalyn nodded to let him know she got what he was saying. Then her attention went to the trees as Kell suddenly strode out of them followed by one of his men and an older lady. Torin has been sitting with them, but when they talked he’d moved across the clearing to give them privacy. He stood now and followed Kell over. She watched them approach, but her attention was focused on the lady with them.
She was older, with long, thick grey hair that was as long as hers. She had wrinkles around her eyes and was a heavier set woman. She wore a long flowing flowery skirt, a white pheasant style blouse with a brown cotton vest over it, and cute looking suede boots. She had a large leather pouch hanging from one shoulder and crossed over her chest, and she had a red cape tied around her neck. Emmalyn instantly fell in love with her. She reminded her of a gypsy and a medicine woman all at once.
“This is Beatrice,” Kell announced. “She is the local healer and will treating the two of you.”
Emmalyn smiled at Beatrice. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m sorry it’s under such awful circumstances though.”
Beatrice blinked at her and looked to be at a loss for what to say. Emmalyn glanced at Mathias, hoping he’d explain her reaction, but he simply smiled at her. Kell was shaking his head.
“Royalty rarely speak to people beneath them, unless to issue orders. You’re greeting has surprised her is all,” Kell explained.
Emmalyn glared at him. “Well that’s just ridiculous,” she huffed. “Since I’ve not been raised as royalty, you can’t expect me to act like that, it’s rude.”
“But Prince Kell is right,” Beatrice interrupted. “No royalty would ever address me like that, and I don’t expect it. It’s not a slight, it’s just the way things are.”
Emmalyn turned her glare into a frown as she stared back at the healer. “I’m no better than you, and Mathias raised me to treat others as I’d wish to be treated. I would like to thank you for taking time out of your day to come and help us. It’s very kind of you.”
Beatrice finally relaxed and smiled at her, and Emmalyn was grateful. She had no wish to continue this silly argument.
“No worries my princess. It is an honour to be summoned here,” Beatrice responded.
“Emmalyn,” Emmalyn told her. “My name is Emmalyn, and I’d prefer if you call me that.”
Beatrice looked startled again, but she recovered quicker this time and nodded.
“Jesus,” Kell growled, as he threw up his hands in obvious annoyance. “You made friends with Behr by thanking him before we went through the portal, you’ve got Torin ignoring my order to stick close because he thought you needed privacy, and you’ve got a guardian who acts more like your uncle. What the hell are you going to do next?”
She shrugged, because honestly everything he said was true. He started pacing, so she avoided him and turned towards Beatrice.
“Mathias has some serious injuries. I need you to see to him first,” Emmalyn pleaded. Instantly Kell stopped pacing. He spun around and gritted his teeth.
“And that’s the next thing she’s going to do,” he grunted. “Royalty is always to be considered first. I don’t give a god damned about how you feel about that. There are only a few of us, so if we’re injured, we are the priority.”
Emmalyn pushed up off the ground with her good arm and stood. She swayed for a minute, so she closed her eyes until it passed. When it did, she opened them again and shrieked. Kell has somehow moved without her hearing, and he was now bending down and scowling at her with his face an inch from hers.
“I’ve only got a cut on my arm,” Emmalyn tried to explain. “Please Kell, he’s worse off than me.”
His scowl remained as he peered at her for a minute. Then his hand lifted, and he ran his finger down the bridge of her nose. The tender move surprised her, and she held her breath as she prayed that meant he would listen.
“I’m sorry my wee warrior, but you’re safety is my priority. Even if I agreed with you, which I do not, Mathias would never allow it. If he cares about you, he’ll insist your attended first. You must not push this, for it will only upset him,” Kell reasoned.
Emmalyn bit her lip and looked down at Mathias. His expression was almost pleading, and she realized he wanted her compliance. She finally nodded, knowing the faster she let Beatrice look after her, the faster she could get to him. Kell leaned down more, picked her up, and carried her towards one of the bed rolls. Gently he laid her down, then as she watched, he knelt by her head. Beatrice had followed, and she crouched as well, then swung her bag off and set it on the ground beside her. Torin then approached the fire, removed a pot she hadn’t even seen him put there, and joined them. He set the pot on the ground and placed cloths beside it. Then Beatrice was removing a metal mug from her bag, adding herbs and pouring some hot water into it.
“This is something to dull your senses. It will make you a tad sleepy, but it will help you with the pain,” Beatrice explained. “It should take effect quite quickly.”
Then Kell was raising her slightly and handing her the cup. “It’s hot,” he cautioned. “Take care.”
She took a tentative sip and let the bitter taste slide across her tongue. The face she made must have revealed her distaste because Kell chuckled.
“Take your contacts out in case you fall asleep,” Mathias yelled from the edge of the clearing.
“What are contacts?” Beatrice asked as she spread out a needle and thread, along with a bottle filled with a paste like substance.
Emmalyn reached up and plucked the contact from her right eye. When she held it out Beatrice, Kell and Torin all leaned forward and stared at it.
“When people in my world have trouble seeing, they use this to make things clearer. It acts like a magnifying glass of sorts.” She moved to the other eye and took out that one as well, but kept her head down.
“So you are unable to see?” Kell questioned with a touch of concern in his voice.
“No,” Emmalyn admitted. “That is only one thing they are used for. They also come in many colours and are used to change the colour of your eyes.”
“Why in the world would you want to change the colour,” Kell demanded.
With no other option, Emmalyn lifted her head. The instant he got a look at her eyes, he uttered a gasp then dropped to his ass. She sighed as she saw the shock on his face, completely used to this reaction.