Friday, July 20, 2007

I hear the breath of ghosts blowing through the trees


It's never a good thing, to lay of an evening, cheek pressed to cold stone, and watch the stone stain with the blood that should stay within you. And to this moment, I still don't know why...

Perhaps I should start earlier.

Just off from the gypsy's camp, in Valruna, are the high stone gates of the village. Whether by accident or design there is a tall, creaking wooden ladder set against the inner wall. One day I decided to climb its rungs and find out what was at the top. One very long, very steep climb later, I was at the heights, and all of Valruna lay before me. It's something of a breathtaking view.

Since, I've climbed to the heights more than once, and there's something glorious in standing there, hair whipped by chill winds, inhaling the breath of trees. I can't describe it better than that.

This night, I climbed to the heights, preparing to sit some, and think by myself, and women--near as I could figure, human women--fell from the sky, weapons drawn. While I was trying to puzzle out how humans could fly, here, they accosted me. Asked me to intercede with them on behalf of the Queen. Apparently their castle had been closed to them, their Order disbanded, and they were incensed.

I knew nothing of this, and, despite having known the Queen in Lumindor, I had no influence with her. I tried to tell them this, but they would hear none of my words. They spoke of storming the castle. They spoke of killing the villagers. Eventually, I grew bored with their prattle and moved some distance away, in the hopes they'd get the idea I didn't want to be involved with their political machinations and move away.

This, I now realize, was a profound error.

I gasped when the first arrow struck me. The next three hurt too. By then I'd turned so the following two caught me, one through my left upper arm, one through my side. I faced my attackers, knowing I had no defenses--I hadn't worn my sword into the village, I'd never been practiced with distance weapons, and my magics were dusty from disuse.

"Why are you shooting me?" was all I thought to say, and they said nothing. Well, why would they? Four more arrows hit me and I staggered back, flinging a hand over my eyes. The last two caught that arm, I pulling my head to the side just in time, and had no more strength to stand. Red hazed my vision as I collapsed, and the last thing I heard was the group of three debating whether to hide my body, or just toss a blanket over it.

In the end I didn't even get the blanket, and darkness swept over me. The iron tips of the arrows burned, burned like acid, like fire, and I hadn't hurt so much since I'd been stabbed by the wanderer with the sword in Lumindor.

All I could think to do was send my mind out, calling for aid. The lad from the Eastern lands answered, and sobbed, because something prevented him from coming to my side. I swear I heard distant dark laughter, but whose, is an entirely different question. I sent my mind out again, the breath in me weakening, watching the ribbons of scarlet pool over the stone...

...and Dr. Darien Bloodwing answered. Of all the times to reach him...

He dropped his bag at my feet, asking me what had happened, checking my pulse. It was thready, as expected, and I explained as best I could through the pain--it wasn't as if it was unclear in any way, twelve arrows still pincushioned me.

He pulled a pair of pliers from his bag, saying nothing further, and I closed my eyes, trying to keep breathing. I think I said--most ungratefully!--"Fine, don't talk to me", and he simply sighed.

I felt each arrowhead leave me as if it were another drop of poison drained from my system. I was growing dizzy, however, and somewhat nauseous, and still wondering why on earth I'd been shot.

I turned my head as he pulled the arrows out of my arms, wrapping every wound carefully, eyes not meeting mine.

"How did you get here, anyway?" I whispered. I thought such abilities had left him when the horns did. He smiled ruefully, turning his attentions to my side.

"I still have the ability to sense when Death is near," he said softly, and I blanched. That grievously wounded? I had no idea.

He remarked the side wound was deeper, and began to apply compresses to staunch the bleeding. I told him to simply wrap it, I'd heal it later. He nodded, and did so, trying to jostle me as little as possible, and packed up his supplies and stood. He stood for a moment, looking down at me, not saying a word...and then he vanished, without a sound.

I rested for a bit, trying to regain strength I'd lost in the attack, and heard voices drifting up from below. It took every scrap of strength I had to drag myself to the stone wall's edge, but I looked down. Blearily, I noticed a knight of my acquaintance, a wood elf in green, two men in black and the woman who'd started the round of seeing how many arrows I could bear. I had to get down there, and I chose the most expedient method--I dragged myself over the lip and fell.

When those gathered noticed my wounds, they rushed over, and I explained, with every ounce of clarity I could, who'd shot me. She had the gall to sneer.

The knight knelt at my side, beginning to pray, an intense, warm, blue energy surrounding his hands, sinking into me. It didn't hurt, and soon, it made nothing within me hurt, and that was the best gift of all. The rest of the men gathered there arrested the one who'd fired upon me, and bound her off in chains to await judgement. And as they conveyed her off, she turned to the knight and told him not to pray over me; she turned to me and said I was being a child over this, that the others they'd shot that night hadn't said a word.

Mayhap because they'd died and I hadn't, I pointed out, and she just tossed her head, shrugging.

Perhaps she's mad. Or cursed. I know not. I only know I was too tired to do anything for the rest of the evening, but lay, and heal, and it will be some time before I feel safe in Valruna again.

Do consider donating for the care and upkeep of Bloodwing Hospital, or whatever he chooses to call it. Miraculously--even for me--he makes house calls. There are worse things in this world than a doctor who cares in it.

[Late correction: it's going to be the Caledon Regency Hospital, on the new Caledon Regency sim. Do support it. Doctors in SL don't make nearly as much.]


Darien Mason said...

Miss Orr,

The Bloodwing Foundation is my family estate, which has dedicated centuries of work to finding a cure for our demonic curse. That having been accomplished, it is now a medical research facility seeking mystic and scientific cures for "incurable" diseases.

What I would accept donations for is the Caledon Regency Hospital, which will be deeded to the Caledon Red Cross (CRC). The island of Regency is destined to rise from the depths of the Caledon Sea in a week or two, and the Guvna has approved construction. Suffice to say that Caledonian land is astronomically higher rent than the same acreage in Steelhead!

I am happy that the main perpetrator against you was incarcerated, and that you found magickal healing nearby. I hope she learns the price of her callousness. Be Well.

~Dr. Bloodwing

emillyorr said...

Dr. Bloodwing--

I've corrected this in the entry, and I thank you again. I still have no idea why she reacted in such a manner, and, apart from the side still being tender, I'm well on my way to being healed.