Chapter 3 – Cursed part 2
Daylight was fading by the time Nyri return. Stepping into her hut she found Kiera sitting on her cot with her arms crossed over her chest.
“Y’elt told me I was spared from a fate worse than death. What does that mean? And don’t tell me that being a H’enigh makes up for it now because it doesn’t.”
“You were a survivor of a massacre. What happened before that I cannot say.”
“You don’t know or are you keeping that from me as well?”
“You were nearly dead when we found you. Krisna were collecting souls of the dead and yours was next. I had to kill you to spare you from becoming one of them.”
“You killed me?!”
“I had no choice you would have become one of them.”
“Why didn’t you leave me?”
“And become a meal for them?”
“They eat the dead?”
“yes, they grain strength from the dead. I had seen enough of that for one night and brought you back. The unfortunate side effect was you losing your memories of your past life.”
“They couldn’t have just disappeared.”
“Nyri? Are you in there?” a timid male voice asked from outside the hut.
She opened it to find Shenlaer.
“My father wishes to speak with you.”
She nodded, noticing that the man cast his eyes down instead of looking at Kiera.
“I was just leaving.” She brushed past her mentor and elbowed Shenlaer’s good arm in passing him.
“What’s wrong with her?” he asked rubbing his arm.
“Bad day hunting.”
She let herself be led to the leader’s hut and he parted the animal skin that hung in the doorway to letting her through first.
“Please come in, sit.” Shanor greeted
Shenlaer filed in behind her, taking his place next to his father.
“If only you had been born a male, I would have given you leadership of the tribe. But the tribe cannot be ruled by a sole female much less a non-descendant. But that is not the reason I summoned you here. There have been reports of a village that has recently started expanding into our lands; they need to be dealt with.”
She nodded and left slipping silently into the forest heading towards the cave. It was there she found Y’elt stroking a fire. Noticing the bandage on his leg
“You should stop going after cattle. We have enough sheep skin for the winter and beyond.”
“I was tired of deer.”
“Perhaps you would like to hunt a cow next time? I need to replace my boots.”
“Why not just go to the marketplace?”
“I would rather make my own. “
“kiera asked about her past.”
“What did you tell her?”
“How did she take it?”
“As well as could be.”
“Did you give her memories back?”
Nyri was silent, focusing her attention on unraveling the cloth that covered her lower arms revealing the black writing that covered them.
“you didn’t tell her the truth.”
“She didn’t ask.”
Y’elt signed, glancing at the markings, “There seem to be more of them.”
“It just looks that way. Shanor has asked me to lead a raid in the early morning.”
“That is not the way to redemption.”
“Signess will come for you soon at the rate you’re going.”
“You sound concerned.”
“I am. You can save yourself from you own fate.”
“Not much can save me at this point,” she tilted her head as if listening to something,” Kiera is packing up now to leave.”
“Aren’t you going to stop her?”
“No need. We’ll see her soon enough.”
She got up without another word and slipped into the dark forest.
Soon the dim light of the village campfire shone through the trees. When she was close enough to hear hushed voice she stooped down to the forest floor drawing in the ground with her finger and whispering. The drawings came to life and began to creep through the trees and into the villages. Screams and shouts soon followed. She turned away knowing her shadow creatures would die off soon, but horrors they brought would cause the villagers to leave that morning. Her skin stung suddenly she knew more markings were being added to the collection already on her arms. She waited a moment for the feeling to subside before pressing on.
She frowned catching a familiar scent; surely Shanor would not be foolish enough to send his son to track her. No, it would have been his own idea and a stupid one at that, she knew the woods as well as any forest animal. She threaded carefully while he stomped across the forest floor. He had narrowly missed a snake nest a moment ago and would soon be coming upon a trap a tribe member had set and forgotten.
Rusty metal creaked and a very inhumane scream was heard scattering the birds that had been rest in the trees nearby.
Pausing for a moment she considered leaving him there but in thinking the better of continuing she headed towards him .He who was struggling that had his shin firmly in its metal grip.
He tried to back away from her but the chain pulled taut and yanked on his leg.
“I will leave you here if you don’t stop struggling.” She whispered fiercely.
He froze as though a deer, letting her pull the metal pin that released the metal jaws to free his leg.
He immediately tried to stand up heavily favoring his injured leg..
“How did you know?”
“I was with Quosia when she laid out the trap. You’re lucky you didn’t fall into her sister’s pit traps. Lean against me, I’ll look at the wound when we get back.”
Reluctantly he did so, she seemed unfazed by his weight. The throbbing in his leg had steadily grown worse and had become unbearable by the time they cleared the forest.
“Stop.” His teeth gritted against the pain. The full moon shone down on them she eased him down on a patch of grass and pulled a knife out from the side of her boot and cut the fabric of his pant leg off at the knee revealing the angry jagged markings from the trap. His leg had begun to swell grotesquely.
He tried to read her features, but found that her hooded cloak hide her face as well as her eyes.
“What is it?” He tried to read her features but found it impossible.
“Nothing you want to see.”
“Can you make it to Qhanna’s?”
“I think so.”
“Good.” She pulled him up, he was sweating profusely by the time they made to the Qhanna, the healer’s hut.
“What in Zoriena’s name-?” the woman asked, as they walked into her hut, but upon seeing severity of the wound she immediately went into action, “let me guess another one of Quosia’s poisoned traps? That’s the second one this week. ”
“On the cot.”
Both women helped Shenlaer on the cot, propping up his leg which was now turning dark with slight hints of purple, the man’s lips were turning blue.
“I need that bowl near the table,” Qhanna said to Nyri then turned to her patient, “this will hurt.”
She took her dagger and poked the swollen skin around the knee pus began to drain from it, Nyri brought the bowl just in time to collect it.
They worked past sunrise applying pressure to drain the poison from his leg. Thankfully after about the fourth time, Shenlaer had passed out.