Reflections Flern-6 part 2 of 3

Vincas’ father, Venislav turned out to be as verbal as his daughter. “That young man saved my life. He saved us all.” He reached up with his good hand and patted his daughter’s hand and smiled for her when she came over to watch. Venislav’s other hand rested in his lap. His arm broke, but it did not hurt much as long as he kept it still. Mishka smiled and sent Borsiloff and Thrud off in search of what she needed for a splint and sling. A broken bone in those days often did not heal right and it meant loss of some use in that limb, if it did not cripple, but it would not be that big a deal to one who knew her anatomy. The big deal would be keeping it immobilized until the bones knit together. She distracted Vincas and her father with a question.

“Pivdenny Bugh, it used to be all woods. What happened to all the trees?”

“The Brugh?” Venislav said, before he squinted and groaned softly as Mishka made sure the bones lined up correctly. It had been a clean break and should heal completely. “We cut them, for our homes and to make our fields and, well, everything we needed.” Vincas spoke up in her father’s place.

“Our forefathers did.” Venislav corrected his daughter while a few tears dropped from his eyes. “That was well before my time. Anyway, if you go further up into the hills, the woods are still there. We hunt there sometimes, but nobody goes very far into the woods.”

“Why is that?” Mishka asked as her things arrived and she began to immobilize the arm. Venislav watched the doctor work, so Vincas spoke up again.

“Because the woods are full of ancient spirit people, elves and dwarfs.” Her eyes got big as she spoke. “And they have magic and play terrible tricks on the poor souls who get lost in the woods.”

“Silly superstition.” Venislav spoke when he saw that the Doctor was not going to hurt him anymore. “It is just too easy to get lost in the woods, that’s all.”

Doctor Mishka nodded. She heard what she wanted to hear, and now all she needed was to charge Venislav with every terrible thing she could think of to be sure he left his splint on and his arm in the sling long enough to properly heal. When she stood, she told the others she needed a break before seeing any more patients. She had treated the worst, so no one would die on her.

While they walked outside, Doctor Mishka asked Flern a question. “Would you like me to do it?”

Flern took a minute to come out of whatever spaced-out condition she rested in, and she realize that she knew everything the good Doctor said and did, so while Flern might not be in her own time and place, in a way she still was. “No.” Flern responded in Mishka’s mind. “It is my life. I should do it myself.”

“Doctore.” Pinn pronounced the unfamiliar word imperfectly. “Thrud, Arania and I are going back to the wagon wall to check on the boys. Vinnu and Elluin say they can help here, but we feel kind of useless.”

“Mishka,” she said. “And that would be fine. I will be along, shortly.”

“See ya, Flern,” Thrud said, with a broad grin.

Just for that, Mishka smiled and instantly changed back to Flern, startling Thrud and almost making her stumble. “See ya,” Flern said, and she watched Pinn laugh, turn the girl in the right direction, and watched them walk away.

I have to concentrate, Flern thought to herself as she looked away. She was going to try and contact the earth spirits that might not even be there. It could not be harder than contacting the water spirits, she thought, but then, if they were there, they would be terribly far away. “Miroven.” The word popped into her head, and at first, she did not know what it meant. She understood it as a name, but whose? She shrugged. She called. “Miroven.” Nothing happened. She tried again, and a third time, and still nothing happened. She felt frustrated, because she felt sure something was supposed to happen, so on the fourth call, she shouted, and in her heart, she demanded some response. She jumped in her skin when the response came into her mind. She had heard from other lives she had lived, but this felt different. It sounded clearly like a voice outside of herself coming, she imagined, on a very private wavelength.

 “We are here, my Lady.” Miroven said. “We knew you were coming, and we have prepared. There are thirty of us, all volunteers, who will help in this struggle, and more who will help to defend the river and keep the enemy from crossing over.”

“What? Prepared? Thirty?” Flern looked around, but she did not see thirty people or thirty elves.  “No, wait. Don’t come here. I will come to you, but I don’t know when.”

A long pause followed before Flern heard an answer. “We will not come there if you do not wish it, but we are very close if you need us.” That felt like enough. Flern cut the contact and put her hand to her head. She was going to have a nice headache.

Vincas took that moment to come out of the common house, and she came up to Flern, immediately. “Are you well?” she asked, sweetly. Flern smiled for the girl, though a weak smile, and she nodded, though it did not help her throbbing temples. “Maybe if you became the Dokter—the healer again.” Vincas suggested. Flern nodded and made the change, and Mishka’s smile felt more genuine.

“Trouble is,” Mishka said. “When Flern comes home, she will still have a headache, I believe.”

“Oh.” Vincas clearly did not know what to say. She had no idea how it worked and simply felt overwhelmed on watching the transformation from one person to what looked mostly like a completely different person.

Doctor Mishka eventually made her way over to the house where they kept the Jaccar prisoner. His wounds were the worst of all, and she knew he did not have much time to live. If he did, she felt sure the village elders would be getting out the rope; but the village healer, more or less a shaman for the people confirmed her diagnosis. She questioned the prisoner, which surprised the shaman. None of them had been able to talk to the man, and Mishka figured Flern might not have understood the words either, but she had access to a lifetime that Flern did not yet know, so she got the language and got to ask her questions. It soon became clear that the man seemed normal in all respects, except he seemed convinced that serving the Wicca and doing whatever she asked was the most important thing in his life. He asked Mishka several times if she knew where the young red-haired girl might be. He spoke very frank in saying that his only desire was to find this girl and kill her. This is what the Wicca asked, and so it was what he must do. Even in his half-dead condition, Mishka felt certain that given the opportunity, the man would try.

“It is a very powerful enchantment,” the healer said, when Mishka explained the situation. “I have no way of undoing something so strong.”

“Nor I,” Mishka agreed, and she gave the Jaccar some pain killers so at least his last few hours would not be so painful. When she went back outside, she saw that it started raining again. She returned to being Flern, the right person in her own time and place, and Flern suffered with her headache all the way back to the wall of wagons. Pinn and the others sat there under a hastily erected tarp. Karenski, also present, said nothing. He just looked at Flern the way he did. Flern started getting used to that. Two of the village elders were also present, and they were currently arguing that now that the rain returned, and now that it would soon be dark, surely the Jaccar would not do anything.

M3 Margueritte: Rapunzel Set Free, part 3 of 3

Curdwallah chose that moment to come around the side of the tower.  “No!”  She raged when she saw Margueritte free of her prison.  Roland pulled his sword, ready for battle, but Margueritte, with her head in her hand, blinking her eyes from the strain of everything rushing back at her at once, shouted.

“Wait.  No, wait.”  She shook her head.

Thomas tried to sit up and Margueritte scooted back on her knees a little to oblige.

“But why?”  Thomas asked in a small voice, his wind still coming in gasps.

Curdwallah paused.  “My true god, Abraxas, would not let me kill her.  He said she would just be reborn and come back to haunt us.  In the tower, she might live her whole life and we could invoke the plan without interference.

“But now your plan is done,” Roland said.

“I think not.”  Curdwallah eyed him and his sword closely.  With that, Curdwallah began to grow.  In no time, she became ogre sized and her face, hands and legs appeared covered with fur, while her tent-like clothes became too tight.  “I think not,” she said again in a voice a whole octave lower.

Roland slashed out with his sword, but the Curdwallah beast moved supernaturally fast.  She avoided the sword and struck Roland before he could recover.  She hit him hard in the chest.  Roland flew back and slammed against the wall of the tower where he slumped down, dazed.

Catspaw had her hands full calming the terrified horses.  Thomas still could not get to his feet.  Margueritte shrieked, but she grabbed on to the one thought that haunted her while the drooling beast started toward Roland, her prey.

“You are not my mother,” she said, and she pointed accusingly.  Without her knowing why, something like blue lightening, like electricity poured out of her hand.  It was the power given to Bodanagus, her genetic reflection, and it echoed in her.  It struck Curdwallah who arched her back and howled, and it kept coming while the beast began to shake and dance like a person being electrocuted.  Slowly, the beast shrank again until she collapsed, like a criminal struck with a massive Taser.  She still wiggled from the shock when a recovered Roland drove his sword into her heart.  Then he rushed to Margueritte who cried in his arms for what seemed like the longest time.

“I love you,” Roland said, but Margueritte did not really hear as she passed in and out of consciousness.

Boom!

Thomas kicked open the door to the first floor of the tower.  “Aeugh!”  He sounded repulsed and turned quickly away from the sight.  Someone invisible handed him a torch.  He threw it in without looking again, and they all waited until the tower was well in flames.

“Come on,” Roland said.  He mounted his horse, the half-conscious Margueritte cradled gently in his arms.

“The children,” Thomas said.

“I guessed as much,” Roland responded, and he started to walk his horse away from there.

“So did I.”  Grimly said.  Grimly handed Thomas the torch.

“No, you never guessed,” Catspaw objected.

“Did too,” Grimly said.

Thomas whistled for their attention before they started a good row.  “Where’s Lord Barth?”

“Had to fetch him and Squire Tomberlain from Vergenville.  Sorry we were late, but we should find them on the road in about an hour or so.”

“On the road?”  Catspaw questioned.

“I came on ahead,” Grimly admitted.  “I got worried.  I love my Lady.”

“So do I.” Catspaw nodded.

“So do I,” Roland said, quietly.

It took all day to get Margueritte home and into her own bed.  She stayed delirious most of the time, and at times she passed out altogether; but sometimes she seemed lucid enough to give everyone hope.  Jennifer suggested Doctor Pincher and Brianna tried to call him as Margueritte had done, but she got no response.  Finally, she held her daughter’s hand, stomped her foot, lifted her eyes toward heaven, and shouted for the Doctor.

“Here.  Here.”  Doctor Pincher appeared and gave the impression that he had some ringing in his ears.  Lady Brianna quickly explained, and she felt a little surprised the Doctor did not already know all about it.  To this, the Doctor explained something in return.

“You must understand, the Kairos dies.  She is reborn, to be sure, but who is to say how long or short a given life may be.  It is not our place to interfere with that process, even for those of us who may be devoted to her.  She is only human, after all, and in ages past that was one of the main reasons we agreed to have her as a goddess over us all.” Brianna felt astonished by what she heard, but the Doctor consoled her.  “Then again, there is no reason why she should not have first-rate medical treatment, just like any other human might have.  Let me examine the patient.”  He said this as he threw everyone else out of the room and only let her mother stay.

After a while he gave his prognosis.  “There is nothing I can really do.  She is healthy enough, though undernourished.  Her trouble appears to be raging in her mind.  All the same, I see no reason why she should not make a full recovery.  Rest is what she needs, and time.  The Kairos has resources in time which can help far better than I can, even if they may be the partial cause of her present distress.  Rest is the best.  Give her some time, and some chicken soup to see that she is properly nourished.”

“Thank you.  I will.”  Lady Brianna smiled.  “But, oh!”  She interrupted her smile.  “I don’t know how to send you home.”

“Quite all right.”  Doctor Pincher stood while she remained seated.  That put them about eye to eye.  “I am way overdue for a good vacation.  I think I may look around, and perhaps come by here in a week or so to see how my patient is doing.”

“You are so kind.”  Lady Brianna stood as they went out to tell the news to the others.

“I know,” Doctor Pincher said.  “She ruined me when she was Gerraint, or rather, the Lady Greta.  I’ve had no desire for anything but to help people ever since.”  He shrugged and Brianna looked at him once more.  She would never have guessed he was that old.

The next morning, Doctor Pincher walked down the road toward Paris in the company of Roland and Tomberlain, who had been given over to be Roland’s squire.  Lord Barth had taken on Owien since Sir Gilles got too old for such a thing and his dragon busted arm never quite healed right.  They had all waited that morning to be sure Margueritte passed a quiet night, and indeed, she slept well and woke up hungry.  Now, Brianna and Bartholomew stood in the manor door and watched them ride away.

“Lord!”  Barth spoke.  “I bet there will be a real blow in Belgium.  I’ll be sorry to miss it.”

Brianna gave him a love tap on his chest to chide his remark and get his attention.  “I’ll be worried day and night as it is about Tomberlain,” she said.  “I’ll not let you go to get yourself killed at our age.  Whatever would I do?”

Barth smiled.  “Yes, well I still have the girls to watch over.  By the way, where is Elsbeth?”

“I believe she and Owien chose to take an early morning ride,” Brianna said.

“Oh, they did?”  Barth looked up at the barn and stepped down from the front stoop.  “I think I may have a talk with that boy.”

Brianna was about to say something else when they heard the bell ringing from Margueritte’s room.  “I’ll get it,” was what she ended up saying.

Barth started toward the barn and mumbled.  “Yes, I believe it is time that boy and I had a little talk.”

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MONDAY

One happy ending, but…  Well, the dragon is still out there, if you recall.  Until Monday.

Happy Reading

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