She was dying, right in my arms. This beautiful young woman who had taught me more about living than anyone I’d ever met. I lay her on her side and examined the weapons sticking out of her. The spear was deep and had to come out, but it would be a bleeder. The arrows would do serious tissue damage, but I had a better chance with them, I thought. I’d seen their like before. Definitely frog arrows. They’d be barbed. No clean way to pull them back. And to push them forward would be pretty horrific for Liz.
“I knew you’d save me,” she whispered, blood foaming at her lips.
I didn’t hesitate. I cast the first heal, flowing divine into her with precision. I wanted her to live through the healing, after all. She bucked, arching her back, causing blood to flow from the spear wound. I thought to staunch it, but decided to throw caution to the wind and pulled the spear. More blood gushed, but I applied pressure and pushed in divine healing at the same time. It took significantly longer than I wanted, but after a long while I was able to remove the spear without her dying. Her breathing was quick and shallow, and she was obviously in pain, but she didn’t complain. I dug in my pack for needle and thread and made a curious discover. There were four rolls of the wax coated thread spools from the giant’s treasure hoard in the bottom under my journal. As I pulled them out, there was a folded note from Clarisse. She informed me that I was to weave a new cord for the beautiful Liz whom Bob had described to them. Had she known I was going to hie off by myself? Maybe she had a form of sight that saw what people needed. I’ve seen stranger things.
I used a clear cobolt blue thread to sew the wound in Liz’s back closed. It contrasted nicely with the dark greens of her scales, and accented the rills that ran across her skull in a similar fashion to how Brother Charles’s feathers had done once upon a time.
I wept as I sewed the wound closed. She gripped my leg and whimpered while I was doing it, even though the worst of the pain in that region was over. I think it was more tears of relief. Once the wound was closed I soothed it with another dose of healing, accelerating her natural process. Now to the arrows. That was going to be even more painful and longer to resolve. My stomach churned just thinking about the bloody work that would be.
Speaking of bleeding. I sent the fairies out in search for Agrimony, also called Liverwort, cockleburr, or sticklewort. I needed it to dress the wounds to help slow the bleeding. Booty Shake knew what I was looking for once I described the spiky, yellow flower with five petals. It would take luck to find any after the harsh weeks of frigid weather, but even frozen they would retain their healing properties. Besides, it gave the fairies something to do instead of just hovering around me, wringing their tiny, little hands, and wondering if Liz might possibly eat them.
I let her rest a bit before tackling the arrows. I wanted a chance to rest from the work on the spear wound and she needed a chance to regroup. She dozed, which was fine. She needed whatever strength she could garner. She’d need to eat as well. Rebuilding her blood and muscle would take a lot of fuel, and the hard tack I had wouldn’t be enough. Then I remembered the cup and plate that Bob had from the ruined palace. I opened my pack and found them wrapped in linen, tucked alongside my journal where I hadn’t noticed them. My pack was very full, but the fact I had missed them earlier surprised me.
Wine appeared in my magical cup, but only a half cup. I took a single sip for strength and then helped Liz gulp down the remainder. The plate only summoned a few pieces of cheese and some salt pork. Nothing significant, but better than nothing. We must be approaching the edges of its range. Otherwise we’d have bread and cheese, dried figs and olives stuffed with garlic. Just thinking about all that amazing food made my stomach clinch. No matter, she couldn’t eat until after I had the arrows out. She’d likely throw up otherwise.
It took me more than three hours to dig out the arrow heads once I’d broken off the shafts. My knife was sharp and my hand steady, but Liz was one tough patient. Not even considering the scales that covered nearly all parts of her body, her muscles were like iron bands. By the time the fairies had gotten back with a handful of the herbs I needed, I had been pummeled multiple times by Liz as she reacted to my digging. Maybe I should’ve done something about deadening the pain first. Something to considered for next time. And there is always a next time when you are a healer.
It took the entire morning, and deep into the afternoon before I had Liz settled down to sleep under my white dragon hide cloak. As the weather had not warmed up as much as I knew she needed, the fairies and I huddled under there with her for a bit, to add our body heat to hers. The cloak had a magnificent ability to magnify any found heat, so before long the fairies were begging to get out, and I let them go, gladly.
Lying next to Liz brought back the memory of feelings: contentment, peace, safety, love. I placed a hand on her hip and she nestled closer to me, her breathing growing less pained. I turned on my side, snuggling up against her and slept for a bit, letting the rhythm of her breathing lull me into exhausted slumber.