To my disbelief some of the people were laughing at Pertin as he continued to clutch at his clothes making sure that the fire was truly gone. And then the King stood, dead silence filled the room, as he looked from Pertin, to me, to Nate. Confused, his eyes clouded over and I sat back down. He opened his mouth and shut it again, making his face look much more like a fish out of water than a King. Out of nowhere the Queen’s voice rose and filled the room.
“Miss Colm? You should be wise and restrain yourself from harming one of our personal guards; we might get the impression that you are here to harm us like he says if you continue on this little rampage.” Her eyes pierced through me and I had to stop myself from flinching.
Suddenly Nate was standing and moving towards Pertin, his eyes blazing wildly. When he was within three feet of him Nate stopped and stared hard at Pertin.
“All you do is twist words, Pertin, I would have expected better from you.” He turned to the Queen, “This man, who is part of you guard, is a liar, he is truly a ranger. Rangers work for no one; he has been telling his comrades about what you have been planning to do so they can stop you every time. Meaning no disrespect, but surely you should have noticed something was a bit different when your soldiers arrived to be stopped by some unknown force?”
And then I was on my feet speaking words I never thought that I would say ever again, especially not in front of Pertin.
“Just before we came to Gondor, we were stopped by Pertin and some of his other ‘comrades’. Nate was injured at the time, his leg was infected and he could hardly walk on it, even when I froze it, he still had problems walking. As I was saying before, they stopped us and bound my hands forcing me to run behind them as they rode on their horses. When we arrived back at their camp I was staked to the ground and they wanted to leave me to burn to death. They talked about this oath that rangers have to swear to follow and that what they were doing to me was part of Nate’s punishment for breaking those rules.
I got hurt while trying to get away from them and as I had told Nate to do, he left ahead of me in hopes that at least one of us would make it to Gondor so that we could pass on the information about what is happening to Mirkwood. And here we are, and you all have the indignation to think that we are lying about any of this? I can show you the scars that I have on my back if I have to, but I would expect that the proper and civilized people you all prize yourselves for being wouldn’t ask me to do that.”
I stopped and found to my amazement that many of the ladies had kerchiefs out and were wiping at their eyes, surely what I had said hadn’t been that dramatic and understandable? Even to me it seemed that I rambled at bit. The Queen had sat down and let her gaze fall from me to Nate while I was talking, but know she was just staring at Nate, which made me turn.
His own eyes were watery and he looked at me, my heart stopped, what had happened? Time slowed as I took in his expressions; wonder to pain in what seemed like hours. Of course it was at that time that I realized the sword jutting out of his stomach, and Pertin grinning over Nate’s shoulder. Dread filled me, how could I have let this happen to Nate? I had promised to get him back safely hadn’t I? Look what good it did him to believe that I could possibly protect him.
His lips opened and one word came out, slow and shaking, “Kali.”
And just like that everything was back to normal, well, not completely normal. I rushed to Nate as he collapsed to the ground. Some of the ladies were screaming and I was only vaguely aware that Pertin had run off. Forgetting that there were other people here I ripped off Nate’s new, good shirt so that I could get at the wound. It was clean all the way through him, and I choked back a gag, how could people do this to each other? But didn’t I want to do that to other earlier? Shuddering I tried to focus on what I needed to do, before thinking about how to deal with Pertin.
Chancellor had come up behind me and was ordering people around, sending them to get water, wine and beer, towels, a new shirt, three mattresses with blankets. Even the royals were running about trying to help in anyway they could. Meanwhile, I was rubbing my hands together furiously, trying to warm them up. I had to get the sword out, before I could do anything else.
Chancellor placed a hand on mine, “It would be best to let the medical healers help him.”
I stared at him, “Nate, could die by the time they get here, he is bleeding too badly to last much longer like this, I have to do something.”
He didn’t say anything, but he gave me a look that said, do whatever you want. I used Nate’s shirt as a cushion as I thought about fire, my hands heated up and I slowly reached my fingers around the sword in-between Nate’s skin. He cried out, and my heart bled with him, I had shut myself off from everyone else, if I didn’t ignore them I would never be able to help him. I pulled the sword out slowly, so I wouldn’t damage anything else any more than they had already been damaged. When it was out I let my hands change their temperature back to normal and laid my hands over the wound. I had never tried to heal anyone like Nate before, it was never an open wound that I fixed, but I was going to try my best to do it now.
Slowly, little blue sparks shot out from the ends of my fingertips and worked their way over the wound, and the insides began to put themselves back together. More sparks and Nate’s outer layer of skin regrew and connected making the wound disappear completely. I drew back and collapsed on the floor panting, most of my energy taken from healing him. I felt like my arms were made of iron, and my head pounded so violently that I was sure that everyone else could hear it too.
Chancellor came into my vision, “That, was incredible Miss, he looks like the sword had never touched him, and he’s awake, talking up a storm too. Are you alright, you look kind of pale.”
“I need some water, please.” I had known from healing rabbits and other small animals in Mirkwood, that water was the best thing for me to have to regain my energy as quickly as possible.
Nate leaned towards my face and smiled slightly, “I had no idea that you could heal me,” but then when he took a longer look at my face his eyes widened, “You did not know that you could heal me did you? And still you went about to heal me? Kali, thank you, but how could you have been so stupid? You could have hurt yourself beyond repair.”
I stared at him and shrugged, “I had to do it, there was no way I was going to sit and watch you suffering when I thought that I could help you out.”
Nate took my hand and kissed the top of it, that simple action sent my heart in overdrive, how could he just do that to me? He wasn’t even trying hard. The sound of a throat clearing made me turn my head, but I had to do it slowly, my head was still a bit out of focus. Chancellor looked back and forth between me and Nate his mind trying to work out what was going on, but he gave up quickly, instead calling for food to be brought to us. The Queen came out to us and kneeled down her pretty face contorted in pain as she looked Nate over. Her King soon followed his wife and kneeled also. Nate grasped my other arm and pulled me to his chest, and I let him, my body was racking with pain now and I couldn’t even manage to smile at them.
“I am sorry to see that Pertin has done this to you and your companion, but he will not escape punishment for what he has done, that I assure you. Please let us take you too your rooms and let you both rest, tomorrow we can talk about sending aide Mirkwood.” The Queen’s eyes shined brightly as she looked at us.
I felt Nate shaking his head, “My Lady, I would rather take Kali to her bed and then go to my own, I will not need the help of your men, or maids. Right now I cannot say that I trust having anyone escort us around, especially not after what happened just a few minutes ago. But I would ask if you could have someone bring us something small to eat and water to drink.”
Together, the couple rose, “As you wish, Nathan.” They said in unison.