Note: This story is just one story about a nomadic culture called "The Elytheria." I'm working on (among other things) a series of stories about them. These stories are not necessarily connected by anything other than than the culture, and I'm enjoying the freedom of that format! This is the first story I wrote, but at the moment I have two more in the works, and several hovering on the edges of my mind. Enjoy.
The Healing Field
She felt the power caress her skin like fine silk, heightening all her senses, and bringing with it a touch of euphoria. Bracing herself she pictured her goal as in her mind, focusing on getting each detail right, knowing that anything less than perfection would be letting her patient down. She couldn’t do that. Especially since it wasn’t just a simple patient, this was her lover.
But no. She mustn’t think of that, if she focused on anything other than the wound, than things could go awry. That was one reason that most clans tried to keep two healers with them as they traveled. The battle had taken Jeri’s life though, and left her the only one who could deal with the aftermath.
It had been difficult, separating out the wounded and giving her attention first to those who needed her the most. Lianna and Richard had helped her. After all, it doesn’t take a healer to see that someone is bleeding out, and with three people working, they could more easily separate out who was dying and who could wait a few extra minutes.
If Lianna hadn’t had the gift of comfort though, their presence might not have been enough, and she might have rushed to Telger’s side immediately anyway. It’s hard to allow your lover to suffer, even knowing they’d be ok, while you treated other’s first.
Resolutely she shoved all those thoughts away. While Telger’s injuries were less severe than any others she’d treated so far, they still required a delicate hand, and she was getting tired. So, focusing with all her might, she placed her hand on his ribs, and began the work of stitching his ribs and flesh back together.
When she was done Miranda felt drained. The euphoria was gone and it left her feeling like an old woman. Looking up at Richard she asked, “How many more?”
“Two more,” he answered, with sympathy. “The rest will heal on their own. Lianna is bandaging the small injuries and double checking we didn’t miss anything. Here,” he said as he handed her a cup of Kaffa.
Miranda considered the steaming cup in his hands for a minute, blinking, before she took it. “Thanks, this will help. I could really use a bite of food though if the next two can wait long enough.”
Richard grinned, “Here.”
Opening her eyes in hungry greed and wonder she asked as she took the offered bowl of stew, “How did you know?”
“I’ve been around long enough.”
Miranda considered Richard for a moment as she began to chew, “Someday you’ll have to tell me your story, something tells me this is not your first battle, or your first healing field.” She watched carefully as his eyes clouded over, and he shrugged as casually as he could. Putting her hand on his arm she said, “But not tonight, and maybe not for some time, there are more important things today.” He nodded, returning to his normally taciturn self, and she knew it was going to be an interesting challenge getting his story out of him, but she had always known that. Now she just had a little bit more to work from.
As soon as she finished, Miranda went back to work and finished healing the last of the badly wounded. Then, unable to rest until she did so, she checked over the rest of the wounded, making sure once again that no one had been missed. Finally she let go of her power completely, and it felt like silk being slowly withdrawn from her skin. As soon as she had finished she fell into a deep sleep that carried her through the night without even a single dream.
The next morning she rose, stiff, but knowing that was the price to pay for her work of the night before. Walking out of her tent she climbed a nearby hill so she could look out over the battle field from yesterday.
They had been working their way through the Solsti Mountains when the attack came. Their attackers were too well armed to be simple bandits out for profit. Most of those were smart enough to avoid the Eletheria anyway. No, these looked like more of a small army. Which meant they’d been waiting for either the Eletheria themselves, or another target, and either of these options was bad.
Looking out she saw many things. The field was soaked with blood, but there were no bodies. If there was
one thing you could count on the Eletheria to be it was efficient. There was a fresh pile of dirt outside of the camp that told her that they had buried their dead attackers where their spirits would be trapped by the earth. A large burned circle in the center of camp told her that she had also missed the ceremonial burning of their own dead to release their spirits. She had expected that though, she just ached as she wondered who hadn’t made it. Who had been beyond the hope of healing from her touch.
Miranda also saw a series of tents pitched inside the circle of wagons. That was abnormal when there were no rains, but she knew that they had been put up to take care of the wounded. Those tents transformed the battle field into a healing field. What was originally a site of disaster; also had hope. Hope because, while many had died, many had also been saved who would have been lost without her touch. It filled her with a sense of satisfaction knowing she had been able to do good for her people.
She was also a little amazed and shocked by the fact that she had actually been able to do all that she’d done the night before. There was no way she should have been able to heal that much in one night, let alone going without a break until nearly the end. When Jeri died a little part of her had died, thinking of the people that she wouldn’t be able to save. She had set that aside though, focusing only on the work, and the people who Richard and Lianna had directed her too.
Drawing the silken sense of her healing abilities around her again, Miranda reached out to the field in front of her, searching for darkness that would tell her she was needed, and where. A smile crossed her face as she only felt small patches of grey. There were people in pain, but none in danger. It truly was a healing field in front of her.
The only question was how she’d done it.