FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 9b

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 9b

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A void of darkness, vast as the skies, deeper than any lake. Floating, oblivion fading to distant awareness, something had happened to…?

Something had happened to him. A stabbing pain in his chest, he flailed against the abyss though he could neither walk, nor swim. Something pinned him in place. Implacable, the void swallowed him.

He melted into himself and became aware of a distant light, there was sanctuary. In the light there was escape from the darkness. He rose upwards, willing himself towards the bright hope of life. Dazed, the light overwhelmed him, his breathing was weak, he felt as if a great creature stood on his chest, constricting his breath, crushing him with powerful talons. He fought to breathe and coughed, there was release, gasping he fell down, back towards the darkness.

Adwin opened his eyes, an ancient hag loomed above him, wrinkled and hideous, mouth agape with a few stained and worn teeth. He flailed, knocking the witch back. Rolling away he was tangled in bedding and fell to the floor opposite of where the hag was. He was unsure how he had been captured. He coughed, his chest hurt, breathing was painful. “Ow.”

Trapped in the tangle of sheets and blankets he struggled to crawl under the bed. He could hear other people rushing into the room with startled cries. From under the edge of the bed he could see a number of blue robed women helping the old hag to her feet. The old woman also wore blue robes and Adwin recognized them as the robes of the Order of Mercy. He was confused. How had he come here?

A few of the women came around to the side of the bed he was trapped under, he looked over his shoulder. One of them told him everything was okay, he had been wounded and was at the Temple of Mercy. Speaking calmly to him the Sisters untangled his bedding, helped him to his feet and quickly remade his bed. Then they gently put him back onto the bed, encouraged him to drink a bit of medicine and suggested he rest.

Exhausted he settled down, sleep creeping quickly over him, vaguely he was aware that he was forgetting something. Yet, even so, he fell into a deep slumber.

When next he awoke it was dark, but he did remember where he was. He was vaguely aware of others in the room, the quiet sounds of breathing and an occasional moan of pain. After a long while he heard a door open and a candle provided dim illumination as a Sister entered the room and went around to each of the beds, checking on the patients. When the Sister came to Adwin he looked up at her, “Hello.”

“Ah, Master Adwin, it is good to see you’ve come to your senses.”

“I was very confused when I woke up here and there were strange dreams.”

“That’s not surprising. How are you breathing?”

“Painful, but it is getting better. Ah… A friend of mine was also brought in with me, is she here? Her name is Addath.”

“A Maldorn woman?”

He gave a hopeful nod.

“Yes, she is here.”

“Thank the gods.”

She smiled, “Goddess be praised.”

“Can I see her?”

“Well, most of our patients are sleeping right now. Though, I’m sure come morning we can bring her in for a visit. You’ll be abed for at least another couple of days. It was only the Goddess’ Mercy that you are still alive.”

Adwin slept well enough, he woke with pain, his chest hurt worse than the time Crinokk’s plow horse kicked him. A young Sister changed his bandages and gave him some tea for the pain. Then another Sister came by with breakfast, though he only finished half the gruel she tried to force him to eat. He was feeling sleepy again and struggled to stay awake, he wanted to make sure he did not miss Addath’s visit.

Some time passed, Adwin faded in and out of sleep and he thought it was near mid-morning when a matronly Sister brought Addath to visit. Addath had a hand on the priestess’s shoulder and a wrap around her head, covering her left eye. She gave Adwin a weak smile and sat on the edge of his bed. Adwin suddenly felt uncomfortable.

“What has you looking so glum? I thought you would be happy we were both alive.”

He gave a half sob, half laugh, “I am. Are you alright? Your eye…?”

“Gone. Though I count myself lucky, the bolt passed through the edge of my hood before hitting my eye.”

“Oh, Addath, I’m sorry.”

She gave a derisive snort, “Hardly your fault. Besides, we both knew what we were getting into when we started this.”

“Yeah, alright, but-”

“No buts. Be thankful we’re both alive. From what I hear, Hidge killed most of our assailants, Celestial’s dead. As far as I’m concerned we came out on top.”

“Is Hidge alright?”

“She was cut up pretty bad, but the Sisters were able to heal her, she’s already back on the job.”

“How long have we been here?”

“Nearly a week. I mean, an eight-day.”

“Oh. I didn’t know it had been that long.”

She gave a shrug and Adwin saw her swoon a bit, he thought she might go head first off the bed, but the Sister that had escorted her came to her side and supported her. “Alright, I think that’s enough for a while. Can you stand?”

Addath mumbled her reply, “Just a little dizzy, it will pass.”

Adwin watched them depart. Despite everything, he could not help but feel a little guilty about her losing an eye. Not long after Addath’s visit he fell asleep again.

The next few days were spent mostly sleeping, Addath came for a few short visits and she showed signs of continued improvement. The priestesses were also happy with his recovery process and they started to get him to sit up in bed for as long as he could. He still tired easily and it was another few days before he was allowed to get out of bed and walk around.

Addath had mostly recovered by the time Adwin was moved to another room and been given the freedom to move around on his own. Calathy showed up not long after and spent most of the day with him. She had come down nearly every day since he had been attacked, but the Sisters had not let her in to see him. From what she said, both Mokha and Tipper were doing fine, though they had been very concerned about his well being. As well, things at SkadWind seemed pretty normal by all accounts. Calathy was distressed to find out Addath had lost an eye but promised to find a tasteful eyepatch for her.

Addath was released from care the next day. She had been told to take things easy until she had adjusted to the change in her depth perception. Addath assured him that she would take care of SkadWind and bring him news when she had sorted things out. He was glad that Calathy visited regularly, she took a bit of time each visit to read to him and though it had been rough going at first, she soon found her voice and there were very few words she needed help with.

Near the end of his third eight-day in the hospice, Adwin was starting to get restless, especially the day that dawned bright and warm, the temperature was above freezing for the first time since autumn. He spent much of that day wrapped in a blanket, sitting on a windowsill. He enjoyed the warmth of the sun and listened to the patter of dripping water from the melting snow. After the evening meal he had a visit from one of the Sisters of Mercy, regarding his first visit to the temple, late last summer, when he delivered Del’s message.

“Sister, Kohreva?”

“Indeed, good memory. I hear you have recovered from the verge of death, Goddess be praised.”

“Yes, Sister.”

She waved a dismissive hand, “Kohreva, please. May we talk?”

“Of course.”

“Thank you. When we had last met you had indicated you would be heading back toward Lekas in the spring. Is that still the case?”

“Yes, that’s the plan.”

“Would you be willing to take some correspondence to Lekas, as well, a small package?”

“Of course, it’s the least I can do, all things considered.”

“Well, you say that, but the Sisterhood does not charge for its services, nor do we expect compensation.”

“I’m aware… I’d still be happy to take something to Del, I consider her a friend.”

“You will be delivering good news, among other things. I’m sure she’ll be happy. The Conclave has decided to send a mission to Lekas, so she will have all the support she could need before summer’s end.”

“She’ll be happy to hear that.”

“Peace be with Adwin of Willik’s Hold. You are a good man.”

“Peace be with you, Sister Kohreva.”


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