Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kaymele (part 8)

     'Anakis and Natia are keeping busy with all the wounded, and Linki was put in charge of preparations for the food distribution; much to our disappointment, she's not very good at directing.  Just very good at shouting and demanding, not to mention trying to sell off several unwanted items.    Myself and Nithron are busy with any task that is given to us, and we are given so many that it's nearly impossible to keep up with everything.
    'I think Beleg hates that Bly and I were able to escape from Bly's room with such ease.  He hasn't talked to me in four days and has avoided eye contact whenever we're in the same room.  If anything I think he's the one who keeps Nithron and I busy all the time, and now neither of us have slept in two days because of all the mending, washing, cooking, working with the horses, and about a thousand other things that anyone can come up with.  The work load that Bly did was passed down to me plus I have to take care of Nairi.  I'm not complaining, but it is truly dreadful to have so much to do and not enough time.
    'Bly, Xander, and Adonis left three days ago and we haven't heard from them yet.  I expect they're waiting until they cross the river before they send a message.'
    I look up from my piece of parchment paper that I found behind the desk in my new room.  I've decided that I should keep a small journal of our stay for future references.  
    'I have to share this room with Nairi because of my promise to Adonis to take care of her.  She looks terrible even after I brushed her hair and Bly washed her face and arms before they left.  Her entire arm is purple/blue even her finger nails, and worse of all horrible bumps grow along her forearm, and ooze green puss.   When they're touched, or wiped carelessly they explode the putrid goop onto whomever touched it.  Bly found that out the hard way.  Though Nairi is under round the clock surveillance she is getting weaker everyday.  Adonis visited her any chance he got before he left.  Now that he's gone she just lies there whimpering and shivering; though she's covered with three blankets.  At night I hear her crying out for Nuvole, her older brother who died at the merciless hand of Felix.  In a small way this is how we are alike each of us has had a loved one taken away.'  I continue writing.
   A new load of clothes in desperate need of mending and washing arrives into our room.  I do the work here so if Nairi needs anything I'll be available.  As soon as I sat down to begin, Anakis knocks at the door and enters.
    'How is she?' she asks.
    'Cold, weak nothing has changed.  She fades in and out of consciousness,' I answer.
    'It looks worse, I wish there was something we could do to make her feel better.  But being a Ceridwen she's prone to infection more than you or I.  That's what the bumps are, deep infection,' she says inspecting Nairi's arm.
    'I see, but can anything worse happen if medicine isn't given to her soon?' I ask timidly.
    'Well I don't know, this is the first time I've never worked with a Ceridwen.  How far it'll spread I can't say.  It could take her entire body, her mind, or worse it could deteriorate her arm,' whispers Anakis.
    'Kaymele...' Nairi hoarsely moans, '...water?'
    'Of course Nairi, here,' I say reaching for the ladle.
    But when I pull it out, the water in the bucket is nearly empty.  I pour the last of it into the ladle and give it to Nairi.  I put the bucket by the door.
    'Anakis can you watch Nairi while I fetch some water?  I won't be long it'll only be to the well and back,' I ask.
    'It's no trouble really I'll stay here,' she answers.
    'Remember don't touch the bumps.  They'll explode, and make more,' I say grabbing the bucket.
    'Thanks for the reminder!' she calls after me.
    Walking to the well isn't easy though.  Some of the Dwarves brought their wives and children with them.  The wives aren't the trouble when walking, it's the children running under foot, and playing anywhere and everywhere.  I dodge a group of younger children playing with a pig's bladder that someone has blown up into a ball.  Some of the older boys have a lizard and are scaring the girls with it causing them to scream and run all around.
    A little girl, whom I take to be about four or five, runs behind my skirt from a boy with a lizard.  He shows me the lizard; trying to scare me, and instead of screaming like he expected I stooped, took the lizard from his hands, and kissed it.  He stared at me open mouthed until I gave him his lizard back.  Then he scrambled away to tell his friends about the stranger who kissed the lizard.
    The little girl, who was still behind me, peeked out from her hiding spot.  She looked up at my with big blue eyes and smiled.  For the first time since Eleniel died I laughed, and a good hardy laugh.  I take the little girl by the hand and get on my knees so I could be eye level with her.
    'Now, if he ever does that again tell him I'm watching,' I say.
    'I surely will m'lady!' she giggles and hugs my neck, 'Thank you.'
    I hug her back 'No, thank you,' I say.
    Once I let go, she runs off with a squeal of delight.  With that I pick up the bucket and set off again.  The children I pass watch me with a careful eye, and I see many of them whispering to one another.
    I hurridly round the corner of the stables, nearly running straight into Nithron.  He drops the saddle that he was carrying.  We both bend to pick it up, but knock our heads together before either of us touch it.
    'Ow!' we both exclaim rubbing our bruised heads.
    'Sorry Nithron but I really must be on my way,' I say shifting the bucket in my hand.
    'Might I escort you?' he asks.
    'No, you best finish your work or the stable master will have you whipped.  I'm in a bit of a hurry too,' I say walking past him.
    'He doesn't scare me,' he says, 'and I'm surprised that you don't want me to come with you everywhere considering all the extreme things you've said and done when I was unable to take you anywhere but into Revelin.  Please let me escort you to your destination,' he extends his arm for me to take.
    'Oh, alright,' I sigh taking his arm, 'I suppose since you insist.  Have you slept any?'
    'No, I'm lucky to get a brake,' he chuckles, 'and you.  Have you slept?'
    'Heavens no, I've been over run with mending, healing, washing, and Nairi.  Especially Nairi, she's not getting better like Anakis said.  She cries out for Nuvole and Adonis.  At night she's burning up with fever and during the day she's colder than ice.  I just don't understand what she's going through, it's a sickness I've never encountered before, and even Anakis says that she has never worked with a Ceridwen,' I say.
    'I see, hopefully Xander, Bly, and Adonis will have the herbs from the Elves soon.  Then we can focus on a plan to end Felix's rein,' he says.
    We walk on past tents that most of the rebels stay in, and after we weaved our way through the cluster of people until we are on the other side of the camp.  The well itself is impossible to miss, it's placed right outside the camp on the edge of the Tawarthion, and is five feet wide all the way around.  There are blocks of smooth stone in a perfect circle around the outside edge.  A thin, circular, slab of marble covers the mouth of the well as a lid.  It takes both of us to move the lid far enough that the bucket can fit.
    'Goodness I could fit through that,' I think to myself.
    But just before Nithron could throw the roped bucket into the well, we both hear a whip slice through the air just above our heads.  We both turn and face the last person we expected to see.  The Stable Master; a grand title for not such a grand man.  His clothes are torn and ragged because he never wants them mended, his skin is dark tan from long hours in the sun, he's quite a large man but much more muscle than fat, his face is pudgy, with a nose like a potato, a high forehead, and a stern look always on his face.  From the smell I can tell he's been drinking heavily, and his clothes are drenched in liquor and sweat.
    'Get back to work Elf or I'll teach you how we treat slackers!' he says in his thick, gravely, voice.
    The whip cracks in the air again, and a chill runs down my spine.  I clutch the bucket until my knuckles turn white, the Stable Master scares me worse than the Otrovs and Nithron knows it.  He grabs my free hand and faces me.
    'I'm sorry I can't help you get water today,' he says.
    'But you could stay.  He's only human,' I protest.
    'I know, but if I stand up to him it will only prove that I'm no better than him.  I'm brave not stupid he's much bigger and stronger than I.  I'll try to come visit you later,' he says and kisses my hand.
    Slowly he releases my hand and walks to the stable master; who cracks his whip and curses.  That puts me over the edge, I loose my temper and extend my hand and use my powers to lift the Stable Master 6 feet off the ground.  He drops his whip and screams as I spin him in circles and drop him in the horses' water trough.  Nithron spins around and stares at me.
    'What?' I ask.
    'Nothing,' his serious face twitches with a smile, 'but right after I gave a speech of being better than him you go and...' he stops and bursts out laughing.
    We both stand there laughing at the poor stable master.  The good thing about dropping him into the trough is he finally got a bath.  Nithron helped him to his feet and walked him to the stables.  Thankfully there are no cuts or broken bones, just a few memorable bruises.
    After all the commotion I finally start to pull water from the well.  A task I regret to say I'm not very good at, and I can't touch the bucket or last three feet of rope because it's wet.  After about five attempts I have filled half my bucket.  I throw the roped bucket aside and sit on the grass, that isn't wet, in frustration.  As I listened to the birds singing there was another song coming from within the forest.  Quietly I walk to the tree line and listen, now no birds are singing just the deep notes.  Walking, and listening I follow the melody to a clearing in the forest, in the center is a large stone slab.  I can see writing on it, but I'm too far away too see clearly.  The stone is light grey, and the dwarfish symbol above the writing.  It's then I see Beleg, in his hands are a bouquet of flowers of all shades of yellow and pink.  He's the one singing, and every note he sang made the very ground beneath my feet quake.
    I inch closer to see the writing on the stone.  I'm quite certain that it's a grave but I don't know who's grave it is.  I work my way closer and now I'm in plain view of the gravestone, it says
 "In loving memory of Miverlous Gwaith.
Beloved wife, Mother, and Dwarf."
    I remember Beleg's wife being killed by the Otrov but I never knew where they buried her.  I take a step nearer and a twig snaps.  Beleg jumps and draws his sword.
    'Alright, I know you're there come on out where I can see you,' he growls.
    'It's only me general,' I say.
    He lowers his sword and turns away.  I notice the tears on his cheeks as he gently places the bouquet on the grave.  I walk closer to him, he stayed kneeling with his head bowed.
    'The pain and the sorrow he must endure every day of his life must be quite unbearable at times,' I think.
    'Beleg,' I say timidly, 'how long has she been gone?'
    'Nearly three years,' he answers, 'and every second of those days I remember my promise to her.  I will never stop trying to kill Felix until I succeed.'
    'A mighty big promise to keep,' I say, 'you were singing the dwarfish song "Brimming", the one about all the different gems weren't you.'
    'Yes, it was her favorite,' he whispers.
    There's a long silence between us, even the trees that surround us are in silent reverence.  Beleg begins singing again his song, and on the breeze that's been blowing leisurely by, a beautiful voice is carried with clear, sweet notes.  Their singing together was so beautiful that it was impossible not to shed tears over their perfect harmony.  All too soon the song ended and their singing stopped.  He rose, and bowed to the grave.
    'Anitar must be watching out for him,' I think.
    Beleg walks me back to the well, to help me finish my task.  When we arrive the roped bucket has been cut from the well and nowhere to be seen.  I search the edge of the forest and around the well, and Beleg searches the tents.
    I start my search around the well but finding nothing I start towards the forest again, but a thought crosses my mind to look into the well.  Getting on my hands and knees I peer into the dark hole, the water is not very far down, but even so it's quite dark.  Coming back up to find a light to see I feel a push from behind and down I plunge into the darkness.  Cold water rushes over me, and I can here a group above laughing and cursing.  I feel the scales of my tail and groan.  I don't know anyone in the camp who would do this.  I thought things couldn't be any worse until I hear them sliding the lid back over the well.
    'HELP!' I scream over and over again.
    But it's too late they closed the lid.  Utter darkness, not a sound accept my breathing.  Without feet I can't climb up to stone sides it's all I can do to just hold on.  The bucket is floating on the surface so I grab it.  There is a thick dark liquid in the bucket I stick my fingers in it and still can't figure out what it is.  I'll have to wait until I'm rescued before I can figure it out.
    'Nithron will notice I'm gone and start a search party, and Beleg will start searching too.' I think.
    After what I guess to be twenty minutes, I start to hum to myself without thinking about it, and it hits me that if I sing the marble might crack, and if I get it wet with my tail then I can try to move it aside.  I splashed the marble with my tail and resurface.  I sing as long and loud as I can, then a thin crack of light.  My hope rises as I lift my hand to the lid and make a pushing motion.  The marble is heavy even with my powers but it still slides slightly.  I try calling for help again, and the sound of running feet come closer.  Half of the lid is moved, and the sudden rays of light make me blink.
    'Kaymele?!' Beleg shouts, 'When I came back the lid was over the well, and I couldn't find you.  I thought of Nithron but he said he hadn't seen you either, he's here with me.'
    'Are you alright?' Nithron shouts.
    'Yes, no broken bones just a tail.  I have the bucket down here,' I say.
    'Bring the bucket up with you.  I brought Florentide to help pull you out,' he says and lowers a rope.
    'Tie the rope around your waist and tail,' says Beleg, he waits until I pull on the rope before pulling up, 'Alright, now Florentide pull slowly.'
    I'm slowly lifted out of the water and the sky is getting closer.  Once my head is visible, Nithron grabs the bucket and sets it aside, then my hands and pulls me out.  I lie on my back breathing heavily.
    'How long was I in the well?' I ask panting.
    'You've been in the well for at least an hour I guess,' answers Beleg, 'it took me a while to find Nithron.'
    I sit up and satisfy my curiosity of what was in the bucket.  No one had bothered to look inside yet, but before I could even see fully into it I recognized the deep red substance.  Blood, a bucket of blood.  I slap my hand over my mouth so as not to scream.  Nithron stands beside the bucket and moves it away.
    'Who's blood could that possibly be?' I whisper.
    'I don't know, but n any case there's been a murder and I'm going to find the culprit of culprits,' says Beleg.
    'Are you well?' asks Florentide.
    'Yes, where have you been for the past hour?' I ask.
    'Flying above the forest and hunting.  I will be gone until later tonight hunting for the last of the boar herd,' says Florentide.
    'Alright see you after a while then,' I say, and she takes off.
    'I believe that was an attempt on your life Kaymele,' says Nithron.
    'Well I don't...' I start, but Linki comes stumbling up.
    'Beleg!' she cries.
    Her head is bleeding and she practically stumbles into him.  He grabs hold of her and sits her beside me.  She's babbling hysterically about strangers that attacked her.  I dry myself and try to calm her down.
    'Linki, calm down.  Tell us what happened,' says Nithron.
    'Nairi... they took Nairi!' she says.
    Without further questions we all hurry back to my room.  Linki is left with Natia who knows where Anakis is.  Now we're all running, and we reach my door and nearly break it down trying to get in.  But we enter to see Nairi on the floor.  Quickly lifting her back onto the bed and stopping the bumps from exploding I give her a little of the water that Anakis had left.
    'Nairi, what happened?' I ask.
    'I woke up and Anakis left to find Moon Lilies for me.  After she left three men came and tried to take me but I threw anything I could reach at them, and they left when I hit one with the sharp end of the arrow that you left,' she answers weakly.
    'No worries now you're safe,' I say.
    'I'm going in search of these men,' says Beleg and leaves hastily.
    'We'll leave to let you rest, and finish with getting the water, so you just rest,' I say pulling Nithron out the door.
    She lays back and closes her eyes.  I quietly close the door and head for the end of the corridor.  At the end I face Nithron.
    'Why did you say you were going to the well again you got the water right outside the door there?' asks Nithron.
    'Did you notice anything strange about Nairi?' I ask ignoring his question.
    'No why?' he says.
    'Because she didn't have any colors,' I say.