Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Hunter Prince: The Fallen Stair

Pain and shock gave way to the awareness that someone was shaking him by the shoulders. "Cyjar? Cyjar?"

He opened his eyes, saw nothing but darkness, and squeezed them shut again. When he opened them a moment later, he still couldn't see anything. Someone, Janiva, was still calling his name: "Cyjar?"

He coughed. "I'm intact," he said, though he wasn't sure about that at all. His leg hurt; so did his belly. Still, he didn't hurt as much as he thought he should have... and there was the faint, lingering sense (not quite a smell, not quite a glow) of magic hanging over him. "Where's Morius?"

"I'm not sure," said Janiva. Cyjar could see her now: a black shape, her outline surrounded by a faint gray. It's the light from the door at the top of the stairs, he realized.

She let go of his shoulders, and Cyjar sat up. He'd been lying on his back, he realized, which meant that Janiva had probably rolled him over. He was pretty sure he'd landed with his face down, and the remnants of bruises on his elbows and knees seemed to support that memory.

He took a deep breath, then another. Forcing himself to concentrate, he shaped the words to call light. He even added the ritual gestures, though the court wizard had put them through enough drills that he ought to be able to call light without even the words. After a fall like that, Cyjar felt that he needed all the help he could find.

The darkness gave way to gloom, then slowly brightened. They were lying on a flat strip of stone, at the bottom of a crevasse that seemed half natural and half carved. Broken beams of various lengths were scattered around them. The stairs had obviously been built to connect the wine cellar to these deeper passages, but Cyjar couldn't remember ever hearing anything about tunnels under the keep: not lessons, not rumors, not even stories.

"There," said Janiva, and Cyjar turned his head to see Morius slumped back against the wall, with his right leg twisted in a way that no leg should ever bend, and a chunk of wood pressed up against his ribs, just under his left shoulder. His eyes were wide and dark, and he was breathing in quick, shallow gasps; his skin, usually quite pale, was now an almost deathly white.

She scrambled away from Cyjar, and stood beside Morius. Cyjar took a moment to count all the pains in his body, then took a deep breath and pushed himself to his feet. He took a careful step, then another, and found that he could walk passably well. He wasn't completely healed, but he was well enough to move.

Janiva was looking over Morius. After a moment she turned back to Cyjar. "His leg is broken," she said, "and he's in shock. I don't know how deep that piece of wood went, but we'll have to get it out of his ribs."

Cyjar nodded. Now that she said it, he could recognize the signs. He couldn't remember where he'd learned them, but at this moment it didn't matter. "Can you work the healing?"

"Maybe," said Janiva. "Yes, if we can straighten the leg. Better, if we can can get all the wood out of his chest."

Cyjar drew a breath and tried to find his strength. "Yes. Let's try to lay him down, and I'll pull the wood. Then we can straighten the leg, and you can work the healing."

Janiva nodded. "Tell me when you're ready."


  1. Ack, no! Pull the wood last. If you pull it too early, the patient might bleed out before you get a chance to apply healing magic. Though I'm also concerned about possible spinal injuries which laying him flat would aggravate. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about healing magic in the setting, much less Janiva's skill level to know how that would affect such things.

  2. ...I love having smart readers.

    ::looks mysterious:::


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