Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 5.22.
“Prepare some blankets so that we can carry her over to a more suitable place, it is not healthy to lay in a pool of blood,” Viconia’s words shake me out of the trance that I have been in, still unable to comprehend that Jaheira had been so close to death… “Theodur, do you hear me? And hand me her backpack, we better get a new tunic for her, or would you wish that she remains so… exposed?”
“Huh? Oh… yes, right away Vic,” I scuttle off to retrieve Jaheira’s backpack and dig into it to find some blankets and new clothing. I pass the blankets to Immy and she proceeds to create a comfortable sleeping berth in the corner, farthest to the entrance of the room. After Viconia has finished dressing her, I carefully take Jaheira’s light body in my arms and carry her over to the prepared spot.
With a heavy heart, I look at her body, wrapped in the blankets, she looks so tiny and vulnerable, her chest rising just barely as she breathes slowly and calmly… perhaps it will take more than a day, maybe two until she recovers and that Ardulace bitch might get very angry indeed. But I will take as long as it needs and will make absolutely sure that my Jaheira has fully recovered from her injuries.
“You should rest too, Theo,” Viconia speaks, coming to stand beside me, placing her hand on my shoulder. In response I can only hug her briefly, whispering words of gratefulness in her ears.
“Hey, hey… what’s going on, guys?” Imoen interrupts our silent embrace and I have a hard time figuring out if she is joking or not, “first Eddie and Jaheira are hugging each other and now Vic and you… is there something I am missing, bro?”
“Eh… no, we have just all become somewhat of an emotional wreckages…” I chuckle wearily, “I think, I will lay down a bit with Jaheira, if our healer allows me to disturb her patient…”
“Of course, as long as you don’t do something stupid as hugging or squeezing her – I would not want to try out my luck with resurrection spells, from my previous dozen attempts I recall only one to be successful,” Viconia warns me as I settle in beside Jaheira, lying on my side and looking at her haggard face. I take her hand in mine and at the feel of my touch her lips part producing a barely audible whisper.
“Sorry… failed…” are the words coming from her mouth.
“It’s all right, Jaheira… you are alive and everything will be well… sleep and recover your strength,” I speak quietly and with joy feel that she responds by squeezing my hand weakly.
“So… cold… where are you…” she slowly turns her head to the side, but her eyes stay closed. I lean closer and kiss her forehead as gently as I can, it seems to have the needed effect and her squeeze on my hand grows weaker and she drifts off into the sleep.
I lay at her side for an indefinite period of time, perhaps I have fallen asleep myself while watching her… but she is still sleeping peacefully as I look at her again. I rise from the floor to stretch my legs and take a look at what my friends are doing… Edwin is sitting on the floor cross-legged, chessboard in front of him and the spellbook in his lap – our resident genius once again is doing two things at once.
Viconia and Imoen have both made sleeping berths for themselves and are sitting on their blankets and chatting idly, noticing that I have risen from the floor, their stares turn towards me. Strangely enough, I would have thought that Vic would look at Imoen’s company as a punishment I have placed upon her, but here, when she does not have to share a room with her, she actually chooses Imoen’s company… weird.
“She’s okay?” Imoen asks quietly and I reply with a nod.
“I am going to check on her, regardless,” Viconia rises from her spot, perhaps not as much concerned about Jaheira, but simply bored with sitting around and doing nothing.
“We looted some neat stuff from those freaks,” Immy says and points to a pile of swords and other items, just behind Edwin, “a couple of items were especially interesting, Eddie can tell you more about them. Come, let’s take a look.”
We both kneel down to the pile of war trophies and Edwin joins us, wearing a face expression that is both reverent and excited at the same time.
“I suppose you require my knowledge to explain you the traits of these quite exquisite items (hmm, they should fetch a nice price on the surface, but I suppose they would be more beneficial in helping us to get there),” Edwin starts the tale.
“Now, this belt,” Edwin retrieves a shiny looking girdle from under the pile, “gives its wearer the strength of the Frost Giant (lucky for them it doesn’t make the wearer’s intellectual capabilities similar to those of a Frost Giant – even though if in some cases that would be an improvement).”
“Wow… that’s great… of course, the battle was not worth to fight only to get this item,” I look meaningfully at Edwin, “Jaheira will make good use of this…”
“Hey, she already has a similar belt,” Imoen protests, “you should give this to Vicky, she needs one too… it’s not fair that your bias influences your judgment, so there! The belt goes to Vic!”
“Nope, she’ll get Jaheira’s old one, its almost as good…” I reply, “and speaking of bias, maybe you’re not that fair yourself, sister mine…”
“Erm… whatever do you mean by that?” she shrugs uncomfortably.
“Nothing… absolutely nothing…” I chuckle, but her reaction is making me ponderous, “anything else, Eddie?”
“All these swords are magical, but of inferior quality than the one you wield now,” Edwin comments, “except this one, but you will not be able to wield it, just because you are too righteous, lawful and generally goody-two-shoes. The Soul Reaver cannot be touched by creatures with... ergh, good and pure spirit.”
I look upon the peculiar looking sword, the golden hilt incrusted with pearls, the blade is from some metal with a dark hue and a couple of inches shorter than that of my old sword, but it is wider and it’s edges are strangely cogged, so that once it has pierced the opponents skin and flesh it tears it and makes the injuries that much more worse… and then I realize…
“That sword… Jaheira… she was hurt by…this thing?” I whisper, barely holding back the tears and anger… Imoen just nods with a sad expression in her eyes. Instinctively, I reach out and grab the hilt of the sword in my hand… it feels so light and graceful as I lift it up and observe every curve in the elegantly processed blade.
“Amazing… you can actually touch it?” Edwin stares in disbelief, “hmm, I guess then you are not such a goody-two-shoes, as I took you for… well, good for us all as this tool is incredibly powerful – each time you draw blood with it, your opponent gets magically drained and weakened.”
“That’s wonderful… but I’m not sure if I will be able to wield it knowing that it almost took Jaheira from me…” I speak solemnly.
“Pah! Who cares about your romantic notions, on the contrary – think of how fitting it will be to cleave that mageling in two with this sword,” Edwin remarks and I think that maybe I should listen – a tool is a tool and it can’t be evil in itself… its how you use it that matters.
“She looks much better now,” Viconia speaks, having finished her inspection, “I think we should go for a rest to restore our spells and then we should be ready to move on, she is regaining her strength quickly…” We follow Viconia’s advice and soon the five of us are snoozing in our bedrolls, the entrance safely protected by Viconia’s wards.
A touch of a warm hand on my cheek… a quiet whisper in my ear… and a pair of concerned eyes, that looks deep into mine. Jaheira. She is awake… alive and well…
“That was unpleasant,” she says quietly, “I regret that you had to go through this… this was a quite… unwelcome experience for me as well.”
“I will do anything I can to prevent something like that from occurring again,” I speak, looking in her eyes “we have enough provision for a tenday or so… how long will you need to be ready to fight on?”
“A tenday? Surely, you are jesting, beloved – I am ready to go immediately,” her reply shocks me and to illustrate her determination she rises into a sitting position. Though she fights not to show it, I see that it takes her a lot of effort just to pull herself up from the floor.
“Perhaps this might help,” I slip the new belt around her waist and she looks at me surprised, the effect it gives is immediate, “just a little war trophy for you…” I add. She shifts with unease, seeing the fatal sword lying nearby.
“Ah… I will toss it away if you feel uncomfortable seeing it,” I speak quietly.
“I am not that sensitive, Theodur. I may have got on the wrong end of that sword once, but with you wielding it, I will be sure that it will not happen again,” she replies nonchalantly.
“Jaheira! You are well!” an annoying imp called Imoen suddenly jumps on us and ends up in-between the two of us and hugging Jaheira tightly, “don’t you ever scare us like that again Jaheira… bro was looking like a walking corpse and I think he almost succumbed to the call of the blood again…” she bubbles uncontrollably.
“Ready for travel, Jaheira?” Viconia asks, having come across to take a look at her patient and she is seemingly satisfied with what she sees, “good to have you back, druid. Yes, don’t look so surprised… without you around, I am not sure how we could handle Theodur… sooner or later Bhaal would have overtaken him.”
“Eh… druid, if you are under some ungrounded delusions that this unfortunate and insignificant little mishap is due to my… ummm… error of judgment, in that case I offer my… er… apologies,” Edwin speaks the last word with an incredibly sour expression on his face, making Jaheira’s eyebrow arch mischievously, “of course the very assumption of me being capable of making a mistake is nonsensical in itself.”
“Edwin, did someone knock you on the head during the battle or did I just heard an apology from you?” Jaheira chuckles, but Edwin just mutters something under his breath and walks away.
“Let us ready ourselves and leave – time is of essence, I doubt that the Matron Mother will care for our excuses,” Jaheira says in a voice that does not leave a room for objection… and even though I still worry about her rushing too fast in the battle after sustaining such heavy injuries, I have no other choice than to follow.
Rush Of Blood To The Head, part 5.22.
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