Leasha pulled out the talon. There was nothing else she could do. Both Mim and Cassian gasped as the blood began to ooze from the wound staining Breanna’s clothes. But they were both damned wrong.
“She must be placed in a river,” Koax suggested, their wide dark eyes filled with anguish.
But Leasha shook her head. “That only works with Fenners.” She forced a smile, trying hard to remain calm and stop her hands shaking as Broc fretted and paced behind her. There was a gaping hole in Breanna’s leather tunic, Leasha ripped it further and placed her hand over the wound summoning her energy to heal it. “Why are you always getting yourself poisoned?” she whispered the words, not for anyone else to hear. Half hoping she would get a reply but knowing she wouldn’t.
“What in Dragon’s Blood are you doing, girl? You’ve gotta suck out that thunderin’ poison first, now it’s bloody stuck in there!”
“I can’t!” Leasha snapped, already dizzy with exhaustion. “All I can do is stop the bleeding.”
Mim threw her hands up in exasperation, “Well now what, Elf? You’ve stuffed her full of claws and poison, the pair of you! What good is she to me now?” The beady black eyes of the dwarf pierced Leasha’s accusingly and drove a spear of anger into her.
“Breanna was never yours to be of use.” Instinctively, Leasha pulled Breanna into a tight embrace, she had no intention of letting her go with Mim now and knew she had allies in the others. Breanna was small, but not inconsequential and Leasha struggled as she hauled the patient from the ground and stood, looking to Broc. “Help me get her back to Meadowhall.”
“That’s too far.” Cassian countered, “It will take days on foot there will be more of those… things.”
“You carried her all that way, if I have to do it alone then I will.”
“I had my stag-” he cut himself off, stared at her and then bolted off in the opposite direction, up towards the Hill Fort, leaving Leasha holding the unconscious Breanna.
She could feel her friend’s pulse weakening. She swallowed back the panic. She was a Healer. She had to be in control. She couldn’t let fear take over.
“Can… can you not just make her better like you did before?” It was Broc, his face drained of blood he spoke barely above a whisper, his shoulders slouched, and he carried his axe limply in his hand. He looked like a timid little boy. But all she could do was shake her head.
“I need herbs and poultices to counter the poison.”
“Midwinter,” Koax suggested, “Midwinter is close. Together we can reach it by overmorrow.”
Leasha nodded. She knew Midwinter. It was welcoming of strangers, at least it was during the Midwinter festival. Her arms were already aching, she didn’t know how far she could carry Breanna, but at least she wasn’t alone… She turned away from the sun and towards her destination.
“Leasha!” With a pounding of deer hooves Cassian was upon her and grinning down from a stag. “I’ll take her,” he said reaching out.
“No, she’s my sister,” Broc pushed himself forward, “I should take her.”
“Damn you both,” Leasha replied, struggling to keep the maiden from slipping to the ground but determined she would do so, “I’m taking her-”
“By Dragon’s Breath Cassian, I can keep her alive, can you? Now stop getting in my way and help me get her on to that beast.”
He slid off the stag and spoke in a low whisper. “You are weak-”
“Don’t make me prove I’m not,” she growled.
“Please,” Broc said, parting the arguing Elves, “Please, if she can keep her alive, then… please help her.”
Cassian looked to Broc then back to Breanna, closed his eyes and shook his head. “We shall follow,” he said, as he offered his arms to take Breanna while Leasha mounted the stag. “We will be right behind you.”
“I know,” she replied leaping onto the mount and turning to take Breanna back. When she took the unconscious wealderling back, Leasha could feel the life draining from her even though the bleeding had ceased. She hoped she had the strength to ride and keep her friend alive.
Leasha gave one last glance at her companions, then turned the beast to the west, and charged off.