Side A – Yasgrid
The guards hadn’t so much allowed Yasgrid into the Fate Dancer camp as parted before her. Sort of the way tall grass parts rather than be trampled by the boot moving through it.
Yasgrid heard Marianne following her, silent but reassuring at her side. Whatever disaster they were walking into Marianne seemed intent on not allowing Yasgrid to face a horde of over stressed Fate Dancers on her own.
That was likely a good thing. Finding the tent where the screams originated wasn’t challenging, but they managed to collect a sizeable train of Fate Dancers by the time they reached the medical tent and pushed back the flap.
The tent was large enough to house a dozen cots with plenty of room to work around them. It had a high ceiling, good lighting, and retained plenty of warmth despite cold outside. A few of the beds looked like they had seen use, and from a few tidy piles of blood stained cloth, it looked like there had been several injuries treated.
Yasgrid filed that impression away for later consideration. It was the one occupied cot which captured her attention. The young elf who lay within it was writhing so hard, Yasgrid couldn’t imagine how he hadn’t shattered his own bones already. The agonized twisting of his body made him look closer to a fleshbound Trouble than any of the elves Yasgrid had seen, but if she imagined him at peace she thought she recognized the boy.
He’d been one of the Fate Dancers assigned to the graveyard where she fought. She’d addressed them as a group, explaining the plan for the evening and giving her thoughts on when she was likely to need their support. The boy hadn’t stood out at all, Yasgrid wasn’t sure she couldn’t recall his name, if she’d ever even heard it. She’d been noticed him as well as several others for their age though. Neither Nia nor she were exactly old, but the boy and a number of other Fate Dancers had looked like children to Yasgrid’s eyes.
They’d told her that didn’t matter.
They’d claimed that all of the Fate Dancers were trained and knew what they were getting into.
They’d said he would be safe.
“They lied.” If Yasgrid was trying to close the rift between the Bearer and the Fate Dancers, those were not the correct words to say. Yasgrid didn’t care about that.
Behind her the sound of knives leaving their sheaths in outrage whispered into the world.
Yasgrid didn’t care about that either.
Beside the boy’s cot, the mystic tending to him rose, revealing another familiar face.
This one Yasgrid could place a name to.
Kyra turned to face Yasgrid with an expression that could have been fear, or exhaustion, or anger, but instead gathered all of those together and dared Yasgrid to offer the insult of taking another step forward.
Yasgrid considered the situation. She thought of what it must have been like to return to the fight, wage a desperate battle in the dark hours of the night, and then be left with a child in the condition before them.
“This has to end,” Yasgrid said, taking the forbidden step and several others.
What was important lay before her, and she had a job to do.
Side B – Nia
Nia wanted to say she’d given as good as she got. She wanted to say she’d she’d taught her attackers to never underestimate what a single, desperate fighter could do. So wanted to scrounge up some bit of self respect. Since none of that was available though, she settled for trying to get back to her feet so she could limp somewhere marginally safer and collapse.
Three on one are ugly odds, and Nia had possessed neither the luck nor the strength nor the skill to turn those odds back in her favor. Not when she was out massed, alone, and taken by surprise in an unfamiliar city.
Self recrimination felt good. Or at least proper. It wasn’t helping her put one foot in front of another though and so she had to tune it out. She’d been foolish, but there was a weird sort of pride she clung to. Anyone could be foolish. Most people had a hard time being anything but in fact. She’d taken her lumps though and while her body was probably broken in several places, her spirit wasn’t.
“If only you could see me now mother,” she whispered, some tiny part of her fearful that Naosha might catch wind of the words and see the mess her daughter had let herself become.
Would Naosha M’Kellin be proud? No, very definitely not. Would Osdora Kaersbean? Maybe? Nia knew she could look forward to some sort of scolding, either for going off on her own in the first place, or for picking a losing fight, or both. She was almost looking forward to it since it would mean that she was back among friends rather than stumbling through a city which seemed far more hostile than it had when they were simply shooting flaming arrows at her.
“Aww, really?” Nia nearly bumped into the speaker as she rounded the corner of an alley.
She tried to take a step backwards and felt her right knee object that action most strenuously. From the ground, she looked up to find a a bald man who looked to be close to her age wiping his palm down his face.
“You’re just not going to be able to wait for me to have lunch are you?” he asked, crouching down to look her over.
“Uh, what?” Nia asked, pleased that her scrambled wits seemed to have rallied sufficiently to produce coherent sound.
“If you tell me you’re not here for hospital care, I’ll have to drag you in to examine your head,” the aproned doctor said. “And if you tell me all that blood is someone else’s I’ll be calling the watch. So come on, or do you need me to have Gus bring a stretcher out and carry you in?”
Nia tried to rise but when the world decided to turn upside down and spin in an unpleasant manner, she abandoned the idea.
A stretcher seemed like a fine idea.
As did letting the darkness swirling around the edges of her vision carry her away for a little nappy time.