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Ch. 14 - What to do about Devan

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Daylight was filtering in through the mouth of the cave. As tired as she was, Lacey didn’t sleep. Now that his fever had broken Devan was in danger of catching a chill; she curled up next to him again, letting him hog their makeshift blanket. For a long time she just listened to his heartbeat gradually slowing to a normal pace.

He was quiet, and wasn’t objecting to her warmth against him, so she thought he was asleep, until he whispered, “Why did you attack us?”

Devan’s question bounced off the rocks around them, sounding louder than normal in her ears.

“I was just there. I had no idea.” She choked out the words, but they were hollow. How could she have trusted Goeden? These Wished were not like the people who had raised her. Not like any colonist on Eridan. They were violent, evil people straight out of one of the Envoys stories about the Old Earthers who did not follow the Path. 

“What happened to the others?” Devan asked.

“I don’t know.” She couldn’t say out loud that she thought they might all be dead. She wanted more than ever to cry right now. Her friends deserved that much. But her well-cursed eyes refused to co-operate.

Devan tried to shift his position, but as soon as he moved his leg he gasped in pain.

“I should look at it.” She sat up and peeled back the filthy bandage on his thigh. He stiffened but didn’t make a sound.

 The bleeding had stopped.

“I didn’t do anything except bind it last night. It needs to be cleaned.” She poured some fresh water on the cloth she had used to cool his forehead and scrubbed it together a bit. It was as clean as she could make it. Dirt and pine needles had dug into the wound; she dabbed gently. He writhed and clenched his fists as she brushed away the surface debris. She still needed get out the deep dirt.

“This is going to get painful,” she said. She set the cloth aside and started to undo his leather belt.

“Hey,” he said through gasps.

“Quiet,” she said. She pulled his belt out of its loops in one swift motion. “You have to stay quiet. They may still be looking for us.” She folded the belt over and offered it to him to bite down on.

He took the leather between his teeth and braced himself. To his credit, he made no sound as she dug the cloth deep into the flesh of his leg. Blood trickled and started to flow, but she kept scraping at the dead tissue and bits that didn’t belong. It wouldn’t heal right if it wasn’t clean. Once she was satisfied, she tore a fresh strip of cloth, cleansed it as best she could and knotted it around his thigh. By then he was unconscious.

Lacey looked down at her hands. They didn’t hurt. Strange, she thought, flexing her fingers tentatively. She crawled toward the entrance where the light was better.

Her hands were healed—not even a trace of a scar or ghost of a bruise.

Magic--like the magic of the wishing well. Lacey cast a suspicious glance at the dark entrance of the tunnel to the spring. Maybe the waters were from the same source? But she hadn’t wished for her hands to be healed, she hadn’t even thought about it.

Lacey crawled back to Devan and peeked under the bandage, it looked far less angry, but it was still raw. She didn’t know enough about healing to tell if it was more healed than normal. Maybe it took time, or more water.

Devan woke up as she tucked the bandage back in place.

“How does it feel?” Lacey asked.

“Feels better, you would make a good healer.”

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