Fever Dreams

I didn’t sleep much, but I did find plenty to do, not much of it good. I decided to go to the medical tent when I first woke up. It was a bustling place that smelled oddly good, like sweet things boiling.

“Lady Marina,” Elodie walked over, “can I help you?”

“I,” I swallowed, “I wanted to see if anyone needed any help.” She smiled.

“Of course,” she said, “I have to go to patrol, and Master Walker has finally gone to sleep, but someone needs to look after The General.”

“Is he alright?” I asked. She frowned. “He’s not still bleeding?”

“No, the bleeding stopped, thank the gods,” she mumbled, “but he has a fever.” She walked me over to a cot. General Martin was asleep on it. “I think the wound is infected, I can’t do much about that until the fever passes though.”

“I can watch him,” I said softly, “I sat with Sister Mara while shew as ill. I can tend to it.” I was only eight then, I think I can do even better now. She nodded and left the tent. There was a basin with cool water and some cloths. I knew it wouldn’t take more.

I decided to write to Mercy Williams, figuring this would keep up the ruse that I was in Brightcoast. I haven’t been there since I was six, but she’s never been there, so as long as I describe the beach with some accuracy, it should be fine. I barely made a beginning though when the General began to mumble.

I dipped one of the rags in the basin and placed in against his forehead. He thrashed a bit and then grabbed my wrist and opened his eyes.

“Marie,” he whispered, “they’re coming you have to hide.” I swallowed. This I was ready for, Sister Mara used to call me “Majesty” often when she was ill.

“I’m not Queen Marie, General,” I said softly, “please try to sleep.” He blinked at me.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was seeing,” he shuddered. “You look so much like her.” I nodded. “I should get to my tent. I need to write to Athena.”

“You need to rest,” I said softly, but firmly. He scoffed and went to stand up, but faltered. “See?” He smiled lightly and lay down again. “I could bring you something to write to Lady Athena with.”

“I’ll sleep a bit more,” he said softly. I nodded and put my hand to his forehead. He was still burning up. I closed my eyes and focused. I’d read about people soothing fevered minds with magic, maybe that was something I could do.

I was suddenly no longer in the tent. I was in a large hall, not unlike the one where I’d seen Brayton pledge himself to Queen Amina, but rather than darkness, this one shone with light.

Standing at the front were a man dressed in armor, was addressing a young man, I realized, that this was General Martin, but he looked younger, maybe about twenty.

“You failed,” the man’s voice was booming and my heart skipped a beat. Martin was downcast. “You were chosen as my and your kings champion not for show Thomas.”

“Please my Lord Cornan,” he was pleading, “I tried, I did, the Princess lives though! The sword!”

I was in the presence of a god again, I realized. Cornan, the god of land and warriors. Cornan flicked his hand and Martin tumbled backwards into darkness. I was jolted out of the dream. He opened his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered jumping back. He nodded.

“As am I,” he said. “No one should have to know the pain of losing the blessing.”

“You were Chosen,” I said. He nodded. “You were supposed to protect them? My Aunt and King Anton?”

“Anton was my closest friend,” he whispered, “I would have died for him, I should have died for him, but I,” he shook his head. “It isn’t important, and is not yours to bear.” I touched my hand to his forehead.

“Your fever broke,” I said. He smiled at me. “I apologize, for invading, if that’s what I did.” I stood up and left behind the pen and paper, he looked at me quizzically. “You said you wanted to write to Lady Athena.”

“Did I?” He laughed. “She’d be a state now, I can tell you. No, I’d only worry her.” I nodded and left him.

I felt both exhilarated and terrified. I’d never done anything like that before and the fact that I can, is a little bit amazing.

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