GuiltMature

Irene was in a terrible state. I hadn't realised how weak she actually was until now. Savana sat with tears pouring down her face as she wiped blood from the corner of Irene's mouth. "Can't you do anything?" she looked at me pleadingly and guilt coursed through my body. This was my fault. I had taken them from the castle and I had  made the weak girl exert more energy then she had.

Oti pulled on my arm an I turned to look at him. His eyes were wide as he stared at Irene. "What's wrong with her?" he looked close to tears and I realised that the commotion must have woken him. He was a light sleeper when it came to things like that.

"She's very sick Oti, and in a lot of pain." I crouched down and noticed that the little boy was holding something in his hand.

"What's this?" I motioned to the small parcel and he looked up at me and then back at Irene. "It's Mommy's." he slowly held it out to me. "When Mommy had any pain she said it made her feel better."

I gently took the bundle from his tiny hands and folded back the cloth. It was a small jar and I opened it and took a sniff. Instantly I realised what it was and I stood up and ruffled Oti's hair. "Thank's kiddo. I think you've helped more then you know." I murmured.

"What is it?" Savana had been watching this exchange with cautious eyes and I walked over and held it out to her. "It's medicine. It's forest medicine. The type that we use on the men when we have to stitch them back together again. Only this was Oti's mother's own recipe. And she was a midwife."

Savana's eyes widened as she took it from me. "So it's stronger?" she took a sniff of it and her eyes lit up. "I know this!" she exclaimed."I know how to make this!"

She gently moved Irene's head from her lap and rested it on the furs. "I promise I'll  make the pain go away. No doctor have ever tried this medicine before." she whispered as she kissed the top of Irene's head. Then she stood up and turned to me. I knew several of my men were standing behind me, including one of them that I didn't care for that much lately. His father had been a great man, but he seemed to think that I was responsible for his father's death. He was wrong.

"I need to go out and get more of the ingredients from the forest." Savana said quietly to me.

"Why don't you just tell us what you need lady, and we'll get it for you." a voice piped up from behind me that I recognized and I groaned inwardly. It was Eamon.
Savana ignored him and looked at me. "Will you take me?" she asked.

"Look lady," Eamon pushed his way in front of me and glared down at Savana. "Why don't you just learn your place. You stay in camp and you sew and cook and clean and do whatever it is that you women do. Stop asking to go outside of camp and risk our lives because you'll end up in trouble and you can't look after yourself."

I moved to put a hand on Eamon's shoulder as his brother ran forwards with a horrified look on his face. But before I could move, Savana had taken a step forward into him, completely flattened him on the ground and taken his knife from his belt and held it to his throat as she used her knees to pin him to the ground.

Everyone gasped and looked to me for help but I continued to watch as Savana bent close to Eamon's face while he struggled to get her off of him and failed.

"I am not from here, I do not do what ANYONE orders me to, I am not weak, and if you even think about speaking to me in that threatening tone again....." she slammed the knife into the ground beside his head, burying it right up to the hilt in the hard earth. That in itself was more frightening then if she had finished her sentence.

She stood up and turned to me again. "Will you take me?" I looked her up and down for a moment and then gave a small nod. "I will take you on one condition." I turned and picked Oti up. "You have to dress in forest warrior clothing, that dress will only hinder your movement." I handed a frightened Oti to a nearby woman and told her to put him to bed. Then I told another one to bring me clothes for Savana. She nodded and hurried off.

Eamon got up and stood in front of me protesting. "Aren't you going to punish her?" he complained. "She attacked me! What kind of leader are you?" Eamon's brother Tom tried to pull him away while apologising put I put my hand out to stop him. "No Tom it's ok, he asked why I didn't stop her. Well you see it's like this Eamon. You insulted my command, you tried to be the leader of the camp, you picked on someone who you thought was weaker then you. So why should I have stopped you getting hurt by your stupidity?"

I took my knife from my belt and turned, throwing it at Savana in one quick  movement. She caught it effortlessly and threw it back at me.

I plucked it from the air and put it back in my belt. "If she can catch one of my knife throws," I raised an eyebrow at Eamon. "Do you really think that she is incapable of looking after herself?"

A sudden cough made us all turn to look at Irene. Two of the women were attending her and the medicine seemed to be working as they gently rubbed the soft ointment on her lips. She had a more peaceful look on her face.

The woman came back to me and I took the clothes from her and tossed them to Savana. She went into one of the huts and changed, coming back out in 5 minutes. They suited her. The heavy linen shirt tucked into the green breeches and topped off with a green waistcoat made her look dainty and elfin.

"Let's go." My mood was still slightly dark as I grabbed my cloak and spun on my heel, walking into the blackness of night. We would travel on foot this time.

The End

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