The Mandrake Inn

What, are you a girl or something?

“I’ve been known to heal,” Rustiver sighed.

“Hold on,” she said, turning and walking back into the room she had rushed from. The three heard faint whispers and rustlings before Tabitha returned with several young girls, all worse for the wear. One girl in particular, much more pale than the others, wore a blood-soaked bandage around her arm.

A resigned look came over Rustiver and his hand reached for his book. He opened the clasp, pulled it up and immediately flipped to a familiar passage. Rustiver closed his eyes and prayed as he had countless times before. A faint white light began to emanate in a radius around everyone.

But it quickly faded.

Jerold, Aelen, and indeed most of the girls felt a power of some kind but it was faint and the wounded girl remained gravely injured. Realizing his failure, Rustiver closed the book and looked over to the girl’s arm.

Slowly he raised a hand, palm up, motioning her closer. She looked over to Tabitha who hesitantly nodded her approval. Weakly the girl stepped forward and diffidently giving her arm to the stranger.

They approached each other and Rustiver took her small arm in his hand. He found the end of the bandage and gingerly pulled it back. As he worked to unwrap the wound the telltale sickly smell wafted up to him, and finally removing it confirmed his theory. The grave, by itself serious, had become infected and the girl was succumbing.

“We need to drain the wound,” Rustiver said as he looked at Tabitha. Again without speaking she nodded but couldn’t bring herself to look at the poor girl.

The elf huffed and looked around before finding a haggard table and buried himself with his tomes. He flipped through several pages, cross referenced, double checked, and hurriedly scribbled something important. Jerold , almost as disinterested as Aelen, exited the bar to enjoy the cool night air.

Rustiver lead the girl to the ruined fireplace of the inn and they both knelt down. He carefully drew his sword and smiled at the girl as a worried look came across her face.

“It’ll be ok. I’m just going to drain the wound, your body is getting poisoned with this stuff,” he poked the white-yellow wound, “and we need to get it out. I know you’re pretty tough, It may actually feel better than you think, but I need a favor. Can you be tough for just a little bit longer?”

Resigned more than eager to help, she nodded and bit her lip. He slid the blade into the wound and then back out. He held her arm over the threshold of the fireplace and squeezed her arm.

He dressed the wound and put his hand over it. Again he prayed. Without the book he closed his eyes and shouted the verse in his head. The white light from before again emanated from under his hand and this time Iustia listened and the wound healed substantially.

He applied a fresh bandage from a tore cloth Tabitha had found. Rustiver stood and offered his hand to the girl. She stood up and already color had returned to her face and she moved more smoothly.

“Thank you,” Tabitha relented, her bitterness toward the strangers thawing somewhat.



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