The chorus played on inside the tavern. A string of men hunched around the bar and bellowed out their favorite tavern hymns. A slender girl with flowing strawberry blonde curls had a hand on one of the men’s shoulder trying to get his attention. She was a beautiful girl, having reached the peak of her youth. Pale gray eyes were startling against her fair complexion and hair, they looked pained.
“Father it’s the middle of the night, can’t you come home? I don’t want to worry about you anymore,” she pulled at his arm trying to get him to turn and face her.
The man looked sideways at her, “What? Genevive, go back to bed.” his words sloshed about just as his drink did all over the bar.
“Last night you passed out halfway to the house, please just come home,” the drunken men threatened to overpower her words with their song.
Mugs slammed down on the bar twice, pause, then once more with the beat. Genevive tried to turn the hulking man, he outweighed her easily twice over, but only managed to splash his drink on his lap. This woke him from his stupor, he took a deep breath and his brow furrowed and mouth twisted behind his beard. He turned in the chair and struck Genevive. Her small frame was now cradled on the ground while she held her eye and tried to hold back the tears. The song pattered off for only a moment then the men started in a again.
Genevive’s father grunted, “Go home Genevive.”
He turned around and grumbled back into the song. Genevive pulled herself off the filthy wood floor, she could feel her elbow bruising. It wasn’t her elbow that turned the tides of her tears, it was the thought that her other eye was just starting to return to flesh tones and now she would have another black eye. She ran through the door and left the ruckus behind her. The tavern was the last building in her village that still had light pouring out of the windows. There were still torches scattered about to keep the community lit but some had gone out. It would appear the guards had been lured into the tavern as well. The torches flickered trying to battle the Miasma and the darkness.
It didn’t matter to her, she wasn’t staying there anymore. She ran full tilt through Farwood Retreat and headed straight towards the ocean. She had made the trip on multiple occasions at night. Every time she returned unharmed. How the Veran don’t kill her is unknown to the townsfolk and it generates quite the rumors. Some whisper that she turned to dark magicks after her mom was killed in the washouts that swept away the original village. With a father who paid no heed to his daughter other than discipline and borderline slavery, it wouldn’t take much to reach out to darker arts.
Genevive ran into the overwhelming blackness. She could tell she had made it through the remains of the first village, coarse grass had just started to grow back this year. Now she could hear the waves, and beach grass started to whip her legs. After she topped the last dune, she could feel the mist on her face. She slid down and planted her knees in the sand. With her face in her hands she cried. She cried hard for some time. Her tears only reminded her of the event when she wiped her tender swollen eye.
“Why do I have to stay here?!” she cried out between hiccuping sobs. “I want to leave!”
“You say you uphold the justice of the righteous, where is my justice… please uphold my justice…”
Her sobs became a quiet whimper that got lost in the sound of the waves. Genevive began talking under her breath and her chest started to emit a faint flickering light. The Miasma seemed to almost pull away form the light. The contrast between her soft face and swollen eye could be seen in the glow. She stilled her lips and wiped her eyes one last time and stood up. The light was gone. She wanted to do something before she left just yet. She stepped forward into the water. The waves wash over her feet and legs as she down the beach a little ways. It was refreshing, until it touched on her scratches from the grass. Genevive jumped back out of the waves and rubbed her stinging calves. She scowled in the dark and turned to head back home.
Before she could land her foot in the sand she kicked something and stumbled forward. She let out a growl as she rubbed her foot now sitting on the other side of her obstacle. It wasn’t driftwood, she’d hit driftwood before, she knew what that felt like. She reached her hand out and grabbed ahold of a head full of tangled hair and screamed. Genevive to get away from whatever it was she had found, or had found her.
She knew if she ran she wouldn’t make it back, at least in one piece. She had to concentrate to make her way back and forth at night, and would definitely trip on things more dangerous than driftwood if she fled back. She listened. The waves continued unchanged by her fright, but nothing else stirred. She reasoned, she was still alive and as far as she could tell whatever she had kicked wasn’t effected by her presence. Her heart was pounding and her hands quivered but she reached out again.
Geneive’s fingers twitched when they made contact. She felt smooth hardened leather, her fingers traced the form and realized it was some sort of chest armor. Her hand moved up hopefully towards a head. The head was intact and she felt smooth narrow features, no facial hair, strong jaw line, he was covered in sand and his lips were cracked. She hovered her hand over the man’s mouth and felt breath, ragged and faint but it was there. Something had to be wrong with him if tripping over him hadn’t woken him up. He must’ve been exhausted, clearly dehydrated but she ran her hands over him trying to see if there were any other obvious symptoms. Her hands stopped when she reached his right arm.
There was a dire wound filled with sand halfway down his forearm. Her heart started pounding harder. He could have lost a lot of blood, at least the sand served some purpose by clotting the veins running down his clammy arm. Genevive knew she ideally would need to clean the wound but she couldn’t get him back to the village, the ocean water would infect it, and he likely wouldn’t last through the night. Genevive held her breath and plunged her fingers into his wound. She scraped as much of the sand out without doing any more damage. She felt bone and the wound was bleeding again from the irritation.
She apologized in her head and spit into her hand. She finished up trying to clean the wound. The blood was flowing again and would wash most of the remaining debris out. Genevive held the man’s arm at the elbow and wrist and closed her eyes. She focused her mind, whispered “Help me Lord,” and untapped her energy. The light radiated from her chest this time, the Miasma retreated ten feet in all directions. Threads of white light started to weave through the wound, it reattached veins, sinews, muscles, and tendons. She worked until all of his missing pieces were now replaced with illuminated replicas. The last stitches of light crawled across all the new lean thews. His arms was sealed and his tanned flesh returned. Genevive’s hands loosened around his arm, his skin paled underneath. She looked down at her patient. Her eyes traced over his arm and slowly up to his shoulder as dread filled her. The bottom of her stomach fell out when she registered his features, his skin, his hair.
The light went out, this time she fled.