Heart of Gold

Finding out about your past should be easy if your mother is already famous, but that is only half the problem when the wrong people also work it out. Life can get complicated when you are ten.

Any feedback or comments welcomed.

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2. A Head Full of Dragons

 

Natalia and Sister Kaylin entered the infirmary and went to the desk that stood next to the main entrance. Natalia knew that if there had been any new patients during the night then there would be a note of it in the admissions book. At that moment Sister Janiyah entered from a side-ward.

'Good morning Sister, good morning Natalia. As you can see there is nothing new. Just some dressings to be changed and balms to be applied. I'm going to get some sleep now. Natalia....'

'Yes?'

'I was going to say “be good”, but somehow I don't think I need to.' Before she left, Sister Janiyah took a small packet from one of the desk draws and and handed it to Natalia. Natalia took it and began to unwrap it. Inside was a large ginger biscuit. The two priestesses both grinned as Natalias face lit up.

'My mother can not bake. She tries but it always goes wrong somehow.' She took a large mouthful and continued 'it's amazing' she said through a mouthful of crumbs before Sister Kaylin reminded her not to speak with her mouthful. Natalia ate half and then wrapped the other half back in the cloth.

She put both arms around Sister Janiyah and said quietly 'thank you.'

'Your welcome. Just study hard in your lessons okay?'

'Okay, I promise.'

Sister Janiyah gave a quick hug to Natalia. 'Right. Now I really must go and wash and get some sleep.' Natalia and Sister Janiyah released each other and Sister Janiyah left through the courtyard entrance.

One or two of the patients began to stir as the early morning light began to lift the gloom. Sister Kaylin went into the kitchen and began preparing bread and cheese for their breakfasts, handing two plates to Natalia and carrying another two herself. They placed the breakfasts on small bedside tables and then filled mugs with water. One of the patients Natalia had spoken to before and so she went to him now and perched on the side of his bed.

'Nicodemus,wake up' she said, gently rocking him by the shoulder. He moaned gently.

'Go away Sister, can't a wounded man sleep past sunrise.' One eye opened . He spotted Natalia smiling at him.

'How is the leg today Nicodemus?' Natalia asked as she reached into her pocket. 'I have something for you.' She gave him the half biscuit that she had saved.

'Thank you Natalia. You are so kind to such an old fool.'

'You're no fool Nicodemus. When will you be back at the Two Dragons?'

'If I were no fool then my leg would still be attached. I doubt your mother would want a cripple getting in the way at the tavern.' He pulled himself up into a sitting position and began to eat the biscuit.

'You can still serve at the bar and you tell such great stories by the fireside. I'm sure mother wouldn't mind. And even if she did mind, I'd annoy her till she said yes. We'd miss you too much if you didn't come back.' She sat looking at him a pleading expression, almost as if she would burst into tears if he said no. Nicodemus finished eating the biscuit.

'Look, I can't promise anything, but even if I don't work at the The Two Dragons, I will come there to see you and tell stories. It won't be soon either. I do have the slight problem of a missing leg after all!' Natalia looked slightly worried. 'The Sisters are doing all they can, but my stump won't heal quickly and then I'll have to have a wooden leg. That will take some time for me to use comfortably.'

'Okay but I'm still going come and help you get better no matter how long it takes. Ooooh! I almost forgot, mother sends her love.'

'Natalia, I know your mother, she'd never say that!.'

'Well..... no, but that's what she means. I can tell. She actually said “ tell the old git hello from me” and then went back to bed.'

'That certainly sounds more like Mya.' Nicodemus grinned. 'So, what tales would you like me to tell you today?'

'Do you know any about dragons? Tell me about dragons.' She sat looking expectantly at him.

'Yes, I know stories about dragons. What do you know about dragons?'

'Ummm they are big, breathe fire and they're bad and they have lots of treasure.'

'You are only partly right. Yes they do grow big and tend to have lots of treasure in their lairs. But, they are not all evil and don't all breathe fire.' Natalia listened, fascinated by every word. 'There even used to be a dragon right here in the city, although I never met her. Her name was Lady Xiomara. Dragons live a long time and as such become very wise. Lady Xiomara sat on the Queens Counsel.' Natalia burst out giggling.

'That's funny, a big old dragon squishing the counsel.' She giggled some more.

'That is not what I mean and you know it' Nicodemus said, trying not to giggle himself. 'Dragons are magical creatures and Lady Xiomara could change into human form. She used her wisdom to help Queen Kazaria rule the country.'

'Is she still here? Can I go see her?' Natalia could barely contain her excitement. A real dragon, here in the city!

'No. She no longer lives in the city. No one knows what happened. After the last war, she just disappeared. There are some that say she watches over the city still and lives in the hills of Ae to the north. Some say she changed into her dragon form, flew away and died of a broken heart, but as I said, no one really knows.'

'Wow. So.... there could be hidden treasure here in the city?'

'I suppose its possible, but I think she would have kept it somewhere else.'

Sister Kaylin stood behind Natalia. 'Excuse me young lady, but Nicodemus needs his wound washed and dressing changed' she looked stern 'and you need to make sure you aren't late for your lessons.'

'But the dragons..'

'The dragons can wait. Nicodemus will still be here later. Go on, off you go.'

Natalia reluctantly slipped off the bed, hugged Nicodemus and said 'see you later.'

Nicodemus hugged her in reply. 'Go. Or you'll get me in trouble. Give my love to your mother and thank you for the biscuit.'

Natalia wandered off through the courtyard door with a head full of dragons. Usually a good student she doubted whether she would be able to concentrate with a head full of dragons

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