Fighting Back

Pelith, a lithe huntress, is facing the knowledge of the strong likelihood that her people might disown her for being falsely accused of a crime she had not committed. But then, her beloved horse, Culia, is eaten by a blood-thirsty dragon that has finally been set free from being held captive for four hundred and sixty-eight years by a spell that has recently been broken by the combining of two magic rocks. She then begins to slowly come upon the conclusion that someone has purposefully framed her. With the unlikely and unexpected help of Rasa, a poor, underfed farmer boy, she must make a dangerous journey in order to save her race from destruction and once again prove herself innocent and loyal to her people.

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Pelith grabbed some ropes and tied them to the dead animal’s antlers and then threw the other end over Culia’s neck. She walked beside Culia as she pulled the buck so as not to add to her load. It was nearly sundown by the time they returned home, and Calioniel rushed out, ready to scold Pelith for worrying her for being gone for hours. But when Calioniel saw the deer, she felt both angry and disappointed. “Pelith, dear, you must stop this recklessness. It is so improper for a woman to hut, and-” Calioniel got closer and ran her finger over the deer’s wound. “You didn’t,” she said, stone-faced. “Tell me you didn’t kill the poor beast with your knife!” She looked at Pelith, stunned.

Pelith just shrugged at her mother’s unnecessary fussing over so little.. “I didn’t want it to get away. The arrow missed and hit a tree next to it which startled him and he started to run my way. I didn’t have a chance to prepare another arrow so I just grabbed my knife,” Pelith explained.

“Well...no matter. We don’t have time for this. Your father has just been-your head is bleeding!” Calioniel exclaimed. Pelith raised her hand to her head in confusion to search for the source of the blood. There wasn’t even a scratch.

“I don’t feel any pain and there doesn’t seem to be a wound...Oh! My hand. It got cut from the deer’s antlers. The blood must be from my hand. Culia, thank you for your help in bringing my catch home. You can return to the stables. I’ll be out shortly.” She scratched behind Culia’s ears and sent her away before following her mother into their house.

Pelith’s house was no shack or cottage. With her father’s wealth, they could afford a large house and maids and butlers and cooks, which in turn gave some of the people of Moredian well paying jobs. They had several horses and a few stables which were tended by horse trainers, grooms, stall cleaners, handlers and Dr. Evindel, a veterinarian who specialized in the health of horses. Their fields and vineyards and orchards were cultivated and managed by more people in need of jobs. When the total of the fruits of the harvest have been reaped, forty five percent is given to the marketers so they have more to sell. More goods allow them to lower their prices so that food is more affordable. Another ten percent of the crop intake is sent to their workers as rations as a bonus for working for Pelith’s family. Fiveteen percent is sent to Horen’s parents and siblings back in Qigondra as a gift. Thirty percent is traded with Qigondra and other countries for meat, seasonings, certain herbs, silk, cotton, and other goods which are shared with Moredian. The  remaining ten percent is kept for Pelith’s family or  stored for emergency.

Calioniel led Pelith through the long hall and into the medicine room. “Wait here,” She instructed her daughter. “I’ll be back in a moment.” Pelith watched her mother slip through the door. The second the door swung shut behind Calioniel, Pelith jumped up from the cushioned bench she had sat on and opened a cupboard. She grabbed a small clean rag and a jar made of dark glass labeled “Eucalyptus Essential Oil”. She poured some water in a pan and put it over a fire that was already lit. While waiting for it to warm, she grabbed a bowl, set it upon a counter and poured about one tablespoon of the oil into it. She returned to the fire where the water had warmed, but was still cool enough to touch.

She added a couple tablespoons of the warmed water to the oil to dilute it and stirred it with a small spoon. Taking a corner of the rag with her left hand, Pelith dipped the small area of the cloth into the bowl and then brought it to her right palm where the deep cut was to help disinfect it. She gingerly applied the ointment and then set the rag back on the counter. She selected a box from the same cupboard the oil had come from as well as a tea leaf holder and filled the holder with chamomile leaves from the box. She suspended the bundle of leaves into the water and threw a length of gauze in with it to also soak up some of the nutrients. She walked over to the window where several herbal plants were placed to receive sunlight. She reached for the one with a few long, thick lush green leaves sprouting from it’s roots. She broke one of these leaves and brought it over to the counter where the gauze she would use to cover her wound was laid out.

Starting at the pointed tip, Pelith squeezed from there to the opening, which was right above the gauze. Gel poured from the the Aloe Vera plant onto the gauze. With a spoon she spread it about a bit before returning to the tea and lifting the tea leaf holder and cloth from the water and putting the leaves in the cloth. She slightly squeezed the small bundle to remove a bit of the liquid from it and carried it back to gauze on the counter. She covered her hand with the gauze with the tea leaves wrapped in with it. She breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally finished. Quickly, she cleaned up what had suddenly became a cluttered room and wiped the blood that had dripped from her hand of off the floor and counter before returning to the bench Caloinel had told her to stay in. Only minutes later, Caloinel burst into the room with Trylia, one of their top maids and their nurse when they needed one.

They were both in a frenzy until the saw Pelith sitting on the bench. Let me see your cut, miss,” Trylia said to Pelith. Pelith’s response was holding her hand in the air to the height of her head with an unimpressed look on her face. she opened her mouth to give her reply but her mother beat her to it.

“Pelith! Take that off right now. You’ll need stitches and proper care,” Calioniel scolded her daughter, though Pelith immediately protested.

“But now that it’s treated can’t we wait and see if it heals on it’s own? Give it a week or two, and if there’s no improvement then it all yours,” Pelith argued, hoping it would be enough. She’d had stitches before, and she’d do anything to prevent getting them again.

Before Calionel could say anything else, Trylia spoke up. “How did you treat it, miss?” she asked Pelith.

“I applied some diluted Eucalyptus oil to the opening directly, spread some Aloe Vera gel on the gauze straight from the plant and I rapped a bag of soaked Chamomile tea leaves in with the gauze.”

“Let me see the wrapping, dear,” Trylia motioned to Pelith’s hand. She felt around the edges. “Well, I’d say you did a fine job. You probably should have waited for me to examine it, but now that it’s wrapped, we might as well let it be. But don’t do too much with that hand, and best to forget hunting for a while.” Trylia gave her a knowing smile.

“Of course, Trylia. thank you,” Pelith said, though she crossed two fingers behind her back.

Calioniel huffed, defeated. “We can discuss this later, but now we must hurry. Something great is happening. Go change out of those clothes; they’re filthy and stained with blood. put on something you wouldn't consider hunting in. Wait in the hall outside your father’s and my room. I’ll be right out to meet you. And brush your hair!” Calionel finished by pulling a small twig from her daughters hair before rushing off to her own room.

“And do be careful with your hand, Pelith. Also, you just might want to wash your face.” They shared a quick warm smile before Pelith ran to the stables.

 

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