Above the realms of men, dance the Light Elves of Alfheim. Wise, immortal and captivating... These creatures are blessed by the Aesir and have harnessed the power of flight. But when war strikes down upon them with fire and doom; nothing can be saved except from the anger for those whom had committed such despicable acts. Text and illustrations copyright © A_Books_Magic_Moment 2014 The right of A_Books_Magic_Moment to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored as a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.


20. Eerika

Steinar's Rooms, Angabar

"My lady," the Head Healer said, curtseying along with the others. Their pinned back hair, usually of a dark tone, contrasted starkly with the white masks around their mouths and noses. As if Steinar needs protection against that, Eerika scoffed at it, but portrayed no emotion in her eyes or profile. She wandered over to the bed. Sweat covered her son's forehead, his clothes drenched in the substance. Sheets were half-on half-off of his form, as if he were constantly hot and cold at the same time. "Your son-"

"Has a fever," Eerika swallowed the fact with a sense of guilt. If she had never sent her son away, then he would never have been so vulnerable. I thought that he would be safe with Alva by his side, Eerika thought, but how could she have protected him when he did not know the truth? I was such a damn fool. There was chair that they had left for her by Steinar's bedside on the right. Finding herself sitting down in it, she watched her son's chest rise and fall in short breaths. I can't watch this... But neither can I leave his side. Eerika snapped up her head as the old female began to speak again.

She was fumbling with her hands, the worry prominent in every movement she took. "There is nothing we can do for him. He will have to break this fever by himself. I'm sorry." Obviously, the Head Healer was regretting everything from here on out. Leaving a patient behind when they are so close to being saved, it was a painstakingly horrible thing to do. Yet there were others, others who could and would recover with their help. How can I be selfish for any longer?

"You may leave, if that is what you are asking," Eerika found her eyes travelling towards her son once more, "I may be angry, but I understand." The healers collectively bowed and left, their movements all a ghost of the Head Healer. Eventually, they were gone from her son's rooms; all the doors shutting in the same manner consecutively. "Steinar," Eerika leaned closer, stroking his fair hair, "This may not work... but I have to try." Quickly, she placed a kiss on his forehead - then touched hers and his together. The stones were in her pocket, jangling around with incessant noise as she pulled them out. Dark surfaces glinted in the firelight of the candles, winking at her to urge forward with the idea that may very well fail. But all is fair in love and war, the High Lady excused herself, and we are in both now, Frey. Nothing can stop us in what we are about to do. Damn us all to Niflheim if that is what you wish; though it will all be for our people and no others.

Wrapping the gems around her hands so they spiralled across the back and her palm, she placed them on his chest. Above the heart. It beat underneath, slow and steady, as if waiting for something to happen so that the host may wake up. Eerika hoped that she were that something. Oh, how she was desperate to have him back. I cannot bear to lose another of mine kin, Eerika felt herself beginning to draw on the massive reserves of her magic she had built up over her life. The onyx reacted with the light magic, pulsating with every ounce of it being poured out of the High Lady. Some orbs of white floated around her hands, others seeping into her son's chest. His skin was no longer a dull grey palate but started to turn into the beautiful pale tone it use to be before. Eerika almost let out a laugh of joy and relief, though held it back for she knew that it was far too soon to be rejoicing.

Abruptly, her magic was being absorbed far quicker than before. Steinar mumbled in his sleep, the words an ancient dialect - the same as the day he had saved them all. Saved them all from demons, now he was paying the price with his life. "I'm not letting you go yet," Eerika whispered, a tear breaking past her barrier, slipping down her cheek. The mumbling continued, carrying on with some sort of meagre chant. His skin became more saturated with sweat. Eerika pulled up the cover. "You're going to come back to me, you're going to come back!" A harsh whisper in an empty room. It echoed around the walls, a constant reminder to them both that neither of them were ready to be left alone for eternity. Not after all they had been through. "You were born in war, you were raised in war, you will not die in war. I won't let you."

His mumbling became even more incoherent as more magic became fused from his own reserve and Eerika's. Without warning or apparent reason to anyone, including herself, she dropped the onyx gemstones. Wrapping them round her son's dominant arm so they may absorb his magic, the High Lady drew off her coat and laid it over Steinar, hoping the extra layer would help break the fever. Running round to the healers' table on the other side of the bed, she collected some lavender, pulling string out to bind them together. then Steinar's breathing became even more shortened, something making him feel panicked in his fevered mind. Plunging her hand into a bowl, she pulled out some sage, adding it to her bundle. After tying it together, she grabbed a lint, struck it against the slate and passed it over her smudge stick. It was roughly made, nonetheless, did the trick.

Tracing the bundle down his arms, leaving a trail of charcoal, Eerika completed the same action across his chest; focusing on the heart. Pulling down the sodden linen, she left a smear of the burnt herbs right above his slowly beating heart. Travelling up with the stick, another round dot was left across his third eye, just in between his fair brow. Smoke came on heavier as Eerika blew lightly on the herbs. It wafted around them both, the smell of lavender and sage cloaking the air in a dense veil of ash and smoke and fire. Steinar's breathing picked up, then he began to cough. His hand twitched, as if wanting to cover his mouth. Twisting round, his eyes snapped open, the coughing becoming heavier with every passing second. Eerika quickly dampened the smudge stick with her hand, receiving a black smear across her palm. Dropping it, she pulled Steinar up, grabbing a few pillows to prop up his back on the headboard. "Breathe," Eerika insisted, her hands on his shoulders, their eyes staying connected even through the painful coughs.

"That smells bloody awful," he spoke through his racking lungs. Eerika couldn't help but smile and hug him - probably not the best thing when he couldn't breathe. He stopped after a while, the smoke having gone, and embraced her as well. "How long was I unconscious?" Steinar asked, his eyes bloodshot and sore. He seems fine, but I want him to rest more, Eerika thought, scrambling off of the bed.

Hoisting up her cloak, she clasped it back onto her shoulders before speaking, "You were asleep for a few days, no more and no less. But I want you to rest - you need it." The High Lady walked around back tot he chair, resting on the edge of it and holding her sons hand. "I don't want to have to go through that again, Steinar, so you will rest. I don't care if it is just you laying there awake, you can't be thinking too much. There will also be guards outside the door in case you try and escape." Eerika got up, touching Steinar's heart and moved to leave through the door. She only got half way before that dreaded question was asked.

"Could you at least send Captain Alva here? I wish to speak with her," Steinar remained sitting up, refusing to back down until he got what he wanted. You are still such a child my son, when will you learn? Eerika turned around, her eyes dead cold. This wasn't something she would allow. Not so soon after he had waken up. "I want to see her mother, but I can tell that you won't let me."

"You may see Alva but not yet, until then you will remain in your rooms. I will have no arguments about this, Steinar. My decision is final, do you understand?" Eerika had turned back around, she only wanted to hear the confirmation that she was still in charge. You will not order me around, not until this war is over, you have a wife and have been crowned. Impatience is never a good quality to have. You have been told this many times and yet still refuse to listen to me, my son. Steinar remained quiet, which she took as obedience to her orders. "Good," her hand connected with the door handle, the metal surface cool to her touch, "now get some rest."

The door closed as silence settled into the night.

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