Rowdy cheers and drunken songs polluted my ear drums even as I grimaced and focused the energy to my hands.  The wounded man beneath my crouched form groaned and I scowled.

 

“Shut up. You’ll be fine in a minute. Let me do my job”.

 

He mumbled incoherently and I sighed, moving my hands over the gaping slash in his stomach.  The heat blossomed and the skin stretched, forming and stretching itself back together.

 

He sat up in awe and I clapped him a little too hard on the shoulder.

 

“There. All healed”.

 

He nodded dumbly and wandered off, no doubt to get some ale. I leant back against a rotting log. Healing always took a lot out of me. Mother always said if one was going to do something, then do it right.  Hot tears burned beneath my closed eyelids and one slipped a steady track down my cool cheek.

 

I centred myself and inhaled sharply, the breath bringing pain to my lungs. It was not the time to get sloppy, there were orcs en-route and with a fire going, it would be hard to tell their plumes of smoke from ours.

 

This made logical sense, it did, but emotional part of me locked in a cave in Saggart cried out for me to grieve for my mother. Not so much my father but it’s rude to think ill of the likely dead.

I smirked and made to stand, a crow to my left stopping me. I closed my eyes and growled. If this was another message telling us about the orcs, I swear to the Gods – that was as far as that thought got because of the fire.

 

It exploded into life, uplifting and destroying all in its path.

 

Orcs screamed their presence, the battle-hardy warriors, screaming in terror. I halted the instinct to run to the aid of the wounded, and paused where I stood, ash smeared across my face, patches of fire on the end of my dress and thought for a second.

 

No time like the present as one warrior fell, before another lumbering oaf could take his place I snagged the horse, hauled myself up with the limited arm strength I possessed and drove the horse into a gallop.  Ignoring every hair on my body that rose in protest, I charged. Towards the orcs. In all their fire-wielding glory.

 

Wind slapped me, branches cut me and burns dotted my hands as I was lifted off the horses bare back and thrust forward into his mane. I grunted, then gasped, before a grin tore my bloody lips to shreds and I whooped in joy. I was alive and around the orcs – between their giant legs more precisely – but I was out.

 

The joy accompanying that sole thought began to wane as my journey went from 2 hours to 2 days. Patting the disgruntled horse, I  slipped off his back and landed, bare feet first because who could afford actual honest to Zeus shoes? As my ankles gave way, landing on the metal sign beneath the leafy floor, I let loose a scream of rage and aimed a kick at the ground, said kick missing and brushing away the clumps of mud atop a poorly green painted sign spelling Saggart in scrappy white scratched-out letters.

 

A laugh usurped the tears in my throat and so began the journey to Saggart. The dubbed Survivors Hospital was under attack, because where wasn’t, and not handling very well at all. As nurses rushed around giving out aid after aid, I bend to help a woman on her knees, sobbing over a friends dead body.  Inconsolable, she moved aside and I looked in to my dead mother’s eyes and shrieked.