Tough Luck
By: Manna


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The Microfic/Drabble Meme
:Christmas Requests:

For: Sara Jaye
Prompt: "Desperado"
Flower: Yellow Crocus


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Farina believed in luck. Some people lived good lives—they had good luck—and others lived a miserable existence—they had bad luck.

Lyn, for example, lost her tribe and her parents to a bandit attack. That wasn't luck, that was simply how things were—tough cookies, she supposed. But what happened after the attack was definitely fueled by luck. If the knights from Caelin had taken a wrong turn, or had taken a little longer to get to their destination—or had taken less time—then they might never have crossed paths. Lyn and Florina might not have been reunited. Lyn would never have known that she had a grandfather in Caelin, that she was heir to an entire canton, that she had nobility in her veins, however thin that blood ran.

What good luck that girl had!

Farina wasn't quite as lucky—she hadn't uncovered a secret noble heritage—but she was alive and had the ability to take care of herself. She'd also been lucky enough to run into an Ostian lord who had been easily talked into paying her a lot of money for a simple mercenary task.

Farina also believed in strength—not necessarily the physical sort, considering she was slight of build and rode a hollow-boned equine into battle. Strength of the mind was particularly important—cunning wit, a sharp tongue. Along with the luck she possessed, she knew she could make it out of any situation.

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"What rotten luck!" It was all she could think to say before Murphy crashed through the treetops and to the ground in a mess of feathers and blood and broken limbs. Her faithful steed was dead; there was no doubt about it. She didn't have time to mourn the loss of the pegasus that had carried her into the fray time and again; she had to find a way to help herself.

Assessing the damage as best she could from her position on the ground, she grimaced: a few broken bones—not too bad, actually, considering the speed that she'd been thrown to the forest floor—and—of all things—a pounding, aching head.

Moving at all made her stomach turn with nausea, but she had to find cover somewhere. She couldn't die, not after she'd sworn to Lord Hector that she was worth every last piece of gold he'd given her. Death was not an option.

She was on one knee, dragging her broken leg along behind her, when she spotted him.

"What rotten luck," she managed to croak out.

A part of her was happy to see him standing there looking like a broad-shouldered savior. She wasn't sure that she could drag herself even another half step. Pain was only temporary, but she was going numb with it.

The rest of her hated knowing that he could see her at her most vulnerable, more so than she had ever been in front of another person. A thousand words were on the tip of her tongue—promises about how she'd pull through this situation and he wouldn't regret the 20,000 gold he'd given her—even if she had to sign on in Ostia for the next five years, she would finish her contract with him—but all that came out of her mouth was a low moan.

He was there in a clanking, noisy instant, and she was grateful that he didn't point out the awkward angle her right leg was facing, or the twist of her wrist, or the shaking of the one good arm that she held herself up with.

"I can still fight?" she tried, but the wavering, questioning note at the end made him shake his head.

"I'm here," he said, and it sounded out of place.

She let him help her. It wasn't as if she had a choice. It was either that or fall flat on her face in the pine needles when the last of her strength gave out. "I don't need you."

He ignored that, and she bit down on her lip as he lifted her over his shoulder, holding her as carefully as he knew how. She felt blood on her tongue. It had been a long time since she'd felt pain quite so intense.

"You've got me anyway," he said matter-of-factly.

"I can handle this by myself."

"I know."

She knew she couldn't, and she knew that he knew that, too. He always argued with her, but just this once, he agreed. She wondered why.

"Murphy's dead," she said after a while, when the sight of his back started to bore her, and her pain faded to near-numbness.

"I—" He paused, and shook his head slightly as if fumbling for the right words. "I'm sorry."

She closed her eyes. "I can still fight."

He said nothing.

"On foot."

She knew he wanted to tell her that she couldn't possibly fight on foot when one of her legs was terribly broken, but he clamped his mouth shut with a click of his teeth, and tightened his grip on her.

She didn't have the strength to squirm. "I'll do what it takes…" Her voice softened as she struggled to stay conscious. It was a battle she knew she would lose before too long. The jostling of her leg against Hector's armor hardly felt like more than a nudge. "I'll…"

"You'll rest," he finally said, his voice sounding horribly loud. "You won't fight. You won't even move. You'll rest until I say you're done resting." He paused for a moment, but ended his sentence with a gruff, "Tough luck."

She might have responded with a challenge—of course she could still fight, and no, she wouldn't rest just because he told her to!—but her head pounded mercilessly, and exhaustion swept over her like the changing tides. "Yeah," she said instead. "It is."


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Author Notes:

Farina's definitely one of my favorite characters. She's so badass.