Please note that there are some mildly graphic descriptions of wounds etc in this that some people may find unpleasant. You have been warned.
[CHAPTER SPIOLERS] There is quite a jump in Arisen/ Main Pawn romance in this chapter. Like I said I am writing this story for myself, so no, it does not quite follow the game, whereas the other chapters have been a closer.
If you don't like this romance don't flame, like I said I did this because I enjoyed it and this is really where I would have loved the game to have gone. It's a bit mushy and sentimental but I like it.
Also the pawn: Garath belongs to my friend Getafix – who I got into playing Dragons Dogma. He has written a spin off story involving Ged which I will put up here at the end.
I lay her gently down upon the five bedrolls that I had taken from everyone in our party and had set out in the shade of an old oak by the stream. We were about five miles out from Gran Soren, after what had happened to her I couldn't let her stay in there, inside those confining walls. She needed to breathe the fresh air, hear the quiet of the natural world rather than the busy, smoke filled air in town. And for me I needed to get her away from there, from the place that had betrayed us both, to somewhere there were no rules, I could be close to her, protect her from everything out here.
The other pawns brought us fresh water from the stream which I set to boil. One pawn, a tall, gigantic hulk named Garath whom I knew from serving with his Arisen was the one I trusted the most, asking him to guard closest to the camp, leaving the other to guard further afield. Then as the sky started to turn into a perfect blue with the coming of a beautiful day I turned my attention fully to her.
She lay still on the mats; she had not woken up once since fainting after coming from the duke's castle. Although still it was obvious that she was not resting peacefully, she was breathing in short, pained pants and blood still clung to her face, trickling down from her pink lips. Even being such a mess she was still the loveliest creature I had ever seen, my Arisen. I reached out, cupping her face in my hand and gently wiping away some of the blood from her lips at my touch she stirred slightly, giving a small smile and a contented sigh.
"Ged" She whispered so quietly if I hadn't been leaning in so close I would have missed it. I felt my heart wrench as I heard so much in her calling my name, caring, protective, dependent, sadness and … something else, something sweet. But I knew I could not tarry too long trying to decipher the emotions in her words, there would be time for that later but for now she needed some long overdue medical attention.
Laying her head back down onto my cloak which I was using for her pillow I began to unpack my supplies of bandages, healing herbs and anything else I thought would be useful. Looking back at the pot of water I was glad to see it had come to the boil, tearing up bunches of healing herbs and throwing them in the pot. It was time for me to leave any emotional feelings inside, with the medical care she needed I would have to be cruel to be kind, which would be next to impossible with my heart on my sleeve.
Stripping her down to chest wrappings and cloth underwear and turning her gently onto her front I could see the full extent of the damage the torturer had wrought upon her flesh. Suppressing the burning hot rage that exploded in my chest I took the hot herb water, dipped a cloth in and began to clean out the deepest wounds. Instantly she began to react to the horrible stinging I was causing her, writhing she tried to escape from me, but I knew this for the better whatever had been used to cut her had been filthy. I desperately hoped that I had cleaned them before any infection had taken hold.
For at least two hours I sat just cleaning and binding the worst of her wounds, she had not quietened the entire time. During this time I got to see her more vulnerable than I ever had before, even when she was sleeping she still had a slight stubbornness in her chin and her pout, but now she was helpless, needing me like never before, almost like a child. If I was being truly analytical she was in no real danger, her life wasn't on the line but it always hurt me to bring pain to her but the other side of that was the sense of joy being able to be so close to her, being needed by her.
By midday I had finished tending and bandaging her but I was not finished yet. Taking a moment to look around and check the surroundings were still clear. The mountain of a man Garath stood a little away from us, his back discreetly turned away from them gazing around as he had been instructed, guarding them from afar, silent and dependable. I could no longer see the other pawn but I knew they would be around on patrol. Having reassured myself that we were in no danger I continued to check her, feeling for broken bones or internal damage. Finding none, to my relief, I then began to boil some more water.
When the water was boiled I used some more healing herbs, ones of cleansing and purification and made a tea infusion. Waiting till it had cooled sufficiently I sat her up, leaning her head against my chest. The sun was bright and warm upon us, the Arisen was now clean and bandaged and she looked peaceful once again. As the sun was so warm and she was so serene at last I felt that for the moment she would be warm enough without trying to change her into her clothes. Continuing to hold her close against me I moved her head back against my shoulder and began to gently feed her the tea. She took it well although it was bitter, swallowing automatically until it was finished.
Yet I still held her, supporting her against my chest, wrapping my arms around her, telling myself I was only holding the Arisen for her benefit, that I was not filled with butterflies of happiness. The sunlight was hot, the scent of the flowers was sweet and birds sang in their joy but everything, everything paled in comparison to her, her warmth, her scent, her voice. I knew then, knew what I had been denying for so long and had not yet the courage to say.
So I continued to hold her while she slept contentedly in my arms. Every now and then she would shuffle or twitch in her sleep finding an ache in her body but I would rock her gently in my arms and offer nonsensical noises of comfort, after which she would quiet and smile. I could feel through our bond that she was resting well now, peace and happiness had settled about her. By late afternoon the warmth was leaving the land. Without jostling her I covered her in several blankets and my cloak, she didn't even wake.
It was not until the first stars had twinkled awake that the Arisen showed signs of waking, blinking her large amethyst eyes she looked up at me, seeming not to take anything in but adjusting to just being awake. Blinking a few more times her eyes finally focused on me.
"Ged?" her voice was still slightly worn from all she had been through but still the voice I could always hear, even through a crowd.
"Welcome back Arisen." I said, keeping her carefully in my arms but allowing my grip to slack slightly so if she chose to stand she would meet no resistance. But she did not move, instead she seemed quite content to stay where she was, looking up at me in a sleepy contentment.
"Thank you Ged, for always looking after me." She whispered in a small voice knowing that I would hear her. I looked down at her, catching her gaze and holding it in my own.
"I live to serve the Arisen Elorwin and it is my pleasure to serve, whenever you need me, master!" I tried with all my might to convey what I could feel brimming inside me with those words.
She must have heard it for before I could blink she reached up, grabbed the back of my head and pulling us together her lips found my own. Dazzling lights filled my head and took my breath away as the world spun around us, around her, my everything.
Too soon she stopped and as sorely as tempted as I was I did not peruse. She was panting a little and blushing a lovely crimson both from the kiss and the demands made on her already tired body. Slumping back into my arms, her head laid against my shoulder and eyes closing again the Arisen smiled as she let herself fall back into sleep. Tomorrow she would continue being the Arisen, facing danger as she fought to eventually win her heart back from the fearsome dragon. But for now she was just a woman, tired and sore, experiencing a small moment of happiness, tainted slightly knowing this is the life she could have been living had the dragon not come. However she was not the type to dwell too long on these things, and looking at her face all I could see was contentment, pleasure and something maybe like … love?
"I would be lost without you, master Elorwin!" I saw her smile widen even as she fell back into sleep.
"As I would be lost without you, Ged!" She said with a happy sigh, as light as gossamer in the air between us and yet it bound us, stronger than fate itself from now for all eternity. Then she was asleep in my arms again and I held her close, never to let her go again. Smiling I looked up as the moon smiled down upon us both.