A/N: hey people!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
She barely registers that she is screaming. It feels like her entire body is on fire.
"Someone hold her down! Get the herbs down her throat!"
Her arm is being twisted. On reflex that has been nearly carved into her memories makes her bring her arm towards her and twists it in the opposite direction and forcing the person holding her to let go.
"Her fever is rising! Get cold water!"
Sensation of being wet. Shivering.
"My lady? My lady, my name is Ekaterina. Can you hear me?"
Something is wrong. Horribly wrong. It's not right.
"Get ropes! We need to tie her down!"
Something coming out of her. Something rising.
"Keep her down! She'll hurt herself!"
Spreading. Making the wrong right and saving all that she can.
"Natalia! Help me with the medicine!"
"I think the fevers breaking."
A shuddering breath before falling onto the bed.
"There. I think everything is alright."
The first thing Louise is aware of when she wakes up is the dryness in her throat and mouth. The next the soreness of her muscles and body.
She brought her hand to her face and gave a few short breaths. Her entire body protested the movements.
'Days.' she thought to herself. 'I've been in bed for more than a few days.'
While her mind calculated the exercises and the time required that would bring her body back to its previous state she opened her eyes and looked around the room.
She wasn't familiar with this room. It was barren and white, containing only a bed, a table, a single chair, and two other doors.
She frowned, she hadn't been notified of any room change beforehand nor was she told of an extension of any kind in the Healers room.
If she had been unconscious for days, then what had happened of the Prince? A different guard would have been assigned to him, no doubt, there would also be punishments for her she thought with a resigned sigh. Getting hurt is one thing, she had been protecting the Prince. However, the result of the attacks left her unable to protect the Prince and perform her duties.
The King was far too fond of punishments for even the simplest reasons.
Slowly she brought herself into a sitting position, the entire act took more minutes than she would admit and she had to stop every few moments her muscles were being used. Finally sitting she looked around the room once more.
The door opened suddenly to reveal a woman with short blonde hair holding a tray entering. She started slightly when she saw Louise was awake before smiling brightly.
"You are awake." she said happily, her voice was accented with something Louise couldn't identify. "We were starting to get worried about you."
Louise smiled back. "How long have I been unconscious?"
"Three days." the woman answered as she placed the tray, containing a soup, bread, and water which Louise eyed carefully. "The first day you had a fever so great, you were thrashing around in the bed and we couldn't get you to stay still, we barely got medicine into you."
Louise closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall as she gave a groan. "Three days. Three days is inexcusable."
The woman smiled at her reassuringly. "There is no need to scold yourself, you were in a grave condition when you brought in."
Louise nodded. "Forgive me, but I can't seem to place your face nor recall your name."
The woman waved away her apology. "We've never met before and you were unconscious when I told you my name. It is Ekaterina."
"My name is Louise Beilschmidt." Louise replied. "Please tell me Healer Ekaterina, when will I be able to return to my duty?"
"I am not a Healer merely Ekaterina will do." Ekaterina corrected gently. "And as for that it is truly up to you, your body needs to rest and get used to so much new changes that it might take some time."
"Changes?" Louise asked.
Ekaterina nodded. "Everything will be revealed to you in time." she reassured. "Until then you're only duty is get rested enough." She brought the glass of water to Louise. "Do you think you'll be able to hold the water?"
Louise nodded as she reached for the water and sipped it slowly, savoring the cold and soothing sensation.
"As of today I am going to help take care of you." Ekaterina said bringing the tray to Louise and setting it down on her lap. "With whatever it is that you need."
Louise smiled at her. "That is very kind, thank you. However, I am sure that after a few days of exercise and practice I will be more than fine and ready."
Ekaterina chuckled. "Your duty is a long and hard one, my lady Louise, I assure you that you will need plenty of help before you fully settle."
Louise looked up at her. "Settle into what?"
"You're new life." Ekaterina said obviously.
"New life?" Louise repeated the food on the tray abandoned despite her growling stomach. "What do you mean? Have I been replaced? Have I been…reassigned?" She tried to calm herself and the rock falling through her stomach. To have failed to get such a relocation of duty, she would have preferred the physical punishment instead of this.
Ekaterina looked at her for a long moment before she slowly nodded. "Of a sort. I'm…not allowed to tell you much however, I apologize. At least not until you are better."
Louise nodded as she averted her gaze towards the plate. She refused to acknowledge the tears gathering at the corner of her eyes. A single mistake, a single mistake and she was reassigned.
"I will leave you alone to your thoughts." Ekaterina said quietly before making her way out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Slowly Louise started to eat the food, however she didn't register a single bite nor the taste. The feeling of failure was ringing through her was more than enough to fill her.
Ivan immediately looked to his sister when she stepped out of the Chosens room.
He had been selected; for his abilities strength, and mind, for not only the task to find and retrieve the new Chosen but he had also had gotten the honor of being the guard to her as well. The look of pride on his sisters faces when he had been told was something that helped him through the time that he failed to find the Chosen.
As a child growing up in the lands of the Black Phoenix however without the actual guardian, the Black Phoenix herself, the land was lost. The ground would not grow the crops properly, the rivers started to dry, and the people lost their energy as starvation, sickness, and hopelessness spread and caused people to lose their lives. For children to lose their parents and for parents to lose their children.
He had been too young to remember either his mother or father. Their mother had died giving birth to Natalia and their father had soon followed as an epidemic spread and claimed many lives.
Too many lives.
Ekaterina had become their main supporter at the time until Ivan, and then Natalia, had been old enough with enough awareness to help as well. The pitiful attempts to encourage the land to give just a little more grain. A little more wheat. Or rice. Something.
As he grew he, as all of his people, cursed the other lands. For destroyed their guardian the Black Phoenix. For allowing the people to starve to death.
For taking the Chosen and hiding her, a girl this time whereas the last time it had been a man, and refusing to allow her to come home and help her people.
When he had learned that the current Chosen had been degrading to become the personal guard of the heir of the White Kingdom such disgust and anger he had never felt before in his life. It had taken months to relay the information and conduct a plan.
It had been with a heavy heart that he and Sadiq had to leave both Marcus and Kenneth behind still locked in a cell by the White Kingdom because of their supposed attack on the Prince. However the two men knew the risks and were told that there was a chance that they wouldn't be saved.
They both knew and still agreed. The both of them had wives that were expecting with a three month difference. The Chosen must be returned in order to ensure their peoples ensured safety.
The very first day that the Chosen had been brought back to her home a change had settled over the land and people almost immediately. Crops had grown overnight, fully ripe and ready to be picked, the rivers were running full of water once more. The people and animals themselves awoke with a new vibrancy and life. The starved were fit once more and their stomachs no longer ached.
Children were running and playing as they should after helping their parents bring the crops in and taking care of the livestock. Babes no longer cried out of hunger and instead focused on the world around them. The adults were cheering and celebrating and soon as it had been possible for them they brought offerings to the castle for the Chosen and prayed their thanks loud enough to reach the heavens.
Their children would no longer starve. The infants that would be brought into the land would not know what it was to be lacking for food.
When he had brought the Chosen he knew that it was a girl.
A girl that was around marrying age.
One that was so beautiful.
Taking in Ekaterina's worried look Ivan immediately thought of only the worst.
"Is she alright?" he demanded, perhaps a bit harsher than he had meant to.
"Physically, she will need some time to rest and exercise to get back to normal for her." Ekaterina answered. "However, I don't think she knows where she is. Or even who she is."
Ivan frowned. "How is that possible?"
Ekaterina shrugged. "Perhaps denial runs farther than we thought it could. And I don't know if it's a good thing to tell her just yet. She still thinks she is in the White Kingdom."
"Then what do we do?" Ivan asked.
Ekaterina glanced towards the door. "Slowly. I will work everything towards her slowly."
A sudden crash from inside caused Ekaterina to run back into the room and Ivan to follow as he drew his sword.
Louise glanced up at Ekaterina from her place on the floor and smiled reassuringly.
"What happened?" Ekaterina asked coming to her and helping Louise back to her feet.
"I got out of the bed to go to the bathroom and I fell." Louise said humiliation running through her. "I suppose my body wasn't ready for that."
Ekaterina made a tsking noise with her tongue as Ivan placed his sword back into its sheath. "You should have called me and I would've helped you."
"I thought I could do it." Louise said before looking at Ivan and smiling at him. "My name is Louise."
Ivan nodded. "I am Ivan of the noble guard." he couldn't help the little note of pride in his voice. His father had been a blacksmith and while his mother had been in the army of the land none in his bloodline had ever gotten to the rank of noble guard for the castle itself.
A look of humiliation shone on Louise's face for a moment before it faded quickly and she nodded.
"Ivan is my brother, and he needs to leave because we are taking care of things that a man should not see." Ekaterina hinted.
A smile played at the corner of Ivans lips before he nodded and bowed to them before leaving the room.
"Let's get you into the bathroom and you can take care of all the business that you need to." Ekaterina said leading the way to the other door with her arm firmly around Louise.
Louise smiled at her gratefully as she moved her body forward and allowed the familiar movements to guide her.
She turned her eyes back to the door Ivan had left through and frowned slightly.
Had that been a design of a darkened phoenix?
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter.
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Until next time.
This is Phoenix-Fire Power over and out.