The Knight and His Squire 2
Copyright© 2015 by Spherical Spoon
When Maes opened her eyes, her surroundings slowly came into focus. She blinked her eyes in confusion.
"Rest easy, Maes," Parym's voice said.
Maes turned her head, and saw Parym sitting on the other side of the room, next to a man – Rohea! Maes sat up quickly, wanting to check on Rohea. The sudden movement made her woozy, and she placed her hands on the ground to brace herself and prevent herself from lying back down.
"Whoa, easy there," another voice said. Puccar placed his hand on Maes' shoulder.
Maes tried to shrug Puccar's hand off, but his grip remained firm.
Parym stood up and walked over to Maes.
He said, "You still need more rest, Maes. You overextended yourself, saving Sir Rohea."
"How is he doing?" Maes asked quickly.
"He will recover in time," Parym said, "Sir Puccar said that he had a deep gash on his side, but you healed it."
Parym continued, "Interesting. You have truly surpassed my abilities. I would never have been capable of doing something like that. Few healers can."
Puccar looked thoughtful at the comment, but said nothing.
Maes then asked, "How did we end up here?"
"We found your campsite not far from where we were," Puccar started, "We convinced Parym to return to Riloo with us, and watch over Sir Rohea and you while you recovered."
"What happens now?" Maes questioned. "Are you taking me to Wolle?"
"We will wait for Sir Rohea to recover, and then we'll see," Puccar said enigmatically.
Rohea regained consciousness later that day for a short while, which calmed Maes' nerves. He managed to drink some soup that Parym that prepared, and fell back asleep. Maes had quickly regained her full strength and spent the rest of the day collecting herbs in the nearby woods. Puccar had insisted on following along, but remained at a distance away to give her privacy in her task.
The next day, Rohea was able to sit up. He looked over at Maes, who was sitting beside him, and said, "Thank you, Maes. You saved my life!"
Maes placed her hand on top of his and replied, "I am glad you are fine, Sir Rohea."
Rohea asked, "But how? I was sure the wound was fatal."
"Parym taught me some of his healing, and I managed to use it on you," Maes answered.
"She's talented," Parym said, "It was the first time she succeeded in healing, and already she has surpassed me in healing."
Maes blushed at the compliment and said nothing.
"She still lacks the knowledge in herbs, but that is something she can learn if she stays here," Parym said, looking Puccar in the eye.
"Pyar!" Rohea said suddenly, "How is she?"
Maes looked confused at the mentioned of Pyar's name, and a dark cloud settled over her face.
"Oh, I had forgotten about your companion," Puccar replied, "Weren't you looking for Parym to heal her?"
Rohea nodded, and explained the situation with Pyar and the sleeping spell.
Parym thought for some time, and replied, "Hmm, there are some herbs that reduce sleepiness. Perhaps it will help."
Parym headed back to the main room and looked around his shelves. He returned to the bed room triumphantly, holding three small bottles in his hands. Two of the bottles contained small leaves of some sort, and the third contained a yellow flower.
"These may work. I will work on creating the potion, while Sir Puccar over there brings Pyar here."
Puccar nodded, and he and his squire left Parym's home. Once they were out of earshot, Parym asked, "What do they want with Maes?"
Rohea explained Puccar's quest to Parym, and how Puccar was honor-bound to carry out the orders.
"Is he the one sent to kill us then?" Parym asked.
"What do you mean?" Rohea questioned.
"We received word that someone in Wolle had arrived in Riloo asking questions about Maes. From the sounds of it, that person was out to kill Maes. That was when we made our way into the woods and hid."
"I do not believe that Sir Puccar was going to kill Maes," Rohea said, "It is likely that your source was mistaken. His mission was to return her to Wolle."
Puccar soon returned, carrying Pyar in his arms much in the same way that Rohea had previously done. Puccar placed Pyar on the ground next to Rohea, and Parym started inspecting her.
"When was the spell cast?" Parym asked.
"It was over a week ago," Rohea replied.
"She should have died of thirst by now, if she was merely sleeping," Parym stated, "The spell must somehow be keeping her alive. Here, open her mouth."
Maes gingerly opened Pyar's mouth, while Parym dropped a few drops of the freshly-made potion. Pyar stirred slightly, but otherwise remained asleep.
"Did it work?" Rohea asked.
"If it did, she should awaken soon."
Parym placed his hands on Pyar, one on the forehead, and the other on her thigh. He closed his eyes and said, "I can see a foreign force causing her to sleep. It appears that the potion had a very minimal effect."
Parym closed his eyes, and the familiar glow encompassed Pyar. After what seemed like an hour, Parym opened his eyes and said, "That should have done it. She should awaken very soon."
Sure enough, Pyar began to stir in the bed. Her eyes fluttered open, and she tried to sit up. Parym placed his hands firmly on her arms and directed her to remain laying down.
"You still need rest," Parym said.
Pyar opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. She began coughing.
"Quick, get her some water," Parym instructed.
Maes scrambled out of the room and returned with a small cup of water. Pyar gulped the water down, and eyed Maes suspiciously.
"Thank you," Pyar said with some hesitation. "Where are we?"
"We are in Riloo", Maes answered. "Sir Rohea brought you here to be healed."
"A healer?" Pyar gasped. "They are abominations and must be purged!"
"And yet it was a healer that saved you from the spell," Rohea said dryly. "It seems that everything is evil to you mages."
"I was taught that healers are unnatural and disrupt the flow of life," Pyar explained.
"Unlike the spells that you mages cast?" Parym commented.
Pyar was silent for a moment.
"I asked Master Cyler the same question, but he got angry and never answered it."
"Are healers and dark practitioners the same then?" Puccar asked.
"No!" Pyar said quickly. "That's impossible. Healers draw their powers from the life forces of the land, and the life on it. Dark practitioners gain their powers from within. It's impossible to do both at the same time."
"What about mages then?" Rohea questioned.
"Mage spells also come from within," Pyar said. "But they are ... different."
"Sounds like one and the same," Rohea commented.
"It's difficult to explain. They are related yet different. That is why many mages have become dark practitioners over the centuries."
"You seem to know a lot about the matter," Parym said.
"I am not very skilled with casting spells," Pyar explained. "So I concentrated on learning the theory of magic, hoping that it would give me insights on how to improve myself."
"So healers are abominations because they use a different form of magic?" Rohea asked.
Parym bristled at the use of the word 'magic' to describe healing, but said nothing.
Pyar nodded and replied, "I cannot explain it, but that is what the Mage Guild decided."
"How could anything that only saves lives be evil?" Puccar asked.
"I am sure the Mage Guild had their reasons," she said.
"I think they are simply out to eliminate everything they cannot control," Rohea said.
"The Mage Guild has the best interests of the land," Pyar said quickly.
"Really?" Rohea asked. "Such as controlling the soldiers with wrist bands?"
"That was orchestrated not by the mages, but by her," Pyar spat, glaring at Maes.
"Maes is innocent," Rohea said. "She is simply the target of your council's ploys."
"I sensed dark magic about her," Pyar said.
"And yet you were certain it was me," Rohea countered.
"Since I now know it wasn't you, it has to be her."
"And yet she can perform healing," Rohea said. "She healed me when I was critically wounded."
"That's impossible!" Pyar said.
"It's true," Parym said. "I taught her healing myself, and she has greater talent for it than I do."
Maes spoke up, "I do not know of this dark magic you seem to think I am capable of, but I don't know how I can convince you."
"Here," Rohea said. "Demonstrate your healing on me."
Rohea reached for a knife and drew it across his arm. His skin split and blood oozed out slowly. He nodded at Maes, who approached and placed her hands above his arm. The warm glow spread over Rohea's arm from Maes' hands, and the wound closed before everyone's eyes.
"Amazing!" Parym commented. "That healed faster than I could have done."
Pyar thought to herself for some time, and said, "I am convinced that you can heal as the others had claimed. In that case, you cannot be the dark practitioner."
"Is this enough evidence for you then, Sir Rohea?" Puccar asked.
"Hmm," said Rohea. "Since Pyar was the one who accused Maes, King Wespil will likely drop the charges."
"In that case," Puccar said. "Let us all travel to Wolle."
"Very well," Rohea agreed. "Pyar? Maes? Parym?"
Maes and Pyar nodded.
"I'm afraid I won't be joining you," Parym said. "I do not trust the mages. They tried to kill me once, and they will try again. In fact, I don't think Maes should go either."
"Why?" Pyar asked.
"Even if you prove that Maes is not a dark practitioner, the mages will want her killed for being a healer."
"That is a possibility," Pyar admitted. "However, I will do my best to convince the council that you and Maes are not a threat or evil."
"And I will protect both Maes and you with my life," Rohea declared.