Chapter 28 Actual healing, what?
Stalking the stinking humans, Kariiik avoided the big burly ones. The smell of his brethren’s blood and the blood of the humans filled his nose, lifting him to the Plane of War. He ran by as one of his brothers was impaled by a spike of ice the size of his torso.
Blood splattered as his packmate was torn to shreds by magic. In the distance a woman with a big stick of metal was cleaving through a small group of his pack as they teared one of the guards apart.
The moonlight filled Kariik with power as he finally found his prey.
Blue eyes stared into his own black ones but the fear he so anticipated was absent. Instead the human’s expression turned weird as the corners of its mouth lifted up.
Kariik raised his clawed arm to deliver death.
A dull sound filled her ears as her mace impacted the creatures face, killing it instantly. ‘These would be creepy, but they have nothing on a certain bartender’ Turning around, another two of the bipedal creatures ran towards her.
[Nazark – lvl 42]
She identified one of them as she dodged a clawed arm by the closest of margins. The beasts were nearly two meters tall and very thin. Their 30cm long claws made them rather creepy though.
The beast stopped in its tracks, held back by the knee she had placed in its way. The force of the beast and her leg’s speed combining to form a rather impressive amount of energy that was released into the creature’s bones and organs upon impact.
Releasing Destruction with her hit seemed to be a bit much as the Nazark immediately died, blood and flesh spraying from its back.
Her second foe managed to stop and turn around. Running away it increased its speed now fueled by terror instead of bloodlust just as her mace impacted a tree two meters next to it.
“My throwing sucks huh…,” Walking to the tree, she ripped the mace back out. The noise of fighting and magical explosions was only sporadically heard soon after, Ilea focusing more on the several shouts of “HEALER!!”
Ilea moved around the forest at a high speed, stopping only to stabilize the wounded warriors and mages. Some with worse wounds than others, some she ignored completely. “You won’t die, you two stop his bleeding.” she told the two people watching her before she stormed off again.
Stabilizing eight more badly wounded individuals from that devastating initial clash, she made sure to backtrack and heal them more thoroughly. During the next two hours of steadily dwindling battle Ilea sent those too injured to fight to the caravan where the other healers could take care of them.
Ilea slowed down her work, listening to the near silence after the din of battle was finally over, starting to meditate as she soaked in the now peaceful night. When she was half full again, she started to move faster again when necessary.
The beasts left nasty cuts with their massive claws and many of the half dressed warriors and mages had difficulties reacting to the monsters in the dark of night.
Another three hours passed as people came and went. Some thanking her for the healing, others to check up on teammates or friends. “I need more fresh water.” Ilea said to two of the watching adventurers who sprang to life, running off at their full speed.
“You should get buckets you idiots…,” she said after them, turning around while cleaning her bare arms of blood with an already stained cloth.
She had removed her armor at some point to not drench it in even more blood. ‘I’ll have to clean all that… aaah’ she sighed and continued.
Chloe had passed out half an hour into healing the people brought to the center of the wagons, her mana running dry. She had been too focused but worked hard for that time, taking some stress off the two more experienced healers.
Sebastian apparently was some kind of druid and could work on several people at the same time. His healing was much less focused than Ilea’s second stage Reconstruction but nearly as strong. He had two healing classes working in tandem after all. If his skills were in the second stage as well, he would have been much more efficient than her.
She found that they worked great together. Ilea stabilized the most gravely injured right after the fights had stopped in the forest. They were then brought to the center where Sebastian and Chloe continued her work.
Ilea was nearing an empty mana pool again when Sebastian looked up with a tired smile. “You can leave the rest to me.” she saw with her Magic perception that he somehow got energy from the ground or specifically plants around himself.
“Don’t worry about me.” she said and started meditating again as she worked, albeit a little slower than before. Ilea had gained another level in Reconstruction right before patching up the last patient. The mage thanked her and joined her friends that were waiting, now filled with relief.
Just then the two adventurers from before returned with four buckets of fresh water. “Thanks” she said and promptly splashed some of it on her face.
Chloe had been brought to her tent a while ago and most of the bystanders went to sleep as well. The caravan was still on high alert and she heard that Arven lead a party of high leveled guards on a hunt to frighten the Nazarks a bit more to discourage them from another full attack.
Arven had returned a while ago and was talking to different leaders of other groups while taking notes. He approached Ilea as she and Sebastian were cleaning themselves up, the ground next to them marked by blood, its smell and dark color unmistakable even in the dull light of the moon.
“Heavily injured… fourteen. Medium injuries… nine. Dead… three. Of which two lost their heads and one was literally tore apart by the beasts. Great work tonight, I misjudged the both of you.”
“Chloe worked well too, albeit with her level she was quickly out of mana.” Ilea supplied to which Arven made a quick note.
“Rest now, we’ll leave at the planned time tomorrow.” he said and turned around, gesturing to four guards talking nearby.
“And here I thought you were green… your level should’ve convinced me.” the voice of Sebastian made her turn away from the even darker seeming armor of Arven.
“How did you not pass out? I won’t believe that you never run out of mana, even with Meditation…,” he said while finishing up with cleaning himself.
“We all have our secrets Druid.” she smiled at him to which he chuckled tiredly.
“I’ll go rest then, maybe it’s the moonlight but you don’t seem like you need any rest… see you around then and good work.” Sebastian said as he turned to leave for his tent.
Ilea stood there while cleaning herself and looking at the blood on the ground. ‘Guess there is a reason people don’t leave their cities…,’
She took two of the unused buckets of water and walked to Roland’s tent. He wasn’t there unsurprisingly to her. Taking one of the buckets, she walked to the edge of the caravan circle and exited into the woods, taking care not to alert any of the guards.
Out of sight, she undressed and started cleaning all of herself. Half an hour later she went back. ‘The cold air and water don’t even slightly bother me… this would already be very dangerous back on Earth. Here though…,’ she looked down at her hands and clenched them into fists.
She sat down on the grass next to Roland’s tent and started eating something. There was no time while healing and the continuous use of her mana certainly didn’t help. Twenty minutes later, Roland came back.
Several cuts could be seen on his still naked torso, some scratches adorned his helmet. His axes told another story though, being nearly completely dark red with blood. “You alright?” She asked, still chewing on some cheese.
Roland just sat down next to her and fell on his back while grunting affirmatively. She still checked him with a quick touch but none of his injuries were severe. He had an ability to heal some of the damage himself after all. And he liked to feel the injuries of his battles she learned.
He fell asleep soon after, which was when she healed the rest of his cuts. Ilea stayed by his side until early morning, humming otherworldly tunes.
Everyone was woken up before the sun rose, voluntarily or not. “Come on move, move. I want everyone to be ready for departure in thirty minutes!” Arven was shouting through the camp, his armor still had smudges of blood on it not unlike Ilea’s.
She had gotten it on again after healing Roland but not before cleaning it as well as she could with half of the water she had left.
A groan got her attention and she saw the zombie like Roland rising to his feet. “What happened? I have a bloody headache…,” he said before falling into a coughing fit.
She approached him and patted his back. “You went out on one of your famous hunts…,” she said to which some color returned to his face.
“Great… and I just started to like you…,” He shook his head and went to the nearby bucked to check if there was water inside.
“What do you mean?” Ilea asked and handed him a cleanish piece of cloth.
He took the cloth and dipped it into the water. “Most women freak out when it happens… hard to be attached to someone who does that…,”
Ilea shrugged and started eating something she got from one of her pouches. “You forgot to clean your mace by the way.” Roland said while gesturing with one hand to the piece of metal that lay next to his tent. He removed his helmet in the meantime and washed his face.
‘You hot piece of shit…,’ she thought, chewing on a sausage. “Don’t give me that look.” he smiled but it wavered as she aggressively bit through the sausage.
They had told each other vaguely about their classes and he shared that he sometimes got a bit overwhelmed by one of them when fighting. Nothing could stop him until the last of his enemies were dead or he was completely out of juice. Last night was the first time she had seen it in action, at least that intensely.
She frowned at that thought and would tell him tonight that he shouldn’t hold back anymore. She was a grown woman after all. ‘And I have claws as well’ she thought as she lifted the bloodied mace and made her way towards the bucket.
Most everyone was ready after the thirty minutes and the rest were helped along. The caravan was moving again only a bit later than the planned thirty minutes and Ilea and Roland could enjoy the sunrise on top of their temporary moving home.
The day was certainly a quiet one. Barely anybody felt like speaking after being attacked last night. The guards were on high alert and Arven had upped the patrols. They now went out even further which was a risk he apparently thought of as reasonable.
“You think they’ll be back?” Ilea asked Roland a couple hours after they started moving. He stopped drawing and turned the notebook around. It was her, quite naked. “I’m flattered.” she said and she actually meant it. He would’ve definitely studied art back on Earth. She was happy though that he could at least realize himself in his hobby.
“I don’t know. I’ve actually never fought them before. Heard stories though. They like revenge apparently, which I believe is why we left so quickly.”
They both stopped talking after that. He continued to draw her and she enjoyed the sunlight that streamed through the trees above. Their pace was quite relaxed, at least compared to Ilea running at full speed.
The day peacefully passed and this time the night went by without incident as well. They did receive a scout report of a ranger who apparently saw a Nazark but they weren’t uncommon in these parts.
Nothing was done about it as they could certainly defend themselves and what choice did they have but to move on? They were halfway to their destination after all.
The terrain got more and more rocky as the road followed closer to the mountain than before. It also made the ride a lot more bumpy and uncomfortable. Ilea was getting a bit sick of it. ‘Next time I’ll travel by foot again and alone. Although Roland definitely isn’t unpleasant.’ she thought as she looked at the man.
‘He must have a full notebook of me by now...’ the caravan came to a halt a couple hours later. They exited the forest and were now at the southern base of the mountain Karth. The sun was slowly setting as they neared a massive rift in the mountain’s side.
The rift was diagonal, nearly a kilometer long and a couple hundred meters wide. Ilea was completely blown away by the sight. She had certainly seen the Naraza mountain chain in the far away north and the Navali forest was impressive as well. ‘But well… still just a forest.’
It reminded her of pictures she’d seen of some natural formations in Iceland or Scandinavia. Seeing it in person was certainly something else though.
The caravan halted when they arrived inside the rift.
“First time seeing rock?” Roland asked, not looking up from his notebook.
Ilea ignored him and simply jumped down from the wagon. The caravan was forming their by now trained circle while she was still enjoying the view. ‘Puts my power into perspective…,’
Arven walked into the middle of the Caravan, doing his famous clap. When he had everyone’s attention he explained today’s setup. He would sometimes do that if they came up on a not so ideal spot for the night.
“We’re gonna be staying inside this part of the Karth cave system. Nobody wanders off.”
Some grumbles could be heard and some questioning about the cave system. Roland started to explain as he saw Ilea’s look, having descended the wagon after her. He figured she for some reason knew very little of the world.
Some of his theories involved an escaped slave, far away royalty or a sheltered noble. He would’ve bet on the last one if he had to.
“They’re largely unexplored, is why nobody should wander off, not that anyone ever did so far… We’ll be in a much better defensible position though and much less room to keep an eye on so I get his decision.”
Ilea nodded at that and continued staring above her as she twirled around. Forming a hashtag with her fingers, she looked towards Roland and said “Hashtag traveling!”
“You’re fucking weird Ilea.” He started to build his tent, ignoring the chuckling idiot next to himself. Sebastian and Chloe joined them for dinner as they sometimes did in the past week.
Chloe was still a bit shook up by what had happened two days ago but she was taking it well. ‘Much better than I did…,’ Ilea thought as she remembered her first encounter with a Drake.
“What are your plans once we’re in Salia?” Chloe asked her. She had tried to make conversation with Ilea every time she had the chance. It was endearing to Ilea as the girl was obviously looking up to the experienced healer. A bit annoying too, Ilea didn’t hate socializing even though she enjoyed her time alone the most but this felt more like being a manager or team leader.
Not something she ever wanted to be. “I don’t know yet. Explore the city a little?” Chloe seemed confused at her answer. It seemed her sentiment wasn’t one very common in these parts. ‘And here I thought adventurers are adventurers and not just gold diggers… well I shouldn’t base my knowledge of the people in Elos on a teenage girl’s reaction to my actions…,’
They continued talking for a while and then enjoyed the bards playing a tune. Looking at the stars while a bonfire was burning next to you and a bard played a tune was certainly a very nice thing to have. ‘Although Walter was better…,’ Ilea thought but enjoyed it nonetheless. ‘At least we’re not inside a cave… the rift doesn’t count.’
Arven’s decision to camp inside the rift was proven to be the right one as they saw the Nazarks coming from a couple hundred meters away. There wasn’t enough cover to hide the nearly two hundred of them as they moved in. The battle cries certainly didn’t help.
The monsters also proved to be monsters as they didn’t wait for the people of the caravan to sleep before attacking. A night attack wouldn’t have shocked the guards but with everyone still up, the defenses would be a lot tougher and faster to respond.
Arven immediately jumped on top of a wagon facing the beast horde while shouting. “Warriors, defenders to me. Form a line in front. Long range and support on top of the wagons behind.”
All the people around Ilea sprang to action as they scrambled to follow the guard captain’s orders. It would be quite a different battle today than the last time they had faced the Nazarks. The monsters didn’t realize they were charging into their doom.
Ilea also jumped on top of the wagons where she saw Mia. The woman whom’s robe she had admired before. The blue in her eyes seemed brighter as she gestured with her hands, a massive amount of mana condensing around her.
“...let them know Winter. For you are here Incarnation of Ice!” With that a massive wave of frost materialized before the mage and rushed towards their enemies. The first two rows of monsters froze in their tracks, instantly dead.
Fireballs, arrows and rock spikes were shot and flung into the advancing horde, following the frost wave by their group’s leader. Ilea watched the gruesome display of explosions, crushed bones and blood. It reminded her of a documentary she watched about world war one and the introduction of machine guns.
‘They should’ve built trenches…,’ she thought as she wondered if even a single one of them would make it to the line of warriors that started to buff themselves and were buffed by the supportive bards and enchanters behind them.
The smell of blood and burned hair entered her nose just as the loudest noise she had ever heard rang through her head. A hiss, immediately shattering her eardrums. The whole battle stopped as if frozen in a picture.
'ding' ‘You have heard a mighty being’s cry, you are paralyzed for thirty seconds.’
‘Thirty seconds? Are you fucking kidding me??’