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When I woke up my head was pounding. My vision was blurry and everything sounded muffled as if through cotton. I was lying on my chest but rolled over and slowly pushed myself up to my elbows. It seemed I had landed in a bunch of brambles. My shirt was in tatters and my feet were bloody and bruised from running barefoot through the forest. I had cuts and blue spots all over my body. As I shifted, something caught the sunlight and shimmered. Closer inspection revealed that multiple glimmering shards of crystal had embedded themselves in my flesh. Not what I had planned to do with it. Oh well, too late now.

 


 

Thanks to my keen elven hearing, I quickly found a small, clear stream of water. I sat down next to it and started assessing the damage. My feet were in a bad way, no surprises there. I also definitely had an arrow sticking out of my shoulder and about 15 glass shards of varying sizes inside my body. Judging by the open wound on my forehead and the haze clouding my view I probably also had a concussion. How severe, I couldn’t say.

I pulled of my linen shirt. It and a pair of pants were the only clothing I had. I dunked it in the river, washing it as well as possible. I ripped it into stripes to make makeshift bandages. Carefully, I cleaned the blood and dirt from the cuts and removed any small pebbles and twigs caught in there. The crystals were in too deep to remove with just my fingers. I had probably landed on the orb with my chest which pushed them deep into my thorax and abdomen. I would have to do a deeper analysis to determine if I’d have to hurry or if I could just leave them in there. So I sat down cross legged in the water, letting it flow over me. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the mana coursing through my veins. It originated in my heart, followed the major arteries up to the collarbone, down the arms into the hands and fingers, back up and into the heart again. Another stream went down the upper body, into the legs and the feet and then returned. This technique was used by many healers to identify internal wounds and other complications in a persons body. They would either send their own magic into the patients body or use the patients own energy. In my case it also had the effect of accelerating my natural regeneration. The scan revealed that the shards weren’t blocking any kind of blood flow. Miraculously they missed any vital or otherwise important spots.

Just as I was about to break my focus and return to dressing my wound, a strange voice rang through my mind. “Identifying Orb now attuned to Iona.”

 


 

Though my magical knowledge was small and shallow, I did know what “Attuning” was. If you wanted to use magical items you had to supply them with magic. Activation based devices just needed a momentary pump of mana to function but if you wanted to gain a passive/constant benefit you would have to link the artefact to your mana cycle. This way it would be fed energy continuously. The act of linking it to yourself was called Attunement. Though, Identification Orbs were activation based and not attuned. At least not normally.

The growling of my stomach tore me out of my thoughts. I would have to find something to eat and probably a place to sleep as well. The sun was steadily making its way towards the horizon. So I stood up from the stream, bandaged my wounds and used the remaining cloth to bind my chest. There was no one in the forest with me but it was still more comfortable to be at least somewhat covered up.

 


 

The sun had already set when I found a small cave. Remains of a campfire and a pile of straw in a corner revealed that it had been someone’s shelter before. Everything seemed rather old though, I figured they wouldn’t mind if I rested here for a night. There was some leftover firewood so arranged it in the ashes and ignited it with a snap of my fingers. I sat down next to the flickering flames and began the process of circulating mana just like before.

The scan revealed that most my injuries had healed, thanks to being a Lightelf. Our blood had healing powers, our biggest advantage and our downfall. No Lightelf in this world has lead a life completely free of slavery. Even I had numerous scars from when my blood was taken by doctors and alchemists. Instinctively I reached up to my neck. It was odd to not feel the cold weight of the slave-collar, I had grown accustomed to it. Hell, I didn’t even remember a time when it wasn’t there.

Well, no matter. My feet were fully recovered and the flesh around the shards had mended as well. Only the head wound remained and even it was on the way to completely disappear. My shoulder still felt stif but it didn’t hurt anymore. Now that I had checked my physical condition it was time to see what was going on with the orb. The splinter I was focusing on sat on the back of my hand. It was caught between the bones of my middle and index finger and would shift slightly whenever I moved either digit. As I channeled my mana into the shard it started to glow softly, encouraged by the reaction I poured more energy into it. One after another all the pieces of glass in my body lit up and when the last one shimmered, everything went black.

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About the author

Cosmo Eridanus

  • Europe

Bio: Proofreader, Text-Editor and occasional Poet.

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