Chapter 16: LessonsA Chapter by Zorina
Zerlinda looked into Queen Amil's eyes a moment longer those hazel eyes just to make sure this wasn't some sort of sick joke. Seeing no sign of humor in those grave, hazel eyes, Zerlinda opened the door and walked into the infirmary.
The wounded elf had been placed in one of the beds near the other end of the infirmary, covered in blankets that were as white as the snow outside ... along with everything else in the entire room. As she walked closer, her heart pounding in her chest, she studied the features closely, looking for any signs that the elf wasn't Adalric because she was paranoid and didn't want to get her hopes up.
The skin was paler than Adalric's had been the last time she saw him, but that could quite easily be due to the amount of blood loss. They hair was mated and nearly as well groomed as Adalric's had been, but hygiene wasn't all that important when you're trying to survive. She sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at the face. There was a scar just below the left eye. Adalric had had a scar like that ; a souvenir from when Zerlinda had kicked him a little harder than she had meant to in the face during one of their many sparring matches when they were younger.
His eyes were closed, but his chest was rising a falling steadily underneath the loose, white shirt that had replaced his previous clothing that was more of scraps of cloth than actual clothing. Zerlinda brushed some hair out of his face to study it closer.
"he won't be able to walk or anything active for a while," said the nurse from behind her.
Zerlinda resisted the urge to squeal and jump about a meter in the air at the unexpected appearance. Instead, she settled for a sharp nod in the nurse's direction.
"How long?" she asked.
"He'll be fully recovered in about a month or a month and a half; he's healthy,so he'll recover more quickly."
"When will he wake up?"
"That's another matter -- there isn't a way to tell for certain. The mind is a more complicated matter than the body." And the nurse left Zerlinda in peace
Several more days passed and the elf still hadn't woken up. During that time, Zerlinda, Agmund, and Saya talked about their next move. Zerlinda's mind was blank and it frustrated her to no end. She was use to being able to make up a plan on the spot; it's how she came up with every other plan. Typically, if she knew what she had to do, she could easily find a way to do it.
But she knew what she had to do; reveal Achan's true identity as Xenolin, kill him (preferably with much pain), sort out the whole throne-inheritance thing (which needed a separate plan for itself), and then go about her business. But doing all of that was easier said than done and the more she thought about it, the more frustrated she got and the better Agmund's plan of just going to Castle Taure and murdering him seemed.
Zerlinda had taken to pondering the situation while pacing at the foot of the elf's bed in the infirmary. She found it to be a peaceful place in spite of the endless white. It was quiet and, with the exception of the elf and nurse, empty. It was a good place for Zerlinda to attempt (and fail) to come up with a plan. There weren't any of the whispers of the library, nor Agmund or Saya to come in and distract her like in the Suits and, as much as she cared for Rayne, she was grateful that Rayne seemed to be kept out of the infirmary.
The continuous silence was broken one day by the injured elf, who had regained consciousness and tried to open his eyes only to be blinded by the sunlight that was pouring in through the tall, numerous widows along he infirmary wall. He groaned and immediately snapped his eyes shut again, wrinkling his face and groaning again at the unexpected soreness of his muscles before slowly blinking his eyes open, allowing them to adjust to the brightness.
Zerlinda's pacing stopped as she watched the elf intensely and the nurse hurried over at once to attend to him. She poured something into a cup and pushed it against the elf's lips.
"It's for the pain," she told him and he parted his lips, making a face of disgust as he tasted the liquid but relaxing as the affects took place.
The elf turned his head to watch the nurse's movements as she sat the empty cup on the bedside table. She walked over to Zerlinda, who had been watching a short distance from the foot of the bed, and the elf's eyes followed the nurse but Zerlinda was looking at the nurse.
"He is weak," she said. "Don't push him too much or try to make him move a lot. You'll be doing more harm than good if you do."
Zerlinda nodded her understanding and took a seat in a chair on the left side of the bed and studied the elf again for probably the hundredth time in the past few days -- it was what she did when she wasn't thinking about plans. The elf's eyes met hers and that's when Zerlinda knew beyond all doubt that the elf was Adalric. Only a Vasil could have eyes that green and she was absolutely certain that he wasn't Rayne or Achan.
A small smile tilted the ends of her lips up.
"Hey stranger," she said.
"Zerlinda," groaned Adalric, taking a deep breath. His voice was much rougher than it was the last time they spoke. It was also weak, as if it had taken him great effort to say her name. "What are you doing here?"
"Talking to you apparently," replied Zerlinda, smiling wider in humor.
Adalric smiled a little as well, his eyes closing slowly before opening again as if he was feeling great fatigue though he's been awake for less than five minutes.
"Where am I?" He asked.
"The infirmary at Castle Nique."
"Why are infirmaries always white? It makes everything seem brighter; it hurts my eyes."
"How are you feeling?"
"Like crap," Adalric grimaced.
"Understandable given the condition you were in when we found you. What happened?"
"That's what I would like to know. One moment I'm stumbling through the snow, the next moment I'm here."
"You passed out and loss a lot of blood. What are you doing here?"
"Talking to you apparently," he murmured, eyes closing again.
Zerlinda glared at him, but it was useless. Adalric had fallen back asleep and was snoring. Zerlinda raised an eyebrow at him.
"Nice talking with you," she muttered, standing up from the chair and leaving the infirmary. She went back to the suit where Agmund was lounging on the couch and Saya was reading.
"Adalric woke up," she said and both of their heads poked. The book fell from Saya's hands, landing on the floor with a thud. She made no move to pick it up.
"He did?" She said. "They what are you doing here? We need to find out what happened at the Clearing."
"Well, he's sleeping now, so you might want to wait a bit before you go interrogating him."
Saya glared at Zerlinda and retrieved the book from the floor. Agmund laid his head back down. Zerlinda went into her room to change out of the forest green dress and into a green, long-sleeve, off-the-shoulder blouse, a sleeveless brown vest that also served as a bodice and dark brown leggings and boots and her belt with her daggers.. This was her normal outfit, except she usually wore her cloak over it, but now she left it hanging in her room as she walked out.
"Where're you going?" Agmund asked, opening one of his light brown eyes to look at here as she passed him.
"Rayne wants to learn how to fight."
"So she goes to you?" He asked, sitting up and acting offended.
"She's going to have to wait a little bit before you can teach her how to fight with a sword, Agmund."
"Then what are you going to teach her?"
"Some exercises that will improve her strength, balance, flexibility and control, some kicks and how to throw a punch," she replied, giving him a mock-sweet smile as she closed the door behind her.
"Are you ready?" Zerlinda asked.
Rayne nodded, grinning widely and eagerly. She was dressed in a purple, long-sleeved blouse, black leggings and boots. Her hair was too short to be pulled back into a braid like Zerlinda's was, so the brown, curly locks hung freely around her face.
"Okay then, let's get started."
They were out in the courtyard where the servants had shoveled the snow away from the stone. It was cold, but elves had great tolerance for weather and, besides, they were practicing combat, not sipping tea. They would be moving around a lot and their bodies would warm themselves up soon enough.
First, Zerlinda showed Rayne howto make a proper fist with her thumb on the outside, explaining that if the other fingers covered the thumb then there would be a greater chance of breaking the thumb. After practicing punches, they moved on to kicks.
Zerlinda showed Rayne where to the best places to aim kicks. Considering any predators would probably be at least three times her height, Zerlinda told her to aim for the knee cap, forcing the knee to bend the wrong way and hypo-extending the knee. With men, Zerlinda had added, you could also aim for the private are because, apparently, it was very sensitive and would cause him to fall like a sack of potatoes. When Rayne asked how she knew this, Zerlinda just smirked, shrugged her shoulders and said, "Experience."
Their lesson lasted hours, with a break at every hour. Sweat soaked through their clothing. During those hours Zerlinda also showed her plies and degages and other exercises that she had learned from her grandmother that improved her strength, balance, and flexibility. Once, Rayne asked when she would learn to use daggers and weapons.
"When you're older," Zerlinda replied.
It was the response her parents had given her as a little girl. At the time, Zerlinda had hated it with a passion, but now she understood the logic and reasoning behind it. Rayne needed to wait until she was less clumsy and had more strength and control before handling sharp objects because she would be less likely to stab herself by accident.
At the end of their session, Zerlinda knelt down to Rayne's height, as she often did when speaking to her, and t old her to practice these exercises every night before her bath. She also told Rayne that they would practice once a week at the very least. Ryane's face brightened at this. She was tired, but she had had fun and learned a lot.
"And don't you dare use these moves unless in practice or in danger," Zerlinda warned her, deadly serious. "If I find out you've been using what you've learned to injure innocent people, you won't get any lessons for at least a month."
Rayne nodded her understanding with wide eyes and, at Zerlinda's urging, ran off into the castle for a bath. Zerlinda watched her go with a small smile and wiped the beads of cooling sweat from her forehead. She thought it was important for royals to know how to fight because, while they had guards, they were also big targets for any enemies. If those enemies somehow got pass the guards and captured a royal and the victim didn't know how to fight, then they were screwed. However, if the royal did know how to fight, they might have a chance and wouldn't be stuck waiting for help that may or may not come. Rayne was young and Zerlinda could only teach her so much until her physical fitness, flexibility and balance improved, but it was good that Rayne was starting to learn young; the sooner, the better.
© 2012 Zorina
AboutHobbies: Dancing (mostly jazz and lyrical, but I also do a ballet techniques class), writing, drawing, painting, reading, singing, doing puzzles, sudoku, word finds, fill ins Movies: Harry Potter, .. more..