Chapter 5A Chapter by thuaners
“I am sorry,” said the old woman, the back of her palm feeling the temperature of Maruska’s forehead, “But there is nought that I can do.”
“But you are Bruskala Dee!” said Anton, “You can cure anything!”
“Or so I thought,” said Bruskala Dee, “But I have never seen such a poison as this.”
They were inside a small hut. Maruska lay unconscious on a straw pallet. The shrivelled-looking old lady sat on a stool beside her.
“What did you say the creature was again?” said Bruskala.
“I don’t know what it was,” said Anton, “It was some giant fish, but it had arms like a man!”
“Of such a strange creature, I have never heard,” said Bruskala, “So the ocean still holds many great mysteries…”
“Is there anything we can do for Maruska?” said Anton, “Surely there must be someone in the world who can save her?”
Bruskala sat quietly, thinking calmly to herself. ”There might be one person,” she said, “But alas, she is too far away. Even if you were to ride there on the fastest of horses, it is still a two day journey. This young lady would surely be dead by then.”
“Who is this person who could cure her?” said Anton eagerly.
“I never said she could cure her,” said Bruskala, “I said she might be able to do it. I’ve seen this woman work miracles before, with nought but her bare hands.”
“Who?” said Anton.
“Lady Joyce,” said Bruskala, “The King’s Royal Advisor.”
“Joyce!” said Anton, “Of course! I will leave at once.”
“You will not make it in time,” said Bruskala Dee, “At this rate, Maruska will be dead in a few hours.”
“There is always hope,” said Anton, and he reached down and picked Maruska up gently in his arms. ”Thank you, Bruskala. I am in your debt. I must take my leave now. Until we meet again.”
Bruskala nodded and said nothing. She didn’t even watch Anton as he carried Maruska out of the hut. She sat there staring into space. She was thinking about something.
Outside, Anton went over to his trusty black stallion, Thunderclap, who was tied to a peach tree. He placed Maruska onto the saddle and tenderly propped her up so she was sitting upright.
“Brace yourself, Thunderclap,” said Anton, “You and I are in for a long ride. We will not rest until we reach the King’s Castle.”
Thunderclap snorted, as horses do. If you didn’t know better, you would swear this horse knew exactly what was going on, and how urgent the situation was.
Anton turned around.
It was Bruskala Dee, running out of her hut. In one hand, she was carrying a large flagon of water, and in the other hand, she was carrying a mysterious looking black root. It was small, about the length of a finger, and about the same width.
“What’s that?” said Anton.
Bruskala held up the root for him to see. Obviously it was something quite important, as she was holding it very carefully in her hands. ”It’s a piece of root from the Wurramunga tree. This tree doesn’t grow anywhere in Tuscan. In fact, the only place it is known to grow, is on a far away continent, beyond the sea of Ice. It was given to me by my master. I was saving it for a rainy day. And it doesn’t get much rainier than today.”
“What does it do?” said Anton.
“I’ve never used it, but apparently it allows the person who eats it to mimic death. As in your heart stops pumping, your brain stops working, your blood stops flowing. Everything in your body just stops. To the casual observer, it would be the same as if you were dead,” said Bruskala.
“How exactly is this useful?” said Anton.
“Don’t you see? said Bruskala, “If Maruska ingests this root, it will buy us some time. Twenty-four hours at least, maybe more. Twenty-four hours where the poison won’t spread.”
Anton’s face lit up! ”Bruskala you are a marvel!”
“Ah,” said Bruskala, “Don’t thank me, thank my master for giving this to me. Now, I have to give it to her, and since she’s unconscious, I have to… well, you’ll see.”
Bruskala looked at the root for a moment, with an apprehensive look on her face, and then took a bite out of it.
“Hmm,” she said, as she began chewing, “Tastes like licorice.” She shoved the remaining portion of the root into her mouth and chewed it all until it was a dsisusting mash of pastey black stuff. Then she went up to Maruska, who was still propped up on the horse, opened the young lady’s mouth and spat the chewed root inside, along with a good deal of old woman saliva.
“That’s kinda gross,” said Anton.
Bruskala Dee then moved Maruska’s jaw up and down a bit, and then looked inside, to check that most of the root had gone down her throat.
“Good,” said Bruskala, “Now you’d better get going. And I’d better wash my mouth out. Thoroughly.”
“I can’t wait to tell Maruska what you just did to her,” said Anton with a little chuckle.
“Let’s hope you get the chance,” said the old woman, and she took a swig from her flagon of water, swished it around in her mouth, then spat it all out onto the ground. The liquid that came out was black.
“Do you know the way to the castle from here?” said Bruskala.
“Yes,” said Anton, “I’ve been to the castle a fair few times. I’d almost say I was a regular there, but I can’t really say I’m a welcome guest of his Highness.”
“Our King is an imbecile,” said Bruskala, “Not being welcome there is a compliment.”
Anton smiled, and then nodded, his face now donning a mask of resolve. ”Thank you again, Bruskala, for all that you have done. I am eternally grateful.”
“Farewell, boy,” said Bruskala.
Anton jumped up behind Maruska on the saddle, and shouted, “To Aerie Castle, Thunderclap! Ride!”
And with that, the black stallion bolted off, and very soon had vanished down the road.
© 2011 thuaners
Added on April 16, 2011
Last Updated on April 26, 2011
Passion of the Liger
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