The Book of Fawla
Sense seemed to return to her and she dropped the bone, feeling guilty. She stood. Kate still felt a little weak, but wasn’t going to pass out in the battle. She stumbled out of the tent and surveyed the battle.
Bodies were everywhere. Both goblin and elf lie on the ground, but there were considerably more elves than goblins. Kreelan was in a tree shooting arrows whenever he could get a clear shot. He had one notched but wasn’t using it. He just pointed it around the field.
Kate noticed the problem; his quiver was empty. Kate sucked in her breath and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, a stack of new arrows fell into his lap, complete with fletching made from leaf. His eyes went wide and then saw her at the tent. He nodded and shot his arrow. A goblin harrying a woman with a butcher’s knife fell to the ground. The woman looked at Kreelan, but he pointed at Kate. She bowed her head and Kate gave her a thumbs up. Hopefully, that meant the same thing here.
Kate charged at another goblin whose sword was pressed against a pitchfork. She yelled and the goblin turned towards her. The elf used this advantage and knocked the goblin down. The soldier rolled onto his back but the farmer pushed the pitchfork into the goblin’s neck.
Another opponent charged at Kate, but she had the grass grow and form a lasso to trip him up. The woman with the knife was on him and another goblin was down. The butcher, the farmer, and Kate formed up and helped the others take down one at a time.
The fight was over. Kate and the elves were dirty and bleeding, but for the most part they were alive. Kate led them over to the goblin’s supply wagon and handed out food. She made sure everyone had eaten and went back to the commander’s tent and collapsed into his bed.
It was dark when Kate woke up. In the dim light, she saw Kreelan sitting at the commander’s desk. “How long have you been here?”
“You’ve been asleep for over a day. You gave us a bit of a scare. After everybody ate, you just disappeared,” he said. “It took us hours to find you. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up ever since we found you.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer,” she explained. She sat up, something felt different. Kate looked at her arms. “Where is my armor?”
“You weren’t wearing it when I found you. You were surrounded however by a handful of acorns. A single rose. I think you armor itself back into plants so you can carry it around on scene.”
“I will I put it back on?” Kate asked.
“I guess you have to figure that out on your own. I don’t have instruction manual for you. Although Regkor is still looking for the scroll.”
“So he’s okay? How many were hurt?”
“He is fine. You wouldn’t expect it to look at him but he is apparently deadly with a pair of straw hooks. In total, there are thirty-two dead, and a hundred wounded,” he said.
“I never meant for any of this to happen. I just wanted to help,” she cried.
Kreelan was okay and at her side faster than she could see him move. He put his hand on hers. “You did help us. Things were only going to get worse with the goblins, not better. Trust me, the village is singing your praises right now.”
“It is just so hard to believe. Before today, I never killed anybody. I’d never even squashed a bug.”
“You stepped up to your role and fulfilled your destiny,” he said. “Come now, it will be late soon and there is going to be a celebration in your honor.”
Kreelan stood and offered Kate’s hand. She stood up slowly. She didn’t think I was a single part of her body that wasn’t sure. She caught her reflection in a mirror. “I think I’m going to need a bath before I meet anyone.”
Kreelan wrinkled his nose. “Yes you smell pretty bad. And your looks will scare the children. But I have a bag for you. The pool I found you near is actually a hot spring with healing properties. Many of us will need to use it in the coming days but the first plot belongs to you.”
The goblin camp was deserted when they left the tent. Kate just that everybody had gone to their own homes and slept in the bed. She wished that option was open to her. What is she ever going to get home?
Kreelan led her to the pond and dropped the bag by the shore. “There are fresh closed in there. The ones you are wearing, we should just bury. I will be on the path just around the next bend.”
Kate removed the dirty clothing. Kreelan was right, they were nothing but rags at this point. The shirt that Kreelan’s neighbor had given to her was ruined. Kate had a feeling that the woman would refuse any payment for it, but she would have to try. She wondered if there was any way to salvage her bra. One strap was snapped in and the hooks were bent. But if Regkor was to believed it was the only bra in all of Fawla.
She crumpled up the dirty clothes next to the bag. She would figure out what to do with them later. She stepped into the water. Kreelan told her it was a hot spring, will all but she wasn’t prepared for how warm it was. The water scolded her. This was going to be nice. She planned to take a long hot bath and stay there for hours. She would look like a prune coming out what it would be worth it.
The healing properties of the water had different ideas however. Fifteen minutes later Kate felt like a completely new person and was ready to leave. She dried off and put on the new clothing. It would take some getting used to not having the undergarment that she had worn for so much of her life. She packed up the bag and called to Kreelan.
He didn’t answer to she called again. She started to get worried. Had one of the goblins snuck off from the battle and came back to exact his revenge? She followed the trail to the curve that he had pointed at earlier. Just off the trail Kreelan slept in a bed of leaf litter.
She shook him. When he roused, she said, “You scared me when you didn’t respond.”
“I’m sorry Kate. I didn’t get any sleep last night I was watching you the entire time.”
“I’m not sure if that is sweet or creepy,” she admitted.
“It was not my intention to be creepy,” he said. “Let’s go back to the village now. Everybody wants to thank the woman who saved them.”
They followed the trail back to the village in silence. Back at the village, her wall still stood with her opening now framed by a simple wooden gate. There were few people on the street. “Where is everyone?”
“Everyone who isn’t helping with tonight’s feast is with Regkor trying to find that scroll for you.”
Sure enough, the majority of the town formed a bucket brigade to remove the rubble from the scribe’s home. Regkor came out with a box clutched under his arm. He saw Kate and ran towards her. He hugged her tightly. But more tightly than she would have expected from the thin man.
“Thank you for saving us,” he said.
“You’re welcome. But Regkor, please let go. I just had a bath.”
He looked at the ash and dirt that lined his skin. “Oh, sorry. But you will want to see this.” He pulled out the box and handed it to her.
“What is it?” She asked.
“It is the scroll I’ve been looking for. The scroll that tells about you and your powers. And it shows how you can get home.”
“Yes,” Kate shouted. Everybody stopped and looked at her. “Uh, thanks everyone. Carry on.”
She sat down on the dirt. She didn’t care that her new clothes were getting dirty. Soon, she’d have a washer and dryer to clean them with, instead of a bucket and rocks.
Kreelan sat down beside her. “I didn’t want to say this earlier, I wanted you to have a day to relax. But that was just one company of goblins. An entire army lies to the East. And when they find out what happened here, they will burn the entire village to the ground. And every village they reach until they find you. Fawla will be ruins if you leave.”