Touch

Below is a portion of a fantasy I’m beginning to work on. A brief introduction to the characters you’ll meet:

Arkana: A New Earth healer who’s come to the planet Aleria with one purpose: heal King Alexander Weysh.
Alexander: A childhood accident involving an S-1 Transport robbed the reigning king of his ability to walk without a cane or medication. Doctors from across the galaxy have tried for years to rid him of the pain that plagues him but to no avail.

This scene takes place in the study in the home of Alexander’s oldest son, Trey. Arkana has sought out the king to offer her help and make him whole again.

Enjoy.

~~~

“Why would you do this for me and ask for nothing in return?”

Arkana understood the wariness in Alexander’s voice. No one recommended a service, not even the kind she was offering, without demanding efficient compensation in return. But she had no use for money, land, or hollow promises. None would return the years spent away from her father. None could give her the security she craved in living one more day without fear of her mother.

What she did, she did out of obligation. She was gifted to heal, to ease the pain and suffering of those deemed worthy by the Fates. To ignore the pull of those who needed her and to deny the chance to be used as the Fates saw fit would only result in her experiencing unthinkable pain and suffering. Arkana shuddered. She’d experienced that once, and once was enough.

“I do this because I have to.” It wasn’t the full truth but Alexander needn’t know what consequences would befall her should she choose to disobey.

Skepticism darkened his brow as he studied her. She could see it in his expression, how he weighed the pros and cons of obliging her simply because she asked. He was a king, the commanding officer of Aleria’s army. He was raised to put the needs of his people first, taught to heed the advice of those closest to him when he doubted himself. In the eyes of his people, he was a tower of strength, a source of reassurance, a man who stood tall and held firm in the face of opposition. He didn’t give into the whims of a citizen, not even for the promise of being made whole. But she needed him, just this once, to trust someone beneath his rank and believe that she could do what she promised to do.

“You have nothing to fear, Your Grace,” she said softly and slid from the chair to kneel at his feet. Bowing her head, she continued. “It costs you nothing to accept my gift, and you have my word that I will not speak of this to anyone.”

Silence met her vow, stretching ruthlessly between them until she wonder if, perhaps, she should rise and leave. But something in her insisted she wait, that she give him just a few more seconds to think on what she’d said. So she waited, head bowed, hands clasped on her thighs, for his answer.

“Your discretion in this situation would be appreciated more than the promise of healing my bloody leg,” Alexander muttered. “I’ll hold you to your promise of keeping quiet.”

Arkana sighed in relief and nodded her consent. “Of course.”

Reaching out, she grasped the hem of his left pant leg and quickly rolled it to his knee. He bent and clenched the material in his fist.

“Thank you,” she whispered without looking up.

“Get on with it,” he growled impatiently.

She nodded and took a deep breath. Strength and resolution coursed through her veins, starting from her heart and spreading down her arms and into her hands. She smiled as that familiar warmth encompassed her being. It was that one moment before a healing began that she enjoyed the most–the calm before the pain. Taking one last soothing, calming breath, she wrapped her hands around Alexander’s calf and closed her eyes.

For a moment, all she saw was darkness. Then pinpoints of light poked through the murkiness to guide her to where she needed to go.

The faint outline of her hands appeared, the healing blue aura surrounding her fingertips telling her she was in the right place. But the muscles, weak from botched surgeries and years of lack of use, shriveled at her initial touch. Searing heat poured into her palms, stunning her. He was rejecting her! Whether willingly or not, his body was turning on her, pushing her away!

Sending a silent prayer to the Fates and hoping they were listening, Arkana tried again. Alexander’s pained cries echoed in her ears, nearly prompting her to stop. But she couldn’t. Not now. Not when she’d waited so long to be here, to do this!

Please, don’t let my coming here be for nothing! Desperate to ease the king’s pain and to fulfill the promise she’d made, she pushed forward, reaching through the scorching heat to the muscles beneath. They firmed and tightened, stretched until they couldn’t. Only then did Arkana sigh with relief.

Because it was done.

The year of waiting, of praying and hoping for this chance, had been worth it. And she could leave without a single regret, return to Farran knowing she served the Fates well and fulfilled her promise to Alexander.

He was whole again.

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