No longer able to watch the puddle of her life force grow larger, she closed her eyes, even as a wisp of air passed over her face.
“Gracious!” someone gasped.
Then came the lightest touch at her cheek like the wings of a lightfly.
With what seemed to be the last of her strength, she opened her eyes again.
“Hold on,” Ephemeral—generally known as Effie—the queen of the flits, urged, as she flitted at her shoulder. “Help is coming.”
“They’re almost here,” her husband, Fleet, short for Fleeting, added.
A long quiet minute passed. Only the whisper of the flits’ wings, and a faint rustling from the woman’s labored, shallow breathing, sounded out.
Then with a resounding crash, the door burst open. Chaos in the form of over a half dozen Oathtakers, Mara at the lead, entered. A single member of the Select, Basha’s charge, Therese, accompanied them.
“Hold on, Lucy,” Mara urged as she rushed to her side, “hold on.” Then, “Dixon, Jerrett,” she called over her shoulder, “get this thing off of her!”
“Lend us a hand here,” Dixon said to his cohorts, Marshall, Kayson, and Raman.
“I’ll help with my attendant magic,” Basha offered. Drawing on her power, she concentrated on moving the beam that pinned Lucy to the floor.
As she, along with the men, saw to the task, Mara placed her hands on Lucy’s shoulders. She reached inside for her magic power—power that granted her the ability to heal—and then let it loose.
As the beam dropped back to the floor with a thud, Basha rushed to Mara’s side. “Great Good One, she doesn’t look good!” she exclaimed.
Velia knelt and, like her fellow Oathtaker, placed her hands on the woman. Then, “Ahhhhh,” she cried out, the sound so intense, it made the hair on Mara’s arms rise. “Uhhhhhh,” she then moaned, gasping for another breath.
The men approached.
“What is it?” Jerrett asked, his hand on his wife, Velia’s, shoulder.
“Ohhhh, the . . .”
“If it’s too much, you shouldn’t do it. Just because your magic allows you to take on the pain of another, doesn’t mean that you should.”
“Ahhh, I just . . . Ohhh . . . Mara, I—” She gulped. “I think she’s . . . broken her back. I feel intense pain, but nothing from her waist down.”
“I can’t see to that now, I’ve got to stop the bleeding from this cut here and check for internal injuries.”
“Hurry. It’s . . . excruciating.” Velia cried out again, then gasped as she sucked another breath in through her teeth.
Shaking her head, signifying she required quiet, Mara released more magic into Lucy. She knew the woman still lived—she could feel the flicker of life within her. She followed her power, as it raced to the source of Lucy’s most serious injury.
“Gracious Ehyeh, she’s ruptured her spleen,” she whispered. “She’s bled internally so, so badly.”
“Can you heal her?” Therese asked.
“Shhh.” Mara concentrated more acutely, filling Lucy with her magic. Mere seconds later, nearly spent, she dropped her head and shuddered.
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