Prisoner of War
The morning sun rises.
Catori rolls over, a sick feeling sinking in her gut as she wakes back to reality. It isn’t just a nightmare.
Cade is up, ready and nearly leaving the tent when he turns to her,
“There’s a water tap over near the fire pit. Feel free to use it. No one should bother you today so long as you don’t try to leave camp.”
“How did you guys get running water out here?”
“Magic,” he waves his hand through the air with a sarcastic gleam in his eye, then smiles at her before exiting the tent.
“Hi,” comes a cheerful voice from a young man placing a water bucket under the tap beside hers. She glances at him but doesn’t answer. He’s skinny and probably not more than 19 years old.
“You’re the girl with Cade right?” he asks, but she still doesn’t say anything, “Well, of anyone here you could end up with he’s one of the better guys.”
Catori switches water pales. Her only thought being that the young girl who survived should be with this guy and not the old one. She shouldn’t be rude though. This isn’t the place to make bad impressions.
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” she replies.
“Maybe,” he shrugs, “I mean, just saying, it could be worse.”
She nods and turns off the tap. That sick feeling is sinking in again. A large brutish woman scoots her way in front to use the tap. She turns to Catori, eyeing her up and down.
“You’re a pretty one,” the woman snickers, “Won’t survive more than a week though.”
The beautiful day mocks everything that has just happened, as if it doesn’t deserve acknowledgement. It mocks her pain. She sits on a log pile near the edge of camp. Looking around at everything she finds herself fantasizing about burning it down the way they did to her village. Or any creative way to sabotage them, maybe include the use of some gun powder…
“Spend to much time alone and you’ll go insane.”
She snaps back to reality seeing the boy smiling at her as he walks by with a couple water pales draped over his shoulders. She forces a smile in response.
The sun does feel good, but she’d probably gain some unwanted attention sitting here much longer. She heads back to the tent.
Hours pass as she nearly drives her self crazy dwelling on the misdeeds of recent events. The burning village, the other captives, Cade… she tries to distract herself by finding things to wash, but it doesn’t work.
Cade enters the tent and sets a couple small bags on the table.
“These are what you asked for. Are you able to make it work?”
Catori examines the contents. Clay… Cayenne pepper… and rose petals.
“Perfect,” she smiles. Not getting a definite yes, he leans into her to make himself clear,
“If this doesn’t work, I might just reconsider our arrangement.”
“I understand. Now I will need some privacy while I create the compress. I can’t do it while you’re around or the light energy will be compromised.”
He stands skeptical for a moment, then remembers there’s beer at Brock’s tent. His expression lightens,
Cade leaves the tent and Catori gets to work mixing the ingredients. She needs one more thing though. The symbol of light, the chain she wore yesterday. She finds it sitting on a shelf by the golden apple. She shifts the circle, opening up a small hole so that ashes may poor into the red mixture she just concocted.
She kneels below the table. The underside of it is the best place to hide this from him. Then she speaks her magick words while painting on the wood.
“Boo!” comes a voice from behind her. Her heart leaps into her throat as she jumps.
“Got you again!” the ghost laughs.
She gasps for her breath, “I thought you were someone else.”
“Geez, like who? And where are you? Wait… why are you whispering?”
“Dee… I have to get out of here. I’m being kept slave. I can go out into the open, but there are watchmen on the outskirts of the camp.”
“Hey!” Cade comes into the tent.
Catori leaps up, bumping her head on the table.
“What are you doing?”
“Just working on making the healing potion,” she rubs her head and holds up the symbol, “I had dropped this.”
“I thought I heard talking.”
“Yes, chanting. I need to do it to activate the light energy. But now that you interrupted I’m going to have to start over. So please leave.”
He’d rather be over at Brock’s anyway, so he leaves.
“That’s the guy you’re jumpy about?” Dee sneers.
“Yes. He thinks I’m a healer.”
“Want me to possess him?”
“Ha, if you do can you lead me safely past the camp guards?”
“Doubtful, people tend to go rather crazy when possessed, they start doing strange things.”
She raises an eyebrow.
“Actual control takes practice. It’s not my expertise,” he shrugs.
“Well I have to figure out something.”
“It’s probably of no help right now, but remember the mass rising spells you were asking about? I found one.”
She perks up, “Please tell me.”
“I can, but you need links.”
“I can get ashes, bodies were burned on the fire early this morning. I could use pillaged items for the rest.”
“That should do.”
Dee gives her the spell and she writes it down. She finds a rag and creates a compress with the summoning ingredients,
“I hope he buys this.”
For part one click here
For part two click here
The attack on Catori’s village is a flash fiction piece here
For the previous conversation between Catori and Dee click here
For other stories in The Nepenthe click a characters name or the nepenthe in the sidebar category cloud.