By: T.K. Wilson
Word Count: 15261
Rating: PG for depictions of PTSD panic attacks and violence
Summary: When Lady Goewyn of House Meridian meets the long missing treeman of roses, Lord Rhodon of the Western March, her eyes are opened to a new world of danger, magic, and healing.
Chapter 13: Hope Will Lead Us On
Rhodon awoke, in his own bed in his cottage, feeling very sore. As he opened his eyes, he realized that for the first time in many weeks, he had slept without having nightmares. All his dreams had been peaceful, beautiful dreams. He turned his head to see Lady Betsan of Meridian sitting in a chair knitting.
“Lady Betsan…” Rhodon mumbled.
“Oh, good, you’re awake! We’ve been so worried.”
“How long have I been sleeping?”
“About a day and half. This is the second morning after you fought the witch.”
Betsan fed Rhodon some rosewater, giving the treeman a boost in energy.
“I am still a little sore.”
“I’m sure you are! Maia will be along to check on your injuries.”
“Where is Goewyn?”
“Back at the Keep, taking over some of my duties while I nurse you.”
“Please tell me she has not worried herself ill over me!”
“Nothing of the kind, Goewyn’s not that sort of girl. She knows her limits, that’s what makes her a good nurse.”
Rhodon sat back on his pillow.
“That is good news.”
Maia, hearing Rhodon’s voice, bustled into the room.
“Good morning, sleeping beauty! Sit up so I can check your bandages.”
Maia carefully peeled away the bandages around Rhodon’s chest and back and examined the burn, finding that it was almost completely healed up.
“Between the fireflower and Goewyn’s touch, your burn is almost healed! I won’t need to put any more bandages on it, but it will be tender for some time yet.”
Rhodon insisted on getting dressed (he felt most uncomfortable having Betsan in the room and no tunic, it was a matter of propriety) and sitting somewhere in the sun.
“If you must insist that I rest, although I have been asleep for over a day, I insist further that I sit in the sun and speed the rest of the healing process.”
Maia sat Rhodon outside in the warm sunshine, safely downwind of the smell of scorched thorn bushes.
“If you want anything, let us know.” said the treewoman going back indoors. Rhodon nodded and settled back in his chair. The treeman savored the smells and sounds of peace around his garden. Birds were singing, the creek, back in her bed, bubbled her way to the sea; the wind ruffled the leaves of the trees and spread the perfumes of the flowers. A butterfly flew by and landed on Rhodon’s hand. He slowly raised his hand to look at the little creature closer, and smiled. Despite all the horrible things that had happened, there was always cause for hope.
“Rhodon!” called a voice.
Rhodon turned around in his chair, and saw it was Goewyn, wearing a green dress and a yellow scarf in her hair.
Rhodon’s face broke into a grin as Goewyn ran up to him and gave him a friendly hug.
“I’m so glad you’re awake!”
“I am simply happy that I am still here.”
“We all are, believe me. You were in really bad shape… right after.”
“Let us not dwell on that. I wish to thank you, Goewyn.”
“For helping me believe in hope again. For assuring me that friendship, love, and loyalty still exist in this world.”
“I was only doing what anyone would.”
“There is where you are wrong, not every elf would have taken the time to comfort me, some may have even been afraid of me. But you were not. That alone brought healing to me, and now, I will not live alone out here. I will travel to the Keep, and to visit Ablach and my other dryad kinsmen. I am no longer afraid of loving my friends.”
“Your panic attacks may not stop, I hope you know.” sniffled Goewyn.
“I am aware of that, but I am not afraid of them any longer.”
“That’s the first step to full recovery.”
Goewyn reached up and undid the scarf from around her head. It was a cotton scarf, embroidered with the heraldic symbol for the House Meridian.
“Rhodon, I want to request something from you.”
“Name what you will.”
“I would like you to be one of my knights.” she said tying the scarf to Rhodon’s arm.
Rhodon was stunned.
“You cannot ask- I am not even of your kind.” he protested.
“I offer this to all of my male friends, those who are true hearted, faithful, and caring. That includes you, Rhodon.”
Rhodon looked at Goewyn, the elf’s child who brought him out of the darkness and into a place of joy. It was the least he could do to accept.
“Yes. I will accept.”
Goewyn smiled, bright as sunshine.
“I knew you would, Lord Rhodon of the Western March.”