NaNoWriMo: Posted November 5 @10:55p
Whenever something doesn’t go right, there’s usually a reason for it. Like…it’s a clue or an indicator to slow down and consider alternative options. I know now that whenever that happens, there’s something for me to reveal, a secret to find.
I found Daksh.
The hidden Lynthian oasis wasn’t really a find but more of a gift. And actually, the oasis isn’t really hidden as much as it is cloaked, shrouded like a shifty mirage over the mid-day desert.
Nothing went right until I found the connection between the three.
I trudged through the Lynthian sand with Bayta tailing behind. Her petite Lorian frame struggling, her short legs sinking into the sand while her light-weight body being blown over by the desert winds, all at the same time. Flanking our right and left were two hired Guardians, escorts to see us into and out of Lynthia. Without both of them, we risked being lashed. Women were not allowed to walk Lynthian land without proper male accompaniment. The law came with good intentions, but for some it was just annoying.
I lifted a hand to my eyes, shielding a portion of Mitra’s sun. The day was earlier, not overly stifling yet. The falcons flew overhead, seeking food. One or two might have been training, but I believed that mostly occurred before the evening meal…if I remembered correctly.
I lifted my skirt and dug my foot into the sand to begin the climb over the next sandy bank. I received the short end of the stick regarding height, but Bayta’s genes were non-existent. Five foot tall, at best? Her slim fingers had disappeared in her eloquently folded Lorian skirt ten minutes ago as she tried to hold the material up and out of the sand. She looked like she was walking up flat stairs. At least she was alive.
The yellow dunes stretched to infinity. I had journeyed over the fine granules that still somehow severed millions of microscope scratches into one’s skin countless times in Samir’s caravan, but this time was different.
Until today, the desert sand really did stretch on to infinity. Nothing survived from Lynthia to Port el’Reathsen except Carosspids and scorpions.
I glanced over my shoulder at Bayta.
A fifteen year old girl who survived having her virginity sold into a strange man – twenty years her elder. She survived the same man’s brutal attack when her body physically couldn’t handle granting him the pleasure he fantastically expected. She survived the Carosspids and scorpions as she slithered in the same with them, bleeding and puking until her body collapsed from dehydration.
She survived…just saying those two words felt like it should be enough, but then she saved me too. Her trauma revealed to me my purpose, which was why we were trudging through this forsaken desert.
I felt bad for taking her out into the desert again, but this time we left with a foreseeable goal. An oasis – we could see that end point as we walked. And, if Daksh kept his promise, a new life for this young girl.
“We’re almost there,” I hollered to Bayta over my shoulder. I could see the utopia as I crested the sixth dune. Date palms and a lush green carpet, complete with shrub land, fringed a crescent lagoon. The new landscape was a stark contrast to the rust sand, but if this exchange went well it would become our formal exchange and meeting area. Daksh assured me that the oasis wouldn’t be found by Lynthian royalty or commoner.
As we arrived onto the lagoon’s level, I sucked in a cooler, crisper air unmarked with traces of salt.
“A fresh water lagoon,” I remarked to no one in particular though I was sure we’d all happily drink from it. Daksh stood patiently under a palm, his receding hairline burning a bit about the curves. He leaned against the tree’s trunk with his left leg crossed at the ankle of his right and his arms crossed across his chest. I didn’t hear his comment to a second man who laid on the grass soaking up Mitra’s sunlight with his eyes closed, but Daksh took away a hearty laugh from it while the second man’s smile took over his face. When they finished enjoying the moment, Daksh looked up, welcoming smile addressing his face. His uncrossed his legs and gave the second man a slight kick before meeting me.
“Nom, have you met me son, Jaith?” Daksh said, outstretching his hand for mine. He gave the top of my hand a quick kiss and a soft brushing before letting go and fanning his arm out, gesturing to his son.
A single brow lifted, “Your son,” I challenged, my voice dropping as I eyed up the young man who mysteriously didn’t look any older or and younger than Daksh. “You must wear your age well.”
Daksh chuckled, not interested in replying and outstretched his hand for Bayta’s. The young girl stood, her eyes wider than the afternoon tea saucers I shared with Daksh earlier in the day. I flipped a curious eye between the two, but when Bayta’s terrified expression didn’t change I gently pressed Daksh’s arm down before awkwardness took over. “She’s the reason I asked you to come here,” I said, stepping forward.
Jaith did the same, and the first meeting of our close-knit group came to order.
“Nom,” Jaith started, offering his hand for a masculine shake.
“Jaith,” I said as the man slipped his palm against mine. He didn’t grasp my hand tightly, as I had expected, nor did he immediately pull away. Instead he rested his hand there and tilted his head as if listening to music only he heard. The corner of my lip curled up, amused. When satisfied, Jaith straighten his head and released his grip, but his expressed soured into a disappointed look.
When he was finished he stepped to Bayta, uncaring of her knee-jerk response, and offered his hand. Unlike Daksh, he refused to concede to her needs. “I’d prefer it if you accept my hand instead of me taking yours. Trust runs both ways.”
My heart fluttered a panicked beat in my chest. But Bayta lifted her hand for him. And like me, he didn’t grasp her hand tightly and he didn’t immediately pull away. When he finished, his expression remained just as sour as before. As he returned, he forced a quick smile at me before addressing his father, “Are you sure this is the one?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Why do you always have to question me?”
Jaith’s lips turned down into a frown, but the overall situation didn’t seem to affect him. “I thought that was a son’s job.”
Daksh ignored his son’s taunt. “You want us to take her somewhere?”
My eyes narrowed. I suddenly just wanted to return home, my new Lynthian home, the one Daksh established for me. “How did you know that?”
“He’s a good guesser,” Jaith said from behind his father.
“Hush child,” Daksh said, his brows lowering. “I know more about this meeting than you think. It was meant to happen since time began; we just didn’t know it. It’s a gift, like the gift of the waterfall, like the gift of your home. It’s why I knew I needed to bring Jaith. He’ll make the transport and return here when the work is done.”
“How am I supposed to trust him?”
Daksh smile. “I assumed you’d join this run regardless of who took Bayta.”
He was right. I had expected to go. I refused to let anyone else harm this child.
Daksh changed the subject, “I also believe your new home is acceptable?”
An empty water basin rested on a square table along the far wall. Nom ignored it, requesting two personal sized basins instead. She sat on her squat stool at the foot of the bed and gently tapped the Princess’s calves, gesturing for her to sit up.
“When did the bleeding start?”
“There’s just a bit of trauma to the cervix,” Nom told the Princess as she washed her hands in her personal water basin. Her tone sounded happy, but she wore a serious expression. No, not serious, professional. My mentor believed in separating work from personal interactions especially given her role in Lynthia. I was still trying to attain the quality.
“I would advise avoiding intercourse until our next visit. I will check you again at that time. Until then, rest up in your bed for the next couple of days. Over all, you are just fine.”
Nom smiled at her patient reassuringly.
I glanced over at the Princess and offered her my hand in case she wanted it to help her sit up. She was thinner than the last pregnant woman we assisted, and I wasn’t sure how problematic her growing belly was for her yet. I noted how being pregnant really brought out a unique beauty to the Lynthian Princess especially when she wasn’t worried about the baby’s health. She looked flawless even though her face carried scars from rough-housing with her brothers. More importantly, she looked happy. [describe?] Pregnancies were my favorite part of herbalism for that reason.
“Can I tell Zef about the baby before I retire to my bed chamber?” The Princess asked as she sat up in bed. When she felt stable she let go of my hand and protectively cradled her small bump. Its swollen nature showed if one paid attention to it. I was surprised her husband hadn’t noticed it the prior evening when he bedded her. Nom snapped, her indication that she wanted the towel I held for her. The snapping initially annoyed me until I gathered up the courage to confront her about it, which was when she explained that – while annoying – it was the move she used to protect her assistants. She knew the sound and visual made the patient subconsciously associate the it with superior and inferior roles, which meant any accusations fell on Nom’s doing and not her assistants. She wanted this so that if she was ever actually caught transporting abused women out of Lynthia that she alone
Nom wrapped the cloth over her hand, wringing her hands dry.
WORD COUNT: 1709
Can I please get a day where I’m not surrounded by the chaos of doctor appointments and meetings? K…thanks.
LOL – I’m exhausted. All I can say is that this is going to get a re-write come editing process time.
I like this first portion.
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