Lessie walked through the deep underbrush, parting branches along her way. The rain was coming down so thick that she could barely see her hand in front of her face. She had ignored her commanding officer’s orders to stay at the camp and had gone out into the forest where she had swore she saw a ship go down. She had laughed to herself when she had left, for what could the commander do, pull rank? She was the princess after all, so the “commanding” part was merely a formality.
She stopped to catch her breath and drink some rain water off of a large hanging leaf on the tree next to her. The water was sweet for this time of year. The bitter waters of the cold months had already begun to fade away on Bayshen.
She knew she should be getting closer to where the craft had crashed. The ship had gone down northeast of the medical outpost and from the sight of the pluming smoke, she worried there wouldn’t be any survivors. As a healer, it was her job to make sure all life was taken care of. She wondered about the owner of this vessel, because as she left, she swore she heard the commanding officer mutter, “That blasted princess is going to get herself killed by a damn Nardisian soldier.”
Lessie finally made it to a clearing as the rain started to lighten up. She saw the wreckage of a ship where it had crashed, almost demolishing the tree it was lodged in. She cautiously made her way across the grassy field. Pulling her long knife from its holster on her hip, she walked up to the ship, which she could clearly see its distinct Nardisian markings. She checked for any movement and finally climbed the branches of the large wounded tree and looked down into the cockpit, which sat torn open and vacant.
She used her perch from up in the tree to scout the area for any signs of life, when she saw something moving on the opposite edge of the field, the remains of a life-chute, blowing in the wind. She climbed down, seeing nothing of use on the ship and was about to walk away when something caught her eye. Lodged in a side pouch next to the controls, she could see the glimmer of the chain of a small necklace. She reached in and pulled it out. Her hands were shaking as she looked at it, mesmerized the sight of the memorable brilliant violet stone set in the middle. This necklace, she had seen it before, but couldn’t remember where. Putting it in her pack, she jumped down from the ship and made here way through the trees towards the big white fabric billowing and getting carried away by the breeze. Blood spattered the chute and a giant chunk of metal lay next to the unclasped buckles where the chute had been released. The ground was matted with footprints, though she couldn’t tell if the struggle had been just with the pilot himself or if there had been others here. She followed the dragging footsteps until she could see that they ended where the rocks and outcroppings began. This lost Nardisian soldier could be anywhere up in the rocks, she thought wryly to herself, and probably dead at this point.
She wondered if it was worth it to keep going, the commander’s words ringing in her ears, when she heard a low moan from behind a piling of rocks in front of her. She cautiously made her way silently atop the boulders. Her feet covered in soft animal skin, made no noise as she moved.
She saw a form laying on the ground, clothes and body wet from the pouring rain and blood streaking in pathways down the little rivers of water on the rocks. He didn’t look to be conscious. And he was definitely a Nardisian. They were the exact opposite to Bayshenites with their jet black hair and pure white skin, where all Bayshenites were dark skin and pure white hair. Oddly enough, they were the yin and yang of each other, but not for a long time had they been at any kind of peace as war had raged on between their people.
She gently rolled him over, her hand on the handle of her knife, ready in an instant to end him if she had to, though she prayed she wouldn’t. She had become a healer to heal. She did everything she could to save lives, not to take them.
The Nardisian soldier’s head had a deep gash where he had tried to wrap his shirt around it. His bare chest rose and fell slowly and she could see that his skin was mottled on his abdomen where bruises were blossoming in great number. She worried he had internal bleeding and knew she had to get him somewhere safe to take care of him and save his life if he was going to have any chance at survival. Running back to the life-chute, she brought it over to him and gently rolled him onto it. Tying it around his feet to keep him from rolling out, she took her pack and lay it under his head, hoping to keep him from bouncing around as much as possible. She grasped the rope ends and pulled gently, pulling him up to the rocky crags, where she knew a myriad of caves existed. It felt like an eternity before they made it to one big enough to keep him safe and sound from any prying eyes. She knew if they were found, that would be the end of him. He was her enemy, but that did not matter to her. And there was also something familiar about him, that she just couldn’t place.
Lessie used the chute as his bed and lay him as far away from the opening of the cave as she could. She pulled out a few candles from her pack and lit them quickly. She still had some light from outside, but she knew that would be lost soon. She worked quickly to wash her hands with the herbal cleanser she kept in her bag. She knew she would have to be fast if she was going to save his life. For the next three hours, she labored over his wounds. And as she had feared, she found his abdomen to be filled with blood. She realized once she made it to his abdominal would that she had used the last of her serum to heal the deep wound on his head. She would have to get more supplies and prayed the crudeness of stitches would hold long enough for her to get more serum, which she hoped would actually work. She wondered if any of her Bashenite medicines would work on his Nardisian body.
She marveled at the young man laying on the rocky cave floor fighting for his life. She still felt there was something oddly familiar about his face, but she couldn’t place it. She pulled the necklace out of her pack again as he slept and she watched the colors catch the light of the candle and dance around the cave.
Purple, this purple stone, why did it mean something to her? Why did he mean something to her? Would he survive and be able to tell her who he was? She didn’t even think about how she could get him safely off her planet or if she would be obligated to bring him back to her commanding officer. Questions like these plagued her mind as the day turned to night and she finally made a bed at the entrance of the cave and fell into a restless slumber, waking every hour to make sure her patient still lived.