It hurts. It no longer mattered whether or not she specified what 'it' was; everything hurt. She opened one eye - why wouldn't her other open, it was paining her something horrible - and tried to make out the fuzzy shapes around her. The forest, still? Left to die? no, she was moving. Clumsily - being carried or dragged, she could scarcely discern.
Then let me die... She closed her eye again.
"Let me through!" Aerinn edged his way through the crowded tavern's main hall, trying to minimize the girl's contact with anything. A few of her wounds were open again, bleeding - his fault? He couldn't be sure. "Get me some water and bandages - bring them to my room." the serving girl nodded, looking with wide eyes at the bloody form he carried.
Aerinn managed to deposit the girl on his bed, panting slightly. She must weigh as much as he did and possibly more - to his unending frustration, he was eternally scrawny. The serving girl appeared with the water, turning away from the sight of all the blood. He thanked her and set about cleaning his discovery as best he could.
She should have died.
We should have let her die.
She is needed yet.
But what will become of her?
She is strong.
Even the strong have their limits.
She gritted her teeth. What were they...
"You let this happen..." Not a question.
Child, you cannot -
"You had the power to stop them - to let me stop them... and you let this happen."
"YOU LET THIS HAPPEN!"
A growl escaped her lips and Aerinn pulled back. A girl guarded by the wolves was not someone who he wanted to have angry with him. The growling ceased, but her entire body was tense as he tried to bandage the worst of the cuts.
"Who did this?" There was no answer. He would have fallen over backwards from fright had there been one. "And now they all think I'm some sort of Old Spirit... being summoned by wolves like that. Is that what you are? But the Old Spirits... it's said they do not bleed. And you..." he lifted his tunic, covered in dried blood. "You most certainly do." With a sigh, he rummaged through his bag.
"You let this happen." She wished they had tangible entities that she might attack them. But they remained always untouchable. She hated them. She had always hated them.
Child, you are still needed -
"So you leave me to die at the hands of those who hate you more than I?"
Not to die, child. You have a companion now.
"I want no companion. I want my life back! I had a life! A good one! And you... you took that from me!" There was a sense of dropping to her knees - for while there was technically neither form nor movement, to those so accustomed to human form, there was always some feeling of physical activity - and tears streamed down her cheeks. Here, she was whole, still. She knew why the other eye had not opened; she could see her body and knew the extent of her wounds. She should have died.
She was crying. Aerinn leaned closer to her. Tears were moistening the pillow beneath her bandaged head. The wound that had been her eye was bleeding slightly. It appeared as if she were crying tears of blood. As gently as possible, he wiped the tears from her face. It had been some time since he had found her; the sun was setting. He wondered if she would heal with the rising of the moon - that was what all the fables said of the Old Spirits. Whatever wounds they received, all were healed as the moon rose. But those were silly stories, told to children as they drifted to sleep. But if not one of the Old Spirits, what was this creature lying before him? Human in form, with the eye - the memory of her one amber eye still made him shudder slightly - of something unearthly, guarded by wolves and hunted by men... Was she human at all?
Child, this was necessary -
"Necessary? Martyrdom would have sufficed! Casualties are necessary! But this... THIS?" had she been before them she would have raised her arms to show them the wounds, long slashes around and in some places almost through the flesh.
For what you will become, child...
"What I will become. Heh." A mirthless chuckle. "And if I become someone you do not want me to be? What then? Your powers are limited now. You couldn't prevent an attack on a little girl. Pathetic." she would have spat on the ground in front of them.
"I am not your child!"
You will take your mother's place.
"Is this it, then? Is this what drove her mad?"
No... not yet...