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Chapter 17

He sat up and was immediately assaulted by a tumult of sobs and embraces from the distraught little healer. He couldn't deny that he enjoyed it; the growing tightness in his pants was attesting to that. But he couldn't understand why it was happening. He remembered a jolt, followed by blackness, and then the patterns, and then he was awake, in no obvious pain, with a beautiful young woman literally throwing herself at, if not on him. He looked down at her face, and she looked up. He took her chin in his hand.

"Why the sobbing? What happened to all my happy little giggles?" He said compassionately.

"Your giggles?" she hiccuped, swallowed and then smiled.

"Well, I was kind of hoping that they were for me," he admitted. She reached up and pulled his face down to meet hers. She kissed him soundly on the lips. There was a certain restrained passion in that kiss. And yet there was something that hinted at more to come. She had a twinkle in her eye and a grin on her face.

"Which do you prefer? Giggles? Or that?" She knew she had him hooked. He knew it too, but he couldn't care less. He was as happy as a rabbit in a carrot patch.

"I think I'll have more some of the first and a little bit more of the second. I like to have my cake and eat it too." At this, he winked outrageously and they both set about giggling and kissing and embracing each other with a passion. They wrestled briefly on the narrow bed, but then one of them had the unnaturally common sense to fall off and pull the other with them. There were two very large thuds. They lay there on the floor, out of breath and as contented as possible. They stared at the ceiling a short while, still giggling, before they were interrupted by a set of footsteps outside the door to the room, followed by a brief knock and immediate entry. Mensk stood just inside the door, incredulous. He scowled at them briefly before he burst out laughing as the two lay there on the floor, too content to bother with moving.

"I should have known that you two were at it. Never should leave you kids alone these days, all these unnatural notions in your heads." He was laughing a hard as ever now. Both Leylau and Derrl blushed furiously, which only made Mensk laugh harder. He was enjoying himself. Things calmed down as they all took hold of themselves. Leylau and Derrl now sat on the bed side-by-side, hands intertwined. Mensk leaned against the washstand at the far wall. There was a brief awkward silence that gave Derrl time to think. A furrow creased his forehead, and Leylau smoothed it with her soft finger.

"What are you thinking of, my dearest?" She inquired.

"I'm not entirely sure what happened there." He was obviously slightly confused.

"You got hit in the head by the hoist that I installed in the shed," supplied Mensk. "You did a very good job of it too." He couldn't pass up a chance to kid Derrl.

"No, I mean after that, when I had blacked out, at first I felt without a body. Then there was a point of light tracing out patterns, and each pattern was accompanied by a vague feeling, as if something was happening to my body and I was detached from it. The first pattern brought a low rumbling and a moisture to air that wasn't there, but I knew about anyway. And then I felt isolated and untouchable with the second. With the third there was a sensation of raw power. The next simply flashed in front of me, and didn't do anything. Then it disappeared, and there was a new one that drew itself out. It was like the last one but different and I woke up to find her crushing the life back out of me." He was not holding anything back. Leylau felt that she had to tell him everything she could.

"As soon as we got you up here it started to rain, the same way it did earlier today with thunder and lightning, and then as soon as it came up, it vanished. Then I saw the splinter from the hoist, so I tried to cut it out but I couldn't cut the skin. At first I thought I had let my knife get dull, but then I cut myself with it. I still am having a hard time believing I could be so careless." She looked at her bandaged finger. This was the first that Derrl or Mensk noticed it. Derrl picked up her hand and kissed it lightly. He smiled.

"All better." They both just smiled. She continued with her story.

"Right after I cut myself, the air around you was completely charged with energy. Raw, seething energy. If I hadn't seen it crackling around you I would have been hurt." A brief frown crossed Derrl's face but she continued. "Then I pulled out my healerstone to try it and attempt to heal you. But before I could use it, you woke up." Derrl almost jumped. He hadn't thought of that; there was a rune on the healerstone after all. All doubt vanished from his face.

"Wait, may I see it?" He asked her tentatively. She nodded and reached over to where she had forgotten the stone when he woke up. She handed it to him gently, as if being careful of him, the stone, or both. He turned it over until he saw the rune. It didn't look quite right, but it did look familiar. Then he had a glimpse of genius, and turned it the other way up. Now it looked familiar, he could tell that it was a perfect match for the second to last rune that he had seen. He handed her back the stone.

"Do you think that you can explain the parts of the rune to me?" He asked nervously.

"I don't know much about it," she replied, "only that there is the part which is the spell, and the part which represents me, that's why no one but me can use this particular stone." The gears were grinding inside his head now. He was jumping from point of logic to point of logic.

"Can you show me which part is you?" He wasn't being particularly eloquent, he was only trying to get answers. She showed him the section of the rune. "I knew it!" he exclaimed. "When the last rune appeared, that's what had changed. I changed the name of the person using the spell. I healed myself!?" He almost didn't believe it himself, but the facts were in front of him. "I'm sorry Leylau, I wish I could walk you home, but I really need to go find a friend of mine who can help me with this. I wish it could be otherwise, but it's something that is vitally important." She nodded, tears beginning to form in her eyes. He got up, and then saw the tears. He gently kissed them away, as he stroked her soft blonde hair. She hiccuped and then quieted. "Mensk? When do you need me in to work?" Mensk stood against the far wall trying to take in the situation.

"I suppose you could come in by the tenth bell. There's not much that I need you to do tomorrow." He was a bit quiet now. Derrl turned back to Leylau.

"Can I see you after work tomorrow then? Oh, but I don't know where you live." He slapped himself in the head, although being careful to slap the left side. She smiled, and let out a short giggle.

"It's all right. I'll come get you." She was in high spirits now. Derrl smiled, kissed her and went out the door to find Kevesk. He waved to Mensk as he left.

"I'll see you both tomorrow."

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