She tried to warn them. They wouldn’t listen.
As a child, Terrin of Xell barely escaped a spirit from the Dark Forest. She knows better than to rely on magic. But with her schoolmate Chris accused of a magical crime he didn’t commit, she couldn’t let him face banishment alone.
So Terrin gets caught up in Chris’s quest to recover an ancient relic, with only magic to guide them. Naturally, everything goes wrong.
What lurks in the shadows, hunting Terrin and her friends? Or did the magic itself turn against them?
Hunted: The Riddled Stone Book Two is being serialized freely on this website at the pace of one chapter per week. You can buy the full novel at my publisher’s store or in ebook or paperback format at your favorite online retailer.
Click here to read from Chapter One. Or go back to the very beginning in Banished: The Riddled Stone Book One.
“How are you feeling today?” Nora asked as she entered the healer’s hut.
Arnold had shifted himself to be sitting up in the hammock, leaning into the wall. His left forearm lay across his lap, the stump wrapped in white linen.
“Fine,” he said. “Am I allowed to get up yet?”
“Patience, sir knight! Let’s take a look.”
She set down her bowl of water and reached for his arm. Gently she unwrapped the outer cloth and pulled at the dressing, sponging it with water where it stuck. Arnold watched her, clearly trying to look nonchalant. He had slept through the last time she checked his wound, so this would be the first time he saw his stump.
“We need to soften the dressing, so it won’t pull at your skin,” she explained.
The more he knows, she thought, the less helpless he will feel.
“You might as well pay attention, so you can tend to this yourself. I don’t plan on being your servant.”
Arnold gave a short laugh, but his jaw clenched.
Nora tugged again at the dressing, and this time it came off cleanly. The skin looked bruised but not inflamed. Good. She picked up a new cloth and dipped it in the water.
“Don’t scrub hard when you wash. Rub gently, to clean and stimulate the skin. And check for drainage, redness, or new swelling.”
She put a clean dressing on and wrapped the outer cloth around, pulling it snug to reduce swelling.
“You need to tuck in the ends to hold it in place, like so.” She pulled the cloth back off and held it out. “Would you like to try?”
He reached over and fumbled with the cloth, then dropped his hand in frustration.
“My fingers are too thick for such work.”
“No, but it does take practice.” She fastened the wrap again. “You’ll learn. How is the pain?”
“I can handle it.”
She smelled the sticky-sweet tang of a healing brew. Koresh came into the room, tea mug in hand.
“Of course you can handle it,” he said. “But do not be stupid. Untreated pain will only lengthen the healing process. Here, drink.”
Arnold scowled at the cup.
“Will it make me sleep? I’d rather have the pain.”
“He wants to walk around,” Nora explained.
The healer nodded.
“Surgery strains the entire body system,” he said. “But no one ever listens until they feel it for themselves. One-half hour only, and stay with him.”
He handed her the tea and left.
Nora turned back to Arnold and placed her free hand on her hip.
“So,” she said, “if I let you get up, do you promise not to run off and search for Terrin?”
The day before, when he had woken up after the operation and heard that Terrin was gone, Arnold had been worried she was pulling a Chris and abandoning them.
He snorted. “As if I would even know how. I never had to take tracking classes. Besides, Terrin can take care of herself.”
“Then, sure. Drink this first, and you can walk. Just don’t put any pressure on your wound.”
“Finally!” he said, swinging his legs to the side of the hammock. He stumbled a bit, but Nora grabbed his right arm and helped him get his balance.
“That hanging cot will be the death of me,” he said, “with all its bouncing about. Do you know how hard it was just to sit up in it?”
He reached for the cup and drained it, grimacing at the taste.
Nora pulled back the doorway to let him escape into the sunshine.
Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Gaskins
Published by Tabletop Academy Press.
Cover and layout copyright © 2016 by Tabletop Academy Press
Cover Photo Credits: “Girl with bow” by Yeko Photo Studio via DepositPhoto.com and “Forest, untagged” by Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash.com.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.