Nîda: Tears, pt VIII

      Today’s snippet, titled “Nîda: Tears, pt VIII”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s new (Good) Pathfinder Campaign.
      Be forewarned, there are mature themes and naughty language below.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      The bottom of the chasm seemed a million feet away, but in truth, it could only have been a hundred or two… maybe a few more.
      Nîda landed softly, as if on a cloud, but collapsed to her knees anyway. She wanted to sob into her hands, but she was numb. Spine straightening with resolve, she realized that she was trembling so hard her teeth chattered.
      “…help me…”
      “Gods be good, Gods be good, Gods be good, Gods be-”
      “Donna? Donna, are you here? I can’t see you Donna, I can’t see anything!”
      Nîda tried to shut out the voices; the cries of pain, the raspy dying breaths, the shuffling of wounded feet in the rubble. She wanted to cast a fly spell upon herself and rise out of this grave, to fight and live another day, to atone for the wicked, vengeful angel she had been, to make certain that Terendelev’s death was not in vain.
      She could not. She was too weak, too shaken. And as she looked up, she saw that the gash had sealed itself up – there was no light above.
      Nîda had enough presence of mind to conjure a globe of light, illuminating the scene before her. She immediately wished she hadn’t.
      Broken bodies lined the rubble-strewn chamber, but the worst were the faces she knew. Three young priests who, like Jovi, had taken their full oaths just this morning, were dead. Their limbs crushed and scattered. Nîda would have lost her breakfast, had she been feeling well enough to eat.
      The four she had saved were climbing to their feet now. One was an older woman, perhaps fifty, in common roughspun and wooden clogs. A second was a child no more than ten, with big blue eyes and the dusky complexion of a Varisian. She grabbed the hand of a hulking young man with similar features but whose eyes were nearly black. The fourth was a man somewhere around six feet tall, who wore a fine breastplate with gold-chased embossing, and had eyes like emerald fire.
      “Athynacious Bernard,” he said, instantly recognizing Nîda       as his savior. “Thank you, ma’am.”
      “Nîda. I- I’m Celenîdaneth Loshenthenniel, Arcanist Regiment. Of the Silver Legion.”
      He smiled wanly. “Everyone who is injured… let’s gather them close together and I’ll see what I can do.”
      “You’re a priest?”
      “Servant of Iomedae,” Athynacious nodded. “I’ll do all I can.”
      With the help of those who remained able-bodied, they spread out across the chamber and freed those trapped beneath stone and wood, pulling the survivors together in the center of the room. Nîda was surprised to find that Lord Henrietta was one of those still alive.
      “The ring,” the Lord managed, blood frothing at her lips. “Almost saved me.”
      It was a ring enchanted with the spell, Feather Fall, that had saved Nîda and a few others. Nîda was familiar with it and as she knelt beside her mentor, the woman’s heavy head in her lap, she wondered aloud why it had not stopped her from hitting the ground so hard.
      “Wasn’t the fall… was the rubble. Crushed my hand.” Every syllable was an effort, but as was her way, Henrietta would not stop talking until she had said all she wished. “Broken ribs. Leg too, I think. Can’t feel it. Don’t know how… how I am… still here.”
      “My Lord, hang on for a minute more. This man here, he’s a priest. He is going to call down the power of Our Lady. The Inheritor’s very hand will heal you, please, just- just hold on.”
      Henrietta coughed, wincing. A fresh drop of blood trickled from the corner of her lips. “ Too late for that, for me. Back is broken. Won’t walk. Won’t… can’t… but, my sword. P-put my sword in my hand, Nîda…”
      Even as Athynacious’ holy power washed over them, Nîda obeyed Lord Henrietta’s request. She could see a softening of agony on the old woman’s face, but her breathing was no less labored and it was obvious that she could still not move her legs. Her chest was still rising and falling, but it was shallow – so shallow. When Nîda pressed the hilt of the ceremonial sword into her hand, she found that the Lord’s fingers did not seem to work right either and she had to wrap her own around as well, to hold the weapon.
      “Not… a mouse,” Henrietta said, her eyes glassy. “You… fight. You… you…”
      Her last words were lost in a weak spell of coughing. When at last the Lord of the Silver Legion lay back, a final exhalation passed her lips and she moved no more.
      “My Lord? My Lord, no!”
      Nîda refused to let the tears consume her again, and folded Henrietta’s hands upon her chest.
      Athynacious was praying over other corpses and Nîda echoed his words. “May Iomedae’s Glory guide you into the afterlife. No matter which God you venerated in life, may you find peace and be reunited with your loved ones in the beyond.”
      “You fought the good fight, my Lord.” She continued, a small eulogy for the Lord alone. “Yours was one of the finest reigns in our history and it will not be forgotten. A valiant end for you, who trained so many to help destroy the evil here.”
      “Do you… want to make a cairn?”
      Nîda stood, brushing off her dress. “I do. But… there are those left with use who will need more help than we can give, and quick. It doesn’t look like there is much by way of food amongst us either. We haven’t the time or manpower to… do that. But we could give them all a clean burning.”
      Athynacious paused, considering. “Let’s do that. Then we’ll try to find a way out.”
      An hour later, ten people marched slowly out of the chamber. Nîda walked just behind Athynacious, with the other unarmored civilians between her and the man bringing up the rear. He had been the strongest of the other survivors, and the one most suited to donning the Lord’s ceremonial armor. His little sister rode on his back, despite Nîda’s contention that that was a dangerous place to be. The young man would not listen to a word any one had to say where it concerned little Marcy.
      Nîda wondered if they would ever see the surface again… and if she would ever forgive herself.
      They had given all the bodies in the chamber a clean burial by fire.
      All except Jovi, whom she hid behind some rubble and left to rot.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “King Jagiello Statue Central” by (Mulligand) from SXC.hu; edited by me

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