The Husband and Hero
The stench of his blood lingers in the back of my mind.
My brain floods itself with memories of the event.
The cold forestry dirt is residing itself inside the sole of my boots and despite washing off my face, the vanished splatter still weighs heavily on my mind.
It’s my fault. If I went with the original plan, then maybe he wouldn’t he injured. Maybe I would’ve taken his spot, maybe-
A heavy tone I’ve never heard before comes out of Erebus’ mouth. His hands are firmly grasping my shoulders and his eyes are locked onto mine. Despite his firm eyes, his voice is shaken. Coming back to reality, I look back at him and can’t help but fill my eyes with tears.
Devilynn: “Erebus, It’s my fault, I-“
Erebus: “That’s enough! Crowriff choose to battle beside you. You didn’t cause this to happen.”
As soon as I respond, Erebus takes his hands away from me and re-adjusts his voice.
Erebus: “He’s getting help, we just have to wait and see what happens. If Fern finds you like this, she’ll claim you as disposable.”
Wiping the tears off my face, I glance up at him puzzled at his last comment. Disposable? It’s such a strange word to be ‘claimed’ as. But, even so, I can’t imagine approaching Fern with the same composition I have now. I’ve disappointed her once; I can’t disappoint her again.
Erebus’ eyes are running up and down at my body, checking to see how my own wounds are faring. I’m pitiful. So unsettlingly pitiful to have my team members worried so much.
Erebus: “Have you heard about the rest of our forces?”
Still attempting to caught my voice, I shake my head in respond. With a tenuous sigh, Erebus begins to speak again.
Erebus: “We had thirty causalities on our side and about 40 injuries. In comparison, we ultimately did much better in this battle. Fern was jumping for joy when she heard the results.”
I let out a sigh of relief. If Fern is happy, then I should be happy, right?
One of the doctors on staff walks through the curtain that is creating a gap between the main infirmary room and the ‘surgery’ room. He is sweating profusely but has a sense of calmness written on his face.
Doctor: “Crowriff will survive. But his left hand is completely gone.”
While a big smile reaches across my lips, Erebus looks much more shaken.
Erebus: “Doc, will Crowriff be sent home?”
With a huge emphasis on the word home, Erebus eagerly waits for the doctor’s respond. Pondering for a moment, the doctor looks around the room before speaking.
Doctor: “Hmmm…That’s an interesting question. I suppose that will be up to Fern. I will call her in here shortly.”
As both of us wait for Fern’s arrival, Erebus begins to pace the room. I can't help but think, he must truly care about Crowriff to be so nervous.
After what feels like a century, Fern walks inside the room with a very cheerful expression on her face. She looks as though someone just told her she won the war. Getting straight to the point, Fern begins to speak.
Fern: “I heard that Crowriff got injured. Doctor, may I see him?”
Doctor: “…I suppose, he just woke up a short while ago.”
With a very cold tone, the doctor agrees to let Fern see Crowriff, despite him still adjusting after his treatment. Reaching for the curtain to the other side of the room, the doctor glances over at Erebus and I.
Doctor: “You may both see him as well.”
Lifting up the curtain, relief rushes over me as I see Crowriff lying down peaceful in one of the cheap infirmary beds.
Crowriff: “Hey guys!”
Glancing over at Fern, Crowriff lets out a small shaken whine.
Crowriff: “Hello your majesty.”
Fern’s cheerful expression now looks more forceful than before. She ignores his greeting and begins to examine him with her eyes.
Devilynn: “Crowriff, I’m so glad you’re okay!”
The sense of relief and excitement rushes through me and I can’t help myself but begin to talk over Fern. I bring myself over to the side of his bed and smile brightly.
While I can’t stop smiling, Crowriff is giving off a very serious face. It’s very much unlike him.
Crowriff: “Did the generals get away?”
Startled by his sudden question, I try to hide my dampened mood.
Devilynn: “They got away, but I think it’s fair to say we won this battle.”
Crowriff let’s out a very quiet chuckle and then looks up at Fern who is still examining him. Considering the amount of sweat and shakiness from him, looks as though he's on trial.
His eyes are filled with a sense of dread as Fern begins to speak. Her tone makes it seem as though she is upset.
Fern: “I think it’s time you went home.”
Crowriff: “I-I can still fight!”
Pleading with her, Crowriff sits up firmly and places his right hand on his chest. As soon as he does, you can see the pain from his injury get to him. His eyes are shaking as he talks.
Devilynn: “Crowriff, you’re severely injured. You should go home and get some rest.”
Crowriff: “Devilynn…but I can still-”
Crowriff looks at me in disbelief and then finally clenches his fist together. Fern walks up to him, and grabs his chin; she directs her gaze towards his.
Fern: “If you are not suited for perfection, you are disposable. When morning comes, you will go home.”
That word again. Disposable. Did she really just direct it to Crowriff?
Fern takes away her hand in a disgusted like manner and then begins to walk out of the door. Before she makes her way out of the room, she pauses and stares Erebus' and my way, while avoid eye contact with Crowriff.
Fern: “Sir Erebus and Devilynn, please be ready for attendance at the dining hall. I want to go over something with the both of you…that is all.”
Coldly, Fern proceeds to walk outside; the doctor follows her close by.
The room runs silent as Crowriff, Erebus, and I all staring at one another. Breaking the silence, I finally speak forward.
Devilynn: “Crowriff, don’t worry. Your safety is more important; I promise you that Erebus, Fern, and I will win the war for you. Isn’t that right, Erebus?”
A cold breeze enters the room as I look back at Erebus. Although trying to hide it, Erebus is drenched in panic. It's a face I never thought I'd see him make.
Perhaps it’s his blue eyes being so similar to hers, but the look on his face reminds me of the look Eri died with. I turn my head away from Erebus as my nerves rise up.
With a swift pace, Erebus grabs Crowriff’s remaining hand tightly and leans in closely to his face. He whispers something so quietly that I can’t make a word of it. Lifting himself back up, Erebus releases his hand.
Erebus: “Crowriff, I promise on my lady’s word that we will meet again. I will do everything I must to stay alive on the battlefield. And-“
Erebus gestures his hands over to me in the middle of his statement.
Erebus: “And I promise to keep this idiot alive too…so please, let me meet you again.”
A sentimental short statement from Erebus makes the room feel brighter. Grabbing ahold of Erebus, I let out a loud laugh.
Devilynn: “And this idiot will make sure to keep to keep this other idiot safe!”
Crowriff swallows hard and begins to let out a mixture of sobbing and laughing.
Crowriff: “We will definitely meet again!”
Tears dwell into my eyes as the three of us have our final conversation before his later departure.
I wish I could have said that this memory was one I can happy look back on.
This would be a painful moment that I would regret forever.