The Thornless Rose: Fire Blush

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This is the first half of chapter 1 from the first novel in my fantasy fiction trilogy. I am self-publishing and it is due out this fall. For more information, please visit samanthafidlernewby.com.

          A pair of sapphire eyes appeared in the crack of the oak doors, unnoticed, as two men in the room quietly argued about what lay on the table by the fireplace. Firelight danced on the walls as Viviana watched the men’s faces and listened as the argument escalated. She listened to their voices, but she could not pull her eyes away from the object on the table. The blood soaked sheet rose and fell, as if alive. The sound of a fist hitting the wooden table snapped her attention back to the two men in the room.

“You must call for her and you know it,” the shorter of the two men growled as they stood by the table beside the fireplace. She gasped as she realized blood caked them from their heads to their boots.

“I know he needs her, but I am scared of what she must face. He knows so much. If he tells her anything, all will be for naught…all he has sacrificed.” Viviana’s father sighed and sat down in his chair. His body shuddered under the weight of his decision. “I will call on her if he becomes worse in the next hour. I do not want to bring her here unless I absolutely have to.” He looked towards the door. She quickly pressed against the frame and waited for the men to start talking again, giving her the chance to escape down the hall.

Swiftly, she moved down the corridor and used a hidden passageway leading to another empty hall. In moments, her cloaked figure found a small staircase lit by the moonlight streaming through stained glass windows. A single door at the top of the stairs opened to a small bedroom, furnished with beautiful oak dressers and a four-post bed. The opened curtains fluttered when the door closed, and a small noise escaped Viviana’s mouth. She quickly removed the cloak and let her dark, amber hair cascade down her back. After jumping into bed, Viviana waited for sleep to come, but her mind was filled with questions. What was that on the table? Whom must she save? Flipping open the leather-bound book, where she kept all her important thoughts and feelings, Viviana wrote intensely until a knock on her door made her jump. She quickly hid the journal.

“Viviana, may I come in?” A deep and husky voice asked from the other side of the door.

“Of course, Father,” her honey-sweet voice said. As she watched him come in, she hoped he did not notice her cloak was out of place. She glanced at her healer’s bag lying by the door, ready with all her supplies.

Her father slowly entered with a lantern that lit the entire room, but he would not look at her. He looked like a man on the verge of collapsing, and it startled her.

“What is wrong? Why are you crying?” She sat up in bed as he sat by her feet. He motioned for her to give him a hug.

“My little girl…my only child…I have a heavy boon to ask of you,” he said as he held her close.

“What happened? Is someone injured?” The look on his face twisted her stomach in knots. She knew that look.

“Why do you think someone is hurt?” he asked, puzzled by her question.

“You are crying, and you do not cry, Father. Did someone die?”

“No, but…he is close to it.” He tried to clear away the tears from his face.

She paused for a moment and understood what he was asking from her. The toll on her body from healing a person on death’s door was unknown. There was no way of telling if she could even manage it. Whoever she was to save, he must be important.

Her eyes met his and she gave him a weary smile. “I will do whatever I can. Who is it?”

“Your cousin, Anthony. I need, I mean he, needs your healing touch. He is barely hanging on, and it would kill your uncle and aunt if they lost him. Your Aunt Mathilda has done all she can for him, but he needs more. I know what this might do to you…” he trailed off as he looked into her eyes. She placed her hand on his.

“I know how this affects you, Vi,” he continued. “The last time you healed someone, you were unconscious for almost a day. He is badly beaten and bruised, but I do not want to put you in danger again.”

Viviana jumped from the bed and was met with an intense bear hug from her father.

“We should hurry,” she said, breathing in the scent of blood and dirt on her father’s clothes. She went to the door to gather her healer’s bag and shoes.

“Would you put some clothes on, please?”

“Oh,” she picked up her cloak from the bed and put it on.

He sighed and guided her to the door. “I will have Rox get you something decent when the sun rises.”

Her father was right; no one knew what would happen to her if she used her gift on someone on the verge of death. Her last patient had only broken her arm. The pain she felt afterward lingered for several days, but no one knew about that. They worried enough about her and her abilities as it was.

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