A prince trades freedom for the life of a giantess' pet to avoid an arranged marriage.
|A Charmed Life
Eric woke sometime that evening to a stream of curses flowing from Tor. "Those damned boys think they've won!" she shouted. "They think that they can put me on a wild horse and send me off and run away with my herds! Oh I am going to absolutely murder them when I catch up to them." She screamed in her raging fit. Eric felt the horse spook and shy slightly at the noise coming from his rider. More swearing ensued as Tor slid in the saddle. She quickly righted herself and wheeled Idiot around. The princeling thought he was going to be sick as his legs slid and bumped into the structure of the saddle, sending pain coursing up his body. He managed to keep the remnants of his breakfast down as Tor continued to rage.
When she finally calmed, several minutes later, he dared to speak. "Tor? What's wrong?"
"What's wrong? I'll tell you what's wrong!" she snapped. "My brothers thought they could take off with my herd! They put me on this stupid horse, left the corral gate open and let him run off with me! The moment I'm gone, they pack up everything we own and take off with it. All they left behind was some rations and my clothes. They took my horses, they took my wagons, they took everything!"
She growled under her breath as she swung down from Idiot's back. Eric tried to sit up straighter in the space he was nestled only to cry out when his legs shifted wrong and sent throbbing, stabbing pains across his nerves. Tor's eyes immediately went back to him and Eric tried to melt into the saddle from the intensity of her gaze.
"My offer to put you out of your misery is still open," she said.
He shook his head fervently. "No! No. I want to live. I'll heal eventually. I just need time."
Tor was quiet for a moment. "If that's what you want." She turned back to the pile of her things on the ground and sighed. There was a note, no doubt from her twin, stuffed into the pocket of a long-sleeved shirt. She opened it and read it silently.
I'm sorry. I couldn't stop them. I left you some clothes and food. I stashed your tent and bedroll in the trees. They won't tell me where we're going. I think this is Jason's idea, Brad and Thomas are just following his lead. I'll leave word for you in Settlement once we stop and I can figure out where they are headed. Please don't be mad.
All my love,
Tor growled and balled up the note, tossing it away. "Don't be mad?!" she shouted to nothing. Idiot shied at the noise but couldn't go any farther than the end of his reins. "Don't be mad my ass! I'm going to kill all four of them when I find them!" She stomped over to a tree and tied the horse there while she gathered everything that had been left for her. She tied the tent and bedroll to the back of the saddle, slathered her legs in ointment before changing into the pants that had been left for her. She pulled on a long-sleeved shirt and buttoned it over the sleeveless one she was already wearing. The clothes were rolled and tied together before being stuffed into a backpack that had been hidden with her tent and bedroll. She pulled this on and buckled it across her chest. Feeling a little better, she swung back into the saddle.
Idiot snorted and half-bucked. Tor, in no mood for foolishness, dug her heels into his sides and laid the reins across his withers. The stallion squealed and bolted until Tor brought him back down to a trot, then a brisk walk. "You'll learn," she told the horse. "No bucking allowed. Not with me, anyway."
Eric bit back more groans of pain at the rough pace. The jostling of his legs against the saddle was almost more than he could take. He welcomed the darkness as an escape from the fevered pain. The next thing he knew was the pressure of fingers around his ribs as he was lifted from the saddle. His mind was hazed with fever and pain and he couldn't tell where he was being taken. He cried out when his legs bumped against the fingers that held him. A soft voice, words unintelligible, floated down to his ears. He was set down on something soft. He felt the softness shift beneath him before what he could only guess was a blanket was draped over him. Warmth quickly ensued and sleep claimed him again.
He barely woke when he was lifted and placed somewhere snug and firm. The saddle, his mind supplied. The pace was rough again. He couldn't tell how fast they were moving, or the direction they were headed. He drifted between waking and sleep throughout the long ride. Something told him this was the longest he had been in the saddle, but he couldn't be sure. His mind was too exhausted to be certain of anything. The pressure around his sides came and went. He was supported by arms. Human, his senses told him. He managed to crack open his eyes and stare up at the fuzzy, distorted figure looming over him. His head lolled to the side and he heard two separate voices talking as he was carried away.
The next time he was able to come to consciousness, everything was different. The ceiling was low. A human building. The bed was made for a human. The linens and walls were the same stark white. There was a heavy medicinal smell in the air. A doctor's? His legs still hurt, but far less than before. He turned his head to the sound of someone entering the room.
An older man, perhaps his father's age, walked in with a clipboard in hand. He smiled when he saw Eric. "Ah! You're awake. That is good news indeed. You took quite a nasty fall, you know. That knot on your head was the size of a goose's egg. Not to mention the cut hidden by all your hair. And that's still leaving out your legs! We had to rebreak them in order to set them properly. Your mistress was less than pleased with your screams from that. I thought she was going to tear down the building with how she stomped up to it."
Tor? That couldn't be right. She didn't care that much. Eric gave the old man a look. "You must be as sick as me, good sir. Tor doesn't have affection for me. Of any sort. I am just a pet to her."
The doctor shrugged. "Believe what you will. I'll just be glad to get you healed and out of my office so I can go back to seeing my usual patients. She won't let me leave until you are declared whole and fit to leave with her."
Now that sounded more like his owner. Eric smirked just a little. "Then by all means, Doctor, heal me."
"I'm not a miracle worker," the old man huffed. "It will be a good week before those legs are set enough for you to withstand being jostled around on the back of that massive horse of hers. It's already a miracle that you survived. Just about anyone else would have died from such injuries."
"I am known as a stubborn individual," he tried to joke. "How long before I can get out of the building? Into the sunshine?"
The doctor mused on this for a moment. "I suppose I could wheel you out later this afternoon if you are feeling up to it. I have some medicine for you to begin taking. It will help the pain in your legs and help your body fight off the infection that had set in."
Eric reached up and felt the bandages that were wrapped around his head. He figured he must be a novelty to see, his head wrapped in bandages and legs in casts. He took the medicine the doctor gave him, ravenously ate the food offered and sat back to rest. He woke later that afternoon when the doctor returned to check on him. The older man was followed by a younger one pushing a long-backed whicker chair on wheels.
"How do you feel?"
"Better," Eric replied. "The pain in my legs is at a minimum, same with my head." He held still as the doctor took his pulse and blood pressure, listened to his heart, lungs and checked the bandages. "Am I well enough for a visit outside?"
"If you stay in the chair, yes. But you must stay in the chair. Your legs are not yet well enough to be walking on them. Bear with us as we shift you. And do not be shy if your head spins or your legs ache." The doctor pulled back the sheets as the young assistant wheeled the chair to beside the bed.
Despite the doctor's orders, Eric bit back the painful groans that threatened when he was lifted out of the bed and into the chair. He clutched the arms of the chair as the pain slowly subsided. When he was relaxed, the assistant wheeled him out of the room with the doctor leading them. It was only a couple minutes later that he was outside in the fresh air. He sighed deeply, happy to not be cooped up inside.
"That giantess left dents in the road," the assistant grumbled. "Both from her feet and that massive stallion of hers. I don't know how we're going to fix it. Our roads aren't meant to support giants! Stupid, lumbering idiots."
Eric turned and looked at the young man pushing his wheelchair. "I wouldn't say any of those words in her hearing if I were you. She would be well within her character to stomp you under her 'giant, lumbering feet.'" The man gave him a dark look but Eric just shrugged. "I am only warning you. Take my words to heart if you wish a long life."
They stayed outside for a while, Eric enjoying the sunshine and the two men expecting a visit from Tor. None came. The days slid by, turning into a week, then two, and three. Eric wondered if he had been abandoned here. If she no longer cared for him or the responsibility to look out for his well being. The fourth week marked a month and Eric was bordering on hysteria. He had no idea where he was in relation to his home, or Tor's settlement or destination. He thought he was well and truly abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no money, a head wound and two broken legs.
Chapter 1: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108755-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-1
Chapter 2: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108759-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-2
Chapter 3: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108766-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-3
Chapter 4: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108768-A-Charmed-Life-Ch-4
Chapter 6: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108810-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-6