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The New Dawn

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*Aunika wakes uneasily in unfamiliar surroundings with heavy quilts draped across her form. The mattress supporting her is so excessively soft she finds it difficult to get out of bed. Her brows furrow as she tries to move. Her arms, leg, and back are stiff and ache. The only light in the room emminates from a fire crackling in the fireplace on the far wall. Unfamiliar voices are heard beyond the door to her room. Aunika startles to realize that the drab off-white robe she is dressed in is not her own. Suddenly, she hears a faint rap on the door. Light spills into the room as the door opens and a small shadow steps into the room.*

 

Lil: Ahhh, you are awake.

 

Aunika: Where am I?

 

Lil:Just outside the city of Lathine. I'm Lilith. Most everyone calls me Lil,though.

 

Aunika: *rubs her forehead* How did I get here?

 

Lil: Just outside the city of Lathine. You and the others were so sick and badly injured that we couldn't make it all the way to the city....

 

Aunika: *mumbles confused* Others?...I...do not...know of any...

 

Lil: Oh, yeah. A slew of you. The rangers brought you to us to help you get to safety. There must have been a good 30 or 40 of ya. Some better than others...some were....*hesitates*...real bad. *lifts the quilts to examine Aunika's legs and Aunika tenses and pulls her legs in* It's ok. I just need to...check your feet....see how you're doing. *shy smile to comfort*

 

*Aunika reluctantly offers her feet. Her feet are a noticeable hue of purple and a long gash runs up the backside of her left leg, puncture wounds evident on her right. Lil gently runs a finger up the sole of each foot. Aunika's feet involuntarily reflex*

 

Lil: That's good! That's real good. It's ok. We can talk about the whys and hows and what-fors when you're feeling a bit better. It's a lot to take in.

 

*Aunika lays quietly, trying to process everything Lil had said. She tries harder to recall the events that preceded this moment*

 

Aunika: How long have I...we been here?

 

Lil: *thinks* I joined the caravan a few weeks ago. I'm not sure how long you and the others had been with them, but I can ask Jade about it if you like. She's been with you all the longest. You've got to be hungry. Can I get you something?

 

Aunika: Maybe a bit of blue fish...perhaps that should help me feel better.

 

Lil: Y'want fish? Eh, *wrinkles nose displeasingly* I'll see what I can do for you.

 

*Lil chants a whisper and touches Aunika's bedside comfortingly. Suddenly Aunika feels very drowsy and her eyes closes on their own.*

 

Lil: *smiles and whispers* Sleep tight. That's what will help you get better. We'll talk later...when you're stronger. Rest now. *quietly exits the room and closes the door softly behind her*

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