...As we rode I wondered if I would have the honor of meeting the Great Protector. Then I began thinking about why we were going to Gelsey. My thoughts turned from Maru to the injured horses as I created images of these maimed creatures. Whatever possessed you to volunteer for such a gruesome task? I asked myself as we neared the base of Riga Mountain. Fear began to overtake my excitement.
“We are nearly there,” said Father. “Slow the horses. This canyon is dangerous. We do not want our horses to sustain any broken legs.”
With Father leading the way, we carefully traversed the rocky canyon. We made our way around a large boulder, and I saw the horses lying on the ground. We moved closer and closer, and I began to realize that my images of the injuries were nowhere near as horrific as what I was now witnessing.
The sides of my jaw began to tighten. Then a cold sweat came over me. Within seconds I felt the warmth of my breakfast burning its way up my throat and out my mouth. Mother helped me off my horse while I continued to vomit. I waved my hand motioning to her to go help Father.
I began to scold myself, Carena, stop this. You are here to help these poor animals. You cannot help them if you cannot get your emotions under control. Do you want to spend the rest of your life healing small birds in Shaylee? I finally gathered my composure and made my way to where Mother and Father were working.
“Carena, tend to that hot-blood over there. Use the same stones you used when you healed that injured doe near our cottage that had been attacked by a bear.”
Father sensed my hesitation. “Go, Carena. He will die without assistance. Your mother and I must tend to these horses. We cannot help him so you must.” Then he turned from me and laid a poultice on his patient and continued the healing.
I quickly made my way to my patient. Though I was shaking, I took a very deep breath and opened my pouch. As I looked for the stones I needed, a voice whispered in my ear.
“Healer, please save Nissa. We have been together for nearly seven years. I do not know what I would do if he died.”
I looked up and there stood a Gelsey a few years younger than me. Her face showed no emotion but the tone in her voice was filled with desperation.
“I will do my best.” Then I took to task and feverishly began pulling one stone after another and holding it ever so slightly above the various wounds. I was able to stop most of the bleeding. Then the Echo that relayed Maru’s message approached.
“Can you communicate with horses?” I asked her. She nodded. “Please ask him where he is feeling pain?” I requested from the long-haired Listener.
“He says he has terrible pain in his hind quarter.”
After moving him carefully I noticed a splintered piece of wood buried deep in his flesh. I removed it and cleaned out the wound. Mother had been watching me and came over to see how I was doing. She handed me a poultice and I quickly applied it to the wound. I explained to Mother what I had done and as she inspected my work a gentle smile formed. “Well done, Carena.” Then Mother turned to the Gelsey standing beside me. “He needs rest now. He will be unable to train with you until the beginning of the next cycle of the moons. Is that understood?”
The Gelsey nodded and Mother walked back to her charge. “Thank you, Healer. Nissa and I are most grateful for your assistance.”