Zasha's Capture


Zasha could hear the sounds of battle ringing out around him. He ignored it, focused on the task at hand. Around him, other healers began scrambling toward the wounded. He knew tonight the limits of their powers would be tested, as more burning orbs rained from the sky. They were enormous, standing a head over Zasha. They bounced and rolled before stopping, leaving trails of a burning substance in their wake.

The stench of burning flesh assaulted Zasha as he searched for survivors, each one he healed moving towards the battle as soon as they were able.

Looking up, Zasha called out to a healer, pointing her to the direction of a prone soldier. She ran to him, kneeling beside the body to heal him. Zasha knelt at another soldier, not ten yards away, before looking up to see the healer crushed along with the soldier she was healing.

The ball of fire that crushed them left nothing but smoldering remains as it rolled a bit farther. Heavy drops rained down Zasha's front, he dared not inspect them too closely.

It felt as if he had just walked into a nightmare.

Even though it was his feet and his hands that were feeling everything, his antennae that were hearing everything, it seemed as if he were moving in a dream. As he fell to his knees beside what turned out to be another lifeless body, he wondered how long he could keep this up. How long his energy would last as he kept searching among this horror for those who could be saved.

He had a responsibility. He was a healer before all else. He had been Touched by Areala Herself. He could not fail Her now.

He would heal until he could not. It was all he could do.

He moved to another body, burnt almost past recognition, barely alive. Zasha touched deep into that pool of innate power inside him, pouring out that energy like water from a pitcher.

The face being brought back from the ruins of savage burns was one he knew.

"Zasha." He recognized Taran's voice. "You have to go back to the castle! If you are captured-"

Taran stopped speaking abruptly and shoved Zasha to the ground. Only just healed, he stood, grabbing the sword from his side and moving between Zasha and an attacking Garkian.

The presence of the enemy here meant the front line had been broken. Zasha sat on the ground frozen, watching Taran and the Garkian battle.

It was awful. Zasha had never witnessed the front lines of the war first hand. He had seen the results, but never the actual sight of someone being run through with a sword.

He saw it now, as the Garkian thrust its own through Taran, blood dripping from the end of the blade that exited Taran's back. The blade was jagged, made to destroy the flesh when it thrust in. The Garkian laughed, turning to smile at Zasha, where he watched in horror from the ground.

Zasha did the only thing he could, he lay hands on Taran's leg and healed him where he stood, pouring more of his power into the injured man. Taran kept his feet as the confused Garkian pulled its blade from his body, horrid ripping noises and a new river of blood accompanying the exit.

He felt the spray of blood as Taran used his own sword to sever the creatures head. It ran down his face, mingling with the blood that was there from countless others, before dripping off his nose and chin.

The head plopped down, followed by the crumpling of the Garkian's lifeless body.

It was the first Garkian he had ever seen up close.

It was hideous.

The creature would have been huge, if the length of its body weren't stooped over. It looked remarkably like an overgrown, deformed frog, even down to its hands. Its skin looked as if it would be slimy to the touch, not that he had any intention of touching it. It had a huge head with a round, bulbous eye set on each side, and a long wide mouth with thin lips. It was shades of green, but not like the plants and forests that Zasha loved. Instead, the colors reminded him of putrid wounds and decaying vegetation.

Zasha was dragged from the ground, glad to leave his macabre observation behind.

"We have to get you out of here." Taran was trying to pull him from the encampment.

"No! Put me down! There are others who need healing!" Zasha struggled in Taran's grasp. He could not abandon men to die that could still be saved!

"I cannot do that. You cannot be captured!"

Zasha did not understand.

Until he looked across the burning field and saw Garkian's grabbing healers. He felt his blood run cold as he watched swirling portals open before each of the Garkian's with a healer in their possession. Once they stepped through, the portals snapped closed before anyone could follow.

It seemed this attack had a specific purpose.

The army would be at a terrible disadvantage without Areala's blessed. Zasha stopped struggling as Taran lifted him over his shoulder before running to the edge of the encampment.

It was a miracle that they encountered no more enemies. When they reached the woods, Taran set Zasha down and began to drag him along. Zasha just followed behind him, feeling an impending sense of dread settle over his heart, as he thought of the healers who were now in the hands of their enemies.

Taran pulled a white pebble from somewhere inside of his armor and chanted a word before throwing it on the ground. A silver portal opened before him, and he once more lifted Zasha and stepped through.

They were in a room Zasha did not recognize. It was completely covered with runes that swirled and connected. They were all silver and converged in the center of the room, where he and Taran were now standing. There was a door set into the wall in front of them, the runes ran across it, too. This was the result of an accomplished sorcerer, and would have taken many cycles to create. He turned to question Taran as the door burst open and Cora burst inside the room.

"Cora?" Zasha stared at her in disbelief as she ran to him and embraced him, sobbing his name.

"Zasha, Zasha. I thought you were dead! I had a vision of you being tortured..." Cora fell to her knees, taking him with her as she sobbed. "Taran has been watching over you all this time. I warned him not to be far from you when I had my vision."

So, it seemed Taran had known who he was all this time. It also seemed his twin was skilled with sorcery as he was with healing. He had never heard her speak of visions before. He turned to regard Taran, who was apparently his appointed guardian.

"I am sorry," the voice was Taran's, "I could not tell you, by order of the Queen."

Zasha thought it was a bit ridiculous of him to be hurt, but he was. He had thought Taran had liked him, not knowing he was the Prince. It seemed insignificant when he began to realize the magnitude of tonight's events. Being liked for who he was, was really nothing when he considered the slaughter and devastation he had witnessed only moments ago.

"Cora," he remembered there were things his sister should know. "They were taking healers as captives."

She looked at him and her face paled as the enormity of what he was saying sank in.

"Oh, Goddess. No..."

The war had already been hard. The only reason that they had been able to hold off the enemy was because of those blessed by Areala. All of the most skilled healers had been at that camp because they were the closest to those in the direst need of healing. From what Zasha had seen, their numbers would be decimated. Without healers, the casualties would jump exponentially. Not to mention the ruin to the morale of the army.

"What can we do?" Zasha's voice sounded hollow, even to himself.

They had no allies. The Faerian kept to themselves, to their own planet. They had an army only because one was essential. Now that they were under attack, they had no ties with any other race. No one on who they could call for help.

"We need allies," Zasha spoke what he knew they were all thinking. "But who would want to come to our aid now? There would be no benefit to helping us when we are at our weakest point."

Cora grew silent. She looked into Zasha's eyes and said, "There is one who has offered to help us. They have sought audience with me more than once."

"What?! Why did you not accept before!" Zasha was filled with disbelief. How could she have turned away an ally? She looked away from him.

"Their price is too steep." There was a strange quality to Cora's voice.

"It cannot be too steep now. Even if they demand half the planet, it is impossible to refuse. Unless you intend to watch as our world is destroyed before our eyes?!"

"It is too steep!" She sounded frantic.

Before he realized it, Zasha was screaming at Cora, digging his fingers into her arms and shaking her. "What could you possible refuse to give up! Are you so selfish?! What could be so precious to you that you would refuse to save our people for it!"

"You," Cora whispered.

Zasha stared at her, sure he had misheard.

"They will only accept an alliance by the one in direct line of the throne."

She looked at him fully, reaching her hands to stoke his face. When she pulled them away, they were stained with the blood of both Garkian and Faerian that Zasha had encountered that day. It was an ill omen.

"It is too steep." Her voice was barely audible.

Zasha thought of Gowron. Somewhere out in the expanse of the universe was the one his heart was bound to. It seemed they were truly never to be. He felt the tiny spark of hope he had not realized was still burning in his chest, die. His fingers lost their grip on Cora's shoulders as he slumped to the floor.


Gone was the last tiny ember of hope.

The room was silent until Zasha spoke.

"Then they shall have me."

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