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Chapter Four: Resting at Last

September 17, 2008

Swamp of Sorrows, 3 days later

The Core Hounds had pursued her for hours through the darkness.  Their searing breath on her neck, their exultant roars reverberating through the caverns.  They were almost on her when suddenly the ground gave way and she was falling.  The darkness was illuminated only by a red glow rising from the sea of molten lava below.  She screamed in agony as she broke the surface.   Waves of lava washed over her as the current slowly dragged her under.  She tried to fight but her armor weighted her down; trapping her within a sea of fire.

Watching the tormented figure Skelto wondered if saving her had been an act of kindness or cruelty.  Deakan wrung another cool cloth and gently bathed her face.  Despite his untiring efforts, he had been unable to bring down the raging fever or bring her out of her  delirium.  The priest sighed heavily, “If the fever doesn’t break soon we’ll lose her.  She’s burning up from the inside.”

Maggee laid her hand gently on his shoulder, “Get some rest, dear.  You’ve done all you can.”

Observing the couple Skelto was reminded of the day he happened upon their hut deep within the Swamp.  His pet, Dor, was injured and Deakan had surprised him with an offer of help.  Thus began an unlikely friendship that had lasted many years.  

Their past was a mystery.  He knew only that Deakan had once been a physician of renown and Maggee a respected and powerful mage instructor.  For reasons unknown they had disappeared from public life and chosen to live in seclusion.  They never spoke of their former life and, respecting their privacy, he never asked questions.  Over the years they had won his respect many times over and he knew if anyone could help the injured Paladin, it was them. 

After the others had gone to rest, Maggee found herself alone with the girl.  Over the last three days it had been apparent how desperately she fought to live.  Nevertheless, the convulsions that racked her body steadily increased and her cries of pain were growing weaker. 

She wished, as she had so many times over the last three days, that she could have known this girl in life.  Tears burned in her eyes and she ached for a friend lost before she had been found.  Another convulsion shook the girl, her cries of pain little more than a whimper.   Reaching out, Maggee took the girls hand in her own.  The skin was so hot it burned to the touch, but Maggee did not let go.  She would stay, offering what comfort she could, until it was over.

She broke the surface knowing this time was the last.  She had time only for a gasp of air before the waves knocked her back.  The current dragged her under and she no longer had the strength to fight.  The sea of magma closed over her for the last time.  Beyond the reach of rational thought but propelled by a will, forged through a lifetime of determination, to go on fighting, she reached toward the surface. 

A hand caught hers.

The current struggled to wrench them apart but the hand held steady.  Then, slowly, it began to pull her up.

The convulsions stopped suddenly and the girls hand relaxed in Maggee’s grip.  She sighed softly and was quiet.

Maggee felt her heart drop.  “Deakan! Hurry!”  The Dwarf was at her side in an instant.  “Something has changed … I think it’s over.”

Deakan knelt and examined her intently.  “Aye” his voice was grim, “It’s over.”  He looked up at them and a smile broke across his broad face.  “The fever has broken.  She is resting at last.”

***Commentary on Chapter Four***

Deakan and Maggee are two of our dearest friends in WoW.  A fellow married couple with almost as much geek cred as us, they have encouraged and enriched us through their friendship over the last two years.  Their presence has been a source of support both in and out of game and we are planning a meeting in real life soon.

Deakan plays a holy priest, Maggee a frost mage.  Romer, my husband’s character, is also a frost mage and Aleathea is a prot Paladin.  The four of us delight in 4 manning heroics and Deakan, fantastic healer that he is, has kept Aleathea alive through many a bad pull.  There is no healer I trust more, and it was natural that he would be the physician to treat Aleathea in the story.

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