Deep within the lush, balmy Jade Forest Saidrym rushed to break camp and gather up all of their possessions, preparing to leave. She glanced over at her charge, her partner, Draekyn, laying on his bedroll near the now-extinguished fire. His sickly pallor worried her and as she bent to press her hand against his brow, it burned hotter than the night before. She frowned deeply as she gently moved him, propped against a tree, and added his bedding to their items. Once she finished packing, she knelt beside him again to examine him. He skin was like fire but the sweat he poured was cold, his normal clear, bronzed skin now pale with illness. As she loosened his shirt and pulled it apart to peer at his skin, her heart sunk. She saw the the creeping green vein-like discolouration associated with Hozen Flu on his torso, working its way to his arms and face.
She knew that they were too far from a village of any sort to carry him; not only that, but she would have to leave behind their supplies as well. She cursed herself for not opting to bring a horse with them. She stood and paced their camp, twisting her silver locks in her fingers nervously. She kept glancing back over at him, as if he would miraculously recover when she wasn't watching; logically she knew this wasn't going to happen, but she could have hope. She reached up, toying with the small vial attached around her neck. She knew that she shouldn't use it; she vowed to only use it in emergencies or when there was no one else around.
“Well... this is an emergency... I'll never be forgiven if I lose him this soon, or ever, really, He's a Calandis, for Light's sake. I can't lose him. His parents would be devastated, I'd be to blame, stripped of my ranking, even Myrdias couldn't save me from this.” She moved Draekyn to the middle of the clearing, making sure to give herself plenty of room, and looped their bags around his body. Uncorking the vial carefully, she tipped it to her mouth, letting the white sands pour into her mouth. She scrunched her face up as the course sand tore down her throat and ripped through her body, transforming her. She grew larger, wider, heavier. Her skin formed thick gold and grey scales, she fell on all fours as her appendages became legs with claws at the end, huge green and gold wings sprouted from her back at the same time as a tail elongated behind her. Once the transformation was complete, she shook her head for a moment, regaining composure. Gently, she grasped Draekyn in her front claws, cradling him close to her body, and took off into the morning skies.
She knew that if she pushed herself, they could reach Dawn's Blossom by the next morning. This draconic form had its perks, such as the stamina to keep flying part of the night, instead of having to stop and rest the entire time. She wasn't sure if Draekyn had woke in their journey, but she cared little; her only thought was getting them to civilization where she could treat him. When they finally stopped in the dark of the night, she opted to stay shifted; it was faster this way and most adversaries would avoid a large dragon rather than attack it. Setting Draekyn on the ground, she curled around him, sweeping him under her wing against her warm belly and slept until the first light of morning. She gathered him up again and within a few hours, she could see the village. She landed a mile away, willing herself to transform back into her Sin'dorei form, corking the vial and tucking it into her shirt. She stretched, her body aching from staying shifted for that long, and grabbed a pack of rations from one of the bags, eating it quickly as she checked over Draekyn again. The illness had spread nearly to his neck and halfway down his arms and legs. She shook her head and started to take off all of their bags, hiding them inside a nearby hollowed log. Picking him up over her shoulder, she sprinted towards the village in record time. She burst threw the doors of the inn, looking for the keeper.
“Room, now, please. I need to get him to a room, it's an emergency.” The Pandaren behind the counter pointed upstairs, raising his brow.
“Room six.” She climbed the stairs and found the room, laying Draekyn down in the bed. She pulled off his boots and shirt and settled him into bed.
“Keep holding on for me, Draekyn... I'll be back as soon as I can.” She closed the door quietly and rushed back downstairs, throwing a small pouch of coins on the counter. “That should be enough for a few days. Tell me, is there an alchemy lab or anything of the sort here?”
“Ah yes, see Ni Gentlepaw within the town square. She will be able to assist you.” She nodded and glanced around to see that she had drawn the attention of all the patrons in the room. “Your friend, is he ill?” Saidrym nodded as she made her way towards the door.
“Do not disturb him. I will return shortly with our belongings and his antidote.” She rushed out and sprinted northwest. There was a small lake nearby and that was where the plant she needed grew. She stopped to grab her alchemy bag from the log and continued on. Seeing the lake in the near distance, she quickened her pace, dropping to her knees when she reached the banks. Withdrawing a large vial from her bag, she filled it with the water from the lake, corking it tightly and placing it back in her bag. She looked around quickly, spotting a small bunch of plants; they had large orange flowers, which meant nothing to her, and green leaves with silvery edges and veins; this was what she was after. Carefully, she plucked enough leaves for several batches of antidote just to be sure, placing them safely in her bag. She was finished, all that remained was to actually concoct the elixir and wait for it to work. Starting off towards the village, she heard a rustling nearby. She stopped and reached behind her, flexing her hand on the hilt of her sword sheathed across her back. She was exhausted and in no shape to fight, but would never let on. More rustling and movement from the corner of her eyes and she drew her sword. A battle cry pierced the air as a Kal'dorei warrior charged from the brush. Saidrym parried the initial attack and sidestepped quickly, slapping her opponent over the back with the flat of her sword.
“Kal'dorei scum!” She screamed as she thrust her sword skywards, imbuing it with the power of the Light flowing through her, which then manifested into holy wings from her shoulders. The warrior swung and hit Saidrym's arm, the blade slicing through her skin. She did her best to ignore the wound and pressed on, exchanging blows with the warrior, each of them dodging and parrying the others attacks. Her fatigue was showing and in the brief moment she slowed and let her guard down, the warrior thrust towards her face; Saidrym quickly twisted her head to the side, saving her life but not completely avoiding the blade. It slashed across her cheek, stinging as the skin tore open and her sweat mixed with blood. She had had enough of this nonsense; she had to get back to Draekyn.
“Light, I call upon you to blind my foes!” A blinding light emitted from her and the warrior was temporarily sightless. Saidrym unleashed a flurry of blows against the Kal'dorei, caring not if she only maimed or sent her to her deserved death. “Be stunned with holy retribution!” As the warrior's sight was returning, she was suddenly stunned in place. Saidrym steadied herself and raised her sword above her, bringing it down across their neck and severing her head from her body. “May the Light have mercy on your soul.” She whispered with disgust as she wiped her blade on the warriors clothing. Limping away and covered in oozing cuts and bruises, she found the log that hid their belongings. Strapping the bags to her body, she made it to Dawn's Blossom. She arrived at the alchemist's hut, flinging her bags down and pulling out the water and herbs.
“Your equipment, I need to use it. I have a friend at the inn; he's come down with the Hozen Flu. It's quite progressed and I need to make the antidote.” The Pandaren woman nodded and gestured to the table with all the alchemical instruments.
“You may, but please be sure to pick up after yourself.” She went back to the tome that she was reading, occasionally making notes on a separate parchment. Saidrym set to work immediately, boiling the water in a beaker and milling the herbs into a fine emerald paste. She funneled the herbs into the water, stirring vigorously until she had a lighter green elixir the consistency of syrup. She held the bottle as her hand lit up with a golden light and infused the elixir with her healing powers, giving it golden specks. She quickly cleaned up her mess, grabbed her bags, and ran to the inn, up the stairs, and into their room. She dropped all the bags with abandon and sat on the edge of the bed with the bottle.
“Draekyn... Draekyn, you have to wake up for me. Just for a moment.” She took note that the veins had spread to his neck; she didn't have much time. “Draekyn Calandis, your life depends on you waking up.” She sat next to him with her arm behind him to prop him up. “Please... just wake up... do it for me.” She pleaded with him, almost on the verge of tears. His eyes opened slightly and he looked up at her; she was dirty and bruised, with smeared blood over her skin and streaking her silvery-white hair, and her hands were tinged green.
“What... what happened to you?” He croaked, his voice hoarse. He tried to push himself up and flopped back down into her arm. She couldn't help but gasp out as he handed on an injury, bloodied and bruised.
“Don't worry about what happened to me. I'm safe now. Everything is fine. But I need you to drink this right now. Your life is depending on it. It's not going to taste great but you need to drink it all.” She held the bottle to his lips and he opened his mouth as she poured the liquid in. He coughed and sputtered, but she held her hand over his mouth so the antidote would stay in. “I know, it's awful. But it's going to help you feel better, I promise.” He gagged as he swallowed the last bit and she set the bottle on the bedside table.
“What's going on, Saidrym? Where are we? What was that?” He asked, his voice still hoarse. He coughed several times, holding his ribs. To think, her cocky, arrogant I-can-do-everything partner was incapacitated and she was here, taking care of him.
“You've come down with the Hozen Flu. It's a deadly disease native to Pandaria. The Pandarens have, over the years, become immune to it, but we aren't. I hadn't even thought about this when I brought you here. It's a good thing that I helped concoct a cure for it when I first came out here otherwise...” She left the words hanging. “But the good news is that you will feel better in a matter of days. We're in Dawn's Blossom's, a village near the center of the forest. Everything is fine.” She smiled weakly.
“What happened here?” He lifted his hand and traced a cut across her cheek, frowning deeply. She shook her head and took his hand in hers.
“Don't worry about it. There were some... complications when I went to gather the herbs I needed. I'm fine, I promise.” She gently pushed him back into the bed, pulling the covers over him. “Sleep, you'll need it. I'm going to clean myself up, but I'll be right here if you need me.” She stood, shaking, and crossed the room to the table with the pitcher and basin. Languidly, she peeled off her armor and clothes until she was in her smallclothes. She poured the water into the bowl and soaked a rag in it, wiping off the blood and grime from her body. She pulled on a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt and moved the single chair to the bedside, sitting down.
“Are you sure you don't want the bed? Or...” he hesitated. “There's enough room for you here too.” He grinned at her, weakly, but she knew that he was already feeling better than before. Normally she would have fought with him and stood her ground. But she was tired, exhausted really, and in immense pain; sleeping in a chair would be doing no favours. She glanced at him as he moved to make room and she slid in the bed under the blankets.
“Now sleep. How am I supposed to train you if you're sick?” He closed his eyes and began to drift. She propped herself up, watching him and brushing his ebon hair from his face. She took a breath, and quietly, began to sing him to sleep.
Lay down your head and I'll sing you a lullaby
Back to the years of loo-li lai-lay
And I'll sing you to sleep and I'll sing you tomorrow
Bless you with love for the road that you go
May you sail far to the far fields of fortune
With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet
And may you need never to banish misfortune
May you find kindness in all that you meet
May there always be angels to watch over you
To guide you each step of the way
To guard you and keep you safe from all harm
Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay
May you bring love and may you bring happiness
Be loved in return to the end of your days
Now fall off to sleep, I'm not meaning to keep you
I'll just sit for a while and sing loo-li, lai-lay
He was sleeping soundly by the time she finished the lullaby and she too had nearly fallen asleep, her eyes unable to stay open. She sunk down in the bed, curling up beneath the blanket against his warm body, and let sleep take over her.