short story, story promptCi’Lena has been learning about the properties of plants and their applications for years, but that doesn’t mean she can heal a boy that the Priestess can’t even help. All she can do is try…


Ci’Lena pounded the herbs in her mortar more forcefully than was necessary. She gripped the pestle tightly, her knuckles turning white.

Stupid, ignorant peasants. She ground the purplish herbs aggressively, trying to vent her frustrations. I’m a healer, not a miracle-worker! What do they expect me to do that the Priestess cannot? She’d said as much to the village’s Headman, but he wouldn’t listen. His son was dying and he would try anything at this point.

She scraped the purple mush out of the mortar, mixing it into a flask of clear spring water. It wasn’t like she didn’t want to help the young man, but being high-handedly forced to do it under pain of imprisonment – or worse, death – was not how she preferred to work. Honestly, if he’d just asked nicely instead of barging into my home, breaking my door down and smashing several of my herbal ointments, I’d have been more inclined to help him.

Corking the leather flask, she shook it vigorously for several minutes until her arms ached. Going to the window, she placed the flask in the sun. Twenty minutes or so should do the trick, then the potion would be ready. Whether it would work was another matter all together.

She turned back to her workbench to begin cleaning her tools. It wasn’t even a minute later that her recently-repaired door was flung open, the large form of the Headman in the doorway.

“Is it ready?” he demanded, breathing heavily.

She stared at him for a moment, then frowned fiercely at him. “No. It is not ready. I said I would come and find you once it was.”

He glowered at her. “My man told me you’d put a flask in the window. Is that the remedy?”

So that’s why he’d turned up literally seconds after she’d finished putting it together. “Yes, but-”

“Then why are you moseying about this tiny, stinking hut?” he roared. “Get that medicine to my boy!”

Clenching her fists, Ci’Lena tried to keep her temper in check. “It’s not ready yet. I’ve already told you that. It has to have time to infuse.”

“My man said-”

“And between your man and me, who is the healer?” she demanded, cutting him off. “Who is the one creating what might be the only thing to save your son? Who is the one who has studied plants and their properties for years?” She gave him a moment to consider her words. He continued to glare at her. “I’ll take your silence to mean that you know the answers to those questions.”

The man turned and stormed out of her cottage. “I want to know the instant that potion is ready,” he growled.

“Why don’t you ask your ‘man’?” she muttered to herself. “He obviously knows more about healing that I do.” The Headman should consider himself lucky that she was even helping him, after all the misery his brat of a son had inflicted on her as a child. The boy had been a bully for years, using his dad’s influence to hide behind. As an orphan, she’d been his target many a time.

She sighed and reluctantly admitted to herself that he’d grown out of it in recent years. He’d become a lot more responsible and very serious about taking over from his father. At least, until the illness had hit him.

Ci’Lena uncorked the flask and sniffed the contents. It was ready. Time to see if her theory about his illness was correct. If she was wrong, she hated to think what the Headman would do to her…

Is this one of your favourite 500-word-story-starters? Click the heart to like it and it may become a fully-fledged story! –>  1

<– Day 118     #    Day 120 –>