The Wounded Maiden

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I have ventured throughout Sarcadia for over eight hundred years.

I have vanquished the last remnants of Tenebris from Sarcadia.

This realm is once again sanctuary to all.

Yet, I am disgusted by its inhabitants.

I have witnessed the rise of ruthless empire only for it to be replaced by another.

I have watched countries tear themselves apart from the inside.

Brothers kill brothers.

Sisters kill sisters.

People treat other people like livestock.

I have travelled throughout Sarcadia, aiding where I can.

The poor and meek are grateful for my efforts.

The rich and imperious wish only to take advantage of my generosity.

Is this the world I have healed?

Surely there is still beauty in a world I find to be turning ugly.

As I walked the lengthy journey from Nemar’Rak to Ra’Sabar, I came upon a wounded maiden.

Short, beaten and bloodied.

Her clothes were torn and bruises bloomed across her milk-white skin.

I cradled her in my arms.

She was barely breathing.

Her face was too swollen for her to move it.

I carried her and ran as quick as I could to the nearest village.

I made her comfortable and tended to her wounds.

For many nights, I sat by her side and kept a close watch on her.

She finally opened her eyes on the fifth day.

Though bloodshot I could see her eyes were green, shimmering like emeralds in the sun.

She used most of her energy to utter a faint “thank you” before resting once again.

She awoke a day later.

Perhaps her vision was blurred because she asked for my name.

When I told her who I was, she immediately fainted.

She awoke yet again a day later.

I greeted her with a smile as did she.

She apologised for being rude.

I assured her there had been no offense.

She thanked me again, her voice soft and gentle.

She felt eternally indebted to me.

I told her the only repayment she owed was simply to live.

Live a life of goodness, of righteousness.

She insisted she was well enough to leave, but I knew she was not.

I stayed with her.

For many days and nights, we spoke of all things.

She wanted to know more about me and my travels.

But it was I who wanted to know more about her.

She told me who she was, a travelling merchant from Alibrium, who had been robbed and raped by a gang of bandits.

She cried and I wiped the tears from her soft cheeks.

I told her not to fear them for I would keep her safe.

But I misinterpreted her sorrow.

She wept as no one had stopped to assist her.

She would not be alive had I not come across her.

I stayed with her longer, to learn more about her.

Whenever she awoke my heart fluttered.

I was overjoyed when she had made a full recovery.

But I did not want her to leave.

I wanted to be with her.

I wanted to share my journey with her.

My words to her almost made her faint once more.

She did not feel worthy to be in my presence.

I told her she should never think like that.

She was not worthless.

There is still beauty in this place.

And she has a name.

Chiara.

— “The Octavian Monologues: The Wounded Maiden”, Bruce Boward, 218 AO

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