Vivian suggested that she should leave the fighting to her and Faith smiled at her friend. There was no point to arguing with Vivian, Faith knew, because Vivian was right ~ at least as far as the Lightning Knight herself was concerned. However, the idea of not acting, of not fighting, of not helping? Faith couldn't begin to imagine it, let alone do it. So she said nothing on that and instead, assured her friend. "I'll be fine. You be careful, yes?"
Because there was never a time when she was quite done fussing.
The Knights carried her and Faith bit back a cry of pain
as they did. There was nothing they could do except what they were doing, so she did everything she could to keep herself still and make their job as easy as possible. The pain was overwhelming, too much for her, and she was aware that she faded in and out of lucidity. Once, she started muttering about Shadow Beasts and then she pulled herself into lucid thought.
As a medic, she understood that the pain which she was in meant that she was in bad shape. As a medic, she knew that every movement she made risked permanent injury to her already damaged limbs. But Faith was aptly named by the cruel man who had owned her first. She had faith ~ a seemingly endless well of it which filled her with determination. They didn't want to do what she was asking, she knew, and as a healer herself she understood why. But she needed them to understand. She needed them to.
And then, she heard a voice.
“Let her through. She is a Champion of Moseke. If she says she can heal herself, she can”
That voice cut through the pain, and Faith smiled a genuine beaming smile. "Tristan? Oh, Tristan, thank you."
She needed them to trust her and he did. He always had, she knew, and she had always trusted him. "He's my friend,"
she said, speaking to the Lightning Knight who she was quite sure was standing next to Tristan. But then, she realised that this Knight looked exactly like Tristan did. "Is that your twin?"
How odd, she thought, as her vision blurred again, so she spoke to Tristan. "I won't pin him by his entrails, I promise."
It might sound like she was mad, of course, or at the very least delirious - and in fairness she was looking at empty space where she believed a man stood because she was seeing double. But in fact, she was remembering
a time, so very long ago. She looked at the Knight she was seeing and she smiled. "He's my friend and I am his."
They took her out of there, carried her further and she caught Tristan's gaze and smiled.
The light in the arena was brighter than it should be and she felt the adrenaline rushing through her body as she started to shake. PB flew above her, circling like a vulture over a corpse, but she knew that he was worried.
Placing her down was a study in pain, but Faith needed to be touching Moseke's blessed earth for this and so, she did and she prayed.
It was silent.
Faith had never had a mother, had never known the tenderness of someone who loved her unconditionally as a child. Until Tristan had bought her she had known only cruelty at the hands of others. There were those who were kind to her before that, of course. Nir'wei. Kura. Aeon. But as a child, she had never known a mother's love.
Then, one trial during Vhalar 716, in a place called Ne'haer, Faith had met Moseke
. Faith remembered it well, the feeling of the Immortal touching her on the cheek. Little did Faith know it but as she had done that Moseke had healed Faith of her scars. Her back had been a mass of scar tissue from her time as a slave, as had her legs and now, her skin was clear. But that trial, Moseke had healed more than the scars on her back.
That trial, Moseke had taught Faith that she had always
had a mother.
And so now, she gave herself to her mother and Faith did not go reluctantly or with fear. She fell into Moseke's arms and she felt the Immortal hold her, wrap her up warm and safe. As the tree grew around her, as Faith felt it's bark rise up her form, pushing her to standing and moving up her, tears fell down her face. But they were not tears of pain or hurt - they were tears of hope and peace and joy. They were the knowledge that all would be well.
And once again, Moseke healed her.
And once again, it was more than the scars and damage of her body which the Immortal repaired.
Padraig was behind the barriers. She had held it together, she knew what she had to do, she did - but it hurt
her. It was complicated and confusing and it hurt and she didn't understand it or know what to feel. Just as she had those arcs ago, Moseke knew it, heard it, felt it - Faith had no need to speak, nor to listen. She was in the embrace of the all-mother, and all would be well.
The questions - oh so many questions - were unspoken yet Moseke heard them and answered them.
"What if I can't do this without him?"
But child, you can."
"What if he never comes back?"
"That will change nothing of your feelings, will it?"
"What if I can't do this alone?"
"Then, child, you will learn."
"What if I can't heal them all?"
"Then you will heal the ones you can."
"What if I fail?"
"Then what you do after that failure will matter."
"What if I'm not enough?"
"You are enough for me, child."
And so, tears fell down Faith's cheeks, but her expression was serene as the tree grew around her. The willow tree, the mark of Moseke which had grown on her chest, glowed so brightly that it remained visible even after the trunk had fully formed around her.
It was dark here, and it was warm. There was no pain and no expectation. There was just her, in the arms of her mother and Faith felt the kind of peace which she had been denied all her life. A child-like peace which meant that she could rest, truly rest. People would be healed, they would be safe now, she was sure and, eventually, she would leave this place and start again. Start anew, really, since so much had changed.
But for now, Faith allowed herself to rest.
Because soon, she knew, it would all begin again. It would begin again and there would be constant demands and pressures, betrayal and love, life. There would be life. When it returned she would be ready for it, all the better for this time where she healed.
Body and mind. She would be ready.