Mithrail was surprised to wake. Judging by the simple architecture, he wasn’t in heaven, but still on earth. He noted that his wounds had been bandaged, and from the feel of them they were no longer bleeding. While he still felt drained, he felt much better than he expected to after such injuries. He called out “Hello?”
His response was some shuffling and a pretty young woman with bright red hair walking in the room and smiling. “Nice to see you’ve woken, I was worried for a while there.” Mithrail looked at her curiously and asked “Shouldn’t I be dead? I used healing spells on myself multiple times and some of my wounds refused to heal.” The girl nodded “Oh yes, those were nasty cuts all right. Luckily for you, my mother once gave me a book about supernatural wounds. Never thought the thing would ever come in handy, I only read it because I was curious.” Mithrail stared at her for a moment, marveling that one so young would have such skill. The girl coughed nervously and said “Oh, something came for you last night. Let me go get it.” She left the room for a moment before returning with a white envelope marked with the celestial seal. She handed it to him. “Some floating lantern thing dropped this off and told me to give it to you as soon as you woke up.”
Mithrail took the letter, opened it and quickly read it. “I’ve been instructed to stay here until further notice. My superiors are concerned about why the devils would have targeted this town in particular, so I am to watch and follow the advice of the local leaders to make sure no harm befalls this village.” Mithrail began to push himself up, the bandages pushing uncomfortably against his chest with the movement. The girl looked surprised. “What do you think you’re doing?” “I’m going to set up a perimeter around the city to identify the weaker points of the city’s defense.” The girl shook her head. “Not in your current state you’re not. At least two more days of bed rest.” Mithrail shook his head. “Did you not hear what was in my letter? I have my duty to attend to.” She walked over and pushed lightly on his chest, being careful to not put pressure on any of his wounds.
“Yes, and it also said to do so under the direction of the local leaders, so as chief healer of Isaudraud I order you to lie back down and get your bed rest.” Mithrail slowly lay down again, and gave her a puzzled look “You’re the chief healer of the town?” “Considering I’m the only one within at least one hundred miles who would know how to close up the wound from the tail of a horned devil, are you really surprised?” She crossed her arms and stared him down. Mithrail held his hands up in a defensive posture. “Of course, of course. I’m mostly surprised because you’re so young; you can’t be much older than seventeen.” She continued giving the archon an intimidating glare. “I’ll be turning 20 next month, thank you very much, and I can guarantee that in those 20 years I’ve patched up as many injuries as you’ve seen in however many hundred years you’ve been alive.” At this, Mithrail smiled. “Ok, miss, you win. I’ll take my bed rest.” She curtly nodded at him “Good. Now to the right of your bed I’ve placed some books I thought you might have interest in, and I’ll have lunch ready in half an hour. Just call for me if you need anything.” He smiled. “And what, pray tell, do I call you?” She smiled back “Annalee Eddins.” “Well Annalee, thank you for all you’ve done for me. My name is Mithrail Van Penn.”
The next month was spent searching for who may have summoned the devil, but no clues were found. There had been a number of visitors that had been visiting the town at the time, so it was assumed to be done by one of them. Since there were also no clues as to why the village was targeted, Mithrail took measures to ensure that the town would be better prepared to defend themselves. He had the skilled craftsmen prepare staves which he charged with dismissal spells. There was no guarantee that the charged spells would be powerful enough to dismiss the creature, but it was better than nothing. He also had a rod of healing spells made, which he gave to Annalee as thanks for healing him. Mithrail had grown quite fond of the young healer, and found he using every opportunity to spend time near her.
It was a strange feeling for Mithrail. In his legion they had been trained to let go of emotion as much as possible, but Annalee was constantly surprising him not only with her glowing smile and warm personality, but also with her ability to be completely focused and deadly serious when needed. Mithrail felt little longing for home, which was just as well since his superiors informed him that he was to stay there long enough to ensure another devil wouldn’t be summoned there. Mithrail helped build the temple to be a stronger means of fortification and protection, and within six months Mithrail realized that he never wanted to leave.
One year later Mithrail stood at the temple door, the envelope in his hands feeling closer to manacles on his wrists. He had known this would eventually come, but part of him had hoped that he would be stationed here for at least a few more years. But, he knew that he had to put his emotions aside once more and return to his proper place. First, he had to say goodbye. He walked slowly through the streets, savoring the sights and sounds of the small village He entered the front door, the sight of Annalee’s smile breaking his heart. She must have noticed his sadness, and when she looked at the envelope in his hand, her eyes stated filling with tears. She stood up, bracing herself with one hand on the table, the other protectively placed on her bulging stomach. “I had hoped the child would arrive before you had to leave, but I suppose that what time we had was miracle enough.” Mithrail walked over to her and embraced her. After holding her for a minute he took a small step back and lifted her left hand closer to his face, touching the golden ring she wore. “I suppose you’d best take this off now, since I likely can’t come back for years, if ever.” She pulled her hand away from him. “No sir, I will not. That ring means we’re married for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and there’s no way I’m breaking that just because you’re far away. The ring stays.” He smiled at her. “I’ll come back when I can,” he said. She kissed him. “I know you will.” he turned around, walked out the door, and, not being able to look back, he unfurled his wings and flew up into the sky. Annalee walked outside and watched him fly away, caressing her stomach, the kicks coming from within being her only comfort.