Healer and Harbinger

by Jennavieve Senteney

The healer, who goes by Amari, groaned in annoyance and cast their resurrection spell on the paladin. Again. Their dear paladin wasted no time in bashing into anything in his line-of-sight as soon as he could use his legs. The healer clenched their fists, almost snapping their jeweled crosier in half from frustration. Amari couldn’t take this any longer. Eight respawns and counting!

Amari scrunched their nose at the foul smell of the dark and damp abandoned crypt as they furrowed their brows at the paladin before speaking: “Maybe you should stop scampering off before I can cast beneficial spells on you!” The paladin responded, his words harsh and poisonous: “Well maybe you should not be such a stuck-up prude! All of you healers are the same.” His voice contorted into a mocking tone, putting Amari into a state of embarrassment, “ ‘Oh my! Look at this peasant who will not wait for me for thirty seconds. What a fool he must be! Blah, blah, blah!’ ” The paladin proceeded to humiliate Amari and the two other teammates rose their brows. They didn’t have any confidence to speak up for the healer.

Amari flared their nostrils in response and almost spoke up before snapping their mouth shut. They would get their revenge soon enough. Their frown morphed into smirk as they followed the paladin. Amari did not speak a word afterwards much to the paladin’s delight. The two other individuals who were to help the paladin fight the opposing enemies exchanged glances, fearing for what would happen in the near future.

Incoherent mumbling could be heard from Amari. The paladin was too absorbed to notice their harsh whispering. However, the two adventurers following the paladin felt goosebumps form onto their flesh as they hunched their shoulders. Amari observed the paladin’s movements, taking note of how he cleaved through the enemies with little to no grace.

“How.. Barbaric,” Amari growled, mending his wounds with their mana.

Then again, warriors are supposed to be barbaric with their combat style. The paladin was caked in sanguine fluids from his foes, his veins filled to the brim with adrenaline. He could not hear Amari’s comment due to said adrenaline; only the metal clanking against armored opponents and squishing from foul-smelling creatures summoned by forbidden magicks reached his ears. Amari began the first part of their retribution against the paladin, purposely delaying their use of healing magic. The paladin had noticed, growing a bit annoyed. However, as long as he was up and fighting, he could deal with it.

The second part came into play. Amari over-healed the paladin which led the enemies to become aggressive towards them instead of the paladin. The paladin had to tediously provoke the enemies and became provoked himself. There and back, there and back, there and back; that’s all that happened for the next thirty minutes. Amari ceased over-healing and initiated the next phase. Over usage of more antagonistic magic.

Gravel crumbled and levitated under Amari’s will; their hand waving to the paladin’s target. He snapped his head in Amari’s direction and snarled at their actions. An oblivious, yet obviously ungenuine expression crossed their face. Amari rose their brows and shrugged, pretending that they didn’t do anything wrong.

“Why are you snarling at me? I am just helping with your opponents,” they shouted.

The paladin’s harsh voice echoed throughout the zone, his true accent surfacing. You could compare it to your typical hired thug.

“I don’t need yer damned help, healer. Save yer fancy magicks for healin’!”

Amari’s lips contorted into a sickeningly sweet smile. The paladin’s pupils contracted at their smile, but quickly regained their composure and wrinkled their brows. His mindset revolved around him being superior to Amari, clouding his fear. However, Amari only cared about taking the loot they deserved. They would do anything for the loot, even if it meant scarring the paladin.

Metal scraped against one another; hoarse cries bounced off the damp and mossy walls of the domain. The paladin’s stamina was diminishing rapidly as well as his life force. Amari observed his determination and crossed their arms as a wicked grin settled upon their face. The paladin roared at the final enemy, a massive armored guardian, and cursed at Amari. Fingers twitched impatiently as Amari watched the two other adventurers scampering around to avoid the enemy’s attacks and then there was nothing. The guardian had fallen and its appearance altered.

Dust. That was it. Amari’s eyes widened and their shoulders shook. The paladin was on the ground, suffering from severe wounds. He cursed and cursed and cursed, but his voice died down when Amari slowly turned their head in his direction. Their eyes were dilated and their face contorted into pure malice. With teeth bared, Amari’s voice lowered immensely:
“You poor, naive fool. Do you know what I am? Do you know what I can do? Of course you don’t!” A laugh escaped their chapped lips before they spoke once again, “Your inferior brain could not handle the sheer power of a healer. Yes, I have the power to heal and protect. I also have the power to let others suffer. Do you know how much stress is placed on my shoulders everyday? You probably couldn’t comprehend that either. I will leave that in your mind. Your life is hanging by a thread, paladin. Watch your words, for I am a harbinger of death and suffering. However, I am also a harbinger of life and peace. ”

Amari turned on their heel, flicking a spell on the paladin. His wounds mended themselves together and left a dull pain. He had trouble breathing, but he pushed himself upwards and watched as the healer walked out of the domain. The other two adventurers stared at the paladin in fear. Limbs shook in terror as the paladin ran off and left behind the others. Amari heard the clanking of armor grow more distant as a smirk donned their face. Honestly, they found the paladin incident more amusing than anything else.

Jeffersonville High School, 2019