Published: October 27, 2011
Zbura was nervous. This was his first mission. He had helped out the medics with cases that had been brought back to them, but he had never gone out to where they danger actually was. It frightened him, though he wasn't keen to admit it.
Huffing, he stomped his foot and flicked his tail, doing his best to keep his ears forward. He didn't want to appear nervous. With so few friends, he didn't want to seem flighty and timid. No, he would make himself be confident and calm, even if it killed him.
The word startled him, though the tone didn't.
Wiping around, he came face to face with Bron. The stallion had been one of the first he met, and it hadn't been that long ago, but he felt like he had been dealing with the wraith for centuries already.
Rolling his eyes and tossing his tail dismissively, he replied easily, "Of course."
There was a brief pause, as if Bron expected him to deny it, but he said no more. The chocolate palomino nudged the other's shoulder roughly. It wasn't meant to be comforting, and if Zbura had questioned that, he wouldn't have when the other told him, "If you're such a weakling, don't bother going."
Even though Bron's tone was aggressive, the paint stallion only snorted with amusement. "No one will suffer because of my lack of confidence." Looking away as if the words didn't bother him, he added, "I just need time. I'm not used to looking after so many."
The sound of Bron snorting and his bad tempered "whatever" only served to amuse the young stallion.
Feeling oddly better, he set off to join with the rest of the group. He suddenly couldn't wait to go. He would do his best and that was all he could do.
The world had never hurt so badly before. Breathing even caused vicious lashes of agony to rocket through his soul. Every step seemed only to invite more pain, and as he stumbled forward, he wished the world would just end.
For his first mission, he felt as though it had been a roaring failure. Five of his herd mates died before his very eyes. Eight more had been injured badly. He and five others were so badly hurt that they had days off.
In fact, Zbura had five days off, and he had never been so relieved to be able to lay around.
Finally reaching his favorite spot in Maple Grove, Zbura quickly settled himself down. He didn't want the other medics to have a look at him. He just wanted to rest and knew once the wraiths that had been out on missions passed through, that was the best place to do so.
Sighing and lying his head on his legs, the stallion wondered if he had ever felt so tired in life. Each beat of his heart sent a pulse of pain through him. It came from his stone and washed through his body in an eager wave. It was surely going to drive him insane.
Closing his eyes, trying to force himself to sleep and not breath, move, or even think, Zbura was silent and still for a long while. It wasn't enough to send him off though. His injured stone along with the Hellhound wound didn't seem keen on letting him escape their wrath. Instead, they flared up every time he started to drift off, reminding him of their presence, as if he could forget.
He finally abandoned his meager attempts at sleeping when he heard a familiar voice.
Lifting his head and blinking to clear his eyes, he spotted none other than Bron. Out of all of the wraiths, he had spent more time with the chocolate colored stallion than any other. That was only because the brash male had taken to bullying him right from the start. It didn't really bother him, but he did occasionally wonder what he had done to warrant the aggravation.
Standing up shakily, he tossed his head to clear the curly, brown strands of his mane from his eyes. As soon as his view was clear, he realized exactly why Bron wasn't there. He wasn't looking after a friend. No, a terrible looking wound marred his beautiful pelt.
Snorting with concern, he trotted over, not hurrying so that his own wounds wouldn't flare up. Reaching the older wraith's side, he nickered a wordless greeting as he got a closer look at his wound.
"Did you chicken-out and not go?" Bron asked gratingly, his voice betraying the pain he was in.
Flicking his tail dismissively, Zbura answered simply, "I went." Leaning in slightly, he sniffed at the wound before asking, "Did a demon do this?"
There was a moment of silence and then finally the shark replied, "Yes."
"I thought so. It is getting easier to tell the different wounds apart," Zbura told him, trying to sound casual. He was happy to see that Bron was calm, but he had to wonder if that was because it hurt him to be too angry. The medic's own wounds certainly kept him from getting excited about anything.
For a moment, they stood in silence and then Zbura spotted one of the medics on duty coming over. Backing away from Bron, he flicked his ears in greeting before stepping gingerly around so that he could actually speak with the other stallion, face-to-face.
"Was your mission as rough as mine?" he asked, attempting to be friendly. He didn't want to piss Bron off, but he felt the urge to linger. It was the same sort of urge that had gotten him into fights the whole time he had lived in a world of feathers, but he didn't particularly care.
Snorting and jabbing at Zbura, Bron snapped, "No. It was more than like worse. Now quit whining."
"Hey, I got my butt seriously kicked on my first mission. Be a little sympathetic," Zbura replied with a soft huff of laugh.
Bron turned his head away, and Zbura realized he was pushing it. Though some part of him wanted to linger and provoke the other, he had sworn to himself he was giving up that part of his nature. Dipping his head in farewell, he backed away, before turning and starting back to his original resting place. He still hurt, and while talking had been a momentary distraction, it suddenly crashed back on him, and he was all too eager to collapse back on his sleeping spot, just out of sight.
Sighing and closing his eyes, he barely had the time to hope that he would fall asleep this time before he finally managed to escape reality.