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In Harmony's Hands

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Chapter 1: Harmony

Your name is Harmony, an almost 18 year old woman. Your hair is shoulder length and blonde, you have sun kissed skin, pierced ears and have a healthy figure and you love to smile. Your Father, Wade, is a well known bard who loves to travel with you and your Mother Meadow, who is a seamstress and a bit of a healer.

When you were ten years old, you and your family had pulled into a village of Minotaurs, who were all very tall, even the children your age dwarfed you. “Excuse me, chief Kalaj, may we stay in your village for the night, we will pay you of course?” your father assured him. Chief Kalaj was the tallest of the village. His skin and fur along his chest is a chestnut colour, the fur on his head was a darker nearly black colour, his horns stood tall and of a near onyx colour, his eyes were purple, a rare colour among his people, like all Minotaurs, his legs resembled a bull and his nose and mouth were that of a bull as well. His attire was a pair of tanned leather pants and a shoulder harness. Around his neck was a golden tusk, the size of a human thumb. “You are welcome to stay the night. All we ask of you to play a few songs as payment” he smiled warmly.

Your family was given a guest house. After pitching your family horse, Sally, in the stable and securing your wagon, your family headed to the tavern for food. After having a meal your father sang some songs, all requested songs from the crowd. Your mother was in a conversation with a local seamstress and you were bored. Looking out of the window, you spotted the chief looking almost irritated and shaking his head almost violently, you were curious and snuck out to see if you could help. “Healer Janier, isn’t there anything you can do?” Kalaj asked the village healer, who was walking up to him, “I am sorry, chief, but the knowledge was lost to us.” She sighed before gasping at the sight of you. Kalaj spun around, seeing you in the candle light of the tavern, he smiled and knelt down “hello little one, can you help me? My horns are very itchy and I cannot soothe the itch” he asked.

You approached him, smiling, but you were nervous. Slowly, you reached for his horns, they were so smooth, apart from a thin crack on one of them. By touching them you somehow knew exactly what to do, “I can help you, chief, I just need some ingredients” you spoke “then please follow me to my hut” the healer chuffed, almost in distrust. You were always told ‘never follow strangers’ but Minotaurs had strict rules with the safety of all children and knew you would be safe. Kalaj held out his hand and led you to the hut, which was filled with many herbs. “What do you need, little one?” she asked you suspiciously. She was expecting the standard healing herbs but instead you said, “Lavender stalks, black pepper flower, peppermint, nettles and water please”. Stunned to silence, she put the herbs on a table and placed you gently on the stool, they both watched you mix the herbs into a thick paste. Adding more water to make it into a slimy gel. Once it was done, you asked the chief if you could apply it to his horns, he nodded and sat on the floor so you could apply it easily.

It was an odd smell but not an unpleasant one. After you finished, the chief relaxed his shoulders sighing in relief, “ah thank you… wait what is happening?” he asked as you pulled his horn slightly. The healer almost screamed as the outer layer of his horn slid off his head, revealing another perfect horn underneath, “I can’t believe it! You shed his horn. We forgot this knowledge” the healer squealed in excitement, this made you laugh at the odd sound. The healer pulled the other horn off as gently as you did. The chief sighed and flumped back against the stool you were standing on, making you fall off, and still holding his huge horn. He spun around and helped you instantly, standing you up and taking his cracked horn from your hands, “What is your name?” he asked with a warm smile “my name is Harmony, sir” you replied.

“You have a very special gift, Harmony, thank you for giving it to us” Healer Janier smiled, writing down the recipe as fast as she could. “Come with me” he offered his hand and took you to the tavern. The music slowed as the chief approached, holding your hand. “Wade, your daughter has a remarkable gift” he began “this human child has restored lost knowledge to us. Behold my horns have shed!” he shouted happily, holding his old horns in his hand; the room erupted into wild cheering at the sight. “Your family is always welcome here” the chief told your family.

When you turned 15 you were given the responsibility to travel from your village to the Minotaur village alone with some supply to trade from your village. Your parents knew you would be safe and were old enough to make the journey. It was a three day journey, but you didn’t mind the alone time from your village. Your gift had only grown as you had aged. It was strongest with non humans, which was a sour point of your village; they would often call you names and tease you and accuse you of having relations with them. Truthfully, you and your family never thought that would be a problem, as many of your family and friends were in romantic relations with many different species, from Gnolls to Orcs.

You arrived at the village around noon on the third day, the first to see you was the hunting party, called Gili, your best friend. She was fierce but friendly with rust coloured fur and her horns were curled inward from her ears over her head. “Harmony, Welcome back” she called, waving frantically to you “Hello my friends” you called back. In the village the chief walked up to you once you were off your wagon. “Harmony as lovely as ever, great to see you again. It has been too long” he laughed “a month is too long?” you asked “most definitely” Janier replied hugging you tightly. Everyone in the Minotaur village liked you. Over the years, you had helped them recover more lost knowledge that they had shared with other Minotaur villages, “Harmony, how long can you stay?” the chief asked “a few days at least, quite a bit to trade” you replied walking with him.

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Chapter 2: New beginning

It was almost your 18th birthday and you were heading out on your annual trading trip with the Minotaur village and an Orc stronghold, the entire trip would take two weeks. Two weeks away from the village “Darling, we are heading to the village in the Jugnaw region. It’s going to be a month until we see you. If you want to stay at the Minotaur village, until then we will understand” your Father told you “all I have to trade is orders from our regulars and some stock from the village, so I may just do that” you smiled at the thought of being away for a month. “Be careful, Harmony” your mother said “I will and the both of you too” you told them as you headed on your journey, waving to them as you left. When you were out of sight of your parents you, were greeted by a few of the villagers, “never come back here again. You don’t belong here!” the oldest boy shouted, throwing a rock at you.

You didn’t reply as you rode past them. After you were away from the village, you sighed in relief and headed to your first rest stop, which was a few hours away. It was a small cottage which was for travellers run by a woodsman, a Gnoll (hyena humanoid) named Yan, who had recently got married to a lovely woman. They always were welcoming, but cautious around new people but they knew your family. It was a lovely journey to your first stop, you arrived just after 1 pm “Hello Harmony” Yan greeted as you approached “Good day to you” you called back pulling up to the stable. Yan helped you put Sally in a stable, while you went to meet Dara, his human wife. “Hello Harmony” she smiled, hugging you tightly “good to see you, Dara” you replied as she led you inside.

You all sat down and had a cup of tea. You explained that you didn’t have to go back to your village for a month, they knew how bad the village treated you throwing rocks at you tripping you up but you always retaliated by throwing rocks back at them and even punching one of the guys so hard he ran home crying like a girl. “What is wrong with your wrists?” Yan asked. You looked at them tugging your sleeves over the bandages you had applied, “I caught them a few days ago” you told him. Yan didn’t believe you “that’s not true is it? The village teenagers tried something?” he asked sitting next to you. His fur was soft as he held one of your hands “yes they did. I don’t want to go back there” you admitted, “then don’t you have many friends who would help you find somewhere new” Dara chimed in with a kind smile. “I would but I can’t leave my family” you replied. Yan and Dara looked at each other “do you want to stay here tonight?” she asked “no thank you I think I’ll carry on to the Minotaur village, rest on the way” you replied with a warm smile picking up your cup.

You stayed at the hut for another hour, then set back off on your journey, when night approached, you were almost at your second stop, your camp for the night but for some reason Sally wouldn’t stop. “Sally we need to stop what’s wrong girl?” you asked, she continued then stopped in front of a large stone, “Sally how did we end up at this stone? We are days away from Minotaur territory” you said, stepping off the wagon. You walked to Sally’s face; she looked oddly full of energy. When you touched her nose, you felt a familiar energy Fey magic, “of course, Dara is part Fey. She must have asked for help to get us here faster. I owe her something for this. I’ll ask her next time I see her” you thought to yourself, climbing back on the wagon you continued towards the village, that would be another hour at most to the village.

Approaching the village, you spotted some scouts returning from their patrols. One of them spotted you, “Harmony, what are you doing here so soon?” he asked you “hey Poldran. Its Dara’s doing, she assisted me to get here sooner” you replied, pulling into the village. Chief Kalaj was about to speak to the scouts when he spotted you “Harmony, welcome back!” he bellowed happily, just as you were about to pull into the stable, you were picked up and pulled into a tight hug. Looking down, you saw it was Gilandrea. She was chuffing as she spun you around, “I'm so happy you’re here early” she chuffed, putting you down as Poldran put Sally in her stable, while you put your wagon behind the guest house where you were staying. You knew your belongings would never be stolen, as stealing from Minotaurs was just stupid, even though it was a Minotaur village, there were some other beings that lived here including an Orc, a Gnoll family, a Troll and a Jaguar-man who all abided by the rules.

“Ok scouts, let’s hear your reports” the Chief asked, lighting a torch as they lined up you watched as they filled in the Chief all seemed normal, that is until the last scout spoke. He was younger than the rest but was confident and as keen of sight as the rest, “I came across a Naga who asked to speak with you, chief, tomorrow at noon. He told me to hand you this. I checked it, no poisons or powders” he explained, handing him a piece of parchment; “Thank you, all of you are done for the night, get some rest” he told them. You watched until they left. “Chief, my parents asked me to give you this note when I arrived here” you handed him a sealed envelope, which he took with a smile, “thank you. Now go rest with your friends. I will catch up with you later” he smiled, pushing you away lightly.

You headed into the Tavern with Gili, hungry and tired. Upon opening the door, you were greeted by happy chuffing and raised mugs, which always made you feel welcome. You and Gili had a favourite seating area, a table in a snug with a view of the whole tavern in the corner. You took your seats and within seconds your meals arrived with a mug of fresh mead “thank you, Hendar” you spoke. The male server smirked “No problem” walking to the next table, you started your meal of fresh fish, potatoes and fresh vegetables. “So what has been happening in your village, any good gossip?” she asked with a devilish grin, “no real gossip apart from the village elder’s son being incontinent” you smiled wickedly. Gili sniggered at that “any gossip from here?” you asked “there are some centaurs in the area and the Naga of course, but I don’t know what is going on with that though”.

Gili noticed your sleeves “What happened to your wrists?”She asked in concern, taking your hands in hers. Before you could answer, Chief Kalaj joined you, wanting to know the answer. You signed defeated, knowing they wouldn’t let you leave the table, “you know everyone in my village hates me because I accidently told the village elder that her hair will never grow back. Three days ago, I was asked to buy some bread from the baker, I was heading home and I was ambushed by the other teenagers and they hit me across the back of my head and dragged me to a wood cutter's stump. They tied my arms to the stump and tried to cut my hands off, I was fighting back the best I could but they were forcing me down. If it wasn’t for the woodsman I…” you couldn’t finish your story. You covered your face, crying softly Gili had moved and pulled you into a tight hug, stroking your hair, Kalaj had his hand on your shoulder “come on, let’s get you to your cabin” he told you.

Gili stood up, still holding you, slowly walking you out of the tavern that seemed to have dimmed in sound. In the fresh air, you pulled out of her hug “thank you both” you smiled weakly. Even though it was a short walk to the cabin, you took your time with your friends by your side. When you were inside, Janier was waiting for you; the fire was alight along with the lanterns. You sat down at the table with the others, watching your bandages fall to the ground, your wrists were badly bruised but they didn’t hurt “If I get my hands on the scum who did this, they will beg for death!” Gili snorted “No need for that, Gilandrea!” Kalaj retorted, placing his hand on her shoulder, “your wrists will be healed in two days with my ointment. I want you to leave your wrists uncovered, let some air get to them, alright?” she asked tilting her head, making you look up with a smile, “alright” you replied.

“Harmony, your parents explained everything in the letter” Kalaj began “they also asked me to read this part to you. ‘Harmony after today’s events your mother and I have decided to move and we were offered to stay in many villages one of them being the Minotaur village, which we have accepted after our return from Jugnaw region that will be our permanent home.’” Your eyes welled up with tears of happiness and immediate relief, “really, I don’t have to go back?” you sighed “no, you are a part of our community now” he assured you. It was starting to get late and you were getting tired from all the crying you had done, you weren’t much of a crier, but you needed it “we will let you get some rest see you in the morning” Kalaj smiled, giving you a hug as he left along with Janier and Gili. When you were alone, you changed into your night clothes and slumped onto the bed with all the tension you had carried leaving you completely. Within seconds your eyes started to droop and you fell to sleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Stall day and Friends

You woke up feeling remarkably refreshed. Walking to the washroom, you started to get ready for the day, putting your hair into a ponytail and putting clean clothes and the ointment on your wrists, you headed to the wagon. Looking around, you noticed that the village was waking up as well, the night patrol were getting ready for the morning patrol, merchants were opening their shops and stalls and hunters and fishermen were off to the woods and lake ‘this is my home now, I'm so happy’ you sighed happily. Rummaging through your stock you took out your orders for the village as well as some stock from your previous village, placed it on the floor, about to get your market cart when Gili approached, pushing your cart to you “good morning, Neighbour” she chucked cheerily. Smiling widely “Morning Neighbour, I like your outfit” you replied. She was wearing a blue tunic and a pair of tanned leather pants. She often wore a tunic but in neutral colours but when she was holding a stall she dressed up a bit, more so if it was a celebration “Stall day. I bought this last month, thought I’d wear it today, here is your cart” she said helping you with your goods.

You walked to the market area to your usual spot near the podium where the chief would make announcements, after your stall was set up, you pulled out your order book. Inside the book was a letter. You still had a few minutes before the market was open, so you read the letter.

‘Dearest Harmony
By now you would have heard what Chief Kalaj’s letter had to say, this one is for you. Yes we are moving and you are at the age now if you wish to have your own house to be built you can, we will all still live in the village and we will always be there for you. If you want your own independence, you can. We will be sending letters via griffin to both you and Kalaj; we want to arrange for his people to collect our belongings.
See you soon
Ma and Da

It was a lot to take in but you needed to think about it but for today you needed to sell your stock. Chief Kalaj stood on the podium “today's market is open” he declared it was traditional for Minotaurs to declare shopping days open. In the past, there were a lot of illegal deals sold so they created a system that all who trade follow. A chieftain declares stalls open and closed which meant safety for all involved. Not ten minutes after the stalls were opened you had your first customer, who had asked your father to make a lute, “ok that is 15 silver coins, please” you told the man “your father knows how to make great items, here you go” he smiled. He paid up and you ticked his name off your list. As it approached noon, the chief had ventured into the forest with one of his guards, you had sold all but one of your orders and most of the stock for the village you always kept the money separate but you had a thought that caused some concern. “Hey, Harmony, it is lovely to see you again” said a gruff voice.

It was Haloon, the father of the Gnoll family, he is 6 foot 5 inches tall, wearing well maintained leather pants and a battered tunic, and he is bare foot as are most Gnolls, unlike most Gnolls his teeth don’t protrude outward. “Good to see you too, Haloon, I have your order right here” you told him “Oh wonderful new clothes for our family. I can’t tell you how grateful we are.” he told you, examining the contents he smiled his toothy smile and paid you walking off to his home. Within half an hour, the rest of the stock was sold, packing your cart in the store room, you headed to see Gili to see how she was fairing. With both coin sacks in your satchel, you found Gili talking with a new visitor to the village; a Tiefling sorceress, her skin is teal, wearing ankle length robes and boots, her horns are a lot smaller than Minotaur horns and her tail is long and trails slightly on the floor.

“Ah this must be the one I have heard about, the Lady who can help species regains lost knowledge” she bowed to you, her hair cascading down her shoulders. Nervously, you replied “hello, you don’t have to bow and I have only helped a few species with some specific knowledge”, she stood up straight “you have an amazing gift, if it is not too much to ask, could you help me with something when you are free?” she enquired. Gili looked at her then you, giving you a reassuring nod “alright, I will be free in a few minutes, I just have to speak with my friend” you explained. She left you for a few minutes while you spoke with Gili “is that the Tiefling you rescued a few weeks ago?” you asked, “yes it is. I found her knocked out under a tree after that storm. I pulled her out and tended to her wounds. We started talking afterwards and she came to visit, she told me of the friendship bond that was formed that day which is unbreakable, you will be safe around her” she told you.

Reassured, you headed to meet the Tiefling, who was having a drink by the well, “please follow me to the guest house, we can talk privately there”. “Thank you my name is Flia” she smiled, walking next to you “My name is Harmony” you told her, but you had the feeling she knew that, once inside the house you both sat down “what can I help you with?” you asked. Flia sat back in her chair and asked “how much do you know of our people?” “Not much to be honest, I only just learned of your friendship bonds” you admitted, to which she smiled at you. She told you about the stigma her people have and how they have been trying to correct it, not all of her people are aggressive and that they try to keep a calm aura around them. “One thing many don’t know is we have venom sacks which, if they are damaged can often corrupt our very being. Mine has been damaged and I feel the corruption beginning to take hold of me” she explained sadly. “Take my hands, let me see if there is anything that can be done” you told her extending your hands, without a moment to think about, it she took your hands.

Closing your eyes, you focused on her, her race, her people’s history, going deeper and deeper until you found the knowledge. Staying still for a moment, you felt her beginning to tense “don’t tense up. It's easier to find the knowledge if you relax” you told her in a calm whisper, another few minutes you released her hands and opened your eyes giving her a warm smile “there is a treatment to repair and cleanse you and those afflicted” you told her. “There is?! What is it?” she shrieked happily “There are many treatments for all venom sacks” you told her, “I need to get some ingredients and Janier may want to be here to observe, is that alright with you?” you asked. Flinching slightly at the thought of another person knowing about her problem she thought for a moment, “as long as she doesn’t share the knowledge with others, then yes” Flia replied. You nodded and went to see Janier who was heading into her home, “ah, Harmony, can I help you?” she asked cheerily. You explained what had happened and that you needed some supplies, which you bought off her, you knew Janier would never reveal the information to others; she followed you to the House.

“Hello, Flia, I am Janier. I am here to observe and write notes, you have my oath as a healer I will not reveal any information to others” Janier told her. Flia bowed and thanked her and watched as you set to work, Flia rolled up her left sleeve showing a black bruise on her arm, in the centre was a pink S shaped mark. You put some snake grass into a bowl along with witch hazel, tea tree leaves and a single sprig of lavender, mixing it all together into a thick paste, adding water until it was just before a poultice. Picking up the largest nettle leaves, you applied it to her arm “sorry about the sting” you winced, “no its fine is it supposed to tingle?” she asked you simply nodded as you applied the bandage over the leaves. Rolling her sleeve back down, she winced then looked into your eyes, they were changing “the medicine is working, your eyes are going silver” you told her. She stood hastily to the mirror, looking at her eyes “I haven’t seen my eyes like this in months” she cried, turning to face the both of you, she asked about other damaged sacks and treatments for them and how to treat her injury. You began telling her all the treatments for damaged venom sacks for her people, Janier wrote everything down. Flia looked at the finished book and recited a spell within a few minutes another two copies appeared. “I will keep a copy, Janier has the original and Harmony this is your copy. I entrust you both with these I have to gather my people and start treating them” Flia explained excitedly, taking out her coin purse, she asked how much to pay you both. “Seven silver coins please” Janier smiled “that is so cheap” Flia replied, giving you both ten silver coins each, thanking you both, putting her new book into a satchel and left with a thank you and a tail swish.

You started packing the supplies away with Janier helping you, “Harmony, have you thought about becoming a healer? I know you like to travel and sell stocks from villages, but you could make a good amount of money and you know I will help you” she asked. You walked to the fireplace and lit it “I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest” you replied, “what’s the matter?” she asked approaching you “a lot has changed in less than a day, learning I don’t have to go back to the village, my parents saying I can live alone if I want and now you saying I could be a healer. I would feel like I'm stepping on your toes metaphorically that is” you told her rubbing the back of your neck, Janier laughed loudly enough to shake your bones “you won’t be stepping on my hooves, all healer’s need to learn new things. In a way, you would be a multi species healer. I can heal Minotaurs, Orcs, Gnolls and humans and a few others but you would heal many more. With your gift, you would be sought out for help. As for your living arrangements, you are living by yourself for at least a month, you can decide in that time” she told you, leaving you with your thoughts.

You sat down, thinking about what you wanted. It had been the first time you had to think about what you wanted. Knocking roused you from your thoughts, looking at the window you saw Gili and her and your friends waving. You opened the door “hey we are going fishing, want to come with us?” she asked “that sounds great” you replied, putting your cloak on and followed them. Among the group was Keffa, the apprentice joiner. He has brindle type skin and fur, his horns were flared like a long horn, Jinjo, the local blacksmith, his horns resembled the chief’s and his skin is tan and Poldran and his twin sister, Renna, her horns are like her brothers and she wears hunter’s attire. You all walked to the river in the forest; at the river, you were given a pole, taking a seat in the middle of the group and began fishing. It was the start of summer and everyone was pitching in to have smoked and dried meats and fish as well as crops and preserves.

“Has it sunk in yet that you are going to be living here?” Renna asked “kind of yes, just got to think about something else” you replied, casting your line. “Like what?” Jinjo asked “whether or not to live by myself” you sighed, “that would be amazing!” Keffa exclaimed making everyone shush him. “Why are you so conflicted?” Gili asked, you glanced at her “well I have always lived with my parents. I never thought I would live alone, not for a while at least” you told them. They all understood and continued fishing; you loved your friends, they never pressured you into doing something you didn’t want to do.

After two hours, you were all finishing for the day as you pulled your line in, you got a bite, reeling your line in, it started to challenge your strength “You got this, Harmony” Gili encouraged. Pulling one final time, you pulled up a huge tuna fish. Struggling to put it in a bucket, Keffa gave you a hand, wrestling it into the bucket. You all cheered with the triumph “lets head back, you're soaked, Harmony” Jinjo laughed, grabbing his pole and bucket. Everyone had a full bucket; you were all pleased with yourselves. On your way back, you heard rustling behind you, making you spin around and look in the immediate area. There was nothing there, so you continued walking heading to the fishmongers “so glad we don’t have to gut this fish” Poldran chuckled, “why is that?” you asked “oh yeah we didn’t tell you. The Gnoll family here always gut the fish now, they make sewing needles from the bones and use the fish guts for luring large animals away” he explained.

You nodded impressed by that fact, reaching their house Gili knocked on the door and you were greeted by the mother of the family. “Hello, Ayana, we have brought you all some fish to prepare” Gili said, “ah wonderful, something for us to do while the little ones sleep” gesturing you all to the kitchen where you put your buckets down. Walking out of the house, you bid her farewell and headed to your homes. You said goodbye to everyone and went into your house and lit the fire and lanterns. Ruffling through your trunk, you found your dresses and more night clothes. Looking outside, you noticed it was dark then you noticed the clock; 8 at night. Grabbing a nightgown, you headed to the washroom. Now you were clean and dry, you began to settle down for the night but first you put your dress over the fire guard to dry. In your trunk was some food your mother had packed you, unpacking the food, you spotted a small pot of soup which you put on the fire to warm through with bread and butter to accompany it.

When your soup was ready, you grabbed a cloth and put it on the kitchen counter, serving it into a bowl, you headed to the table. Before you could sit down, there was a knock at the door. Putting the bowl down, you answered the door; it was Kalaj. “Good evening, Chief, please come in” you greeted. He smiled at you and entered noticing your food, he turned to you “I can come back if you’re eating” he said. After assuring him that the soup was still too hot he sat down at the table “would you like some soup, there is plenty left?” you offered he thought for a moment then nodded “thank you, I’ve hardly eaten today” he smiled. Bringing him a bowl of soup, you asked “what brings you here?” “As you heard yesterday I went to speak with a new neighbour, a Naga, he is a rare Naga with healing abilities and not prone to violence, which is very rare for Naga. He asked permission to stay at the edge of our territory, which we have granted. He knows about you and has asked for your help” Kalaj explained then ate his soup.

Shocked, you asked “How does he know about me?” he smiled and replied, “Word about you is spreading. I asked and he said that an Orc from the stronghold we are allied with who told him about you” he explained with a smile. You were stunned that the Orcs were talking about you to others. They didn’t talk to outsiders much like Nagas, they were both antisocial but Nagas were highly antisocial and could be hostile. Eating your soup, you couldn’t help but feel nervous about meeting the Naga “you won’t be in any danger, and we will be close by if you do need us, we look after our own” Kalaj assured you. He finished his soup then handed you a parcel “I know it isn’t your birthday yet but we decided to give you this early as a welcome gift” he explained. It was a long gift and was oddly shaped, removing the cloth revealed a Minotaur horn; it was one of Gili’s horns, the tip had been sawn off to make a different type of horn, it had a leather strap to make it a sash to carry.

“Thank you” you smiled. He was thrilled you were so happy with your present “we had a debate of which horn you should have so we had a vote, your parents each have one too. If you need help, give three sharp blasts on the horn and your allies will be their” he told you before finishing his soup. Returning to your soup, he asked if you would be willing to speak with the Naga, thinking for a few minutes, you said yes. “Ok I will take you to his cave tomorrow around noon. Make sure you have what you need, which I am assuming is herbs” he chuckled; he stood up and walked to the door with you behind him, bidding each other a good night, he left. You had another bowl of soup and bread then washed up before heading to bed with your horn beside you.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Naga

Morning arrived and you started to get ready to greet the day, emptying your satchel to make room for what you needed to meet the Naga. You put the coin purse for the village at the bottom of your trunk so you wouldn’t lose it. Grabbing some linen rolls and a water skin, you headed to see Janier for some herbs you might need. “Good morning, Harmony” Janier greeted approaching from the well with a large pale of water, “good morning, how are you?” you asked “very well thank you, getting ready to meet the Naga?” she enquired walking towards her cabin, “yes I am a little bit nervous though” you chuckled. She assured you that you would be safe. Inside the cabin, you found she had set up some healing herbs for you, several of every herb she had as well as a pestle and mortar and extra bandages. “Chief Kalaj, told you I would be going didn’t he?” you asked amused, sitting on a stool, “yes he did” she smiled, sitting opposite you “how much do I owe you?” you asked, smiling at her. “15 silver coins. You get a discount, others would pay 30 silver coins.” she told you, rooting into your coin purse, you paid her and started to load your satchel.

You chatted for a while before you noticed the time 11:30 “I had better be off, thanks for everything” you thanked her and headed to the door. “Good luck” she smiled as you headed to meet Kalaj you headed to the Chief's hut, before you could knock on his door he walked out of the door startled to see you “oh hello, are you ready to go?” he asked closing the door, “yes I am, Chief” you replied “you aren’t on ceremony you know, call me Kalaj” he laughed. You laughed and walked with him to the boarder of the forest “do you have your horn?” he asked, “yes I do it is right here” removing your satchel to show it to him. “Good. If you need help for anything, blow it 3 times as I said. They are loud enough that everyone within a few miles can hear you. Also it’s loud enough to cripple Naga who have extremely sensitive ears, so just give one good sharp blast to cripple them” he explained patting your shoulder. You both ventured into the forest and you took in the landmarks so you could find your way back, after a good walk, you were at the edge of the Minotaur territory which was a few miles in total. There was a clear pond that connected to the river; a cave on a small hill which, you’re assumed was the Naga’s cave.

Approaching the cave entrance, Kalaj called in “We have arrived as asked”, from the cave, you heard a voice “thank you, Chief, come in”. You walked into the cave with Kalaj behind you, walking down the cave tunnel; you came to a large cavern that was warmly lit. You both stood at the entrance and waited to hear or see the owner of the voice, “You have my word no harm shall befall her” the voice said as it approached from your left “good, Harmony if you need us call” he said, patting your shoulder then left. You were alone with the Naga who was at least seven foot tall; when he put a log onto the fire, it illuminated the room, revealing him. He approached you in a non-hostile manner. His long tail, which was easily six foot slithered slowly before stopping, his scales are a diamond shape on top that seemed to be green and deep blue. His underbelly is speckled white and brown, his torso is well toned with defined pectorals, his face is very human, as you were told. Lips are similar to human lips but with a few scales on them, his eyes are bright blue with snake like pupils. His hair is long and a dark brown colour and his hands are covered in patchy scales and his claws are slightly thicker than human nails but still quiet long.

Extending his hand, he spoke in a nervous tone “hello, Harmony, I am Laan, I require your help” you took his hand and shook it, making him relax. “What can I help you with?” you asked, letting go of his hand. He revealed a swollen right cheek “there is something wrong with my top teeth. Nothing soothes the pain; it is getting too much for me” he explained, “alright. Please give me your hands and try to relax as much as you can” you told him which made him hiss at you slightly. Holding your arms out in a peaceful way, flicking his tongue at your hands, then extended his hands to meet yours before taking a deep breath and visibly relaxing. Closing your eyes, you started to seek the knowledge for his teeth. You were so enwrapped in learning that you didn’t notice an odd feeling around your legs, when you opened your eyes you noticed his tail had wrapped around your legs and passed your waist hugging you almost comfortingly.

“Sorry it is a closeness thing among Naga. We inhale another’s scent this way; it is not a romantic notion. Males also do it this way but with claws at each other’s necks” he explained. He released your hands “I know how to help you” you told him, looking into his eyes, “but I need to remove some of your teeth to relieve the pressure but they grow back. The venom sack in your jaw is pumping healing venom into your gums which is poisoning you” you explained, making him scowl at the thought of being poisoned, “of course what can heal can kill you in large doses” he chuckled, releasing his tail from your body. He watched you make a herbal remedy and put it into a linen cloth then soaked it in a bowl of cold water, “ok I am going to have to remove your teeth before I apply this." He bent down to your level, seeming to trust you then opened his mouth wide enough for you to put your hand in comfortably, looking into his mouth made you feel a bit uneasy “can we turn towards the light so I can see?” you asked.

He laughed and led you to the fire pit. You picked up the bowl and placed it down next to the fire, he bent down again, letting you see inside his mouth properly. You saw where the pain was coming from. His gums looked bruised and very tender, “I am going to pull your teeth now. It will hurt” you told him, he nodded and closed his eyes, trying his best to relax. “I will be as fast as I can” you assured him, rubbing his shoulder which made him sigh and relax, putting your hand into his mouth, you began to pull his teeth out. The first one was easy to pull; the second one was a bit harder which made him whine. Regardless, you continued and pulled out seven teeth. Grabbing the linen roll, you put it into his mouth where his teeth were, as soon as it touched his gums, he sighed in relief, repositioning himself upright. He looked at you with a stuffed-cheeked smile. You were going to move away from him to give him some space, before you could though; Laan hugged you tightly before wrapping his tail around the pair of you falling softly on your back to the floor in his embrace.

“Laan are you alright?” you asked trying to push him off, his only reply was a sleepy sigh and nuzzling his face into your hair. You couldn’t see his face but judging by his sighs you gathered he might not have been sleeping due to the pain, you knew far too well of toothache. It was an annoying, thumping pain and since he was far too heavy to move, you let him sleep. It was very strange being hugged by a Naga. It wasn’t unpleasant per say, the scales had an odd smoothness and his body had a coolness that was very relaxing, so relaxing that made you feel a bit tired too.

You woke up to Laan shaking you awake “Harmony, are you alright?” he asked you as you sat up, “yes I am, are you alright?” you asked, looking at his face, which looked less swollen. He stretched and sighed happily “I am tremendous. No pain at all and I managed to get a nap as well, sorry about absorbing your heat” frowning you asked “what do you mean?” “When I hugged you I took some of your body heat which made you tired” he explained, you assured him it was fine and started making some more medicine for him. Laan watched you intently, fascinated by the method of healing herbs “put this medicine into a linen cloth and roll it up, cool it in water and it will take the pain away and help your gums and venom sack heal” you explained to him. “I will. Thank you. Please take this with my thanks” he gave you a gold coin “you don’t have to give me this much” you told him, shocked with the amount, “please take it. I have been in pain for a long time and take my teeth, they might come in handy” he insisted.

Putting your things away, he led you out of his cave “will you be safe travelling back to the village?” he asked, “I will be fine” you told him, waving as you left “thanks again” he shouted to you. Walking back to the village was nice with the warm sun beaming through the trees even in the early evening, you weren’t too far away when you heard rustling coming from behind you. Spinning around, you saw a blur of black approaching you, panic-filled your body, as you turned and ran towards the village, you knew what ever was chasing you would catch up so you headed for a fallen tree. Sliding under the tree for shelter you waited patiently for whatever was chasing you to pass, it never did, you reached for your horn but it wasn’t there ‘I must have left it in the cave’ you thought to yourself. “Harmony, where are you?” you heard a familiar voice call out. Peering through the gap in the tree to see Laan looking around and holding your horn, “Laan, why were you chasing me?” you asked him as you came out of your hiding place, “I didn’t mean to scare you, I'm sorry. I was chasing you because you left your horn behind” he explained handing you your horn, “thank you” you replied with a relieved sigh and took your horn back.

He bowed and retreated towards his cave, you walked back to the village arriving just before sunset. You heard communal laughter from the tavern. You were drawn there mainly because you were very hungry, as you approached, you heard Gili laughing inside so you went inside to find her. “Then she fell into the river still holding the fish she caught” Gili laughed “still telling my first fishing story?” you asked leaning on a pole. “Hey there you are!” she chuffed happily making room for you; Gili was talking with all your friends who all smiled as you sat back. “Where have you been not seen you since this morning?” Keffa asked “I was with the Naga, helped him out and he fell asleep trapping me under a hug” you explained. “Oh? Did he get frisky with you?” Gili asked nudging your shoulder you laughed and explained what happened but they still teased you. The waitress brought over a meal that Poldran had ordered for you, paying for your food you tucked in to your meal it was a vegetable stew with fresh bread. After 3 hours of talking to your friends you all decided to go home, some of them were on night scout duty and you were full, warm and tired. You bid everyone goodnight and head to the cabin, locking the door and lighting one lantern you get ready for bed. Pulling the sheets up to your neck and turning the lantern off you fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: First Decision

You woke up early and started to get ready; even though you had nothing to sell you thought you would help out Gili. Having some cheese and bread for breakfast you headed to the market with your satchel and order book, you spotted Gili loading up her cart and looking a bit tired. “Hey what’s wrong you look exhausted” you asked her, pulling out her cart she replied “I had to take over the night shift last night from Renna her Mother isn’t well” she explained. “I will take over your stall I know your prices” you told her, nodding she followed you to her stall putting out her wares for the day. “Good morning ladies” Kalaj greeted “morning chief can we speak to you for a moment?” Gili asked, you both explained the change and he smiled “you didn’t need to tell me this but I appreciate you letting me know” he chuffed patting you both on your shoulders before walking away.

Gili told you the price of her latest furs then thanked you before walking off to her home, the market was declared open and you were immediately bombarded with shoppers and not one of them tried to con you. By lunchtime all of the furs were sold Mrs Tayu, Gili’s mother came to speak with you “hello Mrs Tayu, is everything alright?” you asked. Mrs Tayu looks almost like her daughter apart from she is taller and had lighter fur on her head, “Oh my dear I came to thank you. Gili told me what you did for her and I wanted to thank you, I told her not to go but she is like her Father: stubborn” she laughed “you sold everything already?” she asked “yes here are your earnings” you told her. She thanked you and helped you store the family cart talking to you the entire time, you headed to your wagon to check the inventory for the Orc stronghold.

“Going over your orders?” Janier asked sitting beside you, “yes I wanted to make sure I'm ready for tomorrow” you told her putting your book down. “What can I do for you?” you asked leaning against the side, “I could use your help actually, Renna’s Mother, Mrs Wanil is ill. I suspect it could be internal but I think your abilities may clear my suspicions” she told you, you smiled and simply said “lead the way” you followed her to the edge of the village it was a lovely cottage with a beautiful garden. Renna met you at the door looking very worried “thanks for coming both of you she is in here and Da is inside too” she told you, leading you inside you saw her mother looking very pale and sweating with her husband dabbing a cold rag on her head. “Harmony can you help confirm my diagnosis?” Janier asked, you took Mrs Wanil’s hands and focused you knew she was relaxed so it was quite easy, you knew the answer to her ailment and asked Janier for a private word which she did.

“Janier do you suspect pregnancy?” you asked, her face became shocked “no I suspected food poisoning” she whispered. “Let me confirm again then we can tell them” Janier said and performed another examination, “well we have good news it isn’t food poisoning. Harmony why don’t you tell them?” she asked, you became a bit nervous then found the courage “Mrs Wanil you are pregnant” you smiled to which the family erupted in loud cheers. Renna picked you up and spun you around so fast the room became a blur; you were stopped by the parents coming to give you a group hug along with Janier. You were put down and stumbled slightly “we are going to have a baby! Oh I need to make an extension” Mr Wanil bellowed helping his wife to her bed. “I can treat your symptoms that your experiencing and I’ll give you something for morning sickness but for right now, bed rest for at least one week you need to recover” Janier said sternly and gave them some healing remedies. You left with everyone thanking you, “pregnant, how did I miss that?” Janier asked aloud “have you done that before?” “Once I was learning how to become a healer” she chuckled, “I guess I had the advantage with my ability” you sighed stopping in your tracks.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” she asked kneeling down in front of you, “it’s nothing” you told her “no it isn’t tell me” she insisted. “Why did you ask me to be a healer? Is it because of my ability?” you asked, “not just that you have a keen eye for detail and people trust you. Why are you so down about your ability?” she asked, tears began to fill your eyes and your heart began to race “I don’t want to push my friends and family away, or to be used that happened before I can’t do it again” you admitted. Tears ran down your face and you began to sob “Oh my dear, you know we won’t use you neither will the Orcs nor any of your friends” Janier told you embracing you in a warm hug. “You won’t push anyone away either, not us or your true friends” Kalaj said as he approached placing a hand on your shoulder. You stayed there for a while calmed down then straightened up wiping your tears, “Harmony you and your family are a part of our community and we are one big family. We have arguments but we are still family” Kalaj assured you, Janier stood up and excused herself “your last village was a bunch of idiots and assholes they lost a good person” he told you as you walked to the Tavern.

“The woodsman was ok” you told him wiping your eyes, “don’t apologise for crying” he said to you “how did you know I was going to apologise?” you asked “because you always say it after crying and you shouldn’t” he laughed. He took you to his table in the tavern and ordered some food “have you decided about your living arrangements?” he asked tilting his head, “uh yes actually I think I would like to live by myself” you told him. Kalaj smiled “good we will look around the village and find you a good place to live, there is also a clearing at the edge of the forest as well we can look after lunch” the food arrived. You tucked into your meal and began to relax one thing you could never do in your old village. After your meal you both paid and left to look at potential house locations there were a lot to look at, but you found the right place for you it was the clearing he mentioned on the edge of the village and of the forest and the nearest house was thirty feet away. “I had a feeling you would choose this location” he said smiling widely, “thank you chief” you said walking around the clearing, planning your layout.
“Chief Kalaj, Harmony good afternoon” Gili shouted as she approached you both, “ah feeling better?” he asked “yes chief thank you” she replied. “What is the idea for the house?” he asked you as they approached, you gave them both an idea of what you were thinking for your cottage/house explaining you wanted it simple. The chief laughed loudly and assured you it would be simple and sturdy, “when do you leave for the Orc stronghold” he asked “tomorrow morning” you told them. Kalaj walked back to the village while you and Gili walked to the fields to see how the crops were doing, “I heard what happened and you will never push me away” Gili told you wrapping her arm around you “thanks Gili” you replied.

The crops were coming along nicely and in abundance, with that in mind you both decided to go fishing for the rest of the day. “Hey mind if we join you?” Renna asked with the rest of your friends “the more the merrier” you replied giggling as she tackled you playfully. At the river you all started fishing immediately getting some fish including an eel, you all stayed fishing for over four hours laughing and joking around. “Greetings stranger” Poldran shouted to a Centaur “greetings is your village nearby?” he asked. “Yes it is a short walk from here we about to pack up and head back you are welcome to join us” Gili told him, he nodded and stepped out of the shadow along with a female Centaur who was heavily pregnant. The male has light brown fur that run halfway up his back, his skin is fair, his hair is long and braided; he has a beard, strong chin and green eyes. The female has black fur and brown skin, her hair is long and free from braid, she has blue eyes, pink lips and a scar on her chin.

You watched as they approached noticing he had an arrow in his flank, “Sir are you alright?” you asked approaching him slowly. “No not really, we must speak to the chief immediately” he replied looking to Keffa, “I will run ahead and get Janier ready” Keffa said running as fast as he could. You all walked in silence as you approached the village, Jinjo took the fish to the Ayana and said he would store the poles. The chief met you in the centre of the village before he could greet them however the male collapsed, “move him to my hut we need to remove that arrow, Harmony with me” Janier instructed the Minotaurs like an army. Four strong male Minotaurs came to aid the centaur as you followed Janier into her hut, “I am going to need your help the arrow may be too brittle for my hands” she told you.

The male was barely conscious but you could tell he was in a lot of pain; his wife was outside talking to the chief. Janier looked at the arrow it was brittle and needed you to remove it, “you are going to have to get your fingers in the cut. Feel for the tip of the arrow and pull it out with your other hand one swift pull” Janier instructed you, rinsing your hands you put your left hand in the cut. “The binding around the arrowhead has come loose, I am going to have to pull it apart in two pieces” you told Janier pulling once for the stick. “I know this hurts sir I will be fast” you told the male who you weren’t sure heard you, digging your fingers in further you pulled out the flint arrowhead. Janier began to flush out the wound and applied a herbal balm, you cleaned your hands and helped Janier with bandaging him. When he was cleaned up he started to come around, “where am I?” he asked Janier explained where he was and his wife was outside.

He stood up thanked the both of you and asked to see the chief and his wife; you both accepted his thanks and walked out to see the Chief and his wife. “Hello Chief my name is Patrick and this is my wife Tricia, we come seeking shelter our village was attacked by poachers” Patrick explained holding his wife close. Kalaj’s eyes widened “Scouts! Scour the forest look for survivors and any sign of poachers!” he ordered “Yes chief!” they responded as they grabbed their weapons and torches and ran into the forest. “I am Chief Kalaj you are welcome here, we have a guest cabin you can stay in and we will provide you with food and water” he told them. He asked if you could show them the way “we aren’t normally this bare we were attacked as we were heading to bed” Tricia explained. “Its ok I might have some spare clothes you can wear” you told them, you opened the door and lit a fire and the lanterns. You looked through your trunk and found two tunics that would do nicely, “thank you” Patrick smiled putting the tunic on before looking to his wife who was looking very tired.

Gili came to the door “Harmony open up I brought food” she bellowed, you opened the door and started to laugh at her she was carrying six baskets two in each hand and one on each of her horns. You took the baskets from her horns and put them on the table, “eat up there is plenty to go around” she told everyone. You took a small plate as did the Centaurs then sat by the fire, “do you require any more blankets?” Gili asked “I think we will be ok thank you” Patrick said. You hugged Gili and said goodnight to her, the centaurs looked worried “is there something wrong?” you asked approaching them. “I haven’t felt my baby move since the poachers attacked two days ago” Tricia said saddened. “I can help examine you I don’t know if you know this but I have an ability…” before you could finish your sentence Patrick shouted “You’re the seer! You see into a species past and find lost knowledge?” he asked in amazement. Stunned you took a moment to reply “yes that is me, the first time I’ve been called Seer. But I can also see an individual’s injuries” you smirked and had a drink of water.

“Please can you see if the baby is ok?” Tricia asked shaking with fear; you put your plate down and assured her you would check her out. “Put your hands in mine and relax as much as you can” you instructed which she gladly complied, “you aren’t relaxing take a deep breath and let it go” you told her. After she let her breath out you knew what was wrong and you smiled, letting go of her hands you told her “your babies are fine. Your adrenaline is too high so your body is protecting your babies, a good night sleep and some lavender on the fire will help you. And rest for a few days NO manual labour for a while” you told her, she gave you a tight hug and started to weep uncontrollably Patrick joined in the hug too with an even tighter hug. You let them cry it took a while for them to let you go, “wait, babies?” Patrick asked releasing you from his hug. Tricia looked equally shocked “you didn’t know? You are having twins” you told them, their faces couldn’t contain their joy “thank you so much” Tricia cried again.

You stood up and went to your bed and sat on the edge of it, you knew you had a long journey tomorrow so you decided to turn in for the night. After changing in the washroom you were greeted by the smell of lavender, you headed to bed and looked at the couple who had fallen asleep. When you got into bed you started to drift easily with the lavender, and the warmth of the bed you were glad.