My friend stood in the silvery moonlight, deep concern in his hazel eyes. He stood silently, his cape softly rustling in the early morning breeze, his eyes gazing intently at the cut on my leg. Taking the black glove from his hand, he reached over and gently felt around my wound. I tried to stand still, but there was pain and despite my resolve, I flinched, my muscles quivering.
"It is all right, my friend. You will be fine." His voice was tight with concern.
Earlier we had stood side by side in the pueblo, lancers coming at us on several sides, their swords flashing, their cursing shouts a jarring cacophony in our ears. My friend had simply laughed at their taunts, his sword flashing silver in the moonlight, the loudest lancers falling back first, fear showing in their eyes. My friend’s unflinching courage stilled the fear in my own heart. I fought furiously, determined to protect my comrade at all costs.
The fat sergeant shouted at his lancers and several leaped forward. One soldier’s sword tip found my leg, and I cried out in pain. Next to me, my friend gave a sharp exclamation of anger and his sword flashed even faster. Taking his lead, I bounded toward the soldiers, the anger I felt flashing in my eyes. Now the lancers had respect as well as fear showing in their faces. Making a motion with his hand, my friend and I rushed the last knot of lancers, scattering them right and left, leaving them rolling in the dirt.
"Adios, amigos," my friend shouted with a smile as we dashed away. We rode furiously for a mile; leaving our enemies choking in the dry, summer dust. "Hold!" he shouted, but I continued onward, anxious to get as far from the soldiers as I possibly could. Finally after another half mile, and as we approached home, I stopped.
Looking down, I noticed that, despite our run, the blood, which had run down my leg, was congealing, hardening into dark, matted clumps that made walking difficult. My compadre dismounted and checked our back trail quickly; turning back when he determined it was safe.
That was when he examined my wound. "Ah, amigo," he said. "I do not have the means to clean this cut, but I can bind it."
I nodded as he undid his sash and tied it tightly around my leg. This time I stood quietly, trusting in his care, knowing that he would do nothing to hurt me. As he tightened the sash, I grunted in pain. With a motion, he turned and we walked slowly up the hill. Wanting to reach home more quickly, I increased my pace, but my friend stepped in front of me. We walked slowly in silence until, over a rise, I saw home. Never did anything look so inviting. I wanted to run to its safety, it’s friendly ambience, but pain and my companion kept me in check.
We walked through the entrance of the hidden cave and into the soft glowing dimness of my room. The quiet one was standing next to a lighted sconce, worry showing plainly on his face. He saw the binding on my leg, quickly set the lantern down, and raced to the other end of the cave. Within minutes he came back with everything he would need to care for me. He, too, had gentle hands, and soon the dried blood was cleaned away and salve applied to the cut, which was then bound tightly. Both the quiet one and my masked companion told me that I would soon be well; my friend in deep comforting tones and the quiet one in signs.
"I must go back, Bernardo, There is unfinished business. I will borrow Princessa, who will be unrecognized in the darkness." As he walked toward the other end of the cave and his own room, my friend reached out and laid his hand on my shoulder. "You have done well, Tornado. You rest now. I will be back soon." He paused, his fingers lingering for a moment. "Always, we will be compadres."
"Always, Friend," I cried, in my own language, rubbing his chest with my nose.
He seemed to understand, his fingers rubbing lightly along my neck. "Yes, always...."
(This vignette has been a seed in my conscious since last spring when the Cat in the Hat made a challenge on the other GW list to write a story from Tornado’s pov. I never pursued it until the recent post by Wendel and the subsequent posts, (and poems) by the others. To all of you, I give my thanks, and for all of you this tiny story is dedicated.
The title ‘Heartsong’ comes from a play by the same name, which runs at the Dollywood theme park. It seems to cover what I wrote just as well as it covered the subject of the play.