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by Melisse Aires
Category: Erotica/Erotic Fantasy
Description: Brought together by the magic of Christmas? "Wishing Rights" In the normal course of life, they would never have met. An accident while foraging herbs throws Pascal, an elf from the North Pole and Mallow, a dwarf from the country, together. They share a passion for herbs--and for each other. But elves and dwarves are forbidden to marry. "Christmas Wizardry" Merri didn't know the magical world of wizards existed until Daniel, High Wizard of Earth, offers her refuge from gross demons. Alone together at Christmas, Merri finds his magical world fascinating, but she finds the man even more enchanting.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: January 2010
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [75 KB]
Reading time: 44-61 min.
WISHING RIGHTS * * * *
by * * * *
Melisse Aires * * * * * * * *
Pascal sighed as he pulled his hood back on and turned his back to the biting wind. Mid-November was a bad time to hike into the rocky heights of the mountains to search for coughwort. But it was also a bad time for an outbreak of the cough. Santa was nearly worn thin trying to fill in for so many absent elves.
Now the apothecaries were out of coughwort and he, being the youngest and strongest of the Guild, was the one elected to hike into the mountains to harvest more herbs.
Snow covered the heights and shadowed places but the meadows were dry. He found numerous plants and rejoiced that he would only need to spend one more night in the wilderness. The journey downhill to the North Pole could be accomplished in a day.
He went around a rocky protrusion and came upon a dry meadow full of coughwort.
He heard a gasp that made him jump a foot. It can't be a bear, at this time of year.
It was a dwarf woman, with a basket on her hip, digging coughwort with a tool similar to his.
They stared at each other, neither one moving or speaking. There was no contact between the elves at the North Pole and the dwarves who lived in the rock hills and forests to the south.
"I'm-I'm just harvesting coughwort. I mean you no harm," he said.
The woman was small and very colorful. Her skin was a warm brown and her hair flamed like a fire. Even from the space of the few feet between them, Pascal could see that her eyes were not the ice blue of elven folk, but bright grass green.
And her lips--they were nearly round, and coral pink. Nothing like the thin pale lips so prized in elven women. Her ears were pointed, like his own, but they were a little larger and peeked out through her wild hair.
"Me, too." Her voice sounded breathy, as if she was frightened. "Coughwort. The cough is in the villages downriver."
He nodded. "I see. We have it also, at the North Pole. I am almost done with my harvest, my bag is nearly full."
"Yes, my basket is almost full. I will return home now." She backed away, eyes never leaving him.
There was an ominous grinding sound.
She gave a breathy scream and he followed her line of vision to see a rockslide coming right at him. He lurched out of the way, but not far enough to miss the hits. He went down in pain. * * * *
"Wake up. Oh please wake up." A wet cloth was rubbing his face.
He opened his eyes to see the dwarf woman, before the blinding light forced him to close them tight again.
"Are you awake?"
"Yes. Light...burns," he gasped.
He could feel a raging pain in his foot and an ache in his head.
"My hands, are they injured?"
"No, not at all." She was quick to reassure him. An herbalist needed their hands. "But your foot is badly hurt. I think it is broken in several places. I had to cut the boot off to stop the bleeding."
He raised his head to look at his foot, a bloody bundle at the end of his leg, and all began to go black. The woman pressed him down flat.
"I don't think I can hike back to the North Pole." It was at least ten miles.
"No. You can't walk at all. Plus you took a hit to the head. You really need to stay still. I can make a travois and pull you down to my boat. From there it is just a short way downriver to my home."
No coughwort for the elves. Pascal closed his eyes in defeat.
"Yes, I guess that would be best. Thank you. I am Pascal."
"I am Mallow."
He remembered little after that, mostly the agony of standing to get into the boat. After that there was motion and darkness.
Then he was in a warm, dark place, and Mallow fed him a cup of warm, acrid liquid. * * * *
Mallow docked her small boat. Getting the long, limp elf out of the boat took almost more strength than she had, but the travois helped; she'd kept it in the boat. It was late. Her children must be so worried as it was hours past sunset. She dragged the elf and the bundles of coughwort to her back door, the one that led to her herbery, and pulled him inside out of the cold. Grabbing a bundle she slipped around to the front door where her neighbor Berri waited for her.
"Where have you been? It is so late!" Berri grabbed her in a tight hug as soon as she entered the cottage.
"I'm sorry. There was a rockslide so I had to hike around that area. It took me a long time to get back to the boat." Mallow handed the older woman the large bundle of coughwort. "This is for the tea. I have more coughwort and will make a concentrated potion for those who have the Cough the worst, but that won't be ready for a few days. Could you send someone up in a few days to get it?"
"Certainly, Mallow. I'll send Snip upriver. And if you need anything, send one of the children downstream and I will come up. I worry about you, so far from the village." Berri bundled the greenery into her sack, threw on her fur cloak and bustled toward the door. She had many grandchildren in the village with the Cough. She left, in a hurry to reach the village and give out the soothing coughwort, which would lighten the illness.
Mallow pulled the elf into her front room and added wood to the fire. She got Pascal into her bed in the corner of the front room, then prepared a painkiller. His foot would need to be cleaned and set. She worked for several hours on the elf. His head was going to be fine, though one could never be sure of a head injury. His foot though...it was badly injured, crushed in places. She cleaned it as best she could and tried to manipulate the small bones back in place. She stitched, splinted, covered the wounds with a salve to stop infection, and raised the foot high. It was the best she could do.
It was not enough, though. The poor elf would be lame. And how would he ever get back to the North Pole?
Afterward, exhausted, she climbed the steep stairs to the loft and crawled into bed with her children. * * * *
"Mama, is the elf man going to be all right?" Dawnli, her oldest at age six, asked the next evening.
"Yes, sweetie, though his foot probably won't work like it did."
"That's too bad. But at least it isn't like Daddy."
"Yes, at least it is not that bad." The only stitching she'd done for Tobbin had been his shroud. A tree had crushed his chest.
"Do all the elves have hair like butter and eyes like the sky?"
"That's what I've heard, but this is the only one I've ever seen." She stroked her daughter's rare pink hair until the child fell asleep. Mallow would let her sleep in. The poor child had fed her brothers and kept little Dobbin from falling down the well or into the fireplace while she cared for Pascal and brewed the coughwort potion, running between the two all day.