Thunder. Lightning. And then; the heavens opened up and poured down upon the barren desert. A lone figure carrying a light hurried through the rain, weighed down by what looked like a dozens packs. This was the first time in months he had seen anyone pass his outpost, and he was almost curious enough to try to find out who this sturdy traveler might be. Where they were going Tio didn’t know, and he wondered if he should leave his tent to offer them a place to wait out the storm. Not many made it this far, let alone complete their journey, alone.

Thunder? Another flash of lightning illuminated the night and struck down the traveler, who crumpled like a brittle biscuit. Tio shot to his feet, his choice inadvertently made for him. Cursing, he summoned a ball of light which flew to the approximate location where the figure had fallen before groping for his motorcycle parked a foot away.

Rain and sand flew into his face as he raced towards the ball of light. If it wasn’t floating in the distance, Tio would’ve been driving blind into the vast desert, off the trail and never to be seen again. Five minutes later, he parked his bike and dropped down next to the prone figure.

The smell of ozone was strong enough to taste with every breath. Her clothes and hair were obviously singed, but the very storm that had struck her had saved the traveler from being burned to a crisp.

Two fingers at her neck, he breathed sigh of relief when he felt the weak flutter of her pulse under his fingertips.

“Why now,” Tio muttered. They were many miles from the nearest town and his bike would not take them anywhere in this rain. He looked up in frustration, fat droplets of rain stinging his eyes. He shook himself mentally, and proceeded to relieve the woman of her burdens. Any other time he would’ve been curious and looked through the oddly shaped bags, but he really didn’t want to deal with a dead body out here, alone.

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Bereft of baggage, she was a slight figure and easy for him to carry. The woman had tied her bags to her body with a rough rope, and so he used this to lash her to his back tightly. Her arms tied in front of his middle, he piggybacked her awkwardly to the bike. What proceeded next was one of the slowest, most irritating and awful ten minutes he’d experienced in months because, like the fool he was, he had forgotten to mark his camp and was forced to navigate his way back in pitch black darkness with only the vaguest knowledge of it’s direction. Twice, he had to make a turn when he realized he had been driving long enough to reach camp, and had veered off course. Each time, the woman’s head flopped from side to side in the eerie way of the unconscious.

When he had finally managed to get the woman out of the rain and lay her down on the bedroll, they were both shivering. The tent filled with the acrid smell of burning flesh, which only increased when he methodically stripped the woman of her jacket and shirt. Thin webs of weeping blisters running from her right shoulder to her forearm revealed themselves, spreading halfway across her back. His stomach twisted in sympathy for the amount of pain she must have been in.

Tio settled in. For hours, he was hunched over the unconscious woman, working like he hadn’t done in months. It was like flexing a forgotten limb, one hadn’t been aware he was missing. How lucky for this woman that she had managed to get struck by lighting not half a kilometer away from a magical healer. The heat he drew out of her skin settled inside his core like a cup of hot tea.

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He blinked the sweat out of his eyes as he spread the last bit of slave on the woman’s shoulder. There, that should do it, he thought blurrily and stood up. Exhaustion burrowed deep inside him and made his bones heavy. He blinked, and the next thing he knew was darkness.

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